7 Must-Know Nutrition Tips
Break Through Plateaus in Your Fitness Journey
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My journey as a figure competitor was one of the most arduous ones I had to endure; nevertheless, it was by far one of the most rewarding experiences of my life that taught me the most about nutrition, diet and exercise.
As I saw my body transform into competition shape, I could not help but think how we all have the power in us to reach any goals we set our minds to. The key is to persevere, be patient and above all provide our body with the right nutrition to take us to our end goal. I spent hours in the gym, but I learned fast the undeniable importance of a proper diet in achieving a full body transformation and being successful on stage.
I have applied this lesson to my entire life, whether I wanted to just live a healthy life style, compete in a powerlifting meet, fitness competition or do a race. The proper meal plan will allow us to gain more muscle mass, lose fat, gain speed and tone. However, we need to educate ourselves about what proper nutrition is, how it affects our fitness goals, helps us through plateaus and ultimately allows us to live a healthy lifestyle. The following 7 nutrition tips are the basis to build a strong foundation for a proper diet plan.
Eat Protein in Every Meal!
Protein is a macronutrient, which means that our bodies use large quantities of it. Protein also promotes muscle repair and growth. If you are looking to gain muscle or have an active lifestyle, you should always consume it right after a workout when the muscles are in need of nutrients.
Protein slows down digestion because it is hard to break down. If you are looking to lose weight, protein is important since it will make you feel full longer and avoid late-night munchies. Protein also slows down the absorption of sugars in the bloodstream, thus avoiding sugar highs and lows, which improves your mood, focus and productivity.
Consume roughly 25 to 30gr or 4 to 6 oz. of lean protein per meal, such as, chicken breast, salmon, tilapia, egg whites, eye of round or tofu. They are low in fat and promote fat loss.
Grill or bake the protein in big batches, portion it out and put it in the fridge or freezer to have it for the week.
Or have a protein shake. When purchasing a protein powder, it is important to pay attention to the content of sugars and carbs and to ensure that the protein quantity per scoop is as close as possible to 24gr.
Eat Carbs and Cycle!
Carbohydrates are also a macronutrient, and our bodies use carbs as our main source of energy. Carbs boost our mood, they are vital to brain function and memory, and they are the primary fuel for working out.
Our bodies use carbs before consuming protein and fat. When dieting for fat loss, consume carbs in the morning and prior to a workout to allow the body to consume them first and then dip into the stored fats for energy.
Try carb cycling to push your body to further utilize stored fats as energy. Decrease your carb intake by 25% for four days. For example, start with 100gr, to 75gr, to 50gr, to 25gr, and then go up to 100gr again.
When planning your meals, alternate between carbs and fats to optimize your body’s carb usage. Consume fibrous carbs such as sweet potatoes, quinoa and barley, which are slow to digest, and choose fruit that is low on sugar such as berries and oranges. Even though carbs have the worst reputation among dieters, it is carbs that make those muscles pop and give you a tighter look! Eat them right and they are your best friends!