Fundamentals of Nutrition: A Quick Guide to What Matters Most

fuel-sep-22Every expert, nutrition website and magazine has an opinion on nutrition. Some are valid, some are not. Information is power, but the problem is that too much information can be overwhelming. So what is a person to do? In this blog I’d like to outline three key points for designing your nutrition program so that you have the best chance to reach your goals.

Here are my top 3 takeaway points for nutrition:

1. Calories

Calories do matter to both your fat loss and muscle mass goals, but all calories are not created equally. If someone tells you that you can eat a pop tart instead of a yam because all calories are the same, quickly run the other direction…and fast! Some sources of calories are far better for you and nutrient dense than others, some digest easier than others and some just aren’t any good for you full stop. By understanding this lesson you can manipulate your food sources to accelerate your progress.

2. Protein

Protein intake will differ from one person to the next, but I’d say from experience that somewhere between 1-2g of protein per pound of lean body weight will be the range you’re working towards, depending on genetics, your goals, gender, training volume and recovery rate. If your goal is to build muscle, stick to the higher end of that ratio. Also carbohydrate intake matters as carbs are “protein sparing,” therefore that will dictate protein requirements as well.

3. High meal frequency

Eat often, then eat again! Just make sure you are consuming smaller meals if you are eating more often so that you don’t overdo it on the calories. I’m a big advocate of high meal frequency for multiple reasons:

  • Eating every 2-4 hours will help you maximize Muscle Protein Synthesis levels (MPS) which is the driver of muscle recovery and growth.
  • Eating every 2-4 hours will help maintain stable blood sugar levels which is crucial for avoiding cravings and improving insulin sensitivity (a must for muscle growth and fat loss!)
  • Eating every 2-4 hours means that your calorie intake throughout the day is split up into smaller meals, which helps your digestive system cope that much better.

There you have it, three keys to a successful nutrition program. None of this information is new or earth shattering. But in the age of the Internet and with nutrition gurus standing on every corner, I wanted to share what I’ve learned in nearly 10 years of competitive bodybuilding. These three staples ring true for people of all exercise levels and proficiency. I hope this information helps you filter through all the noise out there, so that you can ask the right questions and design the best nutrition plan for you.

-Tim Frost, IFBB Pro

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