Cheat Sheet for Summer Transformation
Written by: Coach Slater
Nutrition can seem overwhelming. One article tells you this, another one tells you that. The reality is that there isn’t one right way to eat, and the only person who truly knows what works best is YOU based on how you feel inside and out, what works with your lifestyle, etc… and that nutrition plan will change over time. Changing a program is not only essential, but inevitable, to continue toward your goals. But, here are four simple guidelines to get you started on your summer transformation. In later weeks, I’ll come back with some more specifics to help you fine-tune your approach.
1. Eat Real Foods
This is 80% of the battle, and this alone solves sooo much. If you haven’t figured this out yet and are worrying about Juice Cleansing, Intermittent Fasting, Neuron Velocity, or whatever the hell else, then you’re missing the point. Those are “…just details, not big picture items.” Buy more food from the outer rim at your local grocer. Only dive into the aisles for whole wheat items, rice, olive oils, etc.. There’s also a time and place for fruit, but as Gary Taubes has said, “If you’re overweight, fruit is not your friend.”
Make most of your food choices based around natural foods, but don’t become neurotic and believe that Fruity Pebbles or a Pop-Tart now and then is going to kill you or make you fat overnight. Likewise, don’t think they’re the same things as broccoli or sweet potatoes.
2. Eat For Your Goal
If you need to lose fat, you need a calorie deficit. So, eat until satisfied, not until full. If you need to gain weight/mass, you need a calorie surplus. So, you may have to get used to eating to an uncomfortable state for awhile. And, if you’re eating for performance AND body composition, then the timing of your carb intake needs to be around your training, with fats coming at other times of the day.
Ultimately, the best diet is the one that you can apply on a consistent basis that promotes good health, increases lean mass, promotes fat loss, and doesn’t cause you to end up with some kind of eating disorder. A diet is only as good as your consistency with it. Despite all we know through science, and even through anecdotal evidence, people have to find their own way. Most of the time, especially when it comes to eating/dieting/nutrition, the best answers usually fall somewhere in the area of moderation. Eat some carbs, some good fats, get your protein in. Reduce calories to lose some fat, eat some extra calories to build some muscle.
3. Do More on Your Rest Days
Resting three days a week? Don’t just sit around on those days. Get up and go for a bike ride, a hike thru the woods, or come to the gym and find people to play some games of Spikeball. To lose weight, you want to increase your total calorie burn each day, and one way to do that is simply be more active every day by increasing your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). Evan has also written about how high intensity workouts like we do at Derby City are much better for fat loss than long, slow, distance running.
4. Meal Prep
“Food Prep” can make a night & day difference with your nutrition. It doesn’t mean you have to prepare EVERY meal for EVERY day of the week, but a little can go a long way. Maybe you just cook some animal protein ahead of time since they take up so much time usually, and cook some vegetables or carbs through the week. Invest in some glass Pyrex containers (they’re always on sale at Kroger) and stop making the excuse of “I just need to prep my food. I catch myself stuck without prepared food.” You are in control, and delicious comfort food will always be around for you if you want them, but you’re making a conscious decision as to how much, when, and how often you have such foods. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!