Discover the four things you can start doing today that will have you looking and feeling better almost instantly.
By now you should have your weight goals firmly in mind, whether it is to increase mass, decrease body fat, or just maintain your current state.
Meal planning is highly individualistic and what works for one person, is not what is going to work for someone else.
I COULD put up a meal plan and dictate everyone should use it and some people may lose weight with it, but others very well could end up fatter than when they started.
"Give a man a fish and he'll eat for the day, Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime."
This is the guideline I follow when it comes to nutrition. I will teach you exactly how to create an effective meal plan based on Precision Nutrition principles and give you the tools necessary to do it ( Free Starter Kit for Men or Free Starter Kit for Women). These tools and guidelines will be the subject of future lessons - just know they are coming.
Your First Four Nutrition Action Steps
There are four things you can start doing today to ensure you are on the right track nutritionally. They are simple and easy to remember.
We're going to get into putting together a complete meal plan, but in the meantime, if you start doing these four simple things, you are going to see a marked improvement in your physique, attitude, and overall energy level.
Here we go:
Start drinking more water - a lot more water. I can pretty much guarantee you aren't drinking enough - as very few people do. I would say to drink as much as you can possibly stomach, but you do need to be careful -- too much water too quick is a bad thing -- it can lead to hyponatremia (aka water intoxication) and it can kill you. By drinking more - I mean more throughout the day. Start sipping it all the time.
This is nothing new. I'm sure you've heard plenty of people tell you to drink your 8 glasses of water a day. In reality, don't limit yourself to 8. If you can put back 5 litres a day - do it. The better you keep yourself hydrated, the better your body is going to function.
Your body is 75% water. Water is required by just about every cell function that happens wither directly or indirectly, so by depriving yourself of this fluid, you are depriving your body of the ability to operate at 100% efficiency.
There are two sure fire ways to tell if you're dehydrated. First, your urine is yellow or colored. The more color it is, the more dehydrated you are. Second is thirst. If you ever reach a state of thirstiness, you're already dehydrated.
Drinking lots of water will clear the waste out of your system. It will help detoxify your body and get it running at its optimal speed. Everything will seem easier. You'll feel better, cleaner. Skin will clear up, you'll think clearer, and have more energy. It really is as simple as drinking more water.
Some people think it is absolutely impossible to drink water - it tastes bad (which has always perplexed me as it has no taste) or it makes them pee too much. Duh - every time you pee you eliminate waste, this isn't a bad thing. If the "flavour" is an issue, look at sweetening it with zero sugar, zero calorie flavorings such as Crystal Lite - but the important thing is to start drinking as much as you can.
It is especially important when you are working out. A boxing workout will dehydrate you really quick if you aren't replenishing the fluids. The really intense boxing workouts lasting longer than an hour, may also benefit from the ingredients found in Gatorade, but that is only in extreme athletic circumstances. Your best bet, is pure, clean water and lots of it.
Should you ever drink anything else? You can. Green tea or coffee has health benefits too. But, stay away from the juices. If you need a drink with your meal, have water. There is no reason to pollute it with sugar.So Action Step #1- Stop drinking everything else and Drink Only Water with an occasional green tea or coffee thrown in the mix.
Carry a bottle around with you and fill it when it gets empty. You don't need to go out and buy bottled water unless that is what you want to do. As an example, I bought a 1.5L bottle of water, drank it, and have been using the bottle for the last 6 weeks. Find something that works for you.
I know this is going to be hard to swallow, but in the end you have a choice. You either put something in your mouth or you don't. If you make a conscious effort to ensure that what you are putting in your mouth is inline with your plans, then all is good.
Consistency is the key - if you make that right choice 51% of the time you are going to succeed. You will succeed a lot quicker if you make the right choice 99% of the time.
So, back to sugar. I cannot say enough evil things about it, so guess what I'm going to tell you?
That's right - stop eating sugar. This includes anything that contains excessive amounts of sugar. That means doughnuts, sugared cereals, cakes, brownies, muffins, pretty much anything you would find in a bakery.1
Now I know you want to close this lesson right now and say to hell with that, but hear me out.
