In order to see real and long-lasting changes in your body – whether it’s how you look or how you feel – you must make decisions that are permanent in your lifestyle. Being truly healthy depends entirely on how you feed your body.

Diet Basics

From now on, assume that diet simply means what you eat on a daily basis, rather than a “fad” diet. Your diet is what fuels your workouts in the gym. If you’re eating properly, you’ll see overall improvements in your performance hitting the weights, too.

Here’s some quick nutrition 101, focusing on macronutrients. Essential nutrients that must come from your diet include:

  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Carbohydrates

Proteins, fats, and carbs provide the body with energy, which can be measured in calories. Society equates calories as a bad thing, but it just depends on their sources.

Ever heard the term empty calories? Basically, they are calories that come with little nutritional value.

This article explains the differences between proteins, fats and carbs and what healthy versions of each you should be eating in order to build a strong and healthy body.

Proteins

Protein Requirement 1

Protein is essential to muscle repair after a workout. When protein is consumed, it is broken down by enzymes into amino acids. There are 20 amino acids, 11 of which your body can synthesize itself. “Complete” sources of protein carry all 9 essential amino acids. “Incomplete” sources of protein carry only some of the 9 essential amino acids.

Healthy sources of complete protein typically come from animal foods, such as lean red meat, fish, chicken breast, turkey breast, and eggs. There are many sources of plant-based foods that are complete, too. Some include soy, chickpeas, quinoa, and various types of seeds. Different plant based protein sources can be combined to form a complete protein meal!

It’s important to note that animal based protein sources tend to yield a higher amount of protein per portion than plant based protein sources; however, plant proteins also come with healthy fibre and micronutrients. Some animal proteins can contain high amounts of unhealthy fat and so should be consumed in moderation e.g. marbled beef or full fat cheese.

Carbohydrates

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Carbohydrates are another element of a healthy diet that are frowned upon by societal fads. Carbs are our primary source of energy. They are important because our muscles use them for storage in the form of glycogen. Any excess carbs are stored as fat.

Healthy sources of carbohydrates include rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sources of sprouted grains (like Ezekiel bread), fruits and vegetables. Stay away from as processed sources such as cereals, bread and baked goods as much as possible! Get the recipe for the sweet potato fries recipe shown above HERE.

So, how do we figure out how much of these things we need in our diet? The easiest way is using our macronutrient ratio calculator. It calculates how much of your diet to dedicate to proteins, carbohydrates, and fats based on your current bodyweight, activity level, and how often you train. Brilliant!

Fats

Healthy Fats 4-1

I’m about to get crass, so pardon my language as I drop the “F-bomb”. Fat. There is a widely accepted misconception that fat is bad and, therefore, fat-free is good. What people tend to forget is that low-fat or fat-free foods tend to have a high sugar content to compensate. Consuming excess sugar can lead to a gain in body fat!

Again, whether fat is bad or not depends on the source it comes from. We can focus on two types: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and usually an animal byproduct (i.e. butter). There is a great deal of debate about whether saturated fats are bad for our health. Since eating a large amount of them is not essential to achieving our goals, it makes sense to limit our intake but not cut them out entirely.

Healthy unsaturated fats such as monounsaturated and omega 3 polyunsaturated are liquid at room temperature and come from plants (i.e. olive oil). Some unsaturated fats can help to lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Omega 6 fatty acids promote inflammation and omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation. If these two are in balance then all will be well within our bodies, but if we take in too many omega 6 fatty acids this can lead to an increased level of inflammation in the body.

Healthy sources of fat include olive oil, avocado, fish, nuts, and eggs. Coconut oil is an interesting product that is very popular amongst health enthusiasts right now. Though it is made up of saturated fats, it shares the benefits of unsaturated fats. It’s also the most versatile – you can use it as an alternative in cooking and baking, or even apply it to your skin!

Read more about adding healthy fats into your diet HERE.

Take it Further!

PhotoshootPrep

If you want to take things a step further and learn how to make your diet plan work towards achieving your goals, check out our training & nutrition plans!