Why isn't everyone who trains consistently shredded to the bone? The answer is nutrition. Only when you combine the right training program with proper nutrition will you lose fat and build muscle. Nutrition is an exercise in determination, which means you have to be consistent each and every day.
But eating for fat loss doesn't have to mean starvation diets of only chicken breasts and broccoli. Follow the tried and true strategies for meal plans and timing, and you too can be the proud owner of a truly ripped physique.
The example meals below are based on a 1175 calories per day fat loss diet. You may need to adjust the amounts of foods to meet your individual caloric needs.
|6 egg whites||22g||0g||0g||103|
|1 whole egg||1g||0g||7g||92|
|1/3 cup uncooked oats||4g||18g||1g||103|
|1 tbsp natural peanut/almond butter||4g||4g||8g||105|
|1 slice wheat bread||2g||12g||1g||65|
|3/4 cup cooked brown rice||3g||34g||0g||164|
|3 cups spinach/mixed greens||3g||3g||0g||21|
|3-4 slices avocado||0g||1g||5g||45|
|5oz sweet potato||2g||24g||0g||103|
|1 cup broccoli||3g||6g||0g||35|
|1 tsp olive oil||0g||0g||5g||45|
|4oz tilapia or whitefish||30g||0g||5g||145|
|3/4 cup mixed vegetables steamed||4g||18g||0g||89|
If you want to transform your physique, burn fat, and reveal a toned and well shaped body, you've got to commit to your nutrition plan 100%. Maybe you're a "healthy eater" most of the time or maybe you're stuck on fast-food, soda and microwave meals - whatever the case, your new fat loss meal plan is finally going to show you the lasting weight loss results you've been waiting for.
We'll give you the knowledge and the plan, but you've got to bring dedication, passion and consistency.
Your new fat loss nutrition plan is going to be based on three things:
- The Right Fuel - whole foods and high quality protein sources
- Timing - eating 5-6 times a day in the right portions
- Calorie Deficit - eating 300-500 calories below your caloric maintenance level
If you follow these three simple principles, we guarantee you will succeed. All the resources you need to build a full-proof fat loss nutrition program can be found on Bodybuilding.com. By eating the right foods in smaller portioned meals spaced throughout the day, you'll feel energized and your body will turn into a fat incinerating machine.
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Small Frequent Meals Of The Right Foods Will Turn
Your Body Into A Fat Incinerating Machine.
We've built an example meal plan that you can use as a template for your meals. Our example meal plan won't necessarily meet your caloric needs, so the amounts of foods will be different for you depending on what you need. But the individual meals are designed with the best foods in the best ratio for fat loss.
This is a suggested meal plan that you can follow every day if you want, but you can change up the foods to add variety or slowly cut calories/add calories depending on your results and how you feel. Tracking progress and adjusting your nutrition plan is a critical component to seeing results - your body will be changing and so will your dietary needs. All the information to help you adjust your meal plan can be found on this page.
Rule #1 Frequent And Consistent Meals
If you want to lose fat for good, you can't expect to see results from a crash diet of a few days or couple of weeks. Lasting weight loss is a product of eating clean (no processed or junk food) week after week, month after month. It takes time, and the people around you who've done it will tell you that staying consistent is the most important lesson you'll learn.
From now on, you'll be eating every two to three hours, having 5-6 quality meals throughout the day. It's not as hard as you might think. Just concentrate on having breakfast, lunch and dinner, and 3 well-balanced snacks in between.
Don't Skip Meals!
If you're the kind of person who skips breakfast or lunch, or both, and then eats a large dinner, that type of eating will not work for you on a fat loss diet. If you feel hungry, EAT something - just make it the right foods that are described on this page.
Forget the typical 3 meals a day, because your metabolism and your body will thank you for eating more frequently. Eating 5-6 meals a day will feed your body with a steady stream of high quality nutrients, rather than bombarding it with large amounts of food that will be stored as fat. Eating often will help keep hunger under control and reduce cravings. Your metabolism will run at high gear, your body will be primed to burn fat as fuel, and you'll start shedding excess pounds.
On this fat loss nutrition plan, you can safely lose between 2-3lbs of fat per week. If you try to lose fat much faster than that, you'll end up sacrificing hard earned muscle tone. And that means - no ripped six pack. Ultimately, your overall health and wellness is the number one priority. Shedding 2-3lbs of fat per week will help you stay energized and won't leave you constantly tired, hungry and cranky!
Rule #2 Calorie Deficit To Burn Fat
In order to lose fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit. It's simple; a calorie deficit means you need to burn off more calories than you take in during the day.
Many fad diets reduce calories so low that you'll see great results at first and then hit a plateau. Or, even worse, you end up gaining all the weight back faster than you lost it! Proper nutrition is essential for continued progress, and if you take in too few calories your body will actually store fat, not shed it. Healthy fat loss takes hard work and time, but it's worth every minute!