Sugar is useless. Even the zero calorie sugar is also zero nutrient food. It takes up space in your nutrition plan and when you're trying to maintain a caloric deficit, eating foods full of sugar and deficient on the nutrients means you will never achieve your goals.
While we're on the topic, pretty much anything refined is going to do you absolutely no good. That would mean white flour products such as white bread (even if it is enriched) and anything else made with refined white flour. Basically, you are better off if you eat stuff that hasn't been processed. The closer it is to coming out of the ground or off the tree, the better.
Some people hear this advice and think about fruit. Am I telling you to stop eating fruit as it is full of fructose (a simple sugar)? No, I'm telling you to moderate how much fruit you eat. When I get to discussing meal composition, you'll learn there are better times to eat the simple carbs (fruits). Fruit has a benefit other sugar foods don't. Fruits have vitamins, minerals, and a benefit to them besides tasting good. So, a little fruit in the diet is a good idea.
Now before you get all crazy on me, keep reading as I tell you how you can enjoy a little sugar and non-nutritious food in moderation, but if you truly want to achieve the best results, stop eating sugar right now.So Action Step #2- Stop eating sugar and refined foods. Eat things as close to their natural state as possible.
3. Cheat Meals
There is no reason you can't enjoy life and have a non-nutritious meal, or at least a meal that isn't necessarily going to do you any good. The thing is that you have to plan for it. I'm going to cover caloric deficit and caloric requirements, but you need to know that if you eat something "bad", you have to make room for it in your day.
This is going to make more sense at a later time, so I'll leave it at that for now, but just know there is light at the end of the tunnel and you will be able to have a slice of pizza now and again, if you do the planning.So Action Step #3- Don't try to be perfect. Enjoy life but plan ahead.
Like sugar, alcohol does nothing good for you. It is a poison and if you drink it, you are hindering your progress. It's that simple. If you are serious about your training and diet, alcohol is pretty much off limits.
You simply cannot be serious about your training if you drink excessively.
Alcohol is right behind fat in being the most caloric dense food and that doesn't even take into account the "mix" in the drink. A nice fruity drink can be upwards of 300-400 calories and we all know that when they taste that good, one is never enough.
Now, like cheat meals, you can enjoy a drink now and again, but you have to plan it into your day. If you know you're going out with the boys or girls later on and will have 2 beers, then somewhere during the day, you need to make room for 400 calories. Ideally, you burn an extra 400 calories in the gym (approx 45 minutes on a bike at 100rpm) or eat 400 calories less throughout the day which may short change what your body needs to do its job of repairing and building muscle and burning fat.
So, you have the choice, again it's a matter of how fast you want to get in shape and achieve your goals.So Action Step #4- Stop drinking alcohol. If you want to enjoy a drink then accept the consequences and plan ahead.
Bonus Tip #5: Take a Greens Supplement
Very few of us have a perfect diet. Because of that, for a very long time, I would take a daily multivitamin as a nutritional insurance policy just to be sure there were no vitamin and mineral deficiencies preventing me from performing my best. That all changed when I was introduced to Athletic Greens which is a whole food based greens supplement that actually tastes really good.
Now, instead of a daily multivitamin, I recommend a daily glass of Athletic Greens. With 75 super nutrients, each in optimal quantities, it is a far better nutritional insurance policy ensuring my diet is not only not lacking in essential vitamins and minerals, but also nutrient dense greens superfoods, herbs, antioxidants and digestive enzymes - all really good stuff.
As I said, I take Athletic Greens daily and consider it a big part of what keeps me in top shape year round. You should try it out and see if it is something that you want to integrate into your nutrition profile.
Well there you have it. Four (+1) things you can think about and implement in your life today. To summarize:
- Drink more water than you think you need.
- Stop eating anything made of sugar or refined flour and eat foods that are as close as possible to their original state.
- Know that you can slip in a cheat meal, but it takes planning.
- Know that you can drink, but if you're serious about your training it is going to hinder your progress.
- Ensure your body has everything it needs with the best greens supplement on the market.
And that's it for today.
So, take a look at your eating habits and make some changes for the better.