Use the guidelines below to start making changes. Keep it simple, make incremental changes, and stay consistent! Make 2017 YOUR year!
Proper nutrition is key for obtaining results; you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. Below we have outlined some common principles to keep in mind when evaluating a specific nutrition plan or your current diet.
Quality is more important than Quantity
This means avoiding processed foods like bread, pasta, pizza, cereal, and most goods that have a long shelf life. A good rule of thumb is to stick to the perimeter of the grocery store and spend most of your time buying meat, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, some fruit, some starches (oatmeal, rice, sweet potatoes), some nuts and seeds, and dairy (cheese and plain yogurt). The idea of removing some of these items from your diet might seem impossible but it is easier to do than you think.
Eating enough is just as important as not eating too much
Eating too little food can actually cause you to experience an increase in body fat percentage and a decrease in lean muscle mass. This sounds counterintuitive but our bodies go into starvation mode in response to restrictions in caloric intake. While in starvation mode our body regulates hormones and lowers metabolism, causing our body to burn fewer calories.
Maintain Proper Macronutrient Balance
Maintaining a proper ratio will ensure that we are getting enough of each macronutrient to allow our body to recover and to have enough energy to challenge ourselves during workouts. Proper balance will also ensure that we are not eating excessive amounts of carbohydrates, which can lead to increased body fat percentage.
Do not become overwhelmed trying to make this exact. A simple guideline for this approach is to fill half of your plate with vegetables, one quarter with a starchy food (sweet potato, rice, oatmeal), and the final quarter with food such as meat, poultry, fish, or eggs (about the size of a deck of cards).
Avoid Excessive Carbohydrate Consumption
For many people, excessive carbohydrate consumption is the leading cause for obesity and weight gain. Consumption of processed, refined, and sugar-dense foods will raise blood sugar levels and signal your body to release insulin, which helps convert and store them as glycogen.
Our body uses glycogen as a fuel source; however, we only have a limited capacity for storing excess carbohydrates in the form of glycogen. Once the glycogen levels are filled in both your liver and muscles, excess carbohydrates are converted into fat and stored in your adipose, fatty, tissue.
This is not to say that all carbohydrate consumption is bad. However, we want to emphasize the high quality, nutrient dense carbohydrates that do not cause a significant spike in blood sugar levels.
Exercise, especially effective exercise, is the other major component to look at when wanting to make a change and lose those last couple inches. Training methods that burn more calories and maintain lean muscle mass are components of such an effective training protocol
To cause our body to burn more calories we must spike our metabolism. There are two common ways to cause a lasting increase in metabolism: Weight training and high heart rate, high intensity exercise. When done correctly, these training methods can lead to a spike in metabolism for up to 24 hours AFTER exercising. Other methods of training will only lead to short term increases in metabolism, generally 2 hours or less.
Weight training should include movements that use the largest muscle groups in our body such as deadlifts and squats. High heart rate, high intensity exercise should include movements that you can perform safely and effectively at a fast, unsustainable pace. Running, rowing, and biking intervals are great examples of exercises that will lead to high heart rate, high intensity training effects. Implement weight training or high intensity exercise 4 to 6 times per week to produce sustained results.
Looking for more information on how to implement these changes in the New Year? Contact us here to learn more.