Dieting for Women – What you REALLY need to know Part 2
When I recently posted my top 5 tips for the do’s and most certainly do not’s of all things girl and diet-related – I was genuinely taken aback by the response it received. It appears as if there is a quiet revolution in progress. Forget Man versus Food. It’s more like Wo-Man wants to know her food. See what I did there?
Getting a good handle on your diet is crucial regardless of your training goal. It doesn’t matter if you are aiming to look like a Pussycat Doll or a cool GI Jane chick if you don’t get your macronutrients in order in the first place well . . . . . I can’t think of a nice eloquent phrase here but basically, it just sucks and you’d be making things very difficult for yourselves. Ahem.
So forget the nonsense and the complicated hype – Ladies here is what you REALLY need to know . . . part 2.
The most important factor when you are trying to either drop body fat, build muscle or do both boils down to simple maths – or in other words Calories In versus Calories Out.
Believe it or not, this is something most people actually struggle with or simply overlook. Too many people focus on all the nonsense around them and not enough on the proven principles. In this case basic maths.
So keep it simple. There is no need to over complicate things. Macronutrient percentages, food compositions, nutrient timings, supplementation, high rep, low rep, cardio, funkier styles of cardio is all well and good however at the end of the day if your main aim is to drop body fat for example and you are consuming more calories than you are expanding . . . well, you are going to have a hard enough time dropping body fat. It’s that simple.
I’ve written about it before >>> www.theabsgym.com/getthebasicsright
but it is something I come across a lot working in this industry and it is a fundamental stumbling block for many people starting out on their fitness journey.
And I don’t blame them either. Everywhere you look in the media at the moment there is some new gadget or idea to help you shift that stubborn belly fat, tighten up those girl-ceps and build glutes of steel. From fad diets to effortless looking ab making machines, from funky looking runners that can build you an ass as you sit on it all day to magical fat burning fairy dust I’ve seen and/or read it all.
And what’s more, is there’s a freakishly large amount of people who are sold on this kind of stuff day in day out. But again I don’t blame them. So what happens? Well not only do they end up believing the hype and all the nonsense surrounding it but they end up forming crazy expectations of what they can and can’t do in ridiculous time periods.
It’s a side on effect that results in them losing motivation, questioning why it isn’t working for them and eventually . . . well they give up.
But the bottom line is – it’s all about the maths.
Nothing complicated – just maths. Calories in versus calories out.
So before you run off and invest in the next media sensation or worry if you are in fact getting enough essential fat into your diet – sit down and work out how much you are consuming on a daily and weekly basis.
Then record it and log it.
Think that skinny mochaccino or 5 doesn’t count? Well, it does. And the same goes for the free chocolate that comes with said skinny mochaccino. And do you eat slash nibble slash again girl snack as you cook your dinner . . . . . a bit on the pan and a bit for me . . . . a bit more for the pan . . . . Yep, that counts too. Just saying.
Once you’ve established how much you should be eating, you need to take a closer look at WHAT you are eating. In other words consuming the right balance of macronutrients for your training goal.
Again this is something I’ve addressed in detail before >>>https://www.theabsgym.com/2014/
but the important thing to note is that a correct balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats is essential for effective and sustainable fat loss and or muscle growth.
Protein and fats are essential macronutrients (perform essential roles in the body) however the correct balance and use of carbohydrates in a diet is equally as essential to dropping body fat or gaining muscle.
There is no need to try and over complicate things for yourself by flip-flopping between different diets you’ve seen here there and everywhere. Keep things simple and you’re onto a winner.
Sure there are some fundamental ‘good practice’ approaches we can take. But the bottom line is your protein, carbohydrate and fat intake depend on your goal and well you basically. Your starting point, your training regime, your diet history, your age . . . you.
Everyone is different. And there is no one size fits all approach diet. So stop trying to find one
Let’s keep this simple (for now)
Many nutritionists and fitness experts agree that consuming approx. 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight is a good starting point for most people. So say for example you weigh in at 68kg or 150lbs. If you take 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight that means you take 150g of protein every day – right? Well maybe not.
*****warning slight complicated bit coming up****
You see what is one person weighs in at 150lbs with body fat % of 30% and another person weighs in at 150lbs with a body fat % of 15%.
It only seems logical that the person with a 15% body fat would need more protein than a person with 30%. Why? Because they gots more muscle.
While it’s not rocket science it is science so if you pick random numbers out of the sky or follow generic plans that are not tailored for you . . . well you know where I’m going with this.
