Fueling fat loss and performance is WAAYY different than simply going on a diet! Do you want to feel powerful? Do you want to feel fast? Do you want to feel lean? Do you want to be an example to your friends and family of all-around wellness, and not just a bad ass who trains in their bad ass home gym? It’s time to take your nutrition to the next level which will take your workouts to the next level!
I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that I can’t tell you exactly what to eat and anyone who does is lying through their teeth. I have no idea about you, but you can figure out what will work, and then be as consistent as possible in that, until you get to where you want to be. So, I’ll first let you know about some myths out there that you don’t need to fall victim to.
THERE IS NO MAGIC DIET THAT WILL GET YOU TO YOUR GOALS!!!
Every type of diet works and fails for the same reason! So, without knowing you I will give you some basic rules to follow. We need rules in all areas in life; fat loss and performance nutrition is no different. Look at rules not as restrictions, but as a road you want to stay on to get your vacation destination.
First off – Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Whole 30, Carnivore, or any other diet works for the same reason to help someone lose weight – it puts someone in a calorie restriction (they eat less calories than they burn). The problem is that most people on these diets lose weight at the beginning, until they realize how many foods fall into the parameters of their diet of choice and then begin to eat more and stop progressing. Even though they’re following the rules of the diet, it will fail you if calories are not accounted for. You will never find a study to show that any of those diets will work when a calorie restriction is not present. So, don’t fall victim to any of these fads! If you want to do any of the fad diets out there, then understand that calories must be accounted for in order for them to be successful! And this is why they fail. They are either not sustainable, or when they stop working people don’t know what to do.
I will always recommend eating as much real food as possible while limiting processed food for an overall better life. With that being said, here is how you can get started. You need to track what you eat to figure out how many calories you are taking in
HOW TO TRACK:
I highly recommend using an app like MyFitnessPal to track your intake. When you complete your profile, and enter your weight and your goals (lose, gain, or maintain) it will give you a set number of calories to eat. Since most people want to lose body fat, I will focus on that from here on out. When completing your profile, most people overestimate their activity level. If you train pretty hard every day, but have a sedentary job, put yourself at active not highly active.
Also, turn off tracking your steps. There is no need to track your steps, since the calories provided for you take your activity level into account. I would recommend during the first few weeks that if you can’t track it, don’t eat it.
Guessing and doing random searches in a calorie tracking app can cause you tons of frustration.
You will possibly think you are eating less than you are, and this leads to frustration. Frustration that it’s not working. The average client of mine takes 4-6 weeks to learn how to track accurately and develop the habit of weighing and measuring accurately. Be patient in this process.
SETTING UP FOR SUCCESS – 1% at a time:
Here is where the app will not recommend the right macronutrients to make achieving your goal easier. All studies show that it is safe to eat your bodyweight in pounds in grams of protein – meaning if you weigh 200lbs, you can safely consume 200g of protein a day. The reason you want to eat this much protein while in a calorie deficit is because of how satiating protein is, meaning it makes you feel full, so it will much easier to maintain that deficit – no one wants to be starving all the time! This much protein also ensures that you will preserve as much muscle mass as possible while losing weight on the scale. The goal is fat loss and performance not just weight loss!
Go to the calorie goals section of the app.
Set your protein goal to close to your bodyweight in grams and then change your carbs and fats to what you like to get to 100% (this will make more sense when you are in the app messing with it). All studies show that when calories and protein are accounted for, it doesn’t matter what your carb and fat intake is – this is a preference. Calories determine the scale! A safe amount to lose in a sustainable fashion is 1% of your bodyweight per week. If you lose too much more than that, you risk losing too fast from a restricted lifestyle and gaining it back later.
EATING FOR FAT LOSS AND PERFORMANCE IS SIMPLE NOT EASY:
One of the toughest parts of changing your body, is breaking the lifelong habits that we have created. It’s easy to say, “eat less and move more”, but it’s not easy to do. I always say “SIMPLE, NOT EASY”. The basics for everyone are the based on the same principles, but everyone is different and has different experiences and triggers. Everyone has a different home situation and different friend groups. Take a good look at your surroundings and what triggers you to binge and ruin any hard work you have done. Understand that weekly averages matter, meaning that the calories you eat on the weekends can easily make up for the calories you restricted all week! Since everyone is different, there is no one size fits all nutrition plan, but the basic rules do apply to everyone.
Take the time to figure out what works best for you and your lifestyle. Yes, you want performance along with the fat loss to make that weight class then take your time. Nutrition Coaching takes a lot of things into consideration, so if you are struggling with eating to fuel long term fat loss and performance, reach out to someone who knows more and can coach you. All novice lifters need someone to show them what to do and how to do it. If you knew someone who was new to lifting, I’m sure you wouldn’t tell them to buy a workout template online to learn. You would probably recommend them to get a trainer. We all need a coach in some aspect in our lives, especially the most important aspects.
Bottom line: Eating to fuel fat loss and performance is the hallmark of a serious athlete.