Hey, everyone, it is Motivational Monday!
Last week we talked about the 3 keys needed to make great progress in the gym. Implementation of these 3 principles will lead to marked improvements in your physique and performance.
But training is only one-third of the battle. Even if you are training hard, you are leaving gains on the table if your nutrition is not dialed in for your goals.
I do not want you to leave meat on the bone. The worst thing to do is to train hard and to not see your performance and physique change as you would like it too. There are 3 nutritional keys that will allow you to maximize your progress:
1) Your caloric intake must match your goal
Are you skinny? Thin? A pure ectomorph?
Is your goal to gain muscle mass and strength?
Then why are you eating that low-calorie salad? Why are you eating 1 full meal and a bunch of snacks all day? Why are you eating as if you are someone who is trying to lose weight?
On the other side of the coin maybe you are fat and overweight. Is your goal to drop body fat and lose excess weight?
Then why are you eating so much food? Why are your portion sizes enough for 2 grown men? Why are you eating until you cannot move anymore and getting a major case of the Itis?
In both of the above cases, the caloric intake does not match the goal. Whether you are trying to gain muscle mass or lose body fat, your calories must reflect that.
Finding out how many calories you need to eat is not as simple as using an online formula. I like to tell my clients that we have to “start where you are.”
Using an app like MyFitnessPal will allow you to begin to track your food intake to find out how much food you are currently eating. From here you can make the proper adjustments on like the great Peyton Manning at the line of scrimmage.
You do not have to track your calories forever, but it does help you get into the habit of developing better nutrition practices.
If you are currently eating too little it would be a mistake to add a monstrous amount of calories to your diet overnight. I cannot have someone who is currently eating 900 calories a day just jump up to 2000 calories a day.
This is a quick way to gain weight, but it will be mainly body fat and not the muscular weight you are looking for. The better plan of action is to walk your calories up slowly to get you gaining muscle mass without a substantial fat gain.
If you are currently overeating, it would be a mistake to severely drop your calories too low. This will work initially for weight loss, but soon you will become stagnant as your body will adapt your caloric intake being too low.
Your progress will come to halt like a commuter in a traffic jam.
Your body cannot see continual progress on a diet where you are literally eating nothing. You have to bring your caloric intake down slowly so that you can still support your training. Remember changing your physique is a process and great things require time to become great.
While your overall caloric intake is very important, you cannot just have the majority of your calories be composed of pure junk.
2) Your macros must also match your goals
Once you determine how many calories you are eating, it is time to break them down by the macronutrient.
Your macronutrients are your carbohydrates, your proteins, and your fats.
Your carbs and your fats are the bodies fuel sources while protein is what allows you to build your foundation of muscle mass. All foods will fall under a macro category.
Your macro profile must be in line with what you are trying to accomplish. Look at your body as a gas tank.
When you overfill a gas tank what happens? The excess spills over.
When your diet is too high in carbohydrates, fats, and overall calories the spillover will result in unsightly body fat. This may lead to increased sales for Spanx and products of that ilk, but I do not think you want to look soft like the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man.
A calorie is not just a calorie. The quality of your calories matters as 2500 calories of sugar and fat yield a radically different result than 2500 calories of high protein, moderate carbs/fat.
Most trainees will do well on balanced macronutrient plan that features higher protein and moderate carbs/fats. However. your macros can be adjusted to reach your goals.
You might be Bobby Bodybuilder in the final weeks of contest prep whose carbs are lower than they normally would be as you chase a ripped body.
You might be Shemika Sprints who had a tough morning training session of 4x300m at 85 percent speed followed up an afternoon training session of upper body weight lifting. You may need to live in Carb City that day just to recover from the work.
No matter where you are in your training, your macros must reach your goals.
3) You must prioritize your pre and post workout nutrition
Have you ever tried to use your cell phone throughout the day on a low battery? What always happens?
The phone always dies and it never makes it through the day. The battery is not completely charged and the phone runs out of juice.
Many trainees are just like that cell phone. They show up to the gym with little to no food in their system. This drives me insane like the Joker.
By not consuming the proper foods before you train, you are setting yourself up for a horrendous training session. The training session typically ends early or you slog through it because you have zero fuel in the tank to use for the workout.
When this happens consistently, then there should be no surprise as to why your body cannot and will not change.
I rank the pre and post workout as the most important meals of your day on days that you train. The composition of these meals is very simple.
Before you train, a combination of complex carbohydrates and protein will do the trick.
The complex carbs will give you the energy to train hard throughout your workout and the protein will allow you to avoid muscle breakdown during the training session.
After you train a combination of simple carbohydrates and lean protein will do the trick. The simple carbs will allow you to replenish your muscle glycogen (fuel) and the protein will allow you to begin the recovery process for your muscles.
Your fat content during these meals will be much lower than the carbs and the protein. Fat slows digestion a bit and your goal is to get the carbohydrates and the protein into your system as fast as possible.
I like to eat Dog Food (lean ground turkey and brown rice with mixed peppers and natural tomato sauce.) The lean ground turkey and the small amount of coconut oil I use to coat the pan will provide the fats.
By skipping the pre and post workout meals you are shooting yourself in the foot with a shotgun when it comes to making progress. But you can completely avoid this scenario by being prepared.
If you prepare your meals in advance, you will have less of a chance of skipping these meals. Preparation is one of the major keys to success.
These 3 nutrition keys are critical to maximizing your physique and performance. If you implement these keys, I promise you things will change!
I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer
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