Fitness 360: Karina Baymiller, Petite Powerhouse--Nutrition

More than anything, Karina Baymiller believes in balance. Her fitness approach is holistic and sustainable. Learn how she applies this concept to nutrition.

Nutrition is about lifestyle, not about diet fads that have a second in the spotlight and then fade into oblivion. Sure, you may have lost 10 pounds in a week on your juice diet, but how sustainable is that plan? Instead of losing herself in silly, unhelpful diets, Karina made the choice to develop a nutrition plan she could use throughout her life.

Her nutrition plan isn't complex; it's nothing every single person couldn't follow each day. And that's what makes her so inspiring. She has a healthy, positive, realistic approach to nutrition-we could all take a page out of her book.

Karina's Nutrition Philosophy ///

Karina's diet is roughly 80 percent paleo. "The 20 percent comes from artificial sweeteners in some of the supplements I use, organic dairy, gluten-free oats, and the occasional ice cream treat. Okay, maybe it's more like 70/30, but who's counting?" She also says she stays away from processed foods, sugar, grains, and anything containing gluten. "I've found that I feel much better without gluten in my diet."

Although the term "cheat meal" seems to have embedded itself in the fitness community, Karina doesn't believe the word holds any value. "If your eating habits are a lifestyle," she explains, "then you shouldn't be planning your week around gorging yourself every Friday night."

It's more important to pay attention to your macronutrients and create a nutrition plan around how much protein, fat, and carbs you need. Everyone's macros will look a little different. Whether your goal is fat loss, muscle building, or maintenance, eat to give your body what it needs to achieve that particular goal.

"I'm a big fan of the 'If It Fits Your Macros' (IIFYM) philosophy," Karina says. If you can fit a "cheat" food into your macros, then it's much more sustainable than saying "no" to everything except brown rice, chicken, and broccoli. If she's craving some chocolate or ice cream, she can make it fit into her macros. That doesn't mean she eats an entire gallon of ice cream. She just measures what she needs to meet her macronutrient needs and plans her day accordingly.

She admits, though, that IIFYM doesn't work for every situation. "If I'm at a birthday party and eat a cupcake, or if I go out with friends and have a few drinks, I don't beat myself up over it." Alcohol doesn't fit into anyone's macronutrient profile, but having some doesn't mean you've destroyed any chance of success. "I return to my regular eating habits as soon as possible and move on. Drinking and eating cupcakes aren't daily occurrences, but there is a time and a place for excess. I believe life is all about balance."

Clearly, Karina's "balanced" lifestyle is working. Here's what she eats on a regular basis.

Karina's Meal Plan ///
Meal 1: 7 a.m.
Meal 2: 11 a.m.
Meal 3: 1 p.m.
Meal 4: 4 p.m.
Meal 5: 7 p.m.
Meal 6: 10 p.m.