Yes, what a topic to confuse everyone. The choices are numerous and every single ‘diet’ has one common theme – a total energy deficit. Whether it’s a low carb, high carb, high fat, high protein or whatever diet, there will always be a calorie deficit involved.
So whilst change is hard, let’s keep the advice simple, and real.
If you really want to get those muscles strong and lean, any well structured program will deliver but only if your nutrition is dialled in.
A progressive strength program will run in phases to set you up, get you strong, then probably have a hiked up period of boosting your metabolism. To get these specific adaptations in the muscles we need to focus on a limited number of movements, perform them well and repeatably.
To get a return of investment from your efforts and muscles the eating advice is clear:
⇒ If nature grew it out of the ground, off a bush or a tree, or it ran, flew or swam (plants and critters in other words) you eat it. Don’t be fearful of carbs – just keep them natural.
Here’s a wee list of what I find works the best to stay lean:
1. First off, cut added sugars. Seriously, if you want to drop excess weight, start with dropping the sugary stuff.
2. Replace the frequent starchy food for vegetables. Bread, potato, pasta – gone. More veg – in. This is especially important on non-exercising days.
3. Good news. You can eat your starchy carbs post exercise, but one portion, not a plate piled high with chips or pasta. 1 portion = a potato or a wrap or a palmful of rice.
4. Per day you will have to be sure to consume your proteins. Aim for non-processed protein sources and these can be non-meat plant based proteins if you prefer.
- Men = 4 – 6 palm sized portions a day.
- Ladies = 3 palm sized portion a day.
5. Eat HEAPS of of vegetables. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again – to fill you up and to provide your body with oodles of nutrients and minerals, eat a variety of vegetables. Aim to have every colour represented every day. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are great and versatile.
6. Water. This is Australia folks, we sweat. Replace those fluids and help your body flush out toxins by drinking around 8 glasses a day – or just more than you’re currently drinking. A great tip that has helped others is this. Every time you take a sip of water, take a second sip.
7. Last point. Don’t get hung up on recipes. Just prepare food and meals that you enjoy eating taking into consideration the points above.
My best advice is to take a week by week progression, much like the exercise component.
Week 1: How can you make breakfast (your first meal regardless of time) a little better. What can you prepare and eat easily without fuss? A quick omelette? Yoghurt with added berries and seeds? Boiled eggs? Experiment.
Week 2: The same process with Dinner. Maybe make a big dish that’ll last a couple of days, for lunch too. Like shredded pork? Cook up a shoulder overnight, and shred as needed – yum. How about a bolognese sauce that can be eaten with so many options? Fun and simple to prepare but make enough and it’ll last a few days.
Week 3: Maybe it’s time to hone in on the shopping list. Write a list that reflects the meals you like to prepare and eat and shop accordingly – that easy.
If you are not the main meal preparer – talk to who is about what you are trying to do and work with them. Support them as they help you.
You get the idea? Gradually try to implement the tips to progress your meals to good, better and betterer. I used to write ‘best’ as the final goal, but really, that’s unattainable in the real world.
Strive for continued better.
Any comments or advice or feedback – just get in touch below.