When you first start working out it may be hard to implement a diet plan. Some people may want to go all-in with a new workout and eating right; others may have a hard time. For this type of person I always say the following:
“There will come a point where you are no longer progressing, this is when you need to implement a change.”
If you are working out twice a week then you may need to work out three times a week to meet your goals. If you are at the max your body can take weekly between the 60 hour work week and hitting the gym 3x a week for 45 minutes then you may want to start switching up your diet. If this is you or you’re just the “all-in” type then read on.
Nutrition is more important than most people think. There is a difference between someone who works out and someone who works out and keeps a broad eye on what they eat. Depending on your goals and unless you have a health concern, it may not be necessary to count every calorie or write down exactly the number of grams of carbs or protein you consume.
- Increase your Protein intake
Unless you’re eating equivalent to 5 Wendy’s Baconators everyday you’re probably not digesting enough protein to help your body adequately recover from the stress that you put your body under yesterday. To combat this make sure you’re eating some sort of protein with each meal. The best meats for someone looking to get fit are fish, chicken, or turkey. Red meats are notorious when it comes to eating healthy. When you’re at the grocery store make sure to get lean cuts of meat staying away from fattier cuts of Pork or Bacon. Leaner reds are still fair game though! These including flank steak, top sirloin and strip loin.
Try: The easiest way to increase your protein intake is at breakfast – make eggs instead of that A.M. bagel. Yogurt is also a good morning breakfast but be careful, a lot of yogurt has large amounts of added sugars, this is okay but just be aware of it when your co-worker passes around her “secret-recipe” cupcakes.
- Cut Carbs? No, watch your Carbs
We’ve all heard it before. After you tell your friends you’re about to start dieting someone always chimes in to say “You better start cutting carbs.” Well here’s the good news: you don’t have to. The bad news: the one’s you should eat don’t include that candy bar at the Price Chopper checkout. There are good carbs and there are bad carbs (yes, sugar is the bad carb). Try introducing some of the following whole-foods to your home pantry: Potatoes, Legumes, Fruits, Yams/Sweet Potatoes, Whole Wheat Pasta or White/Brown Rice.
Try: eating the majority of your carbs in the beginning of your day then slowly diminishing your intake throughout the day. Think of carbs like energy because… well… they are! When do you need the most energy? At the beginning of the day. You don’t need energy closer to bed time so cut those ones out.
Portions and Proportions:
One problem many face is that although they may be eating the right foods, their portion size may not be correct. A good rule of thumb to follow… well actually it should be called the rule of fists. Measure your portions based on the size of your fist. Each meal should consist of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates. Your protein and vegatables should be the largest item on your plate at about the size of your fist followed by your complex carb which will be slightly smaller.
Coming Soon: Supplements 101