How to Perfect Your Fitness Diet
WORDS: Peter Minkoff PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied
Fitness and a good diet go hand in hand and you can’t have one without the other. So if you have working out down, it’s time to improve your diet in order to reach your goals. If you’re just starting with clean eating and watching your calories, here are a few basics to consider:
Find your numbers
This is the hardest thing to find out when creating your new diet, but with the help of a dietitian or a certified and experienced personal trainer, you can get your number of recommended calories a day. Depending on your goals (losing weight, gaining weight, gaining muscle, improving endurance, maintaining fitness levels, etc.) an expert will calculate your calories and give you tips on how to stick to them. If you don’t want to go that far into math when calculating your calories, you can simply download apps like MyFitnessPal and get plenty of tips on nutrition, dieting, etc.
Measure your food
Eyeballing your food never works, especially if you want to stick to a certain stiff schedule when it comes to training and dieting. At first, measuring food will be a true pain in the back, but with time, you’ll get used to it and get better and faster. A small food scale is always a handy addition to your kitchen, so use it to keep close track of your ounces and grams. There’s no way to be as accurate as a scale when eyeballing your portions, and we mostly go over the limit when trying to reduce calories and under the limit when trying to boost them. A more laidback option is to use measuring cups when setting up your portions as a faster, easier but less accurate solution.
Don’t run away from supplements
Depending on your goals, you might be struggling to achieve your caloric intake numbers. In that case, you can always rely on protein powder drinks that will add some calories to your daily intake, but most importantly, boost your protein levels. These drinks are easy to make and very practical because you can enjoy them on the go, grab them right after a workout or prepare for a late-night snack.
Write it down
If you’re trying to build a more stable relationship with food and be more honest with yourself about what you eat throughout the day, the best thing to do is to start a food diary. Everything you eat and drink throughout the day should be written down in this diary. Through that record, you can notice certain patterns that are holding you back from reaching your fitness goals and find it easier to correct them. When tracking your foods, make sure to also write down the times of your meals as well as your mood. If you’re an emotional eater, this will help you identify your triggers. Once a week or once every two weeks, do a measuring check of your weight and certain body parts so you can track your progress and be able to tweak your diet accordingly.
Avoid processed foods
If you want to make your diet simple for starters, a good idea is to minimize the intake of processed foods AKA foods that come in bags, boxes and cans. These foods are most likely loaded with sugar, sodium and various preservatives that don’t do anything food for your diet. Before you fill your cart with these complicated foods, read the label and check whether it matches your dietary requirements. Opting for natural or whole foods is always a better choice for your fitness and overall health. When buying processed, make sure that the label holds ingredients you can recognize.
While dieting is true science, if you want to make it simple, just follow the tips above and you can expect great things from your body. Besides improving your fitness, you’ll also benefit from improvements in the health department because food has a big effect on your overall health and wellbeing.