DIY Fitness - Part 3
Nutrition is the most important, and many times difficult, component to any fitness plan. If possible you should consider consultation with Registered Dietician, Nutritionist, Nutrition coach, or other professional experienced in nutritional guidance. Whether you’re attempting to lose or gain mass roughly 65-80% of your plan will be nutrition related. After determining your fitness goal you will need to create your dietary intake strategy. This will vary significantly depending upon several factors including your lifestyle, goals, schedule, etcetera. The amount of physical activity you engage in will have a direct correlation to the amount of calories your body will require that you intake.
No matter what your goal (e.g. gaining lean muscle mass) there is no single diet* that works for everyone. There are however, some general rules that will apply to specific activity levels. For example, you’ve achieved your fitness goal and are in now a maintenance phase. You decided you wanted to increase your lean muscle mass and you’ve recently increased your resistance training from twice a week to four days a week. You will likely need to increase your dietary intake in order to successfully increase your lean muscle mass.
One common mistake individuals make is failing to intake enough carbohydrates and fat when they increase the resistance training levels. Many individuals mistakenly link protein with muscle growth (hypertrophy) and typically take protein adequate levels or higher. It’s important to note that protein does not “build” muscle, but is essential in the recover and repair of tissues. It also sometimes used, more as last resort, as energy.
Nutrition typically requires significant personalization. Guidelines such as the food Pyramid can be useful but do not fully address all dietary needs. Factors such lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance and other physiological conditions must be considered as well. The final, and in some ways the key, aspect to nutrition is adherence. No matter what your dietary intake requirements are, following the requirements for majority of the time is necessary. From a pragmatic standpoint being compliant 65-80% of the time allows for having asides** (cheats) in your dietary intake 35-20% of the time.
*All diets should include all three macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates). The human body requires all of them in varying levels to function properly. Moreover, restrictive diets (low fat, low carb, etcetera) are not recommended.
**Even asides (cheat foods) should be varied. Transfats taken 35-20% of the time can still cause significant damage to your body.