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We have all heard the saying “you are what you eat” and this could not be truer when it comes to fitness nutrition. What you put into your body determines if you will achieve your goal. Whether you accept this or not, what you eat is the most important factor for both muscle growth and fat loss. If your nutrition, supplementation, and workout program is not optimized then you will make little to no progress and you will become frustrated quickly. However, there is hope for you, after reading this you should be fully ready to achieve your goals! Are you ready to learn about the importance of nutrition? Good, lets get right into it!
First, we need to make one thing clear, everything that has to do with weight management comes down to one simple equation. We refer to this equation as the “energy balance equation” or simply calories in versus calories out. The ‘calories in’ in this equation refers to the food that we eat, since that is the only way that we human beings get energy. The ‘calories out’ in this equation referes to the amount of energy or bodies output, or simply how many calories we burn a day. The calories burned is usually referred to as Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) and it is broken into even more subcategories. There are 4 subcategories:
Your BMR is the amount of energy that it takes to keep your body alive. In other words, this is how many calories you burn if you did nothing all day – no eating, moving, nothing! Just breathing. Your BMR makes up most of your TDEE, up to about 50-75%! Your BMR is determined by how much muscle you have, genetics, and how you have trained your metabolism through metabolic adaptation (I will get into later).
Now that you know how calories are burned, it comes back to the previously stated energy equation. Weight management is determined by how many calories you take in and how many calories that you burn. As shown in the picture above if you burn more calories than you eat, then you will lose weight, if you eat more than you burn then you will gain weight, if you eat the same amount you burn you will have no change in weight. Did you catch the keyword in all those scenarios? WEIGHT! Calories reign supreme when it comes to numbers on the scale and that is an effective way to gauge progress. However, it become more complicated when it comes down to body composition, or what that weight is made of. Your body composition is based on how much fat and muscle you have on your body and these are mostly dictated by the kinds of macronutrients that makes up your diet. The 3 macronutrients are:
So, a basic guideline for eating for most people who want to be leaner and more muscular is eating a moderate or high amount of protein, and a moderate to low amount of fat and carbs. An interesting fact though is that it doesn’t matter if you eat more fat or carbohydrates in your diet if you want to lose fat. You will have similar results if you eat the same number of calories and protein in your diet, eating more fat or carbs is all preference.
Now that you know the basic background of nutrition, it is time to get to the importance of it, or the whole point of this article! Eating good is everything when it comes to body composition and weight management. The old saying is true, “you can’t outwork a bad diet”. It is true because as you can see it is a lot easier to control what goes in versus what goes out. If you eat 4000 calories every day when your BMR, NEAT, and TEF is only 2000, you will not work off that 2000 calories surplus. Since there is no easy way to increase your BMR or TEF, your only option is to eat less food. That is why nutrition is important! The way you see good progress towards your goal is by complying with your nutrition program and making sure your body gets what it needs to accomplish your goal.
Next, how important is nutrition to overall body composition. Since weight is only controlled by calories, one could technically eat twinkies and ding dongs and lose weight if they don’t eat a lot of them. However, they will not be muscular and probably not be a lean individual. Therefore, the types of foods you eat matter. To build and maintain muscle, your body needs an adequate amount of protein because those are the literal building blocks of the muscle. Carbs are usually important as well because they fuel our exercise and give us enough energy to do NEAT throughout the day. We can’t neglect fat though! It also helps body composition by making sure we have the hormones we need to build muscles and let go of fat. As a general guideline do everything in moderation and do what feels best for your body. Lastly do what works for you! If you see your body composition getting better by eating less carbs then go that route! Understand that everyone is different and there are many roads leading to the path of weight loss.
Now with all this new knowledge, use it to create smart choices surrounding your diet and achieve your goals. For specific questions make sure to ask your coach and we can help you out.