Thursday, June 25, 2015

Basic Guidelines for Altering Body Composition

Just a few weeks left until I finish my master's degree and go back to work full time. So many things I've learned - about exercise, about physiology, about what motivates people and about what motivates ME.

Exercise is my baby - it's what I do everyday, what I teach people about everyday and what I hope I am lucky enough to do for the rest of my career.

But I'm not blind to nutrition - I know it takes both.  And I know it's more like 80/20 than 50/50...with the 80 being diet.   This final semester I am enrolled in a nutrition class and we are learning so much about body composition and how to alter your diet and your macronutrient balance to achieve your goals. 

Are you looking to lose fat?  Follow these simple steps
  • Start with a 3-day diet analysis... What are your eating habits like now?  Where are there room for improvements?  Where are you doing well?
  • Make small decreases in food and beverage calories and increase physical activity.  Limit alcohol.
  • Distribute your macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fats) throughout the day.  This will help you better metabolize all 3.
  • Choose whole grains (brown rice, rolled oats, quinoa) & fresh fruits over refined grains (crackers, pretzels) & refined sugars. 
  • Avoid the empty calories that often accompany processed foods...think nutrient-dense nuts, seeds, peanut butter.
  • Eat no less that 4 and no more than 6 meals a day - This helps control hunger, minimize blood sugar fluctuation, and increase energy levels through the day. 
  • Drink plenty of water - 9 to 13 cups minimum per day.
  • Weigh your food for at least 1 week.  This will help you with serving sizes and reporting accurate calories.  I suggest using MyFitnessPal if you do not have a FitBit or other activity tracker that provides a food journal.
  • Burn more calories than you consume by moving more.
  • Strive for 150-250 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular training per week (75-125 minutes vigorous)
  • 2-3 days of strength training per week to maintain, or increase, lean muscle mass tissue. *start with 1-2 sets of 12-15 to prevent injury and develop consistency, working up to 2-4 sets of 12-20 repetitions*
Are you looking to increase lean muscle mass?
  • Eat 4-6 meals each day to stimulate protein stimulus.
  • Spread protein intake throughout your day.
  • Consume protein and carbohydrates within 90 minutes of a workout to increase recovery.  This is best done in liquid for to ensure digestion.  I use these BCAAs for my post-workout drink.
  • Do NOT underestimate your need for carbohydrates and fats; you need more than just protein to increase lean body mass.  I suggest a 60/20/20 macro-nutrient breakdown if you are working out consistently.
  • Drink plenty of water 9 - 13 cups minimum per day.
  • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular training per week (75 minutes vigorous)
  • 2-3 days of strength training per week with higher volumes (sets, reps and intensity) to build muscle tissue *start with 1-2 sets of 12-15 to prevent injury and develop consistency, working up to 3-5 sets of 6-12 repetitions for all major muscle groups*
Follow the guidelines above and you should be well on your way to achieving your goals.


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