I cannot say without a doubt that you need to consume x calories, x grams of protein and x carbohydrates per pound of body weight. Fact is, not everyone is the same, has the same goals, or the same occupation. There are a lot of factors when determining a persons diet.
For example, a firefighter is going to consume more calories, carbs and protein than say, a nonactive accountant. Someone training for a marathon is going to load carbs before an event. A bodybuilder is going to reduce food and water intake before a show.
Looking at your lifestyle and setting goals is your first step to maintaining, gaining, or reducing body weight.
Calories in and calories out:
Eat as much as you will burn, in other words. A large surplus is going to get stored as fat or some muscle depending on your activities. Personally, I like to split up my meals to maintain a specific calorie, protein, and carb count depending on what I did that day and days following.
My tips for losing weight:
I prefer to eat my calories than drink ’em.
- Educate yourself. Look at the nutrition label before making a purchase. Understanding which core ingredients are excessively fatty will help you better guess the nutrition of whole dishes when a label isn’t readily available (i.e., at a restaurant) or the food you prepare at home.
- Cut or reduce soft drinks/beer. Not only does this allow more spare calories for food, you will also save money by drinking water at restaurants. Personally, I prefer to eat my calories than drink ’em.
- Reduce simple carbs (white rice, bread, sugar) at night before bed. Simple carbs are the body’s instant energy source, if you’re inactive, your body will store the excess as fat.
- Best time to walk, jog or run is in the morning.
- Cut or reduce fatty foods, look for alternatives. For example, mayonnaise is incredibly fatty, a good alternative is extra virgin olive oil based mayo (healthy fat) or miracle whip, which can reduce fat calories/calories by as much as 50%.
- Ease into it. Don’t go full blown, 1,800 calorie diet to start. This is dangerous and taxing on your body. Reduce snacks each week until you reach three whole meals a day.
- Consider what you eat for breakfast. Cereal and bagels are going to leave you hungry mid-way to lunch. Consider eggs, fruit, and oatmeal (if you sweeten your oatmeal, consider omitting the fruit, as fruit has a lot of natural sugars in it). Oatmeal is great because it’s a complex carb, which takes your body longer to digest (keeping you fuller, longer). Be careful what you add to your coffee. Read labels.
- You can do it. You can. The battle begins and ends in your mind. You have control over your thoughts and ultimately your actions.
Don’t look at how far you have to go, but how far you’ve come when you start to lose motivation.
Let me stress again the importance of reading labels on core ingredients… I bet you will be surprised. It is vital to your success in losing weight.
If you have any questions or would like to chat with me, please email me at email@example.com. I would love to hear from you!
My tips for gaining muscle/weight:
I have been strength training since June 11, 2013 (I was 25 at the time). I started at 135 pounds (5’7″) and within my first year, I was reaching 180 pounds. While focusing on squatting as much weight as possible, I reached my heaviest at 205 lbs. All this coming from someone that had trouble gaining weight all my life.
Every meal, I ate in excess while not being completely reckless. I would eat as much high-protein food as possible, even though it wasn’t lean (chuck, aka burgers were my forté). Every burger was plan, no condiments or cheese. I would eat about 50g of protein per sitting (which at my muscle mass, about 15 grams of protein were wasted) to reach 700+ calories per meal. I ate to eat, it became a chore.
Before we continue, a quick note on the section below. Everyone has their own opinion on how to manage their diet when building muscle. Everyone thinks they’re right and will fight to the death to prove it. The tips below are intended as a stepping stone, I suggest you cater it to your lifestyle and goals.
Time for some non-definitive bullet points:
Eat more than you burn.
- Eat breakfast! Don’t skip the most important meal of the day.
- Don’t be reckless. Go for high calorie but ignore ingredients/condiments that don’t attribute to your overall goal.
- Don’t forget to eat. I know that sounds crazy but sometimes life gets in the way and you go hungry. Try not to allow that hunger feeling to go on for too long. Plan out your day if necessary. Mixed nuts, granola bars, tuna/cracker sets, etc. should hold you over.
- After working out, fill your body with simple carbs. Apple sauce, fruit, baby food, dried raisins/craisins, poptarts, etc. (This is a light snack, not a meal.)
- Eat real food (i.e., a protein with white rice) after your post-workout snack. If you’re in a pinch, a protein shake will work, but add some real food to it. Balance out all that milk protein. Milk, banana, a little peanut butter, and protein powder. Just remember real food is always better than protein powder, this is not a substitute.
- Eat before you workout! Consider not eating garbage (like fast food) before working out. Personally, I cook up some pasta (season your water with salt) and just eat that 30 to 60 minutes before lifting. This creates good/clean energy and a nice pump.
- If you’re pressed for time, consider pre-making all your meals. Buy meat or fish in bulk at Costco/Sam’s Club/BJ’s (tenderloin is cheap and lean). I would bake it with salt, pepper, mojo. Weight out a 6 – 8 oz serving with a cup of white rice or sweet potato, into tupperware and into the freezer. It would yield about 12 meals (about 2 – 3 bucks per serving). You can omit the carb depending on your goals, or make some with and some without the carb.
- If you want a snack, grab some yogurt or cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is a great snack before bed as the protein is slow digesting.
- Spend your green on food before supplements. I don’t spend much money on supplements, my stack consists of, a multivitamin, fish oils, creatine, L-arginine (morning/night), and coffee/expresso as a pre-workout.
My inbox is always open for any questions you might have, firstname.lastname@example.org.