In this article, you will find top 7 nutrition/diet planning tips that help the beginners get started with their diet and nutrition planning.
Proper nutrition and diet planning is very important for any fitness goal. There are a number of different nutrition strategies that can help you change your body composition the way you want – macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat) components, nutrient timing, intermittent fasting, etc.).
Whether your goal is weight loss, muscle gain, weight maintenance, or weight gain, you need to follow certain guidelines in planning your diet & nutrition as you begin to workout/exercise.
I have compiled certain important nutrition/diet planning tips to help you get started with your diet and nutrition planning. This will help you make healthier food choices to meet your body nutrition needs in accordance with your fitness goal.
Beginners Workout Nutrition Tips & Diet Planning
For most people, nutrition is a puzzle! Include this to your diet! Don’t eat that! Eat that! It’s ok; maybe eat just a little bit of that! Actually, every one is different and the diet should be in accordance with that. Ethnicity, genetics, activity level, your absorption abilities, and so many other factors play key roles in any individual’s nutritional needs. However, there are some healthy eating tips/habits that are relevant for almost everybody when aiming for optimal health.
It’s A Numbers Game – Calories Matter!
“Calories in, calories out” universally plays a key role in weight gain or weight loss. One thing we all need to understand is that in order to gain muscle, any human body needs more calories (energy) than it burns each day. If your aim is to gain muscle mass, skipping on carbs, and even dietary fat, can obstruct your goal. You should also understand that no one can add only muscle and no fat, not even Mr. Olympia. Be ready to accept the fact that you will gain some body fat. That said, as long as you’re adding more muscle than fat, you’re heading in the right direction.
A universal thumb rule is: A 3500 calorie deficit over a week = 1 pound fat lost over the week. You can use this norm to modify your diet plan according to your goal – weight loss or weight gain.
Here are some food options that you can take when working out.
- Workout recovery smoothie
- Greek yogurt with nuts and fruit
- Peanut butter sandwich
- Eggs and whole-grain toast
[Read here: You don’t need to count Calories]
Set Your Protein Mark
Whether it is animal or plant-based, your body needs adequate protein to maintain & gain muscle. This is important for whether you do resistance training, aerobic exercise or both.
Good thing about protein is that it’s lower in calories (only four calories in one gram) and moreover it helps change the glycemic index of a meal, as it takes longer to digest.
For example you can add a little bit of protein to your every meal to help provide the feeling of fullness & lower blood sugar levels – both of which are good when your objective is to build muscle & control or reduce weight/shed fat.
If your goal is building more muscle mass, your protein needs would be higher because protein repairs damaged muscle fibers and support muscles building hormones in the body.
If you are working toward packing on some serious muscle mass, you need to intake one gram of protein per pound of your bodyweight daily. For a 140-pound individual, that would mean 140 grams per day, but this number can rise depending on many factors.
If you do not grow on one gram per pound, or if you feel sore for more than a couple of days after working out, increase your protein intake up to 1.3 grams—182 grams of protein a day for the 140-pound guy.
[Read: Why & How Much Protein You Need]
Spread Out Your Protein Intake
The more we spread out our protein intake during the day, the easier it would be for the body to absorb it. Though the amount of protein you intake is important, but equally important is how much of the protein you intake actually gets digested and makes its way into your muscles
You can have a constant supply of protein from eating every 2½-3 hours – so, consider eating 6 meals a day (as opposed to the typical 2 or 3). This will not only help maintain levels of cortisol (a muscle-wasting hormone) under check, but will also keep sufficient levels of testosterone, the powerful hormone that boosts muscle repair.
[Macro-Nutrients Guide-Protein, Carbs & Fat]
Set Your Carb Mark
If gaining muscle mass is your goal, you need not ignore carbs. Carbohydrates fuel your training and allow you to workout harder and longer. Carbs get going a hormonal mechanism in your body that steers amino acids from protein into your muscle tissues to help repair and recovery.
On the other hand, with a low-carb diet chances are that won’t be able to have adequate energy to workout as hard as you need to build muscles. Moreover, you’ll fail to utilize carbs’ ability to help drive protein into your muscles.
I recommend that most of your carbs should be complex, coming from such sources as oatmeal, potatoes, whole-grain-sprouted breads and pastas.
Begin by in-taking 2 grams of carbs per pound of your body weight a day (280g for the 140-lb guy) and may go up to as much as 3 grams per pound (close to 320 grams for the 140 pounder).
[Are Carbs Good Or Bad For You]
Quick Post-Workout Meal
Within thirty minutes after training, consider eating 20-30 grams of fast-digesting protein. A quick way out is having a whey-based protein powder mixed with water in a shaker cup. Also eat fifty-sixty grams of fast-digesting carbs such as fruits (banana) with yogurt.
The fast-digesting combination of whey & simple carbohydrates quickly reverses muscle breakdown that happens from intense workouts. Moreover, it calibrates your body’s hormonal balance from one in which muscle is under attack to one that contributes to the rebuilding process.
Eat the Rainbow
Many people do not eat enough vegetables & fruits. Vegetables & fruits supply your body a variety of necessary micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, etc.) that your body requires to function. Whether it’s metabolism, nutrient delivery or proper muscle function, your body needs these important nutrients. These micronutrients are critical for your everyday function and play a big role in exercising/working out. Make sure that you include many different colors in your diet so that your body gets a large variety of the nutrients. An important thing about vegetables & fruits is that their color indicate the kind of nutrients inside – for example orange carrots = beta-carotene.
[Why & How To Increase Fiber Intake?]
Water, Water, Water
The human body is made up of over 50% water. Water plays critical role in all our day-to-day functions, including digestion, metabolism, temperature regulation, joint lubrication, generation of energy and various other functions.
Water is certainly not only important for everyday routine functions but also plays an essential role in your body movements and exercise.
Your body loses water through urination, sweat, internal processes, etc. So, it becomes important to replenish it to stay adequately hydrated. Your body water requirement vary depending on many factors such as climate, age, muscle mass, sweat rate, etc.
So, drink more water. Experts suggest that between 91-125 ounces are generally considered enough daily intake for most men and women.
[Read: 10 Healthy Eating Habits]
Choose Healthier Versions
Simple food item swaps can make substantial change in your diet nutrition profile, leading to significant improvement in your health and body composition.
Some food items can provide you more nutrition with fewer calories. And wrong foods selection can make you feel lethargic and/or contribute to deficiency of the essential nutrients for proper functioning of your body. Foods with appropriate nutrients can provide you good feeling before, during, and after exercise.
I am providing here below a few examples of healthy eating swaps:
[7 Secret Foods That Dieticians Eat To Stay Fit & Healthy]
|CURRENT SELECTION||BETTER OPTION|
|Fried Foods||Baked or Grilled Foods|
|Juice or Soda||Water, Herbal Tea, Fresh Juice With Fiber|
|White Bread||Sprouted Grain Bread|
|Canola Oil||Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil or Coconut Oil|
|Chips||Baked Veggie Sticks|
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About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me age is just a number!”