A well-planned eating strategy will help support any training programme, whether you are training for fitness or for competition; promote efficient recovery between workouts; reduce the risk of illness or overtraining, and help you to achieve your best performance. You may have heard that nutrition is 80% of your result and training 20%, well you can forget any kind of variation of this ratio and attribute 100% for both.
You definitely need the training stimulus and the raw material for growth brought by a good nutrition to improve your body composition or performance.
However there are a number of factors that can affect both diet and training. Stress level, sleep and hormones are part of them. Everyone has different nutritional needs and there is no single diet that fits all. Some athletes require more calories, protein or vitamins than others; and each sport has its unique nutritional demands. But it is possible to find broad scientific agreement as to what constitutes a healthy diet.
Your daily calorie needs will depend on your genetic make-up, age, weight, body composition, your daily activity and your training programme. It is possible to estimate the number of calories you need daily from your body weight (BW) and your level of daily physical activity.
Step 1: Estimate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
As a rule of thumb, BMR uses 22 calories for every kg of a woman’s body weight and 24 calories per kg of a man’s body weight.
- Women: BMR = weight in kg x 22
- Men: BMR = weight in kg x 24
Step 2: Work out your Physical Activity Level (PAL)
This is the ratio of your overall daily energy expenditure to your BMR – a rough measure of your lifestyle activity.
- 1.2 Mostly inactive or sedentary (mainly sitting)
- 1.3 Fairly active (include walking and exercise 1–2 x week)
- 1.4 Moderately active (exercise 2–3 x weekly)
- 1.5 Active (exercise hard more than 3 x weekly)
- 1.7 Very active (exercise hard daily)
Step 3: Work out your daily calorie needs
Daily calorie needs = BMR x PAL
This figure gives you a rough idea of your daily calorie requirement to maintain your weight. If you eat fewer calories, you will lose weight; if you eat more then you will gain weight.
Step 4 : calculate your lean body weight
Lean body weight =total body weight in kg or lbs - total body fat in kg or lbs
this will be discuss later on in this plan.
Step 5 : Calculate your macros
Reminder per gram : Carbohydrates=4kal Proteins=4kcal Fats=9kcal
40/30/30 split= 40 Carbs/40 proteins/20 Fats
Now that your diet has been laid out for you and you’ve chosen how many meals you’re going to eat each day, we’re not too far from getting started.
I’ve talked a lot about protein, fats and carbs up to this point. I feel it’s important to let you know more about their importance to your success on the plan, and the impact they have on your overall health. My aim is to educate you as we go along, so please take a minute to read the information about the importance of the foods groups that are recommended.
Facts you need to know about protein, essential fats, carbohydrates and water.
Whilst the Blueprint is designed to help you lose body fat and build muscle tissue, it also promotes many other health benefits such as increased detoxification, increased brain function, blood sugar balancing, quality sleep, regular bowel movements and helping to balance your hormones.
Why is protein so important?
Without a diet rich in essential amino acids, we would cease to function. Your body needs proteins and amino acids to produce important molecules in your body like enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and antibodies. If you do not have adequate protein intake, your body can’t function properly. Protein helps replace worn out cells, transports various substances throughout the body, and aids in growth and repair. You need adequate muscle to be strong and help develop muscle tissue. Low protein diets only cause muscle mass to drop, which will negatively affect your body composition and success on this plan.
The body has the ability to make 12 amino acids called non-essential amino acids but eight amino acids can only be supplied by diet. These are called essential amino acids. As some of these amino acids are lost every day, they must be replaced. This is achieved by making sure you consume protein at regular intervals throughout the day. Consuming protein also increases levels of the hormone glucagon, and glucagon can help to control body fat levels. Glucagon is released when blood sugar levels go down. This causes the liver to break down stored glycogen into glucose for your body to use.
Why is a healthy intake of essential fats so important?
A large determinant of health is the balance of fatty acids consumed in your diet. These are Linoleic acid (LA), Gamma linolenic acid (GLA), arachidonic acid (AA), alpha linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Fat has six major roles:
» It provides an energy source
» It helps manufacture and balance hormones
» It forms our cell membranes
» It forms our brains and nervous systems
» It helps transport the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
» It provides two essential fatty acids that the body cannot make, these are linoleic acid (an omega 6 fatty acid) and linolenic (an omega 3 fatty acid)
One of the reasons that omega 3 fats (ALA, DHA, EPA) are so important is that they help keep your cells more fluid. If the cell membranes are more fluid, it increases insulin sensitivity and fat loss. It’s very important that you appreciate a good balance of essential fats across your diet.
Why are vegetables so important?
You really will find it very hard to find a reason why you shouldn’t eat plenty of vegetables each day. They are alkaline producing, which can help preserve bone mass and muscle tissue, they are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytonutrients.
Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can lead to many symptoms such as acne, dry skin, dry mouth, puffy skin, tingling hands/feet, brittle/thin nails and many more.
Vitamins are essential for our normal physiological functions such as growth, reproduction and liver function.
Minerals serve as building blocks for our body structures. They form the foundation of our teeth, bones and help construct our cells and enzymes.
Phytochemicals have been shown in research to help protect us from disease. Examples of these are resveratrol found in grapes, lutein in spinach and lycopene in tomatoes.
Consuming high levels of vegetables is associated with a lower incidence of diseases such as:
» Cardiovascular disease
» Colon cancer
» High blood cholesterol
» High blood pressure
» Prostate cancer
» Type 2 diabetes
» Eye disease
» Breast cancer
» Lung cancer
» Ovarian cancer
» Pancreatic cancer
» Thyroid cancer
Why is consuming enough water so important?
The kidneys struggle to function optimally without enough water. When they aren’t working to capacity, some of their load is dumped onto the liver. One of the liver’s primary functions is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy for the body. If
the liver has to do some of the kidney’s work, it can’t operate at the right pace. As
a result it metabolizes less fat, therefore fat remains stored in the body (for most people weight loss slows down). Drinking enough water is also the best treatment for fluid retention. When the body gets less water, it sees it as a threat to survival and begins to hold onto every drop. Water is stored in extracellular spaces (outside the cells). This shows up as swollen feet, legs and hands.
What supplements do I recommend?
Anyone who has followed my work for any length of time will know that I’m a huge fan of using supplements along side training and nutrition. However, having researched and used them for a long time, I feel it’s very hard to suggest a large list for people to use. There are so many variations out there, and everyone will require different amounts of each one. Taking too much of any one supplement when your levels are already optimal can throw your body out of balance.
To cover the basics, here is a starting protocol that I would recommend.
» Vitamin D3: 3000–4000 IU per day
» Multi vitamin – 3 caps per day (pick one which is split into servings throughout the day
» Zinc: 1–2 caps per day (15–30 mg)
» Fish oil: 3–5 grams per day
» Magnesium: 300–600 mg per day