Whether you're going into this on a solo mission, along with a group, or you've retained the services of a pro...you're going to need a strategy.
Getting a coach or a professional in the field you're aiming to master is the fastest way to achieve the results you want. But should you proceed on your own then this strategy will be priceless tool in the achievement of your goals.
Now, you've got to layer those data onto a strategized schedule that helps you effectively invest and renew your energy daily. The schedule doesn't need to be rigid and complex; in fact, over time you'll want your schedule to have fluidity and flexibility. And you want your actual food choices to be easy and not so indecisive.
So, the first thing you'll want to do is clean your home of foods that will challenge your decision-making process when you're aim is to eat healthily. If you have kids then this will be more difficult, but it shouldn't be an excuse. If you know that having access to poor food choices doesn't serve you then why would you grant your kids access? Plus, teaching your children healthy habits early in life is the best way to ensure they don't develop bad habits later in life.
Once you've begun to take control of your nutritional environment you can build your strategy using three main variables.
Timing: When do you eat?
Learning to time your eating so your metabolism gets the most from every calorie is one of the most effective ways to manage your body weight and master your hunger cravings.
Maybe you need to fast in the morning. Or does your body need calories immediately? Are you refueling soon enough after training? Are you eating too late at night?
The answers to these questions are often dependent upon your training formula, body type, and goals.
Balance: How many calories and of what macronutrients do you eat?
Understanding how your body responds to certain nutrients is key to optimizing your energy levels.
Together, balance and timing of nutrients are essential for boosting physique, performance, and overall fitness. When you properly balance your calories and macronutrients you're giving your body precisely what it needs so there less chance of waste and toxic build-up. This is also how you get the most benefit from your resting and active metabolism cycles.
Zeroing in on your macronutrient balance will also help reduce energy crashes. Monitoring your carbohydrate intake and limiting your sugars ensures you don't experience an insulin-dump in your blood. When you eat more sugar than you need insulin is released to carry glucose out of the blood stream...this makes you feel zapped of energy.
Using lower-glycemic food choices in the right amounts at the right times will balance your hormones and optimize energy levels.
Unless you've been guided to do otherwise, a good macronutrient balance to start with is: Carbohydrate @ 40%, Fat @ 30%, and Protein at 30%. So, if you happened to be on a 2,000-calorie a day plan then you'd get roughly 800 calories from carbs and 600 from fat and protein, each.
Your training will scale your use of macronutrients. For instance, if you're primarily doing strength training with heavy weight and not much aerobic training then your carbohydrate intake will likely be higher. However, if you're aiming for energy efficiency in more aerobic-dominant activites then you'll focus on quality fats.
Content: From what foods does your balance derive?
This is the difference between good and great nutrition. And this is often why people have a hard time losing the weight; and if they lose weight then this is why they can't manage their weight.
A calorie is a calorie is a calorie is bullshit. What your calorie consists of, on both the macro and micro level, matter. Sugar from an apple and sugar from a Pixy Stick are not the same; either is fat in a salmon filet and fat in a Snicker's Bar. Remember...nutrition is more about complex chemistry than simple math.
Not only are calories not the same in form at the atomic level, but they're also not the same in function; meaning that different macro and micronutrients are more useful at different times in the day and in certain phases of your metabolism.
For instance, if you are going to have the glucose-spike that a Pixy Stick provides then the best time for that would be during high-intensity training activity and not after breakfast right before work.
Your best bet with content is to keep it whole foods and stay away from processed, packaged food items. Not only are your macros important, but you need raw, energy-efficient vitamins and minerals found in plants and animals.
If you've followed the protocol starting at the brief nutrition primer then you're well-equipped to construct a useful nutrition strategy and get started on executing on the daily.
Check-in with your motivations often and remind yourself of what important to you and why you're holding yourself to this standard every day.
And hey...if you're still confused but motivated as hell, then contact our training center. I know your options in the health and fitness marketplace are endless, but me and my team would love the opportunity to help.