1 / Eat frequent, small meals
For the best results in terms of high energy level, diminished body fat, muscle growth, and good gastrointestinal health, you should be eating five to six meals per day with calories that range from 300-1,000 depending upon your size and goals. No time to eat right five times a day? How long does it take to "prepare" a meal replacement shake like 5+1 or Solid Gains?
You should carry a supply of these scientific wonders, which have the exact nutrient profiles that you need with you at all times. Keep a stash in you car, office, or gym bag. The longer you make your body wait between meals, the less efficient it becomes at burning fat and or gaining lean tissue. Long periods without eating will greatly increase your chance of overeating when you finally allow yourself to have a meal.
2 / Be sure to consume adequate protein
Proteins are the main building blocks of the body and like carbohydrates, each gram of protein contains 4 calories. Active individuals typically require approximately one gram of protein per pound of ideal weight per day in order to maintain their lean tissue mass. Bodybuilders, strength athletes, and endurance athletes are in a perpetual cycle of muscle degradation and reconstruction and have even larger protein demands.
Foods such as milk, cheese, eggs, poultry, red meat, and fish are rich sources of protein. If you find it difficult to eat adequate dietary protein, and most active people do, I recommend supplementing with a quality low-carb/low-fat protein powder such as HDT's Problend-55.
3 / Understand the different types of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates contain four calories per gram and are the main energy source for the body. When three or more 6-carbon sugar molecules are joined, the resulting molecule is known as a complex carbohydrate. One or two 6-carbon sugar molecules linked together comprises a simple sugar. Complex carbs are further sub classified into fibrous and starchy carbohydrates.
When consumed, simple sugars like sucrose and dextrose, as well as refined complex carbohydrates like white flour, provide a burst of energy which often gives way to feelings of lethargy. Typically, unrefined complex carbohydrates are assimilated by the system more slowly than simple sugars and will provide constant and sustained (though less intense) energy levels.
4 / Limit sugars in favor of low glycemic index carbohydrates
The lower the glycemic index of a given carbohydrate, the more gradually it will be digested into its component parts and absorbed from the GI tract into the bloodstream. Less insulin is released from the pancreas over a given time in response to foods with low glycemic indices. Hence, the body has more time to utilize the molecules for fuel rather than storing them as fat.
Whole grains, legumes, pasta, and yams are among the best sources of complex carbohydrates. Processed foods such as white rice and bread, and even non processed foods like potatoes have higher glycemic indices and are assimilated at rates similar to simple sugars and are more readily stored as fat.
One major exception to this rule is fructose, the simple sugar found in fruit, which has a very low glycemic index. One thing to focus on when speaking of carbohydrates is that you need roughly a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein in your post workout meal. The post training meal should have a high quality carbohydrate, protein, BCAA's, and Glutamine..
5 / Be sure to consume adequate fiber
Because fiber cannot be digested by the human GI tract, it does not contribute calories and is passed as waste. It is, none-the-less, vital to good health. Inadequate dietary fiber leads to a sluggish GI tract, water retention, bloating, constipation, and an increased risk of developing colon cancer. In addition to being rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, fruits and leafy vegetables are excellent fiber sources and most references advice consuming at lease five servings per day.
For optimal fat burning, limit starchy carb consumption later in the day, eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables instead. If you are like most people then eating enough fiber may be difficult so grab some Fiber Psyll. Only one serving will give you 12 grams of fiber, or roughly half the days needs. The best part is that Fiber Psyll tastes good!
6 / Eat the right fats
Fats are important energy sources when stored glycogen is limited. Fats contain 9 calories per gram, more than twice the amount found in carbohydrates and proteins. Saturated fats, derived from animal sources, have been shown to contribute more heavily to the development of cardiovascular disease than unsaturated fats derived from plant sources. For health reasons, fats should be limited to less than 30% of your caloric intake.
The key with fats is that you need to get the right fats. Solid Gains was developed with the hard training athlete in mind when it was formulated with 3 grams of Omega-3 containing Flax Oil. When selecting fat look for anything high in Omega3 fatty acids like salmon, and or use an essential fat supplement like flax oil or fish oil.
7 / Drink a lot of water
Most sources recommend that the active individual consume a minimum of one gallon of water per day. Water aids the liver and kidneys in the detoxification of poisons and the elimination of wastes from the body. Without sufficient water, we become dehydrated and our organs (including muscle, liver and kidney) do not function optimally. Optimal kidney function leaves the liver free to perform maximum lypolysis, or fat burning.
In addition, Water is both an appetite suppressant and an excellent diuretic. Not only will high fluid intake increase urination, it will also decrease overall water retention and bloat. Although you may have to work up to a gallon a day gradually over a week or so while your bladder adjusts, you will reap the benefits of your efforts almost immediately.
In fact, drinking water below your body temperature can actually help you to lose weight. Did you know that consuming one gallon of water chilled to 32 degrees will cause your body to burn 300 calories just to heat it up so your body can use it? What an easy way to burn fat!
8 / Aim to prevent, not quench, your thirst
Proper hydration leads to enhanced thermoregulation and increased oxygen exchange in the lungs. Simply stated, the well hydrated individual will have greater endurance and a more comfortable workout. Since we do not feel thirsty until we are already in a dehydrated state, it is best to drink water with sufficient frequency to prevent thirst.
9 / Keep alcohol to a minimum
Alcohol is not exactly classified as a nutrient, but it is widely consumed and warrants mention. Alcohol is the enemy of the dieter and the athlete. It contains 7 calories per gram, nearly as much as fat, and is completely without nutritional value. Not only does alcohol contribute empty calories, it slows the body's metabolic rate so that less calories are burned over time.
In addition, alcohol consumption leads to a transient hypoglycemic state and subsequent food cravings. Finally, alcohol is hepatotoxic and even moderate drinking leads to fatty deposits on the liver. While the liver works hard to detoxify the system of alcohol, it is less efficient at lipolysis, or fat burning.
10 / Be aware of the nutritional content of your food
Use books or other guides to keep track of the calories, protein, and fat. You should measure your food (with a measuring cup or scale) until you have a good idea of exactly what a "portion" actually represents. Most people grossly overestimate portion size and hence grossly underestimate their caloric intake.