Look around at fitness sites online, and you can quickly become convinced that you have to count and tightly control your macros in order to transform. You don't!
But here's the thing: Just as with the training plan, you've got to stick to a single nutritional approach consistently for a while to see its effects. Consistency will be key in completing your transformation journey. This means consistent planning, consistent training, consistent positivity, consistent patience, and of course, consistent nutrition. Although each of us have varying nutrient needs, we can all benefit from a foundation of consistency when it comes to serving sizes.
Rather than suggesting you go out and buy every measuring cup and spoon available, a food scale, and the entire Tupperware shelf, let's keep it simple. Here are the common portion sizes that are specific to you and your body!
Protein: Every 3-4 hours, eat a palm-sized portion of lean, complete (animal, soy, or quinoa) protein. Before you go dumping your protein powder into your hand, know that this usually translates to 20-30 grams of protein, or one scoop of powder. Consistent protein intake will supply your muscles with a continuous supply of amino acids and help you feel full throughout the day.
Carbohydrates: Use the size of your fist as a guide to portion out high-fiber carbohydrates at your main meals, but especially before and after training. Just make sure to time your pre-workout meal at least an hour before you hit the gym so that you have plenty of time to digest the nutrients. For those meals not close to training, save your fistful for plenty of vegetables.
Fruits and Vegetables: Aim for five fistfuls of fruits and vegetables total throughout the day. There's no wrong way to work them in. Try having one serving at each meal and snack, or two at each main meal.
Not only will they provide you with an abundance of vitamins and minerals to keep you energized and healthy, but they will also keep you feeling full due to their high water and fiber content. Be sure to include fruits and vegetables in a variety of different colors so that you can reap the benefits of multiple nutrients.
Keep in mind that potatoes, peas, and corn are starchy vegetables that are higher in calories than many other vegetables. They best qualify as carbohydrates. Low-calorie veggies include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, squash, zucchini, spinach, kale, and peppers.
Fats: For liquid fats such as oils, spreads, and butters, incorporate two thumb-sized portions 3-4 times per day, preferably not around your training session. For solid fats such as nuts and seeds, you'll have to count out one serving. For example, 24 almonds is equivalent to roughly one serving size.
In summary, build your main meals like this, and you can't really go wrong. Just adjust accordingly to match your taste preferences and goals:
- 1 palm of protein
- 1 fist of fiber-rich carbohydrates
- 1-2 fists of fruits and vegetables
- 2 thumbs of fats
For more information on portion sizes check out these articles:
* Ratings as of article's date of publication