Getting in great shape requires two things. First, consistent effort in the gym. Second, a diet that fits your personal goals. These two are inseparable from each other if you are serious about making quality improvements. KTS is designed to deliver personalized programming for each person based on needs, preferences and goals. When the training is on point, there is only one variable left to perfect…..DIET!
It’s important to understand that diet, much like the supplement industry, is largely created with the idea of making one’s personal product sellable. Many of the diet fads today create a fictional problem and offer a solution. However, many of these fads fall short in scientific backing and proven results. This is not to say that there aren’t multiple diets that do serve a purpose, because there certainly are. Which one to choose is largely dependent on your sport and/or goals. The foundation of any diet is the total amount of calories consumed. Once that calorie total has been determined, you can manipulate when and what you consume to meet that total. For the purpose of this article I’m going to briefly review the 3 diets I feel are relevant to most people’s goals that have proven scientific effectiveness and deliver results!
The first diet may not seem like a diet at all. It is a well-balanced diet of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The recommended percentage of these macronutrients in your total daily calorie needs offers some flexibility while still keeping the most important factor of total calories in mind! When eating a well-balanced diet of each macronutrient, it is recommended to have 10-35% of your total calories from protein, 20-35% from fat, and 45-65% from carbohydrates. For aesthetic purposes, calories are calories. That is just the way it is. Whether you get your needed calories from chips, candy and protein shakes or healthier choices, you will look the same if the total fat, protein, and carbs are equal. But there is much more to health and fitness than simply looking good. You want to feel good and be healthy also! Choosing the right foods to meet you total calorie needs is important for the body to function optimally. Your body at its core operates on a cellular level and the cells in your body requires micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to function properly. Some examples of good carbohydrate sources include sweet potatoes, oatmeal, quinoa, and fruit sources. Together food choices such as these will fit into your 45-65% of calories needs from carbohydrates while also making sure you get the necessary micronutrient needs…it’s a two for one deal! Lean chicken, lean red meet, greek yogurt, and eggs are good protein choices. Nuts, avocados, and cooking oils offer quality fat sources while getting omega-3 and 6s in your diet. This balanced approach is great for someone looking to maintain weight or someone who recreational or competitively competes. All three macronutrients serve a purpose and the body is happiest when it gets all three, especially if it is consistently being pushed!
The second diet has various names. You may have heard it called the Atkins Diet, Ketogenic Diet, or Low-Carb Diet. A highly effective diet for weightloss, consistent energy, and leaning out, this diet definitely has its place. When you consume carbohydrates, the body releases insulin to absorb the glucose in the blood which is then stores in the muscle (and excess as fat). You may be familiar with the “food coma” that follows a big meal. You can thank decreasing insulin levels following a high carbohydrate meal for that. By eliminating carbohydrates from your diet, your body has a balanced, steady insulin level throughout the day resulting in no energy crash. Beware though, this adaptation does not happen over night. It may take 2-3 weeks for your body to switch from carbohydrate burning mode to a ketogenic state. This is because in the absence of carbohydrates, your body begins to convert the fat you consume (as well as stored fat) into ketones for brain function and energy production. This means you are only consuming two of the three macronutrients to begin with, and your body is burning one of those (fat) as fuel. This takes time, and requires little to no carbohydrate consumption to reassure your body it needs to produce ketones. You want to avoid a low-to- moderate carbohydrate diet because you will neither have the needed carbohydrates for lasting energy nor the ketones for an alternative fuel source…. you are in no man’s land! Who is this diet for? Because fats are a more efficient form of energy, offering 9 calories per gram versus 4 calories per gram with carbohydrates, this diet fits perfectly for those wishing to lose weight, increase energy, or competitors in endurance events. Carbohydrates fuel short, intense exercise but fats fuel long duration exercise. By switching into a more efficient fat burning mode, endurance performance can be increased. Quality food sources include nuts, avocados, cooking oils, lean meats, eggs, cottage cheese, cheese, vegetables and other high fat and protein sources.
The third and final diet is often viewed as a sports performance diet but also is very effective for the recreational exerciser wishing to make quality improvements. This is the high protein diet. Like the first diet, a well balanced diet, this diet includes all three major macronutrients. The only difference is that the recommended percentage of fats and carbohydrates will fall on the lower end of the spectrum allowing an increase in the amount of protein consumed to still meet your total calorie needs. The amino acids found in complete protein sources are directly responsible for muscle repair and growth. No other macronutrient does this, only protein. Protein should be viewed as a recovery nutrient. Protein is not a preferred fuel source by the body. The main function of carbohydrates and fats are fuel supply, while the main function of protein is repair and growth. By increasing protein, you directly increase the potential to gain lean muscle mass and strength. This diet is a good choice for anyone looking to maintain or increase lean muscle mass weight. This is also a highly recommended diet for someone who trains hard regularly or an active athlete to ensure muscle repair. The food choices are the same as the well-balanced diet, only consuming more quality protein sources while slightly decreasing fat and carbohydrate consumption.
If you’re looking for a change, give one of the above diets a try! Listen to your body and see how you respond. At the basis of every diet plan should be quality choices, regardless of the macronutrients or amounts of each you consume. For anyone looking for more information on the best diet for your goals email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Like the workout programs, diet is person dependent and a better understanding of your background and goals are needed to create the optimal diet.