When and what to eat….that is the question.
The sun has started to shine, you’ve bought some Lycra, you’ve joined a gym, you even went there once, and now it’s time to eat something…..but what?
There is so much information and misinformation out there that no wonder the average person who is looking to drop some fat has no idea what to eat or when to eat it.
Firstly, lets take a look at what the government says about food intake. Most fitness ‘professionals’ tend to ignore the scientific facts about food that the government has spent millions on researching and do our own thing as clearly we know better!. For average adults you should consume around 2000 kcals per day for women, and men are 2500 kcal. Rarely have any new clients been eating this much before they have come to see me. The breakdown of macros is 50% from carbs, 35% fats and 15% protein. This is based on what the average person needs to be healthy. Calories are also dependent on your size and age. Protein however is variable depending on your protein turnover I.e how active or physically stressful your life is. Therefore, for people who exercise, are active or are looking to change their muscle to fat ratios, this figure should increase, this could come from a calorie increase not necessarily from a fat decrease. Evidence suggests that a strength training athlete should consume 1.4-1.7g of protein per kg body mass per day I.e a 100kg male should have 140-170 grams of protein per day. If you take that figure off your total daily intake of calories you can work out the other two amounts. I would tend to look at around 50% carbs, 25% protein and 25%fats. This will give you plenty of protein to help build new muscle and will help satiate appetite. Any more than this has shown to have no positive effects.
For me, this is my first port of call. I base my intakes around this data, and why not? I haven’t spent millions getting this data from studying thousands of people, so who am I to argue against it. It isn’t, however, gimmicky in any way so why would anyone try and market the truth……
There are subtle differences between individuals, but, if you start at a firm foundation then you can tweak it to suit your individual needs, but it needn’t be really that far from these recommendations.
Next you have food timings. On a basic level this should not be difficult. Eat when you wake up, Not an hour later, not at work or on the train, when you wake up. For most people this is around 6-7am. Then eat mid-morning. For me that’s around 9am. Eat lunch 12-1pm. Eat again at around 4pm. Eat your dinner around 730-8pm. If you don’t eat your blood sugar drops, your metabolism drops, your energy drops and you crave junk. It’s not hard, just get organised. Very simply if you have your breakfast at home, all you need to do is make a job lot of food that can be separated into three individual meals, then eat your dinner at home. Each meal should be based upon the ratio of macros as previously mentioned, I.e some protein, some carbs and some fats.
This is exactly what I do. No secrets. The only differences in what I do is that I have Intra and post workout supplements. These are simply some amino acids and some simple sugars, nothing fancy, and, I tend to stack my fats more at the start of the day and the end of the day and leave my middle meals mainly proteins and carbs. I do this because your body is more hormonally active first thing in the morning and when you’re asleep, and having fats then supports this.
So there you have it, how much to eat and when to eat it. You many have read this with the hope that i’d write an exact diet for you to follow. I didn’t because everyone’s likes, dislikes and needs are individual. I’ve written guidelines to get you started. The tough part is going shopping, planning meals, reading labels, learning to cook, and understanding what is in your food. There is no easy way to do this, you’ve just got to do it.
If you would like to know more about diet and nutrition then you can contact me on Ali@FatAlsGym.co.uk to discuss your food intakes in more detail.
As always, Keep on liftin’
Ali ‘Fat Al’ Stewart