As it’s well-known that proper nutrition is the key to achieve your fitness goal, no matter how hard you workout with a perfectly designed exercise plan, diet planning can either maximize your results or completely miss up your whole hard work at the Gym!
Fortunately, proper diet planning according to your goal can be easily achieved by following the simple steps mentioned in this article.
STEP ONE: CALCULATE YOUR TOTAL DAILY ENERGY EXPENDETURE TDEE
The first thing that we need to do is calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TDEE, which is the amount of calories you burn per day. TDEE= BMR + TEF+ NEAT+EAT. Basal metabolic rate (BMR), is the amount of calories required to keep your body functioning at rest. BMR accounts for about 60% of TDEE. The thermic effect of food (TEF), is the energy required for digesting and processing your food , and thus burns calories. Proteins are the hardest for your body to break down, whereas fats are the easiest for your body to digest, requiring little to no energy to process. TEF accounts for about 10 – 15% of TDEE. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), refers to calories burned from all of the activities that you do that are not sleeping, eating, or exercise/sports-like activities. For example, walking up stairs, fidgeting in your office chair, mopping your floors, or typing an email. Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (EAT), is pretty self-explanatory. Hitting the gym. Going for a run. Playing a pick-up game of volleyball. Exercise is the variable of your TDEE that you have the most direct control over, and that we’ll be most focused on influencing Together, NEAT and exercise make up about 15 – 30% of TDEE. There are plenty of online calculators to help you calculating you TDEE.
STEP 2: DETERMINE YOUR DAILY CALORIE NEEDS TO REACH YOUR FITNESS GOAL
If you want to lose fat, you’ll need to be in a caloric deficit, which means consuming less calories than you burn. This can be achieved by reducing the number of calories you eat, by burning more calories through exercise, or a combination of both.
If you want to build muscle, you’ll need to be in a caloric surplus, or consuming more calories than you burn per day. For most people, adding 250 – 500 calories (the lower end of that range for the majority of females) to your TDEE is ideal for gaining muscle. In addition to increasing your calorie intake, you’ll want to:
- Hit the gym hard. Make sure that you’re putting those extra calories to good use with regular lifting sessions (typically 4 – 6 days per week) balanced with adequate rest and recovery time.
- Eat enough protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and play an essential role in muscle repair and growth. While varying conclusions have been drawn in the scientific literature regarding the “optimal” amount of protein needed for gaining muscle, the general consensus lies between .6 – 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. So, for example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you’ll want to aim for 84 – 140 grams of protein per day. (Self-experimentation will be key here to see what works best for you).
- Plan your meals strategically. Your body’s ability to absorb and utilize the nutrients it needs to rebuild is enhanced directly after exercise. To maximize the benefits of your lift session, eat a protein-rich, carb-filled meal within 60 minutes post-workout (15 – 30 minutes is ideal). Protein is essential for rebuilding muscles as well as decreasing muscle protein breakdown. Studies show that ingesting 20-40g of protein post-workout maximizes the body’s ability to recover. Carbohydrates are necessary to restore glycogen levels (the body’s primary energy source). It’s recommended that you consume 5 – 7 grams of carbs per pound of body weight after training. Protein and carbs are more powerful for recovery when consumed together. Try consuming them in ratio of 3:1 (carbs to protein).
STEP 3: CHOOSE YOUR MACRO SPLIT
To maximize your results, it’s important to consider not only how many calories you consume, but also the source of those calories.
If you want to lose weight:
Try to get 10-30% of your calories from carbohydrates, 40-50% from protein, and 30 – 40% from fat.
If you want to maintain your weight:
Try to get 30-50% of your calories from carbs, 25-35% from protein, and 25-35% from fat.
If you want to gain muscle:
Try to get 40-60% of your calories from carbohydrates, 25-35% from protein, and 15 – 25% from fat.
|Take away tip
Meal prepping will save you a lot of time and hassle! The best way to consistently hit your macro goals is to prepare your meals in advance. When you do, the “right” option becomes the easy option, and it takes little to no effort in the moment to stick to your meal plan.
Q&A: What is the meaning of macro-split?
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