If you are someone who has recently started working out but have no idea what to eat and how to stick to a diet schedule, this post is for you. During the initial days, when you start working out and really start putting in efforts , you can be subjected to two kinds of questions. First, “Damn! You looked jacked bro, have been working out lately?” and second “You workout? really? okay.”, subjected to the latter question myself, one thing I can assure you all that yes, it hurts. When you have been putting in endless efforts in the gym and fail to see the desired results. What is the difference between the two individuals, despite both putting in the same efforts? The answer is Nutrition. What commonly can be referred to as “diet” and is associated with the most difficult regime one can commit to. But is it really that difficult to eat healthy? Or is it just hyped? Or maybe it deserves all that effort? Let’s find out.
The Basic Components
Everything you eat can be divided into 6 main parts :
Protein , Fats , Carbohydrates , Vitamins , Minerals and Water.
Sounds familiar? Yes, we have all studied about them in elementary school but this is where it gets interesting. Let’s take a look from the fitness point of view.
- Protein : This is the main component that will promote muscle growth. Hence, you often see bodybuilders with those protein shakes (stop judging them, please). In order to maintain or increase muscle mass, daily protein requirements need to be fulfilled. They are the building blocks of our body and is responsible for building muscle fibers and tissues.
- Fats : He is the villain for most of the people. But in reality, he is just a hero with a dark personality. We often hear people say that stop eating fat to not look fat. But “FATS ARE IMPORTANT” , they are as much necessary as other nutrients. Fats are of various kinds but for now lets us consider them as good fats and bad fats. Good fats act as energy reserve in the absence of carbs , maintain body temperature and absorb various nutrients. On the other hand , bad fats are responsible for things like obesity and increased cholesterol levels. Hence, we need to pay caution to these bad fats and accommodate only the good fats into our diet.
- Carbohydrates : Often referred to as carbs, it plays the same role as played by fuel in a car. Carbohydrates provide the necessary energy for our body to work efficiently. No carbs , no energy. It is necessary to provide our body with correct levels of carbohydrates through our diet so that low energy levels do not hinder our workouts or our day to day lives for that matter.
- Vitamins and Minerals : Grouping them into the same category , these are the silent workers. Vitamins and minerals, they work together and do the most important job of keeping our immune system healthy and converting food into the much desired energy to name a few out of many functions they perform. Every individual needs to get these in small amounts for proper functioning of the body.
- Water: Water is largely neglected as an important factor in the line of fitness, but water can play a very significant role in improving performance both in and out of the gym. It is advised that an individual should at least consume about 2 liters of water each day.Less water intake can cause dehydration and according to some studies , decrease in muscle mass too. So, watch your water intake people!
Each meal consists of these elements in different proportions, some foods are high in protein value and some have rich fat content. Optimum intake of these nutrients can help you maintain and improve the level of fitness and lead a healthy lifestyle. Also, the knowledge of these nutrients is important for maintaining a meal plan.
Meal Plan for Beginners
For someone who is having trouble following a strict diet schedule, I have got your back. I know how difficult it can be to follow those diet plans given by your trainer at the gym. On top of that , eating six times a day does not make things easier. Hence, don’t start following the diet schedule straightaway , instead try easing into it.
You can take the first step just by avoiding all the junk food.Yes, you heard it right, all of it! Eat normal food, 3 times a day, make sure your meals are healthy and continue your training as it is. Only this first step can help get that kick-start and help you see those initial results to keep you going without losing interest for the same. After some time when you start to get comfortable eating healthy and avoiding junk food (no cheating), it’s time to step it up. Include a 4th meal into your diet. This meal can be a small one, for example fruits , nuts or simply milk just to get you into a habit of eating more often. I know it’s going to suck first two to three days, as you’ll feel like overeating, but it’s going to soon become normal. After following a 4-meal diet plan for a considerable amount of time, you’ll notice that your appetite has increased and eating is no more trouble for you. This is the time you can include meal 5 and 6 into your diet.I am not saying that these meals need to be full of chicken, eggs , fish , .vegetables all the time, you can include normal and easily available foods too, just make sure that they are healthy.The reason behind having 5-6 meals per day is to keep your metabolism levels up and so you are less hungry.
I know having five to six meals a day is not at all easy considering that we all have other things to do such as school, college ,a day job to name a few. But it’s all about developing a habit for it. The starting is the most difficult .This is why this part of fitness is considered to be the hardest part and having that discipline to have these clean meals day in and day out without getting bored and tired of it. In the end , self-control and sheer determination will become the deciding factors in your quest for healthy eating. It is going to be difficult but let me assure you , once you start following your meal plan seriously and start eating clean the results are guaranteed. I have been in your position and what I have seen is that your diet is going to decide the progress you are making and it will prove beneficial in the long run. Again, I don’t want you all to trust me blindly, try it for yourselves and see the results. To conclude the importance of nutrition , I can simply say that:
Progress = 30% workout + 70% Nutrition, always