The vast majority of people who come to me for help are in the business of trying to optimize fat loss. They have tried “everything” but just can’t seem to figure it out…Read More
We have part one of The Ultimate Lean Body Blueprint complete. In it, we talked about evaluating your lifestyle, mindset and what your training should look like. If you haven’t read Part I, STOPwhere you are now and go read it. In this addition were going to dive into nutrition, sleep & recovery and supplements you should consider when your goal is obtaining a lean and healthy body.
There is one big issue when it comes to nutrition and getting to a leaner physique: fad diets. Although this may work in the short term (weight loss vs. fat loss) they will be inferior in the long term and lead to a reduction in metabolic rate and excessive fat regain. Cutting out whole food groups and suffering day in and day out is not the best way to approach nutrition when you’re trying to get to a leaner healthier body composition. Instead, you should think more long term. If you’re currently following an extreme “diet” to lose weight that you can’t see yourself following for the rest of your life, you should reconsider what you’re doing. You could be causing damage that can take years to recover from. With the chronic stress of daily life, what you have to also realize is being in a large calorie deficit for too long can also become VERY stressful to your body’s system. So where do you start?
Building Awareness Through Tracking (Why Flexibility Is Key)
The first place we have to start with any nutritional protocol is building awareness. This is done by tracking what you are consuming on a daily basis. This can be done by simply writing down everything you’re eating on a daily basis or using a tracking app like MyFitnessPal. From here we can see what kinds of foods your leaning to and whether you’re eating the correct number of calories, the correct types of food (quality of food) and the correct amount of each macronutrient to support your goals. Accountability is huge here so if you need some help along the way, click here. The first thing we must address is protein intake. If you want to get to a leaner physique, the biggest macronutrient that has to be addressed is protein. Protein helps keep you satiated and will help you gain/maintain muscle mass. Carbohydrates and fats can be completely dependent on the person and their preferences… for the most part. Everyone should be consuming at least 20-25% of their daily calories from fats to ensure proper hormonal health. Another note on fats is that fats are very calorically dense, meaning you can a bit carried away with the almonds and coconut oil. The biggest thing we have to concern ourselves with when trying to obtain a lean body is being in a caloric deficit MOST of the time. This is also dependent on your metabolism and your current health. Again, this is where coaching and monitoring biofeedback comes into play because we don’t want to be in a caloric deficit for too long. Diet breaks are key for optimal hormonal health. For most everyone I work with (if they have a healthy metabolism) we will not stay in a caloric defect for more than 12-16 weeks. Not only do things like diet breaks and re-feeds help with hormones, they also help with adherence long term. But there’s more to adherence than that. Remember when I told you the first step is building awareness? Well, this awareness we have built allows us to have “flexibility” in our diet. Meaning, if we can fit foods into our macros (this works just like a budget) daily/weekly you don’t have to stress about them harming your results. This is the biggest key for long term results… ADHERENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY! If you allow flexibility in the diet, you set yourself up for success LONG TERM! This also helps you to develop a better relationship with food because you finally understand just how much food you’re consuming and what exactly is in those foods. When you start connecting the dots with how certain foods impact your biofeedback, you tend to crave and lean more towards more nutrient dense foods MOST of the time. Again, I’m a big believer in the 80/20 rule… if you’re not there yet that’s ok. But making small changes from the start can be super powerful and add up to big wins over time from having a healthier gut, more optimized hormones, better energy, more quality sleep and more!
The Importance of Sleep & Recovery
The number one thing people are lacking when it comes to recovery is proper sleep. Couple things I see:
- Being “wired and tired” from too much stress and caffeine consumption
- No emphasis put on sleep whatsoever… #TeamNoSleep
Well I’m here to tell you that the #TeamNoSleep basically means #TeamNoProgress. If you aren’t sleeping 7-9 hours nightly, you aren’t recovering from your day. Period. Less than five hours of cuts testosterone in half. This means you will not be able to build the muscle needed to have the lean physique you are looking for. More muscle = more calories burned at rest = more fat loss. Also, growth hormone (one of the main hormones that promotes recovery for every part of your body) is produced when you sleep. Your memory and mood are also dramatically correlated with quality and quantity of sleep. If you’re drinking endless amounts of caffeine during your day to stay awake, you’re doing yourself a major disservice. This can cause countless issues with nervous/hormonal system function and leave you with that “tired and wired” feeling where you can’t fall asleep. Another issue I see many times with clients is lack of water intake. You should be drinking water throughout your day, and probably more than you’re drinking now. This keeps your body hydrated and helps you to think more clearly, have more energy, digest food and keep joints lubricated. The “beast mode” “no days off” mentality just doesn’t work long term. You should be sleeping. You should be doing twice as much parasympathetic as sympathetic work. Things like walking, meditating, being with loved ones, using adaptogens ashwagandha or certain mushrooms, belly breathing, hot/cold contrast and the list goes on. Bottom line is this: if you want to have a lean body for life, you have to de-stress. This can be hard to understand for many type A individuals (myself included at times) but stress is stress. No matter whether its physically demanding training sessions, or stress in work/home life it’s all going to impact your body in some way. And with too much stress without any relaxation leads to anxiety and inability to lose fat and gain muscle.
Supplements To Consider
There is a reason this is last! Supplements are not going to make or break your lean body results. How you train, how you eat and how you recover are the biggest things that need to be taken care of. With that being said, supplements can also help! The supplements you’re taking need to be of high quality. Don’t cheap out on what you are putting in your body. The first supplement I’d recommend is whey (or plant based if you can’t do dairy) protein. Again, this should be a protein powder that isn’t filled with artificial sweeteners and ingredients. This will help you hit your daily protein goal, and if you’re a bigger guy/gal, having 25-40g of protein from a powder daily can be a big help. The next supplement I’d recommend is fish oil. Most people have diets high in omega-6, which is very inflammatory. Omega-3 (fish oil) on the other hand is anti-inflammatory. So, if you don’t eat high quality fatty fish daily, supplement with fish oil. Vitamin D is another key micronutrient that most people are deficient in. 5,000 IU’s daily will have you covered. These are the three mandatory supplements I’d recommend to anyone who is setting out on their lean body journey! These are not magic supplements. Rather, things that will help you have better overall health. There are other things I use and also recommend to people, but this varies from person to person.
This concludes The Ultimate Lean Body Blueprint! If you have questions about anything I’ve talked about in Part I or II, you can shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in individualized coaching with me, fill out this application!