Everyone is always looking for a shortcut, especially when it comes to healthy eating. The truth is though, there are no shortcuts. Nutrition is the primary factor in health and overall fitness, even more than what you do with your body, is what you choose to put in your body.
That being said there are a few “hacks” I have discovered that can help you if you are not quite ready to commit to a “diet”.
Just by following these simple suggestions, you can make a lot of progress in body composition and athletic performance.
Hack Number 1: Protein with every meal or snack.
When you first start out on your fitness journey, getting enough protein is paramount. Protein builds muscle. Since doing our workouts breaks down muscle, and muscle is made of protein, the best source to aid in recovery is …you guessed it protein.
People, in general, grossly underestimate the amount of protein they take in daily. When I talk about protein, we are not talking about the kind that is in vegetables, beans, etc. We are talking about protein from meat, chicken, fish and pork primarily.
A good guideline for the amount needed per day is approximately 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. So if you are 175 lb you need 175 grams.
If you are not used to eating a lot of protein, this will be a challenge at first, so when we say protein with every meal or snack its because we are trying to hit our goal. Or at least get close.
Hack Number 2: Never eat fruit just by itself!
This goes along with Hack 1. Fruit is just sugar and while it’s not “bad” per se, if your goal is to lose fat and gain muscle, cutting excess carbs is one easy way.
We are not saying no fruit. All we are saying is if you are going to have a apple, or banana or something, have some source of protein with it.
Hack Number 3: Fat does not make you fat!
For years now we were taught to avoid any fat in our diet and if you look at the stats, our nation has become more and more overweight and higher rates of dieseases like diabetes and high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
While I’m not saying to go crazy on the fat, replacing carbs with fat has shown to be beneficial in fat loss and overall health. So instead of a piece of bread, maybe an avocado or even a piece of cheese is a better choice if your goal is to lose bodyfat.
Hack Number 4: Before you worry about cutting anything out, work on adding things in
I have found that for a lot of people, just adding more protein to their diet fixes a lot of the bad snacking and cravings for bad food. So instead of getting worked up about not being able to have your favorite dessert or snack, maybe just start at Hack 1 and see how it goes.
Hack Number 5: No supplements until you are below 20% bodyfat for guys and below 27% for girls and you are working out at least 4x a week.
Most supplements are crap. The ones that might work are only beneficial at the upper levels of sport..maybe.
If you are deconditioned, or overweight, theres really nothing out there that is going to be better than eating a healthy diet of meat and vegetable, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and NO SUGAR.
One cavet though is supplementing your protein with a shake is beneficial, especially if you are having a hard time getting it from food.
Also, fish oil has a lot of science showing its helpful in lowering body inflammation. If you cant get enough from your diet, then maybe a fish oil supplement would be acceptable.
Another supplement that has shown to have a lot of benefits is creatine. Google that if you want to know more, but truthfully its negligible, especially if you are just starting out.
Thats it. If you can follow the 5 hacks you will be better off then you were. In fact, for a-lot of people, thats really the only things they will need to do.
Unless you are looking to get super lean(less than 15%/20% M/F) or are looking to compete at some level in CrossFit or some other sport, this will suffice.
Try them out and see if it works for you. If you have any questions or need any direction, email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see what we can do.