It’s probably not the first time that you’ve heard that a great body is made in the kitchen, not inside the gym. Why not try intermittent fasting? Whilst it’s important to train hard and stick to a solid lifting routine, not having your nutrition in check will devastate any gains, and result in gains of undesirable fat, rather than the muscle mass you are looking for. In this article we’ve put together 5 tips to get you on the road to shedding the pounds and sculpting a shredded body.
- Be aware of your BMR.
Most people have no idea how many calories their body burns in a day. It’s quite simple to calculate an approximation on this, using a calculator, such as the one found here. Calculating your BMR gives you a good baseline to start any attempt at gaining or losing weight. Once you have worked out your BMR, if you are looking to lose some pounds – subtract around 500 calories from the daily amount, and aim to eat in that region each day. If you are looking to gain mass, add around 500 calories to your BMR, and attempt to stay around that mark each day.
- Be willing to change the plan
Whilst BMR is a great guide for getting started – everyone is different and burns a different number of calories in the day-to-day – we’re never going to have a formula which accurately predicts this, without tracking your every move, and hooking you up to all sorts of medical equipment. Weigh yourself once a week, first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything – if you’re trying to lose weight, you should be losing weight at a rate of 1-2lbs a week. If you’re losing more than this, increase the amount you eat. If you’re losing less than this, decrease the amount you are eating. If you’re trying to gain mass, you should be looking to gain at a rate of between 0.5-1lbs a week. If you’re gaining more than this, it’s likely you are also gaining too much fat. Don’t worry if you have a fluctuation in the week-to-week, water retention, the weather, physical activity and various other factors can change your weight. My advice is usually to change your routine if you’re out of this range for 3 weeks or more in a row.
- Eat enough protein!
Lots of people, especially when trying to lose weight, end up cutting out some meats and other vital protein sources, meaning they miss their daily protein requirement. When you are trying to lose weight, protein is even more important than when you are trying to gain weight. If your body isn’t getting enough protein when plunged into a calorie deficit, your body has no way to repair your muscle, resulting in a loss of muscle that you worked so hard to gain! A great rule of thumb to follow is to eat at least 1 gram of protein for every lb of lean mass you have. For example, if you are 180lbs and 20% bodyfat, you should be eating at least 144g of protein a day. If you are meeting this target, you shouldn’t have any problems – it doesn’t matter whether you get this protein from protein shakes or fresh meat, so long as you have enough (of course a variety of protein sources is best – but it’s better to have an extra shake if you’re short on protein, than to miss your target altogether).
- Eat foods that keep you full
When you eat calorie dense foods, your body tends to not feel as full – meaning you can spend hours hungry waiting for your next meal. With day after day of this, it can be very difficult to maintain any substantial diet changes, especially if you are looking to lose weight. Focus on replacing some of the more calorie dense foods you eat with other alternatives. Non-starchy veg, lean meats and salads will keep you fuller for much longer than a Big Mac meal!
- Try Intermittent Fasting
Fasting for a period of the day can be a great way to keep fat off your physique.
These are just five tips to help you with your nutrition. We will be posting regular nutrition updates to help you get the most from your hard work in the gym, by being better in the kitchen!