General nutrition guidelines
If you've not already done so, go and download MyFitnessPal on your phone, tablet or PC. This is the app you'll be using to track an keep on point with your food intake.
There are two important numbers I want you to focus on during your Training.
Protein is one and Calories is the other.
As long as your protein target is reached, the rest of your calories can come from any combination of carbs and fats and I don't care what percentage or proportion is either carbs or fats.
Assuming 30% protein.
Day one could be Carbs 40% and Fats 30% - what I call a nice even split.
Day 2 could be Carbs 55% and Fats 15% - a lower fat day
Day 3 could be Carbs 30% and Fats 40% - a higher fat day.
All different ratios of carbs and fats and as far as fat loss goes any of these figures are absolutely fine and one will work just as well as the other.
We will be using an IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) approach with an emphasis on a minimum of 80% whole foods and an optional/variable 20% maximum allowance for refined foods and treats.
The take home: Once Protein is factored in, Calories are king
Which foods to eat
You should aim for food from or on the earth, unprocessed or minimally processed, whey protein being a processed exception.
Many of the foods in the different groups (carbs, proteins, fats, veg) will have a crossover to other groups, I'll list them where they are best suited.
This is the important Macro nutrient that I want you to focus on. You must reach your set goal for this.
Protein is important for muscle, tendon, and ligament repair and growth.
Leafy & Fibrous Vegetables
The importance of leafy and fibrous veg is fibre and micro nutrients (vitamins & minerals).
A big benefit of eating these is the fact they fill you up with few calories spent. So bulking out meals with them to avoid hunger is a great idea.
Starchy Carbs & other Carbohydrates
Energy, some fibre, but mostly energy is what we're after from Carbs. We will also get vitamins & minerals from many too.
Some are carbohydrate dense like sugar, bread, lower is rice and potato, then others are not very carb dense at all like berries, tomatoes, pumpkin, and citrus fruits.
Fats are essential, not the enemy, so if you have that idea in your head, get rid of it right now.
Like carbs, fats are an energy source. Typically slow burning, they also slow the digestion of other foods.
Quality protein foods:
Whey Protein (processed exeption)
Some Yogurts (check the stats)
Examples of these are
Lettuce and Salad leaves
Anything leaft and/or green
Options for carbs:
Citrus Fruit (low cal)
Berries (low cal)
Good options for fat in your diet:
The fat contained in the meat and fish you you
Cold Pressed oils
Nuts, Nut Butters
Peanuts, Peanut Butter
Your 20% for sanity...
You have an allowance of 20% for treats and foods with poor nutritional properties.
How to workout your 20%:
Your daily calories multiplied by 0.2 (or your daily calories divided by 5)
If your target is 2500 calories then the sum is: 2500 x 0.2 = 500 calories
You should be using the calculator on these pages and it will tell you what your 20% will be.
These foods are things like:
Fizzy, high sugar drinks
Take away and Fast Food
Or anything you would deem as a "treat"
This 20% is there to be enjoyed with ZERO guilt and 100% enjoyment. It's there to keep you sane and able to adhere to a balanced diet without feeling as if you're missing out.
My advice on when to eat your 20%
I almost always try to leave my 20% till the end of the day. This allows me to easily say no to treats in the day because I know I'm having my treats later on. It acts as a carrot to your diet donkey and leads you safely through the nutritional minefield that is the day.