When examining your dietary requirements, we’ll concentrate on what’s genuinely crucial. It’s very simple to become engrossed in dietary supplements and the products that the fitness industry loves to market. So let’s just dispel a few myths and look at the list of priorities for what we should be focusing on if we have specific objectives to achieve or if we just want to get through the winter and feel strong, and healthy, rather than like we’ve put on a little extra weight that we’ll have to work the rest of the year to lose.
We want to take the focus away from external factors and bring it back to the basics. With nutrition, it does come down to your energy balance. So that is your energy in vs energy out that determines the energy gap. Depending on the balance, this will determine which way your results go.
Let’s look at an example, let’s assume that you want to maintain your weight. You should consume the same amount of calories each day that you burn while exercising. If you burn 2,500 calories per day and are physically active and training, you should consume 2500 calories. If you burn 2,000 calories per day but consume 2500 calories, you will likely gain more weight. In this case, even though the amount of food we choose may not seem like much, it may not be healthy. The same goes if you’d like to lose weight, then what you truly want to do is consume less food (energy) than you burn. To lose weight or achieve specific body composition goals, getting this balance correct is the number one thing on the hierarchy list of must-do’s helping us predict an outcome.
Your macronutrients will be the next factor that will allow us to control what you achieve. Macro means large. So needed in larger quantities. Our body depends on these three main nutrients to survive—fat, protein, and carbohydrates—and this is where we can genuinely influence body composition objectives. Above all, if your only goal is weight reduction or increase, just concentrate on getting that energy balance correct and staying consistent with it. However, if you have body composition goals or specific areas you’d like to work on you’d want to take into consideration where your calories are coming from.
To take it to the next level of the hierarchy of importance, we look at micronutrients. Micro being ‘ small’ means we need them in lesser quantities. Getting this in balance will help maintain hormonal balance and determine how you are feeling on the journey to achieving your goals, what your mood is doing, and how your sleep is going.
The timing of your meals, whether they are pre-or post-workout, and their size are the next crucial factors. If you’re looking at the general population, who are just generally active and have normal health goals, then your meal timing isn’t going to play such a huge role in your results. However, if you’re someone who is going on stage and competitions, like an athlete, then that’s where meal timing might be a little bit more prominent or a focus. As a simple rule of thumb, to get the most out of your training sessions, eating a small number of carbs before training will help fuel your best work, and then consuming 20-30 g of protein post-workout will help deliver the best recovery results.
The very last thing to consider is supplementation. Because of this, it’s critical to focus on proper nutrition and energy balance before considering supplements. If you have a certain protein goal set and you are not able to achieve that through lean protein i.e.meats, eggs, or dairy then we can supplement your diet with a protein powder. Alternatively, if you are someone who is just getting enough rest, leading a healthy lifestyle, and not overworking yourself, then we can possibly supplement with something to help with muscle building or muscle gain.
However, the most important factor, regardless of your goals, is really to focus on nutrition. Make sure you are burning more energy than you are consuming if you want to lose weight, and that you are consuming enough energy to build muscle and retain the muscle you’ve worked so hard to achieve if you want to keep your weight and work on body composition or possibly try to gain strength.
To wrap it up, keep it straightforward and ensure that it will be sustainable for you. This is a forever thing. You’ll inevitably always have to eat to survive so knowing what your energy needs are, how to satisfy them, and how to adjust them to meet any specific goals you may have during the year is a really valuable investment in your own knowledge base.