Whether your goal is to change your body composition, lose fat mass, gain muscle mass, improve performance or improve muscular imbalances, it is important to take a deeper look into your nutrition.
Trying to change your body by just focusing on calories out (exercise) is like trying to grow flowers in a desert without water. The only thing that you’re going to get is FRUSTRATED!!
As a beginner in this space, it can feel very overwhelming to get started. There is no shortage of diets and approaches to, what I like to call, “short-term weight loss” out there.
A great place to START is getting clear on where you’re going and WHY you’re going there. Too often, people approach these changes out of desperation and dissatisfaction with where they are at and they want to be anywhere other than here. They will do whatever it takes… short term
You won’t get very far if you’re running away from YOU. You also can’t look BACK at where you used to be as a goal. You can’t drive a car forward while looking in the rearview mirror for very long before you crash and burn. It’s vital to get clear on where you’re going.
Let’s say for example that your goal is to lose 20 lbs. I think that you’ll quickly realize that number doesn’t really mean anything to you- it is what that number represents that is important to you. WHY does losing 20lbs matter to you? What does life look like 20 lbs lighter? How has your life improved? How have your relationships improved? What kind of things are you doing? How do you feel about yourself? When you get clear on what your actual goal is- We can get started.
At Hybrid Athlete Training, we focus on a flexible diet which means that you eat within your macronutrient calculation without cutting out food groups or restricting. This allows a more sustainable approach to build a lifestyle off of rather than obsessing on a goal and sacrificing every other aspect of life to achieve it.
In order to get your macro target, we first need to get your overall calorie goal.
CALORIES are a unit of measurement. Just like an inch, a gram or a pound, they are used to measure something. Calories are used in measuring energy. Our bodies expend energy to function and stay alive and therefore need to consume energy to fuel these functions. We receive our energy from food. The food we consume daily has a direct effect on the state of our body, both aesthetically and performance.
In order to assess how many calories your body needs daily in order to achieve your goal, we need some objective data such as your age, gender, weight, height as well as goal, timeline, TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and training program.
Just understanding how many calories your body needs daily is NOT enough. For example, let’s say your daily calorie requirement to achieve your goal is 2000. You could eat 2000 calories of pizza every day and you wouldn’t end up at your goal. It would be very difficult, but you could also eat 2000 calories of spinach each day and still not get anywhere. It matters WHERE those calories are coming from. This is where we get into macronutrients.
MACRONUTRIENTS is a fancy term for nutrients that your body needs in LARGE (macro) quantities. These are broken into Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats.. Every whole food that you consume is broken down into these 3 categories and each one of these plays a vital role in the body.
PROTEIN- The main role of protein in the body is to repair and build the tissues. Your body will need a different amount of protein depending on your daily life, activity level and goals.
CARBOHYDRATES- The 4 main functions of carbohydrates in the body are to store and provide energy, build macromolecules as well as spare protein and fat for other vital uses. Once again, depending on your daily activities, goals and training program, your body will need a specific amount of carbohydrates to make sure that you are getting what you need to function optimally without a surplus to store extra.
FATS- Fats help your body absorb fat soluble nutrients, protect your organs, support cell growth and keep cholesterol and blood pressure under control. Fat is also the most calorie dense of the 3 macronutrients. 1 gram of fat is 9 calories; whereas, 1 gram of protein and 1 gram of carbohydrate are each 4 calories. It is important that you are getting enough fats to protect your body’s functions but it is very easy to go into a surplus and store the excess.
Once you have the breakdown of your total daily calories and your macros, we want to break those into meals. At Hybrid Athlete Training, we recommend 5-6 equally sized meals spaced evenly throughout the day. This will help to ensure that you are having complete meals where all of the nutrients are working together rather than having one meal really heavy in protein and another really heavy in carbs and fats. This will also help regulate your blood sugar levels and digestion throughout the day and prevent a lot of craving due to lack of energy. We recommend that you build each of your meals around a lean protein source and then add in low glycemic carbohydrates (higher fiber and protein/ lower sugar) with it.
The most common scenario that I see in clients trying to lose fat, change their body composition (tone up) or build lean mass is actually undereating and in many cases, overtraining.
Once your body becomes calibrated and your energy output matches your energy intake, your digestion will become consistent, your inflammation will be reduced greatly, the muscles begin to absorb and use the productive nutrients and your metabolism starts to kick in. This is when the fat burning begins and now we can start to dive into nutrient timing and some other tools to optimize performance and recovery.
To schedule a consultation with one of HAT's qualified coaches to get your nutrition targets personalized for you or to answer any further questions that you have, follow the link below.