Put Calories to Work for You - The Fat Loss Ratio
Your fat loss nutrition plan is going to be broken down into a specific calorie ratio: 40/40/20. You should get 40% of your calories from high quality protein sources, 40% from complex and fibrous carbohydrates (including vegetables and some fruit), and 20% from natural and healthy fats.
Don't worry - we'll break this ratio down in terms of real foods when we talk about what foods you'll be eating for your fat loss meal plan.
By splitting your calories in the proper ratio between protein and carbohydrates and healthy fats, you'll be able to fuel your muscles, burn fat, and re-shape your body. If you want your body to be strong, toned, and carved with muscle definition, this ratio will get you there.
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With The Proper Balance Of Protein, Carbohydrates,
And Fats You'll Become Strong, Toned, And Defined.
Rule #3 The Right Fuel - Food And Portions
To sculpt the body of your dreams, you have to start putting high quality fuel in your body. Use the best fuel to operate at your optimal ability both in and outside of the gym! Transforming your body means putting 100% effort into each and every workout, and to fuel those workouts you need the best foods. Let's talk about macro and micronutrients.
Your macronutrients are the major players in your diet that you need to function properly, including carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Micronutrients are things like vitamins and minerals that are necessary for your overall health and wellness and are scattered throughout the foods we eat. Fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are great sources of micronutrients.
Foods For Fat Loss
Although Carbohydrates have a bad rap in today's society, they are actually your body's preferred energy source. That means you need carbs for energy throughout the day and to fuel your workouts. If you eat the right kind of carbs, they'll actually assist in your fat loss program.
You'll be eating two types of carbs for your fat loss meal plan:
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Eating The Right Carbs Throughout The Day Will
Provide You With Energy And Fuel To Workout.
The key is to find a balance with your carbohydrate intake so that you're eating complex carbohydrates when your body needs energy and sticking to fibrous carbs like vegetables, the rest of the time.
Fruits are not only tasty but full of vitamins and minerals that are essential for general health and wellness. But fruits are generally high in sugar and calories. The key to eating fruit on a fat loss diet is to eat small portions in your early meals so that you have time burn off the calories during the day.
Protein is responsible for muscle tissue growth and repair. On a fat loss diet, it's extremely important to keep your lean protein intake high to prevent muscle breakdown. Your goal should be to get about 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight as a minimum.
Your food protein sources help stabilize your metabolism, fueling you throughout the day and curbing hunger. High quality protein sources will also help your body switch to fat burning while maintaining lean muscle to give you that defined, strong and lean look.
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High Quality Protein Sources Will Help
The Body Burn Fat While Maintaining Muscle.
Protein supplements - protein powders, protein bars, ready-to-drink shakes and meal replacements can be easy, convenient additions to your daily protein intake. Remember though, supplements should be additions to a diet of whole, unprocessed, lean foods.
Not all fats are created equal, and to lose fat you need healthy fat in your diet. Healthy fats and essential fatty acids like Omega 3s found in cold water fish, flax seed, and the fats found in olive oil and avocado play a major role in hormone production, skin tone, and brain function. Fats will help keep your energy levels constant and supply the body with essential nutrients. Make sure you don't overdo fats as they are calorie dense, but small amounts added to your meals will be very beneficial to your fat loss efforts.
Essential Fatty Acid or Omega 3 supplements - fish oil capsules, flax seed oil capsules, and omega 3 capsules are becoming increasingly popular supplements to help maintain healthy levels of essential fatty acids. If you don't have a problem eating foods like fish, seeds, nuts and avocado you shouldn't have a problem getting healthy fats from whole foods. But EFA and Omega 3 supplementation is a great addition to your diet for additional support.
A Note On "Bad Fats"
If there are good fats then what are "bad fats?" Bad fats are fats that, if taken in high amounts, may cause health problems. Stay away from foods high in saturated fats that are found in animal products and some plant oils (coconut and palm oil); choose low fat or non-fat dairy products and cut visible fat from your meat. Trans fats and hydrogenated oils are chemically produced to help increase the shelf life of processed foods like candy bars, margarine, fast food, and many packaged foods - stay far away from trans fats.
"Wait, I'm A Vegetarian Or Vegan So How Can I Follow The Plan?"
If you don't eat meat or animal products, you can still transform your body by burning fat and maintaining lean muscle mass. Your meal plan will require some creativity to make sure you get a high quality source of protein with every meal. If you eat dairy products then low fat or fat free cottage cheese and fat free yogurt are great options to help boost your protein intake.
