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As I mentioned in my previous article, a good nutritional eating plan is crucial and can be as much as 80% of your overall training results. You just can't overlook it or neglect it...
When you start an exercise program you need to adjust and clean your diet as well! You see the food you consume is like the fuel you put in your vehicle. Therefore, it's a must to provide your body with optimum macronutrients for maximum results.
What I meant by a "clean diet" was one free of processed, altered and/or junk food. Learning "to eat to live rather then to live to eat" is basically what you should strive to achieve. I understand that it can be challenging at first to stay away from the pizza place or donut shop but trust me these changes are necessary in order to attain the physique you want and the health you deserve!
Now, that doesn't mean you will have to always be on a perfect diet and never be able to "side track" at a party or while eating out! Lets be realistic, eating is one of life's pleasure and most people truly enjoy it! Personally, I find that allowing myself to eat whatever I want one day per week works well! I called it my cheat day. By doing this I satisfy my cravings, enjoy myself while eating out or while having company but yet still remain lean and healthy. Just remember, live, natural, nutrient rich food is what your daily menu should consist of!
I highly recommend you to eat 5-6 smaller meals per day at 2-3 hour intervals. That way, you will keep your metabolism active (preventing it from becoming sluggish), avoid hunger and tame cravings. Always remember that these meals should all contain a portion of protein, carbohydrate and some good fat.
Here are a few of my favorite choices for each of these macronutrients:
- Tuna (both rich in omega 3 oil)
- Chicken breast (without skin)
- Lean ground turkey (makes great burger patty)
- Tofu (great alternative source of protein)
- Egg whites (great omelets)
- Oatmeal (immune system enhancer, high cholesterol prevention)
- Ezekiel bread (flourless, made with organic sprouted grains, zero grams of sugar, rich in fiber)
- Brown rice
I choose mine from complex carbohydrates as they keep you satisfied longer and keep your insulin level more stable then the simple sugar carb source.
If you wish to consume fruits, do so right after your workout and if possible preferably in the morning as well. This is a great advice specially for those who want to emphasize weight loss (body fat).
As for vegetables, eat them freely. They are packed with good nutrients yet low in calories. Try to eat a couple of green salads (romaine or green leaf) per day, it with help keep you regular and provide you some vitamins/minerals. I like to eat mine with flax seed oil mixed with some olive oil. Avocado (high in fat), carrot (higher in simple sugar) and potato (higher in carbs and calories) should be consumed in a controlled portion.
- Flax seed oil (vegetal source of omega 3)
- Safflower/canola/soybean oil (omega 6)
- Olive oil (rich in monounsaturated oil and also contain omega 6)
You need to include good fats (essential fatty acid) in your diet. They are necessary for proper brain function and are a source of energy utilize by the body(specially when on a low carbohydrate diet). They are two kind of essential fatty acid called Omega 3 and Omega 6. They should always be consume in a proper ratio for optimum health which is 4:1 (omega 6 to omega 3). Let me list a few:
Note that deep cold water fish (like tuna/salmon) are great source of omega 3 too. You can also obtain the benefits of these fats through supplementation. Primrose oil or borage oil for omega 6 and Dha or flax seed oil capsules for omega 3.
The portions for all these macronutrients depend on your goals (loosing weight, gaining weight...), physical condition (active person, ill/sedentary individual...) and gender. You can e-mail for more personal detail on that.
Wouldn't want to conclude this without mentioning the importance of water! Your body is composed of 70% of it and a great deal of bodily function are closely affected by it. Drink AT LEAST 8-10 cups of pure water every day. I never go less than a gallon per day myself. It helps all those nutrients/vitamins/minerals you are taking in their absorption. Always wait 30 min at least after a meal to drink water as it can interfere in the proper digestion process.