Let me give you a little bit of background on nutrition, so that you understand what you are doing.
There are 2 parts of your body composition that you are in control of, thought nutrition, lean muscle mass and body fat. In order to make weight, you will no doubt need to implement a diet strategy, if you cut back equally on your macronutrients (protein, carbs and fats) you will cannibalise (burn off) muscle and body fat alike. Muscle, is stored protein and body fat, is stored energy from excess carbs and fats. What you need to do is eat enough protein so that your body has no need to cannibalise muscle, but be deficient in energy foods (carbs and fats) so that your body has to cannibalise body fat for its shortfall in energy. In other words, less energy in (burn body fat), more energy out (training).
What is a “Kcal”?
A Kcal is not a nutrient, it is just a measurement of energy within a macronutrient. Macronutrients are proteins, carbs and fats. Their calorific values are as follows:
1 gram protein = 4 Kcals
1 gram carbs = 4 Kcals
1 gram fat = 9 Kcals
1 gram of alcohol = 7 Kcals (although we would term these as “empty” Kcals because they have no nutritional value)
Over eating and calories with no nutritional value contribute to obesity. Obese people are generally malnutritioned because they have gained weight eating or drinking high Kcal, low nutrient foods. Some examples of such foods are:
- Processed Foods
- High Fat foods etc.
Some examples of these high Kcal/low nutrition meals are;
- KFC meal (3 pieces chicken, chips and a cola) – 1500 Kcals
- McDonalds (average meal) – 1500 Kcals
- Large Pizza – 3000+ Kcals
The key is to eat low Kcal, high nutrition meals to get adequate nutrients for the recovery from the trauma of training but also be able to maintain a lean body composition.
Some examples of low Kcal/high nutrition meals/food/supplements are;
- Chicken breast, baked potato and veg – 450Kcals
- Salmon steak, pasta and veg – 550 Kcals
- Grilled white cod, rice and veg – 400Kcals
- 2 Boiled or scrambled eggs on 2 pieces of brown toast – 300kcals
- Bowl (250g) of green veg – 60Kcals
- Piece of fruit – 60Kcal
- Pro MR (42g of protein) – 270Kcals
- Pro Recover is 300Kcals
Everyone has a metabolism (metabolic rate) which is the speed at which you burn Kcals (energy). Your metabolism is not how many kcals you need (use) a day, it is how many you can consume per meal and can metabolise, this usually breaks down into a meal frequency of one every 3 hours.
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals, these are responsible for all metabolic reactions in the human body. Make sure you’re eating up to and above your 5 fruit and veg a day or take a good vitamin and mineral formula such as Pro Vital. Pro Vital is designed to provide the extra vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your body needs due to the demanding nature of the sport.
Water is the solvent that all metabolic reactions take place in, in other words, if you are deficient in water, your metabolism will slow down. I would suggest on training days where your body is being pushed you drink at least 4 litres of water. Water will not affect your body composition, yes, it can make you heavy on the scales if you have drank and not urinated or sweated, but this is not a representation of your true weight. The correct time to weigh yourself is first thing in the morning, after you have been to the toilet, on an empty stomach, this is your true body mass. A pint of water (568ml) is about 1lb in weight, so you can fluctuate during the day quite easily. Water will not put mass on, it will only put water weight on and the morning of a weigh-in you will not be drinking water.
Macronutrients, as I said earlier (Protein 4 Kcals, Carbs 4 Kcals, Fats -9Kcals per gram), if you eat more kcals than you need per day or per meal, you will put weight on. If you eat fewer kcals per day or meal, you will lose weight. When it comes to surplus kcals from carbohydrates and fats, the body will store those extra kcals for future use as body fat. If you train and eat too many kcals from protein, your body can store that extra protein as muscle, so very simplistically put, body fat is stored carbohydrates and fats (although in certain circumstances it can use protein) and muscle is stored protein.
If you cut back equally on protein, carbs, fats and alcohol your body will lose weight on the scales but may not look any better as it will cannibalise muscle as well as fat, in effect photocopying yourself smaller but you don’t look any better at 12 stone than you did at 14. Ideally, we want to minimise muscle loss and maximise fat loss. You must keep your protein moderate to high, I suggest 1 gram of very clean protein (boiled or grilled fish, chicken, turkey, egg whites or Pro MR/Pro MS for women), per pound of body weight (2.2lb per kilo). This way your body has no reason to cannibalise muscle for its shortfall in protein.
When it comes to energy requirements it is useful to understand Basal (basic) Metabolic Rate (BMR). BMR is the amount of energy used while resting in a normal temperature environment after fasting so that your digestive system is inactive (not to be confused with Resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is very similar to above). Your metabolism can fluctuate depending on age, sex, time of day, activity and food intake. You can do nothing about your age and sex but you are in control of your exercise activity (training) and nutritional intake, especially late at night when your metabolism is slowing down.
We all require Kcals (units of energy) but our energy requirement should not be measured in a 24-hour cycle i.e. How many Kcals a day I need. It should be how many Kcals I need PER meal. To keep your metabolism active (full speed) you should eat or drink approximately every 3 hours.
