When it comes to diet there are three variables that we need to consider in order to achieve our goals, be that losing weight or gaining muscle. These variables are Quantity, Quality and Timing so basically what we eat, how much of it we eat and when we eat it. I will discuss these three variables, to give you a definite plan of action to achieve your goals be that weight loss or weight gain.
First of all let's discuss your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is the amount of energy your body needs to carry out all of it's most basic tasks for the day, the amount of energy required to keep your weight in equilibrium, not going up, not going down. This is a very important thing to know as you could be the healthiest person in the world but still be overeating. For example, for arguments sake let's say that your BMR was 1500 calories per day and you only ate apples (impossible I know) but you ate a hell of a lot of apples, say you ate 2000 calories worth per day. Next let's say that you did this seven days a week and you performed very little exercise, this would then be enough of a surplus to put on 1lb of fat per week! It's the law of thermodynamics, the most simple equation in dieting.
If your goal is weight loss, aim for 500 less calories than your BMR and create the deficit through a combination of eating less and exercising more. Likewise if your goal is weight gain create a surplus of 500 calories through eating more good quality food, like protein and healthy fat rich meats.
Now finally let's discuss what you eat and when you eat it. If your goal is weight loss then you want to restrict your carbohydrates a little more and aim to get them from slow releasing good quality sources like vegetables, spelt pastas, sweet potatoes and rolled oats, try to aim to eat the majority of your carbohydrates early in the day. It's also important to watch the quality of your fat intake, you want your fat sources to be mainly from fish, olive oil, flaxseed oil (only cold) and nuts. Eating too much carbohydrate and eating it un accompanied by protein will lead to energy crashes and weight gain.
If your goal is weight gain that doesn't give you a license to stuff your face with whatever you want to make up the surplus, the days of bulking up on whatever you like have long gone and it will only leave you needing to diet when you reach your target weight, we want good quality lean muscle not fat! So you also want to aim for the same foods as above but with a greater carbohydrate intake throughout the day especially after training.
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