1. Macros Are Most Important!
Have your Macronutrient requirements calculated to fit your goals. This includes Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fat breakdown (e.g. 40/40/20) as well as total calories overall. Have these in easy to access locations eg. Smartphone, laptop, printout on fridge etc. Ultimately, these are what makes the biggest difference to your body composition. If you are following the correct Macronutrient targets for your specific requirements then you will find it much easier to achieve your physique goals. 30% Protein, 45% Carbohydrates 25% Fats is a good general guideline, though this can vary based upon your specific fitness or physique goals.
2. Prepare Your Meals.
This is the most effective way to stay on track and reach your physique goals. You know the exact nutritional information of each meal this way and aren’t forced to make nutrition decisions “on the fly” and hope for the best. As soon as you become pressed for time your nutrition can easily go out the window and you may be forced to buy take out, processed meals or something of much lesser quality which does not meet your calorie requirements. As you gather a greater understanding of the calorie content of foods and use the tools I outline below, you will however, be able to make decisions in a pinch and not stray from your macronutrient goals.
3. Educate Yourself.
Learn how to make the “smarter” and “healthier” decisions when it comes to eating out and buying groceries. Look for healthier facts on labels like “Organic” or “Preservative Free”. Also start to understand healthy types of Carbs and Fats. For example looks for products higher in dietary fibre and lower in sugars. In regards to fats, look for products which are higher in Monounsaturated Fats, instead of Saturated Fats.
The more you look into the foods you eat, the more it will become second nature and you won’t even have to think about choosing between different food items. You’ll simply know what’s a better choice and what isn’t.
4. Be Disciplined.
If you want to achieve results you need to be disciplined and put in the effort to refrain from splurging and exceeding your calorie intake on a regular basis. This may require you to go through stages where you feel hungry as your body gets familiar with your adjusted calorie intake (if you are eating to lose body fat). That being said you should NEVER be on a ridiculously low calorie nutrition plan. If your trainer/nutritionist has you on something ridiculously low in calories (eg. <1000 calories a day) please seek alternative advice.
5. Grasp Caloric Density.
Understand the caloric density of different foods. Fats contain more than double the calories per gram than Carbohydrates and Protein. Learn how to incorporate foods which won’t leave you feeling hungry all the time yet still meet your required macronutrients. eg. Replace a bowl of sugary cereal with a bowl of brown rice and you will see and feel the difference in satiety, total food amount and insulin response. Macronutrients are all treated and processed differently by the body and it is important to understand this. I will go into this in more detail in a separate blog.
6. Read Food Nutrition Labels.
Reading and UNDERSTANDING nutrition labels on foods is paramount. This makes a HUGE difference in the steps to understanding the points above. You will be astounded at the nutritional content/breakdown of some foods and pleasantly surprised by others.
7. Calorie Counter Apps.
Download a quality calorie counter app for your smartphone. This is such a godsend and something we are so lucky to be able to have at the tips of our fingers! This will make things a lot easier for you. Most will allow you to enter in a certain amount of a specific food and it will give you the nutrient breakdown including; total calories, protein, carbohydrates and fats.
Examples of this are:
– My Fitness Pal (iOS and Android)
– Fat Secret (Android)
– Australian Calorie Counter – Easy Diet Diary (iOS)
Great websites for calorie calculating is www.calorieking.com.au or www.fatsecret.com.au.
8. Incorporate Supplements.
I find supplements are amazing to stay on top of your nutrition. Protein supplements can be incorporated for a number of purposes.
Firstly they are perfect in a quick fix where you may not be able to access a meal or are out of your normal protein source for that meal. Keep some handy in a container in your gym bag or car and just mix when required to keep your body fuelled and not force yourself to miss a meal and go hungry longer than you need to.
Secondly, they are a great item to incorporate into your daily nutrition for variety. There are thousands of recipes out there using Protein supplements, not to mention a lot of protein powders these days taste AMAZING. A few examples are:
– Protein Pancakes.
– Protein Sludge.
– Proatmeal (Oats and Protein powder).
– Protein brownies.
– Protein Muesli.
I will go into other supplements which can be utilised specific to your goals in a separate blog.
9. Nutrient Timing.
I am a believer in nutrient timing and believe this makes a significant difference in physique composition. I advocate Carbohydrate intake predominantly at Breakfast, Pre-Workout, Intra-Workout and/or Immediately Post-Workout AND in your Post-Workout meal. The rest of the meals in the day are predominantly protein & fat based with carbohydrates coming from fibrous vegetables.
You want to INCREASE your insulin sensitivity to maximise your insulin response at these times of the day. Notice how I’ve suggested Carbohydrate intake mainly Intra and Post-Workout? This is because insulin is one of the body’s most anabolic muscle-building hormones. So of course you are going to want to maximise the release of this hormone right after you have finished training your muscles!
If you are on a fat loss program or aren’t concerned about building muscle it is still the most efficient time to utilise carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores and minimise fat gain.
Don’t forget to subscribe for all the latest info on recipes, nutrition, new Seasoning flavour releases and exclusive discount codes! 🙂
“Eat for your Physique!”