Other vegetarian options include soy products, which are sold in most big chain grocery stores and are often convenient sources of protein. And you may also want to try "fake meat" products, which are made from plant proteins like soy, mushroom and more, but these products are flavored and formed into meat-like substitutes like fake chicken patties, fake burger patties, and even meatless taco meat. These products can help make meals convenient and tasty, but always read nutrition labels to avoid foods that are high in sodium, high fructose corn syrup, or saturated fats and hydrogenated oils.
Check out the list of fitness friendly foods on this page to see options for mixing and matching to create meals. Many vegetarian and vegan diets combine foods like beans and brown rice or natural nut butters and wheat bread to create filling, nutritious meals. Remember to follow the basic principles of a fat loss nutrition plan: eat 5-6 small meals a day, choose whole foods, and maintain a slight calorie deficit to lose fat.
What can I drink on this diet?
It might go without saying, but you need to drink lots of water throughout the day. If you're not sufficiently hydrated, you can interrupt important fat loss and muscle building processes, plus your health and performance can suffer. About a gallon of water throughout the day is perfect.
Your portion sizes will mostly go along with how many calories you want to take in every day. But if you think it sounds like a lot of work to measure your foods, don't worry! There's an easy trick to keeping yourself on track with foods. For every meal you should have:
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A Quick And Easy Way To Ensure Your Getting The Right
Amount Of Food Is Compare It To The Size Of Your Hand.
Add in a few servings of healthy fats in 2 or 3 meals throughout the day. You can measure this easily by putting 1 teaspoon of flax seed oil or olive oil in 2 of your meals and throw in some natural peanut or almond butter as a snack! Take in 1 or 2 servings of fruit per day, and remember to get plenty of vegetables! Fibrous vegetables won't make much of an impact on your diet but they can help you feel fuller and supply healthy vitamins and minerals!
Foods To Avoid
Avoid refined "white" carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, cakes, cookies, pastries or sweets that are high in calories and low in nutrients.
Stay away from most packaged and processed foods, fast food, and microwaveable meals. These foods are packed with preservatives and bad fats that will ruin your fat loss goal.
Avoid soda and high sugar fruit juices!
If you're of legal age, drink alcohol in moderation or not at all. Alcoholic drinks contain empty calories, usually all the calories come from sugars. But not all alcoholic drinks contain the same ingredients or the same amount of sugars. Stay away from mixed drinks that contain sugary additives like juices or are heavy in cream. You can make better choices, and having a drink or two on a special occasion is fine but try to alternate water between drinks.
Note On Eating At Restaurants
It can be tough to eat well when you go out with friends, forget your meals at home, or when you suddenly get a hunger craving without a healthy snack nearby.
If you end up stuck without food or go out to eat, just make smart ordering choices. Grab a grilled chicken sandwich without the mayo, grilled chicken breast, steamed veggies or a baked potato. Avoid fried foods, processed or "white" carbohydrates, and creamy or cheese-based sauces. Get your salad dressing on the side. Also skip the sugar-laden soda and for a drink just grab water. Asking for a wedge of lemon is a great way to add some flavor to a boring glass of water.
Another trick is to split your meal with someone or just box half the meal and enjoy it later. These simple rules will help you have fun without ruining your hard work.
Rule #4 Tools And Meal Preparation
The way you cook your food will have an impact on how many calories you're eating. Always choose to grill, steam or bake your food over frying it. If you're worried about foods sticking, use a non-stick spray instead of liquid oil. Spices, herbs and hot sauces can add a lot of taste with zero calories, but putting butter, cheese or cream into your meals will really set you back. Always read the nutrition labels on any condiments you like to use, and cook with olive oil when necessary.
To eat every few hours, you'll need to be prepared. You'll probably want to invest in the following:
- A small cooler or lunch box
- Plastic storage containers in different sizes for meals and snacks
- Ice packs
- A shaker bottle to mix protein shakes
- A water bottle that holds at least 36oz of water
Control your environment. From here on out, you'll be preparing meals ahead of time. Making time in your daily routine to prepare meals for the day will keep stress away and help you achieve your dream body.
Choose one day or two days a week to cook all your meals. For example, on Sunday evening, cook up a huge batch of chicken, fish, brown rice, and veggies. Separate all your meals out into correct portions in individual storage containers. You can keep half of your meals in the fridge and half in the freezer until Wednesday. You can easily cook sweet potatoes and oatmeal in a microwave for convenience. With a little bit of time management and preparation, you'll be able to fully commit to your fat loss nutrition program.
Keep yourself on the right path by loading your work refrigerator or desk with portable fuel like home-made trail mix, beef jerky, ready to drink protein shakes, protein powder, and low-carb bars from Bodybuilding.com. Having these meals on hand will prevent you from loading up on office junk food, vending machine meals, or last-minute fast-food solutions.
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Preparing Your Food Ahead Of Time And Keeping
Healthy Snacks On Hand Will Keep You On Track.
