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Nutrition.jpg

Nutrition


Nutrition, Equipment & More

 

 

 

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Nutrition


Nutrition, Equipment & More

 

 

 

Nutrition

Eating to support your strength training need not be a complicated ordeal.  Eat the right foods in the right amounts and you will see improvements in both performance and body composition.  The process is very simple, but that doesn't mean easy.  Just like training, eating a proper diet requires discipline and consistency.  Bottom line: if you eat too much you'll get fat, and if you eat too little you won't build the muscle you need to get stronger. 

THE BASICS

Aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (e.g. A 200lb male would eat 200g of protein per day).

Adjust carbohydrates based on your goal:

  • Maintain weight: 1g per pound of bodyweight
  • Gain weight: 1.5-2g per pound of bodyweight
  • Lose weight: 0.5g per pound of bodyweight

Don't worry about additional fats as they are abundant in most animal-based protein sources.  

HOW TO SET UP YOUR DIET

The first step is to establish a baseline diet.  Once you've figured out how much you need to eat to maintain a certain bodyweight, you can make small adjustments to your diet every 7 - 10 days until you've reached your goal. 

Read more: Losing Bodyfat or Gaining Muscle Mass: Which is More Important? 

HOW MUCH SHOULD I EAT?

Start with 3 meals and 1 protein shake per day.

WHAT SHOULD A MEAL CONSIST OF?

Each meal should consist of mostly whole, single-ingredient foods in the following amounts:

  • Protein (beef, chicken, eggs, fish, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.)
    • Amount:
      • Men: 2 palm-sized servings per meal
      • Women: 1 palm-sized serving per meal
  • Carbohydrates (rice, potatoes, beans, oatmeal, fruit, whole-grain breads and pastas, etc.)
    • Amount:
      • Men: 2 fist-sized servings per meal
      • Women: 1 fist-sized serving per meal
  • Vegetables (any kind, but the greener and leafier the better)
    • Amount:
      • Men and Women: 1-2 fist-sized servings per meal

Read more: Determining Portion Sizes 

WHEN SHOULD I DRINK MY PROTEIN SHAKES?

Protein shakes are a supplement to your meals, not a replacement.  Drink your protein shakes between meals and, ideally, before or after your workouts. 

HOW SHOULD I TRACK MY PROGRESS?

Once a week (on the same day each week) step on the scale.  Do this first thing in the morning, before you eat and after you use the bathroom.  Write down the number.  This is also an ideal time to measure your waist (around the belly button).  

HOW AND WHEN SHOULD I ADJUST MY DIET?

  1. If after 7 - 10 days your bodyweight is moving in the desired direction (up or down), don't change anything.
  2. If after 7 - 10 days your bodyweight has not moved in the desired direction (up or down), make a small adjustment by adding or subtracting food.
  3. Repeat this process in 7 - 10 day blocks.  

WHAT CONSTITUTES AN ADJUSTMENT? 

Examples of an adjustment:

  • Add or subtract a serving of carbohydrate to/from one or more meals
  • Add or subtract a glass of whole milk to/from one or more meals
  • Add an additional protein shake (weight gain)
  • If you were mixing protein shakes with milk, switch to water (weight loss)
  • Add a serving of nuts or nut butter each day (weight gain)
  • Restrict carbohydrates to pre and post workout meals only (weight loss)

WHAT IS AN APPROPRIATE AMOUNT OF WEIGHT GAIN OR LOSS?

Shoot for 1 - 2 pounds of weight gain or loss every 1 - 2 weeks.  The farther you are from your goal, the more aggressive you can be.  

Remember, just like strength training, your approach to diet should be "a marathon, not a sprint."  You're looking for slow and steady changes in weight over a long period of time.  

WHAT IF I NEED TO GAIN OR LOSE A LOT OF WEIGHT?

If you are significantly overweight or underweight, using a more aggressive diet strategy may be appropriate for a short time.  Discuss these options with your coach before starting: 

SAMPLE DIET

  • Meal 1: 2-4 Eggs + Oatmeal w/blueberries + 1 scoop of whey protein
  • Meal 2: Protein shake w/milk + 1 piece of fruit
  • Meal 3: 1-2 Palm-sized portions of chicken + rice + veggies
  • Meal 4: Protein shake w/milk + 1 piece of fruit
  • Meal 5: 1-2 Palm-sized portions of steak + sweet potato + veggies

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  1. Try to eat the same meals every day, or, at the very least, the same breakfast and lunch.  This will not only make adjusting your diet much easier, but it will also streamline your grocery shopping, reduce your food-prep time, and eliminate your need to make decisions about what to eat every day.  
  2. Milk is a great way to titrate calories up or down.  Milk is loaded with protein, readily available and doesn't need to be cooked.  If your weight isn't moving, add or subtract a glass to your baseline diet and see what happens.  
  3. Other than milk and protein shakes, avoid liquid calories like soda, juice, beer or sugary cocktails.  

WHAT ABOUT COUNTING CALORIES OR MACROS?

If you're interested in a more precise approach to dieting and are willing to weigh, measure and track your food intake, download My Fitness Pal on your phone, create your free account and bring it to the gym.  We'll help you set everything up. 


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Important Information 

Here are few resources that deal with the WHY behind strength training.  If you're looking for something you can send your spouse or mother to justify your new interest in barbell training, you'll probably find something useful here.