Opening up a topic like this can be like opening up a can of worms at times, I probably know the answers to my own issues but maybe I need to hear them from a third party once more to reaffirm my initial thoughts. But here goes:
What’s the best kind of diet to have when working hard on fitness but still trying to lose weight? I can find the balance quite hard at times, I find when i diet, although the weight drops off quickly I don’t feel very good and sometimes injure myself / feel less robust. However whenever I eat a more balanced diet I find that my fitness generally improves but my appetite still remains very high and my weight either stays the same or decreases very slightly - this is partly due to occausional over eating.
I find that traditionally the more varied my diet is the more I tend to get quite annoying cravings for food. This comes especially from carbs, although generally not fruit, but definitely from pasta, bread, rice, noodles and snax - if any.
If I’m just doing weights I generally keep to a high protient diet - lean meats, salads, low carb veg. Usually my diet consists of around 50% protein (with some fats), 25% salad veg and 25% carbs (usually consumed around exercising and sometimes NOT with meals). This isn’t too bad but if I start doing a lot of CV work I find my energy levels can drop quite a bit and I feel shattered.
I’ve been doing 90-100minutes of cycling four-five times a week and no weights at all, well once a week to just exercise my arms and chest - but not so strict. It’s just to get my fat down. I’ve found that most diets leave me feeling absolutely dead at times. I did try some whacky detox diet because it promised “boundless engery” and I nearly collapsed in the evening, just had absolutely no energy at all after 24 hours - so obviously that’s not going to work.
I need to be fairly on the ball in my job too, I’m always meeting and greeting people and have a variety of tasks to take care of. I can’t be going around feeling dopey and withdrawn. At the same time the excess flab is getting on my tits.
So anyone got any diet advice for someone who going to be doing a LOT of exercise?
When I go on one of my health kicks I usually just cut out all my unhealthy favourites like pizza etc… Follow that up with eating nothing but chicken, fish or lamb (Grilled or steamed depending on the meat) along with plenty of steamed vegetables and you can’t go wrong.
Breakfast is usually a bowl of cornflakes and a couple of slices of toast, washed down with a cup of tea. Very important to get some breakfast, because it sets your metabolism off at the start of the day.
Lastly, before a meal drink a pint of water. Stops you from overeating.
I’ve never been one of those people who starts counting carbs and protein and all that stuff. I just train hard and eat a bit more healthy. Never done me any harm yet, and I’ve been doing it this way for years. Of course, if you were wanting to get fully ripped then you may need to completely change the diet and get heavily into your training. In which case you probably need to speak to a nutritionist and a persoanl trainer.
Group your efforts into “On” an “Off” days.
On is an excercise Day
Then tailor your diet to complement what your body is doing.
On days, its using pre-existing muscle so needs energy. Off days, its building muscle or revitalising what’s there
So, On day diet:
Morning, carbs (porridge) and high energy fruit (eg bananas)
Lunch, Meat and carbs, meat slows carb intake, use and storage.
Dinner, Meat and veg, no carbs
Off day diet:
Morning, fried breakfast with as little fat and zero carbs where poss, so NO toast or beans
Lunch, high protein salad, chicken cesar or the like
Dinner, Meat and veg but early… NOT A LATE meal, when your metabolism turns off, you stop digesting and start storing…
1 day “on” HARD excercise
1 day “off” no excercise
1 day “On” endurance excercise
2 days "off no excercise
The alternation on excercise days between Hard or endurance is a thing I learnt from the army fitness course I did. Beat the muscle hard, let it rest, then make it work gently but for as long as poss. Then beat it hard again. It improves strength AND stamina… but you’ve got to be consistent over a long period. That’s not for the once or twice a week, then forget about it bunch, that just doesn’t work.
In my case that regime lost me half a stone, and improved my endurance by about 30%. My triatholon bike time went from 1:48 to about 1:12 for a 40km ride.
Your body finds it the easiest to burn carbs for energy so, health kick or not, most of your calories in any day should come from carbohydrates. Cut down on fats of course and you are almost there.
Also, knowing how much calories you are consuming is actually very important so tracking your intake through an online tool (www.myfitnesspal.com - American but free) is very useful and you get to learn a lot about different foods (and importantly booze) and portion sizes. These tools let you track the calories you burn through exercise so you can always know where you stand.
With the weight loss and dieting it is important to stay away from fad diets and actually work on making small(er) sustainable changes to your lifestyle and definitely stay away from any diet that promotes fasting for days and drinking just cabbage soup etc…in order for your body to continue to function well and for you to lose weight in a sustainable way you should not cut your calorie intake by more than 1000Kcal as a man - this will equate to weight loss of about 2lb per week. Ideally, you will cut your intake by no more than 6-700 Kcal and do 30 minutes of exercise every day (30 min jog will burn around 350Kcal, brisk walk about 200 etc)
6:30 yoghurt & seeds (poppy,hemp,sunflower,pumpkin)
7:00 Gym (mainly weights)
9:00 pear & nuts (mixture) or spoonful of peanut butter (100% peanuts no added salt or oil)
10:00 pint of milk & whey protein
12:00 (1ltr tapper) of raw veg with some sort of protein (usualy meat/chicken/turkey etc)
16:00 (1ltr tapper) or raw veg with two eggs
*this could be anything but is always healthy and has a good proportion of protein, veg & little rice (brown) or potatoes
also during the day drink loads of water and drink two/tree cups of decaf coffee
on weekends i try to stick to this but as im not at one place (work) ifind it hard ot drink as much water and each every few hours. although the missus knows that if i dont eat often i get grumpty so she makes sure - we stop shopping so that i can munch on something or drink a smoothie
I recommend lots of small(er) meals of protein and veg, plenty of fats and carbs (if any) after exercise.
There is a ready-made system called Precision Nutrition which comes with example days, cookbooks etc along the same lines but is fairly pricey - you can get a free sample book which has the basics in it here:
That diet doesn’t mention anything about exercise though. I’m exercising quite a bit at the moment. I know from experience that doing loads of exercise and eating much less causes fatigue and lack of concerntration.
Also I’ve found out through personal experience that some food tend to stimulate my appetite quite a lot where I really have to make a concious effort to fend off cravings.
The other advice people have given seems pretty sound though.
yeah, caveman or Paleo diet is interesting! I don’t have the discipline to do it myself but I do somewhat agree with the core basis it’s built on.
I could be wrong but if you are being strict I think milk is out and so is any kind of rice, potatoes (although sweat potato is ok i think).
I think it basicly switches your system to run off the sugars in fruit and veg rather than complex carbs of our normal diet. Because of this the first week is meant to be HELL and you will feel like crap with no energy at all.
Personally, i’ve had to cut weight for sport and find that just basic rice and chichen works for me plus a lot of running. I think running is superior to cycling because the energy demands are higher. I also used to run early in the morning before breakfast… the idea was that there wouldn’t be carbs to burn in your system for you would motabilise more fat. However i read this was a myth recently!
Don’t ever skip meals, if anything have more but smaller. You could also consider feast/starve days to keep you motabilism high but guessing.