The Food Standards Agency and other regulatory bodies advise us to have 2000 Kcals a day (for women) and 2500 Kcals a day (for men) but if you only ate 2 meals per day, you would be eating over 1000 Kcals per meal and probably would not metabolise (use) that amount of Kcals.
Imagine a day’s worth of perfect nutrition in a jug (Protein, Carbs, Fats, adequate Veg and plenty of water) but you only put 2 cups (representing 2 meals) on the table and poured that jug of (2000 or 2500 Kcals) into those 2 cups, it wouldn’t fit in. The cups would overflow, and the excess calories and nutrients would be wasted as the body cannot metabolise. Meaning excess calories would be stored as unwanted fat, for future use.
How many times in the past have you been training extremely hard, eating 1 or 2 meals a day (maybe 800 Kcals) and not losing weight because your metabolism has slowed down to protect itself. If your metabolism slows down, the cups get smaller, when your metabolism speeds up the cups get bigger.
Now put 5 cups on the table (representing 5 meals approximately 3 hours apart) and have the same jug of nutrition. Pouring it into more cups over a longer period and what do we have….. less or not waste i.e. fat gain.
By eating 5 regular, nutrient full meals per day, what you will now see if a upregulation in metabolic rate. In essence the cups get bigger, then as you cut back slightly with your Kcals, your body keeps its metabolism running fast enabling you to burn more Kcals (and as you have cut back) your fast metabolism now needs and uses that stored energy (body fat). On the reverse this is why you see obese people who are malnutrition because they are eating high Kcal foods only twice a day, which has also slowed down their metabolism.
If you restrict your kcals too much, your metabolism (metabolic rate) will slow down to protect itself from the rapid weight loss. A metabolism is like a fire, it needs to be stoked with a small amount of fuel (nutrients) every 3 hours, this way it will carry on burning and as long as you stoke that fire with a small amount of nutrients (Kcals) it will not go out (your metabolism will not slow down).
Most people lose weight very quickly at the beginning of a kcal restricted diet but they make the mistake of doing too much training and eating too few kcals which leads to a tremendous amount of energy going out with very little energy coming in, the result is their metabolism shuts/slows down to protect the body from this rapid weight loss.
Think about it, when people start to lose 4lbs+ per week, the body detects this rapid weight loss, and if they are only eating one or two meals per day, the body knows it will go into malnutrition and at this rate eventually die. If you eat small clean meals either food or Pro Mr/Pro MS (for women) the body gets adequate amounts of nutrients but in a lower kcal environment, is not malnutritioned, therefore doesn’t feel the need to shut/slow it’s metabolism down.
There are ways other ways of manipulating metabolic rate for example thyroid based fat burners. You must stay away from anything that enhances thyroid production as these are designed and made for people who have got malfunctioning thyroid glands. Now I am not talking about natural products such as Pro Hypertherm, as this is actually a useful and effecting fat loss tool, I am however talking about under the counter products/drugs. The medical world designed these drugs for people with inactive thyroid glands, but if you take a thyroid drug with a healthy thyroid gland (and as your body is a great leveller) it will slow down your own natural thyroid production. Once you have come off the thyroid drug, you can end up with lower thyroid levels than you started with, which means your metabolism will be slowed down and you are at risk of putting even more fat on.
Pro HyperTherm is a highly concentrated thermogenic weigh loss formual, containing 200mg of Natural Caffeine and 500mg of Bitter Orange Powder, which act to bring high levels of stimulation, useful when in a calorie deficit. These are combined with 500mg of Carnipure®, an advance form of L-Carnitine and 500mg of Dandelion Root Extract.
The formulation aims to deliver a truly thermogenic experience with the utilisation of an 8:1 Capsicum Extract, delivering 3000mg. Also, a combination of Dandelion Root Extract 500mg (Root) (from 50mg of 10:1 extract) and Vitamin C. These work together to deliver antioxidant properties, protecting the cells from oxidative stress.
How should a diet plan look?
There is no one right answer, but here is a effective example I have used with many high level athletes. The below diet is an average of 2100 Kcals per day, start with this (you do not want your metabolism to slow down). Remember governing bodies tell us you need 2500 Kcals per
day and in addition to this you will be training extremely hard, potentially burning additional 1500Kcals a day, totalling 4000. This being a good starting block for you diet journey. If you are feeling somewhat exhausted to the point your training is taking a hit I suggest you have 1 scoop (150 Kcals) of Pro Recovery post workout on light training days and 2 scoops (300 Kcals) after very heavy training.
After 2,3 or 4 weeks you may have to drop 1 of the 6 meals that you are eating on this spreadsheet, if you do, stop taking meal 3, 4 or 5 only.
Additional micronutrients can be added in from supplements (no Kcals), which I highly reccomend – Take Pro Vital with meal 1. Take Pro Omega with meal 1 or 2 and meal 4 or 5. If you t Pro HyperTherm take them in the morning and early afternoon.
If you take a Pro Slam, take it instead of meal 4, just before you train.