Finding the right Balance with your Nutrition.
“life is about balance. The good and the bad. The highs and the lows. the pina and the colada.”
― Ellen DeGeneres,
If you are like many people, you are often confused about how to balance out your nutrition and the different kinds of foods you eat. The key, however, to fuelling your body for peak performance is balance and moderation as with any thing in this life. Most coaches usually insists that eating a ratio of 40/30/30 (carbohydrate/protein/fat) will bring the best results. Start here and then adjust the ratios to see what best suits your body and goals.
The simple truth is there is no one size fit all when it comes to weight management, fatloss or building muscles but they are some guidelines that will benefit everyone such as how much calories you should be consuming for your individual goals, your fat intake needs, your protein intake needs and your carbs intake needs depending where your starting point is and base on your current nutritional knowledge.
The appropriate balance of carbohydrates and fat will come down to a number of factors with personal preferences and your activity levels being two of the most important factors. This might be something to experiment with in the future. However, for now there is no need worry to but taking a balanced approach is what I want you to, will aim for.
It’s also important to remember that fibre is a form of carbohydrate and it’s vital to consume sufficient fibre to promote a healthy gut and keep you filled up. As a general rule aim for 10-15g of fibre per 1000 Calories. Provided you eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, you’ll meet this target by default though so don’t stress about a specific fibre goal; just make sure you get in a minimum of 3 portions of veg and 2 portions of fruit per day. Along with Calories and protein, this fruit and veggie target is one of the main focuses for now and it is important to nail this before moving on to finer details especially if just starting out.
If you apply the above while either being in a calories deficit or surplus depending on your goal, you will either, lose body fat, maintain your weight, get stronger, look and feel better while building lean muscle. However, we cannot forget the quality of food eaten as it will have a large bearing on your health and will make dieting a lot easier as nutritious food is typically less Calorie dense and more filling than say ‘junk food’. So it’s important to strive towards consuming predominantly nutrient dense whole foods and getting in a variety of protein sources and colourful fruits and vegetables daily.
If you’re able to, get into the habit of cooking some foods in bulk as it’s great for keeping yourself on track that will be totally awesome especially if trying too keeping your goals on track, especially when life gets in the way as it does. Also by mixing up or adding condiments such as herbs, spices and sauces you can make any bland food taste awesome.
Sustainability and Flexibility
Whilst the vast majority of your diet should be nutrient dense foods (at least 80% of Calories), there is no harm in consuming the odd bit of ‘saliva drooling foods’ here and there provided it fits within your Calorie target and doesn’t trigger you to over consume that food and more. Allow up to 10-20% of Calories intake for these not so nutritious foods if you fancy them as this will help promote sustainability for most individuals. I also suggest you keep these less nutritious foods stored away in a cupboard or don’t buy them if possible as you’ll be less inclined to reach for them if they’re out of sight. Flexibility encompasses more than just the foods you eat though and understanding the hierarchy of importance will allow you to be flexible with your approach to dieting by keeping the bigger picture in mind.
The time and frequency that you eat will have little impact on your fat loss results if all else is equal. First and foremost, it should come down to your preferences and what fits your daily lifestyle needs and performance.
With that said, consuming protein containing meals spaced evenly throughout the day is best and seeing that the typically person eat between 3-5 meals a day I suggest you stick to this as it is within the ‘optimal’ range of getting your food in. Just try to be as consistent as possible with your meal feeding.
Diet changes, rather than manipulations to training, should be used to create an energy deficit or surplus, as it’s easier and more effective to control the energy balance through diet, i.e., eating more or less, rather than moving more or less. Cardio, while it can be used to help create caloric deficits required for fatloss, should never be the primary means of doing so, as it can set people up for failure as seen and heard on numerous occasion, you probably heard before you can’t out train a poor diet or diet habits, so true.
Remember: you must give your body what it needs to perform. If you don’t, you will end up tired, weak, and prone to illness and frustration because you won’t have the energy or strength to work out. The better you fuel your body, the better it will serve you in your pursuit of fitness and health.
The one thing I want to leave you with is this from the above section there is no quick fixes a lot of time, you have to test, assess, adjust, reassess and retest, to see what works for you, the main thing is you don’t give up at the first hurdle when things aren’t going your way. Because our bodies are not robots but a living, breathing and functioning organism that do strange things from one day to the next.