Are you looking to maximize fat loss and muscle gains? By now, you have probably heard countless times that when it comes to building muscle and losing fat, there are two sides to the equation: diet and exercise. According to health experts, your diet plays a more important role in reaching your fitness goals. But instead of simply focusing on what to eat, you must also learn when you should eat for optimal results. Keep reading to learn more about how your diet can help or hurt your progress.
Ask any bodybuilder their opinion about what they think is the most essential nutrient and they will likely answer protein. And they are correct. Protein does a lot for the body including improving bone health, boosting immune function, and building muscle strength. It has long been accepted that eating the right amount of protein each day can improve your general health. New research, however, shows that also eating protein at the right times can enhance muscle gains and weight loss.
According to studies, protein plays a huge role in enhancing fat loss while maintain muscle mass. Health experts suggest getting 15% to 35% of total calories from protein. An alternative is to eat 1.2g to 1.6g of protein per kilogram of the body weight.
But don’t think you have to eat a lot of animal foods to get the amount of protein you need – you don’t. Plant proteins are more easily assimilated by the body and come with a long list of beneficial micronutrients and “good” fats. Nuts, legumes, seeds and other plants are fabulous sources of proteins and micronutrients. Check out this article for more information.
Eat meat infrequently – this, unlike what you may have heard, will give you a lot of energy. The human body is designed to consume mostly plant foods. As such, its entire metabolic system is optimized to assimilate plant proteins. The body breaks down proteins you eat into smaller pieces called amino acids. Plant proteins are shorter, simpler, and you body can break them down more easily. Animal proteins from, say, a cow, originated as plant proteins in the grass the cow ate. This plant protein was then metabolized into muscle tissue which you then consume as meat. When you eat a steak, the body has to reverse this process to make use of that protein. This requires much more energy, and the resulting components are less usable. Nuts, fruits, vegetables, the tops of plants and roots are all great sources of good, high quality proteins and should be eaten raw when possible. Variety here is key.
Avoid Refined Sugar
Avoid refined sugar and dairy products, including milk. Unlike what has been marketed to us, milk is not a good source of calcium and creates an acidic environment in our gut. Refined sugar is likely the cause of many diseases such as diabetes, obesity, chronic bowel problems, heart disease and many others. Check out the graph. There IS a bit of good news in the graph.
As people have become aware of the dangers of refined sugar, especially High Fructose Corn Syrup, the total sugar consumption has gone down. But DON’T substitute refined sugar with artificial sweeteners. There’s a whole other plethora of side effects associated with those also. If you follow this advice, you won’t have to worry too much about your caloric intake as your body will naturally regulate your appetite. I recommend doing a lot more studying to see what the latest studies are showing in this area.
Eat Your Veggies
Science shows that a diet high in animal foods is detrimental to your long term health. Conversely, a diet consisting mainly of plants is extremely beneficial to all aspects of your health. For maximum energy, consume lots of live (uncooked) plants. But goodness comes from cooked plants as well. In a revolutionary book called The China Study T. Colin Campbell upends the entire nutrition paradigm in this country and reveals stunning new information regarding long held assumptions about what is good for you and how you should eat. It is a must read for anyone interested in investing in their long term health, increasing their longevity, and avoiding many if not all chronic diseases.
Timing Is Everything
If you are engaged in a strength training program, be sure to consume a high protein meal or beverage before and immediately after your workout. This gives your body some much needed energy to fuel your workout and also supply essential amino acids to your damaged muscle tissues for optimal recovery. The same must be done after an intense cardiovascular session.
It’s also a good idea to break down your protein consumption throughout the day. Researchers suggest that protein becomes more bioavailable for the muscles when eating in small quantities. So if your goal is to consume 100g of protein each day, you may want to consider breaking it down to 4 meals with 25g of protein each. This is another reason why it pays to prepare your meals for the whole day. It isn’t enough to eat an 8-ounce steak at dinner time in an attempt to compensate for your lack of protein intake earlier in the day.
To help reach your daily target easier, consider drinking a protein powder shake. Most products on the market provide 20- 25g of protein in just one scoop. Of course, you should still strive to get your protein from your daily diet. Some of the best sources of protein include eggs, fish, tenderloin, chicken, beans.
Consistency Is Key
Remember that in order to lose fat and build muscle at the same time, you must remain consistent at making the right food choices and working out regularly. Harness all your willpower and stick to your routine. Make sure you keep your diet in check so you can achieve results faster.