If you've read our previous post on workout routines, chances are that you've been hitting the gym actively. Now that you've fallen into a routine, you're wondering how to supplement a proper workout diet to reach your goals for this year. Not to worry, you've come to the right place. In this post, we will help you identify your ideal body goals and provide you a list of the best foods to consume in your workout diet.
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Identify Your Goals
When it comes to New Years resolutioners, there will be two types of people hitting the gym this January; the ones who want to increase their weight while building muscle and the ones who want to lose weight while building muscle. Both these results are completely valid and it honestly comes down to what your personal goals are for the next year. If you’re unhappy with your current weight and want to shed some pounds, you’ll have a completely different workout diet than someone who is looking to gain a few extra pounds.
Looking to lose weight?
In order to shed calories, you need to combine your workouts with the right foods. Depending on just your workouts to do the job will leave you highly disappointed. Although the recommended number of calorie intake when looking to lose weight is between 1,200 to 1,600, it can range from person to person so it is best to consult with a dietitian for a more accurate answer.
You’ll need a lot of them. Carbs are what provide your body with the energy it needs to complete your workouts. Although our goal here is to lose weight, you’ll want to incorporate healthy carbs which are rich in nutrients and low in calories into your workout diet. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be heavily incorporated in your snacks and meals.
Protein is the key to helping your muscles recover and grow after a workout. If you’re looking to slim down, make sure to incorporate the right amount and right kind of lean proteins such as poultry, seafood, lean red mat, beans, and tofu. Aim to consume about 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
We know what you’re thinking. I am trying to lose weight, why should I be focusing on consuming fats? Well, the simple answer is that fat is a source of energy and energy is what you will need to get you through those challenging workouts. Although fat is still necessary even when you’re on a diet, stick to foods which contain unsaturated fats such as those found in avocados, nuts, seeds, oils and fatty fish like salmon. Incorporating these healthy fats into your workout diet will ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs.
Looking to Gain Weight?
On the other end of the spectrum, we have people who are currently very skinny and are looking to add some extra pounds to their frame. In order for your body to gain weight and muscle you need to consume a surplus in calories in comparison to how much you burn throughout the day. Thus the simple answer to growing your muscles and adding some weight to your frame is to eat more. You will need to establish a balanced meal plan and double down. Eating a piece of chicken breast for dinner? Make yourself another piece. Making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Go ahead and make a second one. The goal here is to double your calorie intake and since you’re already preparing the food anyways, it won’t take any extra effort to make twice as much.
Starting in January, you’ll want to focus on not only eating more, but eating more frequently. Make sure to eat a proper breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But on top of that, you’ll want to incorporate snacking on calorie dense foods every 2 – 3 hours within your workout diet (but more on this below). Perhaps the most important time to eat food is in the morning. Make sure to eat a balanced breakfast full of quality nutrients within fifteen minutes of waking up. Otherwise your body will start using its own body mass to fuel itself which will be a huge step backwards.
Calorie Dense Foods
If you’re looking to gain weight this year but can’t seem to eat a whole lot of food, you will need to incorporate some calorie dense foods into your diet. Foods such as peanuts, peanut butter, raw oats, lean red meat, bagels, and dried fruits are all high in calories compared to their relative size, making it easier to eat a lot of and get in those extra calories you need to grow.
High Protein Foods
If you’re looking to gain weight in 2017, you will need to eat plenty of protein (about 1 to 1.5 grams per pound of your body weight according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics). High protein foods such as eggs, chicken breasts, lean beef, and fish are all great examples of the types of proteins you will need in your workout diet in order to grow muscles.
High Carbohydrate Foods
As mentioned earlier, carbs are a source of energy and fuel for your body. When you’re looking to gain weight, make sure to be eating plenty of carbohydrates. If you aren’t consuming enough carbs, your body will break down muscle for amino acids which then gets converted into glucose. Since our goal here is to maximize muscle growth, it is important to constantly be eating enough carbs throughout the day.