Rule#5 Pre And Post Workout Nutrition
On days when you're in the gym, you'll need to pay added attention to two specific meals: pre and post workout. Around your workouts, you need the right fuel to get results. About 1-1.5 hours before you lift, you need to have a meal that contains complex carbohydrates and a lean source of protein. This will give you sustained energy to get through intense training sessions.
If you don't have time to eat a whole meal, make yourself a protein shake with oats. This will be the perfect combo to fuel your body to hit the weights hard, and can easily be taken with you to work for convenience. Otherwise, have a shake with yogurt, a high-protein sandwich, or something like chicken and brown rice. This will provide you with the fuel you need to blast through your workout and kick your body into fat-burning, muscle-building mode.
Immediately after your workout your body will need extra nutrients to start repair and recovery. A protein shake and a carbohydrate, like whey protein and an apple, is the fastest way to kick-start muscle repair and replenish used energy. You can also add a carbohydrate powder supplement to mix is with your protein.
So what happens if you cheat on your diet? Put it behind you and get back on track. If expecting 100% perfection stresses you out, then it's better to give yourself a break once in a while. Being stressed out will hold you back from reaching your fat loss goal because stress makes your body store fat! That's the opposite of what you want.
Whether you have an intense craving for a slice of apple pie at your favorite coffee shop, or you want to dig into a piece of pizza while watching TV with your family, a small treat every once in a while is perfectly fine. Having a small portion of a cheat food once every 2 weeks is not going to throw off everything you've worked hard to achieve. Staying consistent with your meals every day is going to help you burn fat and re-shape your body.
Remember that you should keep your "cheat meal" controlled. A cheat meal is not an excuse to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet, but a chance to indulge in a small portion of a food you love. Pick one day every two weeks to give yourself a treat. It'll help keep your morale up and show you that a clean diet is one you can keep following your whole life.
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If That Craving For Apple Pie Gets To Be Too Much
You Can Have A Cheat Meal, But Don't Overdo It.
Add Variety To Your Meals
If you don't feel like eating the same foods every day of the week, then here's where you can get creative while staying responsible to your fitness goals. Check out the list of fitness-friendly foods we've put together for you to mix and match. Apply the same rules you would to your normal meals, but you can use this list to pick different high quality protein sources, fibrous carbs, vegetables, fruits that fit into your diet, and condiments that won't ruin your progress.
Your fat loss nutrition plan can be full of delicious, fat-burning foods by simply exploring all your food options!
You won't be able to stay at the same caloric deficit forever, and you may not want to. With any fat loss nutrition program, over time, you may notice weight loss slowing down. The first adjustment you want to make is simply a replacement: replace the carbs in your last 2 or 3 meals with extra fibrous complex carbs/vegetables. That simple exchange should kick your fat loss into high gear.
But, if you aren't hitting the 2-3lbs of fat loss every week, you can remove 250 calories from your daily total that we calculated earlier. You can remove calories by adjusting the sizes of a couple of meals during the day, just make 2 or 3 meals and snacks smaller than before.
Next, check your weight loss at the end of each week. If you start to see 2-3lbs of fat lost per week then stick with that number of calories. If you're still not losing excess fat, drop another 250 calories and you'll be back on track. Since you need each and every meal to keep your metabolism high, never completely remove a meal.
Remember to track your progress! And that doesn't mean weighing yourself on a scale every morning. A regular scale can be deceiving, because it's possible to shed fat without a huge change in weight, which is more common if you're new to lifting weights and resistance training. If your weight isn't dropping but your body looks better, you are most likely losing fat while adding muscle. Don't rely only on the scale - take body measurements with measuring tape, keep a record of your body fat percentage, and take progress pictures once every 2 weeks. Ultimately, the mirror is the best judge of your success!
Achieve Success: Things To Remember
- Aim to eat a high quality protein source with each meal
- Keep protein-filled snacks with you for quick meals on the go
- Have 5-6 small meals (or 3 meals and 3 snacks) every single day, eating every 2-3 hours
- Don't avoid carbs! Just choose the right carbs like complex and fibrous carbs such as whole grains and vegetables
- Eat a majority of your carbs in the morning & early afternoon when your body can burn them for energy rather than storing as fat.
- Add a small amount of healthy fat to your meals like natural peanut butter, nuts, olive oil, flaxseed oil, or avocado
- Avoid cooking your food with butter, vegetable oil, cream or creamy sauces. Stick to grilling, baking, and steaming your foods - stay away from fat-filled toppings, dressings and sauces!
- Eliminate alcohol consumption
- Create your favorite protein shake to drink after your workout session
- Drink at least eight glasses of water a day, which includes herbal teas, and low-calorie drink mixes such as Crystal Light