A training routine brings great results. But before we achieve peak performance in the weight room, we must ensure that we're fueling our bodies properly. With so much information out there, how do we know what's best? Start simple, rely on science, try different eating styles on yourself, and keep track of your progress. I want to share what has worked for me in the past!
By "start simple," I mean that it's a good idea to build your meals from unprocessed, one-ingredient foods. Some examples are chicken, fish, eggs, rice, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, apples, and bananas. I think that our bodies are better able to digest simple ingredients rather than processed foods, which can be loaded with preservatives and additives.
I don't count calories, but I do weigh my proteins and measure most of my carbs. Before I bought a food scale, I had no idea that my food portions weren't in line with my goals. I wanted to gain or maintain muscle, and I was only putting 2 ounces of protein on my plate! I thought that if I bought a pound of chicken and cooked it, that I would have four portions. That's not the case! Meat shrinks when you cook it. So, it's necessary to weigh it after it's cooked. I had the opposite problem with carbs - I would "eyeball" the amount that I thought was a serving size, but ended up putting almost three times that amount on my plate. Become more aware of what you're eating. It helped me feel fuller longer, get leaner, and gain muscle!
I structure my carb intake to be highest before and after the gym. I'll make sure I get at least 30g of protein and 30 grams of carbs for each meal. I'll have complex carbs before training (rice, oats), and will have quicker-digesting carbs post-workout (fruit, rice cakes). On a particularly hard training day, I might have a sushi roll or some frozen yogurt with a protein shake post-workout. I have found that I can have clean "treats" right after a tough training day. As it gets later in the day, and I'm not as active, I will taper my carb intake and increase the amount of healthy fats in my meals. Rather than eat chicken and rice, for example, I might have salmon and broccoli.
I eat protein with every meal. It's the building block of muscle! It also helps keep us satiated. When I'm trying to lean down and I feel hungry, I'll increase the portion of protein in my meals. It's very difficult for the body to convert dietary protein to body fat, so it's a good way to increase calories without having to worry about gaining fat!
Another thing that has helped me perform well in the gym and stay lean is to look at my food intake on an average basis. I know that I will be under on some days, and over on others - but it evens out over time. If I'm training hard, I eat more. If I sit at my desk all day and take it easy in the gym, I'll eat less and eat more fats than carbs. This can take stress away from a daily "calories in, calories out" point of view. The body is amazingly adaptive, and I believe that it will plateau if we do the same thing day in and out.
BetaTOR has really helped me gain strength while staying lean! This is something I hadn't been able to achieve in my training before!
Thank you for reading my blog! Until next time, train hard!