Diet is a crucial aspect of working out that is commonly overlooked. In fact, most people fail to achieve their workout goals because they do not have a proper diet. Remember: NO workout routine is complete without a well-planned diet!
Step 1: Determine your Diet Ratio
Your diet should have a balanced carbohydrates-fat-protein ratio.
Protein: 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight
Fat: 25% of Daily Caloric Intake
Carb: Remaining calories should come from carbohydrates.
Let’s assume you weighs 155 pounds and your Daily Caloric Intake is 3080 calories.
Protein = 0.7 grams x 155pounds x 4 = 434 calories = 108 grams
Fat = 25% x 3080 calories = 770 calories = 85 grams
Carb = 3080 – 770 – 434 = 1876 calories = 469 grams
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
Step 2: Choose the correct food
Now that you know the recommended diet ratio of carbohydrates-fat-protein, it is time to learn about the CORRECT type of carbs/fat/protein you should consume.
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body. It is broken down by your body into sugars for energy. There are two types of carbohydrate: Complex and Simple.
– Complex Carbs
Complex carbs are foods made up of three or more sugar molecules linked together (that’s why they are more ‘complex’ than simple carbs, which only have one or two sugar molecules). They are often referred to as starch or starchy foods. Complex carbs are sometimes termed “good carbs” because they break down more slowly to give a steady blood sugar/energy level, allowing you to control your appetite better.
a) Natural Complex Carbs
These are foods in their natural state and are usually rich in nutrients such as Vitamin B, Vitamin E, essential fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, fiber, and iron. Examples include brown rice, potatoes, whole grain breads.
b) Refined Complex Carbs
Refined complex carbs are foods which have been processed to remove their husk and germ. This extends shelf life and gives foods a finer texture and better appearance. However, it also removes many of the important nutrients listed above. In addition, refined complex carbs are broken down faster than natural complex carbs and create higher sugar levels in your body. Examples include white rice and white bread.
– Simple Carbs
Simple carbs are foods made up of one or two sugar molecules only (that’s why they are termed ‘simple’ ). They are also known as sugars. Simple carbs are broken down faster than complex carbs, leading to higher sugar levels.
a) Natural Simple Carbs
These are foods in their natural state. Even though natural simple carbs are broken down faster than complex carbs, it is still important to include them in your diet. This because they are usually rich in nutrients and fiber which aids in digestion. Also, they break down a lot slower than refined simple carbs and do not cause sugar levels to spike. Examples include fruits, vegetables and honey.
b) Refined Simple Carbs
Refined simple carbs are foods which have been machine-processed to extend shelf life and improve texture/appearance. They are broken down VERY fast and cause sudden peaks in your sugar level. Your body will get used to these high sugar levels. As a result, when the sugar level drops, your body will crave for sugar again, causing you to feel hungry. This is why people tend to have a constant craving for refined simple carbs.
Eating too much refined simple carbs will cause you to become fat. This is because your body will convert excess sugar into fat! Examples include soft drinks, pastries, white sugar, candies.
I have compiled the lists below to help you watch your carb intake:
Eat These Natural Complex Carbs:
– Brown Rice
– Legumes (beans, lentils, and dried peas)
– Wholemeal Pasta
– Whole Grain Breads
– Whole Grain Cereals
– Oats and oatmeal
– Sweet Corn
Eat These Natural Simple Carbs:
Limit these Refined Complex Carbs:
– Processed Breakfast Cereals
– White Pasta
– White Rice
– White Flour
– White Bread
– Instant Oatmeal
AVOID Refined Simple Carbs:
– Biscuits, pastries and cakes
– Sweets and Candies
– White Sugar
– Snack Bars
– Soft Drinks
Protein is the “building block” of muscle. It is required to build and repair muscles.
When you work out, your body requires quality high-protein foods to build muscles efficiently. However, there are many protein junk foods that are high-carb, high-fat and low-protein, and you should definitely avoid them.
Eat these Good Protein Foods:
– Turkey and Chicken
– Cottage Cheese
– Whey Protein
– Low Fat and Chocolate Milk
Avoid or Limit these Bad Protein Foods
– Breaded Foods (e.g. Shrimp)
– Chicken Nuggets
– Beef Jerky
– Processed Meat (hot dog, meat patties)
– Red Meat
– Whole-Fat Diary
There are four main types of Fat: Saturated Fat, Mono-unsaturated Fat, Poly-unsaturated Fat and Trans Fat. The information below is going to be a little dry, so please bear with me and try not to fall asleep!
Contain carbon atoms that are “saturated” with hydrogen atoms (holding as many hydrogen atoms as possible). As you can see from the picture above, the carbon atoms are surrounded by hydrogen atoms.
Saturated fat increase both LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol. They are solid at room temperature. Saturated fat were once considered to be “Bad Fat” and linked to cardiovascular disease. However, recent research has shown that saturated fat may not be so bad after all, and they are also an important source of vitamins and minerals.
Sources include beef, lamb, pork, whole-fat diary and tropical oils (coconut, palm, rice bran).
Contain a double bond between two carbon atoms (Refer to the arrow in the picture above). It is termed unsaturated because the two carbon atoms could each hold one more hydrogen atom if the double-bond were broken. Because it is only unsaturated at a single point, it is mono-unsaturated.
Monounsaturated fat are “good fat” that help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol while also boosting HDL (good) cholesterol. They are liquid at room temperature.
Sources include olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados and nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios).
Contain two or more pairs of double bonds (Refer to the arrows in the picture above). Because it is unsaturated at multiple points, it is poly-saturated.
Polyunsaturated fat are thought to lower both good and bad cholesterol. They are liquid at room temperature. Polyunsaturated fat are good sources of omega-3 and omega-6 “essential” fatty acids. “Essential” in this context means that our bodies cannot manufacture these fat and they must be obtained through external food sources or supplements. Omega-3/6 fatty acids reduce blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol, fight inflammation, promote brain function and strengthen the nervous system.
Sources include fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, tuna and sardines), vegetable oils (corn, cottonseed, soybean, sunflower, sesame), nuts (walnuts, butternuts, pine nuts, pecans) and seeds (flaxseed, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, watermelon seeds, chia seeds).
Trans fat are created by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils at an extremely high temperature to convert them into solid trans fat.
Trans fat are true-blue “bad fats” because they not only raise LDL (bad) cholesterol but also lower HDL (good) cholesterol. Examples of food with trans fat: Shortening, stick margarines, fried foods, some commercial baked goods (pastries, pie crusts, biscuits, pizza crusts), fast food, breaded food, instant noodles, cake mixes. Best to avoid or limit to great extent.
– Increase Monounsaturated Fat intake
– Increase Polyunsaturated Fat intake
– Be aware of Saturated Fat intake
– Avoid Trans Fat!
Congratulations on finishing such a tediously long article! I hope you now have a better understanding of the different components of diet.
This article is part of a completely FREE and FANTASTIC workout guide to teach YOU how to gain muscles and lose fat. See below:
1. Five Steps to Achieving Your Workout Goal
2. The Ultimate Diet to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
3. How to do a Proper Warm Up
4. Workout Frequency/ Split – How Many Times Per Week Should You Work Out?
5. Workout Intensity – How Many Reps Should You Do?
6. Workout Volume – How Many Sets Should You Do?
7. How to Build The Best Workout Routine
8. Progressive Overload – The Secret to Getting Workout Gains!
9. Workout Routines to Build Muscles and Lose Fat Fast