I've been getting a lot of questions and requests lately for meal plans. "I need a new meal plan," "I need food that's not so boring," "I need foods that my kids are going to eat."
Nutrition can be an overwhelming topic, especially when you're trying to lose weight. Over the years, I have given meal plans, tips, and suggestions and ultimately people fall back into their old habits.
Our Mission is to Change the Way Fitness is Done. But it's also to change how nutrition is being conveyed. I've been following Precision Nutrition for many years now, became a certified PN coach and have had the pleasure of working with many of our clients on this.
We believe in simplicity and mastering the basics before over-complicated and laborious attempts to achieve your best. You can workout every single day but if your nutrition is not in check, reaching your goals my seem a bit arduous. Before you decide you need a new meal plan, run through this checklist to see if you have mastered ALL of these habits, consistently 90% of the week. More than likely, you'll see you don't need that "detox" plan, the quick fix diet, depriving yourself of your favorite foods or eating foods you don't like to get results.
Step 1: Taking a multi-vitamin and fish oil everyday.
As you've probably heard, the modern diet often leads to small deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals. These deficiencies can slow your metabolism and impair your ability to burn fat - among other things. And a good multivitamin can help fix that. Here are a few tips from Precision Nutrition for choosing a good one for you.
Choose the right product
Like with most supplements on the market, choosing a multi-vitamin can be confusing. So many companies, so many products; it can be overwhelming. So, to keep it simple, here's our advice.
Any multi-vitamin is better than none. Even drugstore brands like Centrum represent a step in the right direction if you're not supplementing right now.
Choose the right dose
It's important not to overdose on vitamins as some of them (particularly the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K) can build up to toxic levels. That's why you should stick with the recommendations on the label of the brand you choose.
You may have heard a lot about Omega-3's. And fish oil is the key source. There's a ton of very positive research on fish oil supplementation, it's been shown to be great for fat loss, and it's even been shown to improve mood and motivation.
Choose the right dose
Our clients start out by using 1 gram of fish oil per percent body fat they have. So, if they're 10% body fat, they use 10 grams of fish oil. If they're 20% body fat, they use 20 grams of fish oil. And so on, up to a maximum dose of 30 grams per day. We follow this protocol for 14 days. Then, we cut the dose in half. So, if a client starts out taking 10 grams for 2 weeks, they cut the dose down to 5 grams after that. If they start out taking 20 grams for 2 weeks, they cut the dose down to 10 grams after that. This latter dose (1/2 gram per percent body fat) can be followed indefinitely.
Choose liquid over capsules
We also make it easy on our clients by recommending liquid fish oil supplements (vs. the capsules). Liquid supplements are higher in purity, rarely cause the "fish burps" that are common with fish oil capsules, and make it much easier to get the recommended dose.
Step 2: Drinking half your body weight in ounces of water daily.
Being dehydrated is a big "no-no" when it comes to achieving a fit body. Being dehydrated takes away from your exercise performance, leading to decreased results, causes fatigue and increases your cortisol levels, your stress hormone that breaks down muscle tissue. Your urine should be clear and if its not you're not drinking enough water. If you have a diet coke habit, it is time to cut it out. Diet coke does nothing for your health, stick with water. You can have coffee and tea in moderation.
Step 3: Eating each meal until 80% full
Take 15-20 minutes to eat each meal. Take your time and listen to hunger and appetite cues. The communication between our gut, to our brain, and back to our gut is slow. If we eat quickly, we're likely to eat far too much in the 20 minute time period before our brain finally says: "I'm content. You can stop eating now." This will take some trial and error but this strategy is best for those interested in weight loss or maintenance.
Step 4: Protein portions.
You may have heard that your hand is perfect for measuring your foods. It is! Use this tip to figure out how much protein you need.
1 palm size for women and 2 palm sizes for men for each meal. This will help ensure an adequate intake of protein, stimulate metabolism, improve muscle mass and recovery and reduce body fat.
That's it for Part 1 of Nutrition Steps for Success. Let us know if you have any questions and stayed tuned for Part 2!