As a personal trainer we tend to take a careful line when it comes to advising on nutrition. Partly because we’re fighting an uphill battle when it comes to the sheer amount of misinformation there is out there. Also, because our qualification by itself doesn’t cover very much – the questions may as well be as simple as “what’s healthier a mars bar or a banana?” So we’re not covered to do so. However, this doesn’t stop many personal trainers giving out poor advice.
At this point, you might be thinking “why should I listen to you then?” Well, I take a keen interest in being a nerd. I read a lot around any subject that can help me as a personal trainer, for my own progress and my clients’. I’m hoping I can offer you all something here.
If I get interest regarding a meal or nutrition plan the first questions I ask are why the person wants it and what do they know about nutrition. The answer to the first question is most often that the person wants to lose weight, the answer to the second is often varied but always coloured by the misinformation mentioned earlier.
So, for a quick and easy reference I’m going to leave you some tips!
Calories in vs Calories out.
If you want to lose weight you need to consume less calories then you expend. That’s it. Simple eh?
Well, kind of. Its all well and good knowing that but its how you make up those calories where it gets difficult.
Macronutrients (commonly referred to as ‘macros’) make up calories. –
1g of protein = 4 calories
1g of carbohydrates = 4 calories
1g of fat = 9 calories
So if you needed to lose weight and your daily caloric expenditure is 2500, if you ate less than this you would lose weight. The way to make up these calories really depends on your goals, age, gender, activity level and political persuasion. So to go into this here would be too much right now.
Carbs are not demonic.
As you can see from the above carbs are not fattening. They are equal to protein. So why the hate?
Misinformation. As usual.
People will say that carbohydrates aren’t needed for human survival. And that’s right, but neither are clothes. Or central heating, but they have their place. If you want energy, you need carbs. You could go the whole day avoiding carbs and survive but you’d lack energy severely.
Carbohydrates are either fibre or sugar, generally. As a general rule (aside from if you have diabetes or an insulin related illness) you can fill you your carbohydrate allowance with sugary carbs providing you have hit your fibre goals also.
Fat is important/essential.
Fat has so many good uses in the human diet. It protects your organs, it helps with hormone production and it offers you energy. Saturated fat has been found to be a good guy now, for years it was promoted as the leading cause in cardiac disease, but now they have looked into it and that was totally wrong.
The only real reason you’d need ‘low fat’ food is because of their caloric value (they’re over double the value of protein or carbohydrates) but this would be accounted for when you set/figure out your macronutrients.
Further Reading for you –
Anything by Alan Aragon. He has a website, a facebook and a book co-written with Lou Schuler called ‘The Lean Muscle Diet’. It is a Men’s Health Production but don’t let that put you off.
Layne Norton, his youtube is full of handy nutritional tips.
What to do now?
I've alluded to the fact that your diet/nutrition plan needs to be individualised. If you want help with that or anything else feel free to contact me!
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