Nutrition can be a complicated game sometimes. For beginners it can be nearly impossible to know what to eat, when to eat it and how much you should be eating. Whereas for those experienced trainers it has become second nature.
In this blog post I am going to try and make things a little easier for you.
Lets start with How Much...
What and When sort of go hand in hand, but we will start with What and then link them together afterwards.
This section is quite simple really. Firstly you need to establish what you goal is. Your goal is the most important piece of this puzzle. If you don't know what your goal is, how can you ever understand and create a method to achieve it. I will not go into detail on what to eat for each and every goal because that would mean you having to read a 20 page document, and nobody wants that!
You may or may not have heard of "Macro Tracking". The nutritional macros are... Protein, Fats and Carbohydrates. Macro tracking is setting a target of how much of each to consume in a single day and then also keeping a record of what you have eaten.
This may seem a monumental task bust trust me it isn't that bad.
Just follow these steps to get you on the right track...
- Set your goal. For example, to gain muscle or to loose fat.
- Go onto BodyBuilding.com and create a personalised plan... use this link. Find a Plan. Or use their Macro Nutrients Calculator to calculate exactly what macros you should be consuming.
- Download "My Fitness Pal" app to your smartphone, this will tell you what macros are in pretty much anything, such as chicken breast, sweet potato and rice. You'll pick up how to use it pretty quickly.
- Use My Fitness Plan to establish how many grams of certain foods you need.
- Weigh out your food.
- Prepare your meals.
- Keep a cool bag with you if you can, this will allow you to eat when you need too.
These steps will get you on your way to knowing how much to eat!
We aren't saying do this for the rest of your life because soon enough you wont even need to weigh your food, you'll just know by eye, but this will help you learn.
Now lets look at What...
This section is fairly short and simple, its not rocket science.
Now you know how much food you should be eating throughout your day its important you use the correct food. I say use because in this circumstance food is a fuel source which is used to help you achieve a goal.
For the most part you should aim to eat whole foods wherever possible. This basically means eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. For example, chicken breast, fresh fruits and vegetables and nuts, obviously these foods can be very boring indeed, so don't be afraid to add some seasonings to them, just make sure they are made form using only natural ingredients.
Aim to avoid eating things out of a packet such as crisps and biscuits as they contain only empty calories with absolutely no nutritional value. You can have they odd treat, but try to keep to a minimum!
Every now and then you can eat whats called a "cheat meal" which is something that you would normally avoid like the plague, things like burgers, curry etc.
Eating these things a couple of times a month will not kill you. We are human after all.
And finally... When ?...
This section is probably the most important. It is important to know what your body needs at different points. Again, I will just give general advice here.
This is the time of day when you really need to get a good start to the day. Foods such as Oatmeal, Eggs and Fruit provide all the nutrients you need in a morning. Again, refer to your meal plan and diets to decide what will suit you best, but these foods are generally considered to give you the best start to the day.
Throughout the day:
Throughout the day souley relies on your dietary requirements. As long as you keep your food whole and meet your macro requirements you'll be fine.
Eat smaller meal more often throughout the day, so roughly every 2-3 hours if you can, this will help to keep your metabolic rate high which will cause your body to burn more fat. Simple!
The jury is still out on this one, many different experts disagree on what to have before a workout. Personally I will have a smaller portion of chicken and boiled rice an hour before my workout. I feel this gives me the perfect balance of energy without making myself feel ill during the session. (I'm currently writing this while eating that before my gym session)
You'll have to experiment with this, you'll find what works best for you after time.
Not all of us are the same, so what may work for your friend or training partner may not work for you. There are of course general basic rules such as the one I have outlined, but they can be used in many different ways.
This is the only time i will recommend eating something out of a packet. It is widely regarded that after an intense workout a small packet of gummy bears are an excellent source of fuel. This is because after intense activity your bodies glycogen stores are drained and foods high on the glycemic index (GI Index) will help to replenish this loss.
This is exactly why we have included a touch of sugar in our chicken seasoning as it has been designed specifically for post workout meals.
You should also eat foods high in protein after a workout such as chicken or eggs. This is because after a workout, when your muscle fibres are ripped and sore they need to be repaired, protein assists with just that. Your muscles will grow and become stronger during the repair faze.
It is also important that you have this meal within 30 minutes of completing your workout because this is the time your muscles are in desperate need of proteins.
You may also want to experiment with supplements (I will be writing short blog on supplements soon)
This time of day, one rule! KEEP YOUR CARB INTAKE LOW!!! For the exact same reason as i mentioned about the desk job, during sleep you will not use the energy carbohydrates provide, it will simply be stored as fat!
I hope this has cleared up the basics for you, its really quite simple, create a meal plan using the link I have provided as a guide to your macros and stick to it using whole foods wherever possible.
A great website to use for more information and even more informative blog posts is WhatProtein.co.uk
Thanks for reading