The same too apply to carbohydrates and fats.
They too are dependent upon your goals and starting point . . . . see a pattern forming yet?
Again you can refer back to an earlier blog post explaining different approaches to consuming the macros, however it’s the same basic rules that apply.
Get your figures right.
Carbohydrates have generated a lot of bad press turning most of us into slightly crazy carb-phobes with most women being scared to even look sideways at a carb.
True story – I’ve seen it in action.
However, the bottom line is carbohydrates are not the problem – it is more the type and amount consumed that is the real issue.
Carbohydrates generate an insulin response in the body, directly stimulating muscle growth. They fuel the CNS (Central Nervous System) delaying fatigue and effectively prevent your muscle from breaking down.
Carb composition is obviously quite important and again to be clear I’m not condoning people nail all sorts and every sorts of carbs left right and centre however including the correct balance of carbohydrates into your diet could be the one component your program is currently lacking in. Again if you are not sure how much is too much or when enough is enough, start out at a moderate level and take it from there. Again to keep things simple for now most of my female clients consume anywhere between 100g – 175g carbs a day based on their activity level, training history, diet history, weight and age for example.
And I don’t just pick random numbers on it – I do my maths.
Once you have your protein and carb content worked out you can look towards your fats for the remainder of your calorie intake. It is generally accepted that 25g a day of dietary fat is essential for healthy and optimal function. Again this is an ‘essential’ amount within guidelines not a holy grail of fat intake.
Fats act as a great calorie buffer in your diet and are all the rage at the moment with many people leaning towards full fat cheeses and oils and all that craic on a daily basis. Now that’s fine to an extent but again keep in mind that fats contain more calories gram per gram than any other macronutrient so they need to be treated that way. Nail fats all day long and well basically you’ll soon look like you nail fats all day long. Most of my female clients consume anywhere between 35g-50g fats per day on average and they’re happy out.
Enough of the complicated stuff for now. When considering your macronutrient count the take home message is clear.
Protein is based on specifics – namely you. Arguably the most important macro and should be treated that way. Carbs are based on activity level, training goal and diet history and fats are based on calories – acting as the buffer in your diet filling in where the other macros haven’t.
Now you’ve got the macro balance down we can look at the issue of timing.
While timing is not the most important consideration when trying to either drop body fat or gain muscle it certainly has its place in the grander scheme of things.
Especially when we get down to the nitty-gritty of things.
Of all the macronutrients – protein, fats and carbohydrates – protein is arguably (and in my ahem awesome opinion) the most important due to the vital role it plays in the development and retention of muscle in the body.
With this being said a good guideline would be to consume protein every 2.5 – 3.5 hours throughout the course of your day. Muscle growth and muscle breakdown is a continuous process which means it doesn’t spike or peak at various times during the day. As such your body requires a steady stream of nutrients to absorb to prevent it from trying to pull the nutrients it needs from other tissues in the body – notably your current muscle tissue. Sure that would be negative craic.
So you should aim to consume anywhere between 4 and 6 meals and/or snacks containing protein every day with approx 30g or so of protein in each. Give or take.
In relation to carb intake, I personally prefer to cycle daily allowance in a 6-hour training radius. In short, I consume most if not all of my carb intake around a 6-hour window of my training for that day. Some before and some after – depending on my training schedule for that day.
Consuming carbs PRE and INTRA workout will help delay fatigue topping off your glycogen stores allowing you to perform at a higher effort. Consuming carbs POST workout will help replenish glycogen stores aiding in muscle growth and retention.
I always consume some fast acting carbs (and protein) directly after training and then opt for another portion within another 1-3 hours after my session. If I’m training late in the day I will get some in maybe 1-2 hours before my session – if its an early morning gym date I tend not to. But that’s just me
In relation to fat intake, most of your fat consumption will probably amount from other food products you are consuming so from your eggs, red meat etc – and this is fine.
Just a word of warning though – consuming fat PRE or POST workout will slow down your digestion and will make it harder for your body to absorb the protein and carbs directly after a session and basically will slow down the recovery process. So just make sure to keep fat well away from your pre and post workout feedings.
Bottom line is there is no real magical formula as when to take your fat intake (except avoiding it pre and post-training) so once it fits in with your daily allowance you’re pretty safe.
So there you have it – eh again. The dos and donts of all things girly and diet-related part 2.
Happy lean -and hopefully we understand a bit better- eating ladies ☺
The ABS Gym
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