Winter is in full affect, but before you know it, warmer weather will be here. That means spring break, the beach, and dropping body fat to look your best. You spent a lot of time trying to gain mass in the colder months, now it is time to show it off. Bulking up can sometimes be much more fun than stripping body fat away. This is where I see people fail. They want to drop the body fat so fast that they forget about three key fundamentals.
No. 1: Eat Enough Food
There are many benefits to intermittent fasting that can help you reach your goals. There are a couple problems with IF. Cutting too many calories can lower you metabolism, leaving you hungry and primed to regain the fat you lost. You also may find yourself eating the wrong types of foods after a long fast, and when cutting calories too low. To fuel your body, you need to eat.
No. 2: Eat Better Food
You will not make progress by cutting calories and eating processed foods when you are hungry. Sure, if you are in a caloric deficit and are eating gluten-free this and fat free that, you will lose weight. This will not stick long-term. As Josh Hillis -- the co-author of Fat Loss Happens on Monday -- says, weight loss will be determined by the quantity of the food you eat, but body composition will be determined by your food quality. Eat 80 percent of your diet in whole and minimally processed foods. Eat 10 percent in whole and minimally processed foods that you don’t like, but don’t hate. This will allow you to explore your pallet. If you follow those two rules, eat 10 percent of whatever you want! You have to let yourself indulge once in a while for your sanity, and to kick-start your metabolism. This also allows you some wiggle room when you are in a crunch.
No. 3: Eat a Wide Variety of Foods
I am a creature of habit and like to eat the same stuff most of the time. This is a guide to help you get an array of macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients) in each day. Try and include at least one to two servings from each food group.
- Meat and other protein-rich foods, including eggs and protein powder.
- Fat-rich foods like: nuts and seeds, butter, olive oil, extra-virgin coconut oil, fatty fish, and avocadoes.
- Fibrous vegetables, which means any vegetable except corn.
- Starchy foods, sprouted grain breads and pastas, rice, potatoes and beans.
- Milk and other dairy products that includes organic cheese and yogurt.
- Fruit, fresh or dried. Just eat fruit. No one ever got fat form eating too much fruit.
Here is what I do to start people off on a base meal plan.
If you workout two hours a week, multiply the body weight you want to reach (say you weigh 190 and want to weigh 180), by 11-12 calories. If you workout three hours a week, multiply your target weight by 12-13 calories. If you workout 4-5 hours a week, multiply your target bodyweight by 14-15 calories. Another rule I like to follow is the protein rule. You should aim for one gram of protein per pound of your target bodyweight. From there you can adjust your carbohydrate and fat needs based on your target caloric intake.
Here is an example meal plan for a male that workout about 4-5 hours a week, weighs 190 pounds and wants to lose 10 pounds of fat. Keep in mind that there is no perfect calculator to figure out how many calories you need. This is simply a guide. The best way to figure out how much you need to eat is to keep a journal and adjust where needed.
Meal No. 1
Eggs cooked any style and 1 medium sized piece of fruit (any)
Meal No. 2
6 ounces of fish
1 cup of brown rice
1 cup black beans
1 cup grilled onions
1 cup peppers
6 ounces of grass-fed beef
2 ½ cups sprouted grain or whole-wheat pasta
¼ cup organic marinara sauce
Arugula salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Snacks and post workout
2 scoops grass-fed whey protein powder
2 tbsp. almond butter and 1 apple
180 grams protein
90 grams fat
270 grams carbohydrates