By Myprotein Writer Richard King
Dieting is never an option when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.
The true meaning behind the word ‘diet,’ in my opinion, is just short term hope for a quick fix…that is why it typically never works.
Restriction can never last a lifetime – and if it does, chances are you’re not going to be very happy about it!
Everyone deserves to understand the basics of living a healthy lifestyle 365 days a year – and it really is possible!
Once you experience the feeling of adopting that healthy balance, rather than going from one fad diet to another, you will be on your way to a fitter, healthier version of your self – with a by-product of a better body!
But where do you start?
Many often state that you should focus on nutrition. It is very common to hear that the food you consume is a significant part of living a fit and healthy lifestyle…
However, exercising is just as crucial as nutrition. If you’re not exercising and putting in the HARD work, it counteracts your desire to be healthier.
If you want to live a fit and healthy lifestyle, you must first understand how many calories are required for your body and activity level, in order to be succeed in reaching your goals!
I typically recommend for a basic to intermediate level client to start with the 1-2-3 Nutrition rule of thumb.
So let’s start off with breaking down the basics…
1) Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Starting from scratch is the best way to go if your current fitness journey keeps leading you into a bit of a plateau… We all understand how frustrating it is to start a new fitness plan to then re-start, adjust, start again… it isn’t ideal!
That’s why I 100% vote to start from scratch (irony!) when you figure out the right mechanisms that will lead you to become healthier, stronger and happier.
A fresh, clean slate and a bit more clarity will deliver a sense of refreshment and hopefully a new wave of motivation!
Many people dislike the vulnerability of stepping back and erasing information given to them from previous plans – but if something isn’t working, you have to take one step back to take two steps forward!
(As cliché as that may be…)
It is also important to tailor a plan to the individual from the very start – generic plans may work for some, but they aren’t ideal!
I always start with by finding out the clients BMR…
What is BMR?
Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories you would burn in 24 hours if you stayed in bed – (not sleeping)
BMR can be found in three simple steps:
1) First you must convert your body weight to kilograms.
The following numbers present the breakdown for my BMR:
183 pounds / 2.2 = 83.18 kilograms.
– Male: 1.0
– Female: 0.9
E.G: 1.0 (male) x 83.2 (weight in kg) x 24 hours = 1996.8
3) Now to determine your lean factor:
|Male Body Fat %||Female Body Fat %|
|10 to 14 = 1.0||14 to 18 = 1.0|
|15 to 20 = .95||19 to 28 = .95|
|21 to 28 = .90||29 to 38 = .90|
|Over 28 = .85||Over 38 = .85|
I’m working with about 12 % body fat: 1.0 x 1997 = BMR 1997
….But what you don’t see is my height and age in the calculation.
The difference of this break down and most basic calculators you find online is the consideration of body fat percentage.
With most BMR calculators it’s all about your age and the assumption that you’re getting older and putting on additional weight…The more body fat you have the less amount of calories are required.
Does everyone lose muscle and gain body fat when they get older? I don’t know about you, but that’s something I’m preventing while I gracefully age and improve my fitness level!
Besides the point…
The next step after calculating our BMR is to focus on our activity level.
2) Activity level
Activity level factors in your daily life – whether you are a white collar or blue collar worker – who is or isn’t active in sports or fitness.
A white collar, non-manual worker would be a factor of 1.30, while a blue collar worker who is constantly on their feet and, say for instance, hits the gym for intense training a few times a week, would be a factor of 2.00.
|Average Daily Activity Level|
|1.30 = Very Light||1.55 = Light||1.65 = Moderate||1.80 = Heavy||2.00 = Very Heavy|
Personally, I would consider my activity level quite moderate.
Therefore, taking my BMR and factoring my activity level:
1997 x 1.65 = 3295 calories required daily.
(Many more calories than what the FDA recommends!)
In my opinion – the FDA recommends 2000 calories because of the yearly rising obesity rates in America – who knows?
Going back to my calories… you might be thinking “he needs to consume 3295 calories to live a healthy lifestyle?!”
Well, yes – and no. There is much more to it than just the calories!
3) 1-2-3 Nutrition rule of thumb
Now comes the hard part…
The part when you need to start doing the math and actually read the label on the food you purchase – or use a clever fitness app to do it for you!
This is when the 1-2-3 nutrition rule of thumb comes into play:
1 part fat, 2 parts protein, and 3 parts carbohydrates.
A nutritional lifestyle that is low in fat, moderate in protein and high in carbohydrates, makes it very easy when purchasing food…Well, it gets easy with time!
First, it’s important to understand exactly how many calories (that all important word!) are coming from different nutrients.
– 1 gram of carbs equals 4 calories
– 1 gram of protein equals 4 calories
– 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories
So with my break down. I’m looking at:
– 61 grams of fat (1 part)
– 274 grams of Protein (2 Parts)
– 412 grams of Carbohydrates (3 parts) each day.
Don’t forget to break it down even farther so that you’re eating 5 meals per day, in which each of my meals will contain about:
– 12 grams of fat
– 55 grams of protein
– 82 grams of carbohydrates.
These measurements may seem high for each meal – but remember, we are all different – depending on your goal, your fitness level, body fat percentage – it may be drastically different for you!
You may think “wow – he must eat a lot of food!” – Well, yes I do but that’s where supplements become incredibly useful and convenient for every day use.
Just a few examples of how to comply with an amount of macronutrients:
Tons of people are scared of the word ‘fat’ – fat won’t make you fat! In fact, healthy fats will have a positive effect on your fitness journey!
For example, omega 3 fats that are found in fish, e.g. salmon, are said to promote your immune system, aid the increase of your metabolism and contribute to healthy skin and hair!
Some other healthy fats include:
– Nuts and nut butters
– Houmous/chick peas
– Olive oil, coconut oil etc
One of the most well-know, convenient forms of protein is protein powder – an easy, tasty way of getting all of that extra protein to help with the growth of muscle mass/lean muscle mass.
e.g.: Impact Whey Protein.
Other great protein sources:
– Lean meats e.g.
chicken, pork, steak, turkey
– Leafy green vegetables e.g.
spinach, kale, lettuce
– Grains, lentils, beans
– Soy, tofu products etc
– Milk products
“Carbs are evil!”… No, no they are not!
Carbs have this awful stereotype that they make you gain weight… they could, if you eat too many of them – just like anything else!
Eating the right carbs will give you energy to exercise, brighten your mood, can promote weight loss with their dietary fibre content and refuel your muscles after strenuous exercise – just to name a few benefits!
Some staple carbs include:
– Rolled/Instant Oats
– Brown rice, pasta, grains
– Sweet potatoes
– Fruit e.g. bananas, pears
Take Home Message
The 1-2-3 Nutrition rule of thumb is great for basic to intermediate fitness and health levelled person wanting to live a healthy lifestyle!
Once you’ve got into the habit of eating the right macro nutrients for your body, your body and mind should gain the energy to both live, and love, a new, healthier lifestyle in which you are able to avoid enduring vicious fad diets – forever!