I do not know where you currently stand with your fitness and nutrition journey. You may be a weight room veteran or you may have just signed up for your first gym membership yesterday. Whether you run marathons, power lift, body build, cross-train, play a professional sport, or take group exercise classes, we all have the following in common:
1) We all need to properly and adequately fuel our active lifestyles through intelligent and effective nutrition practices.
2) Most of us want to look good naked and desire a body fat percentage well below “average”.
3) We all like to feel energetic, strong, and healthy
There are several ways to achieve all of these objectives at once; however, after 10 years in the fitness industry & thousands of clients I’ve come to believe that there is one method of nutrition truly trumps all others. That method is flexible dieting.
There are a few different definitions of flexible dieting, and I want to immediately clear something up: flexible dieting is not the same as a dietary free-for-all where you are encouraged to eat anything “if it fits your macros”. IIFYM is a trend that is essentially a very misconstrued form of flexible dieting. People take it way too literally, and because of this unfortunate misrepresentation, there is a common misconception that flexible dieters live solely on junk food. Being flexible with your eating does mean you get to eat like an 8-year-old for the rest of your days. And while I don’t believe in depriving ourselves of the food we love, nobody can live on doughnuts alone, and eating too many (even if they fit your macros) will result in some negative side effects. Armi Legge has provided a pretty solid notion of what flexible dieting truly is:
“Flexible dieting is about eating a diet you can maintain and enjoy, while keeping the body you want. Flexible dieting is not about counting calories or macronutrients. It’s not about eating tons of junk food and hoping for the best. It’s about finding the simplest, most effective ways to get the body you want with as little effort and anxiety as possible.”
Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand. Fitness is not a temporary thing, nutrition shouldn’t be, either. You have to be active and train year-round, thus you need to have your nutrition in check year-round, as well. You need to go into this with the realization that this may likely amount to a complete lifestyle overhaul. Moreover, these changes need to be lasting. I think you will see that by getting your nutrition on point, you will experience a massive breakthrough with your training. You will be adequately fueled and ready to take on even the most grueling days.
I want you to come up with two goals-one primary, the other contingent-before you get underway:
1) How many pounds do want to lose from your frame?
2) How many pounds do you want to add to your back squat, in 12 weeks time?
Even if you don’t even lift (bro), feel free to substitute an endurance, or mobility related goal. The point is, make it measurable, and make it matter to your overall health and well-being.
An athlete’s body is a byproduct of their training. The efficacy of their training is a byproduct of their nutritional habits. One can’t perform adequately without enough of the right foods at the right times. By introducing flexible dieting into performance sports, we can optimize performance by introducing a unique and tailored amount of protein, carbohydrate, and fat to the individual athlete. When you eat to perform, you perform pretty damn well, and it shows from both an athletic and aesthetic standpoint.
Click here to download the guide on how to calculate your macros: Flexible Diet.
Now that you have roughly calculated your caloric baseline, you have two options to choose from: 1. Verify your baseline by eating at maintenance for a couple weeks. 2. Dive straight into eating a deficit (or surplus). If this is your first foray into flexible dieting, I suggest Option 1. Try it out for two weeks, and if your weight remains stable, you’ve likely found an accurate caloric baseline.
It’s important that you don’t skip this step in your zeal to start losing weight. It is less costly to take two weeks and verify your caloric baseline, than it is to find out a month later that you’ve been eating at too small (or large) a deficit, at which point you’ll have to start back at step one.
Note: Deciding on the overall amount of calories you will consume on a daily basis (Your TDEE) can be worked out with a simple activity multiplier.
11: Appropriate for individuals who are virtually sedentary.
12: Appropriate for individuals who train less than 5 hours a week
13: Appropriate for individuals who train 5-10 hours a week. Most people will fall into this (or the previous) category.
14: Appropriate for individuals who train 10-15 hours a week, either as longer sessions done 5-6 days a week.
15: Appropriate for individuals who train 15-20 hours a week
16: Appropriate for individuals who train over 20 hours a week for their particular sport.
Or go to: http://www.flexible-diet.co.uk/ for their Flexible Diet macro calculator.