Let’s be honest.
We all spend tons of our time specializing in junk that will get us nowhere.
I mean, really, spending more than 40 hours researching the proper beta-alanine dosage and timing once you haven’t cooked food or consistently consumed calories?
There is a well-understood and defined hierarchy of importance when it comes to making serious progress.
Do you follow that hierarchy? Otherwise, you are leaving significant profits on the table.
Confirm that your diet matches your goals
While this first factor may seem incredibly simple, many people are eating the exact opposite of how they should rather than eating for their goals.
A client approached me and wanted to put on 30 pounds of muscle, but he was stuck and couldn’t make progress. When he showed me his food register, it was immediately apparent why we were spinning his wheels.
To borrow the saying of a lover of mine: “I was eating what my left glute eats for lunch.” Someone who wants to gain 30 pounds of muscle will not make any progress on a low-protein vegan diet of 1,500 calories a day.
If you want to gain muscle you have to train your bully and you must actually follow the recommendation of Olympic weightlifter Donny Shankle, “You have to eat.”
Now, on the opposite end of the spectrum, you almost certainly can’t lose 100 pounds, bend over, and get shredded by following the 5,000 calorie daily “see food” diet.
It’s really about taking about 5 minutes to take a seat, figuring out your goal, prioritizing your nutrition to be successful at that goal, and then executing your diet plan.
If you don’t … possibly ignore the rest of this list as well.
All about calories
Once you’ve figured out your goals, the single most important factor to think about in matching your diet to your goal is your total calorie intake.
Now I know what you’re saying, “but what about macros, hormones, insulin and all those things that make a huge difference”?
Well, and I hate trying, but I’m going to pop that bubble a bit. The science is pretty clear that any “metabolic advantage” that may be present in macronutrient switching absolutely pales in comparison to the effect total calorie intake has on weight management.
Seriously, any 200-300 calorie daily perk that a specific macro plan can bring doesn’t mean much in the world.
So what can we say by matching your goals to calories first?
If you want to put on muscle, you would like to consume enough that you are spending evenly. sometimes every week it just won’t be enough. You’ll also want to train your stalker to make sure those calories go to building tissue; you would like that muscle-building stimulus.
If you want to reduce, confirm that you are spending enough what you consume evenly. Yes, the equation can be a bit more complicated than that, but actually, that is the most important component and therefore the best place to start.
Once you have your calories in check and line with your overall goal, then you will have to believe in macronutrients.
Protein before anything else
When it comes straight to brass studs, it’s a pretty clear protein that plays a reasonably important role in nutrition.
Well, getting enough protein is critical to adding lean tissue to your body. Second, having an adequate amount of protein in your diet appears to help control appetite better than the opposing macronutrients.
At least, this is usually the case for many people. Science suggests that protein helps reduce the loss of lean muscle tissue during weight loss phases, and it also appears to be more important as we age.
Many people aim for a good range between .7-1.3 grams of protein per pound of weight, depending on your goals, body composition, weight, and training style. the typical person can generally default to 1 gram per pound of weight or 1 gram per pound of his target weight (kudos to Alan Aragon for the second recommendation) as his starting line.
Macros over Quality
I’m getting some heat from this, but it’s okay. Once we mention the hierarchy of importance, the macronutrients you get from your diet are more important in creating strength and aesthetic progress than the standard of foods in your diet.
Now, this is often not a supplement to IIFYM or free rein to measure on toast crunch, whey protein, and bulletproof coffee, there are some caveats to this.
First, while macros are more important, the standard of your food can determine how easy it is for you to hit your macros. For example, higher-quality “whole foods” are often made up of protein, carbohydrates, or fat, making it much easier to prepare meals that meet your macronutrient goals.
Second, there is another important thing called health. Yes, I know, it’s a bummer to specialize in health too, but the standard of your food actually affects health parameters.
Higher quality foods are usually richer in micronutrients (you know, the important elements like vitamins and minerals) that allow your body to function properly and contribute to your overall health.
The idea is that Macros> Quality allows you to be more flexible along with your diet. I’m not suggesting that you go down over the top and go straight for the deep end of eating with reckless abandon. All I’m saying is that it exposes the power of adapting to cake or a small bowl of frozen dessert at night in your life. Basically, if you are smart, you will have your cake and eat it too.
We often lose the forest for the trees and spend a disproportionate amount of our time sweating the things that don’t really matter.
However, it is an attribute, we all want to find the key, the only tool or the only “trick” that will give us results instantly. It’s easier to try to do that for a few things than others. However, we don’t have to make eating the right diet any more difficult than it needs to be.
When it comes to deciding the nutritional aspect of your workout, here are the top 5 things to focus on:
- Focus on the bigger picture.
- Calculate your goals.
- Match your calorie intake to your goals.
- Prioritize protein
- Macros are often more important than food quality
- Now go ahead, prioritize, execute and reach your goals!
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