Being in the fitness industry I get a TON of questions about just about everything, but mostly about nutrition.
I assume people just trust my word with training and aren’t interested in why or what they are doing to get the results, from a physical standpoint. But when it comes to diet, they ask every little detail possible!
Which is good actually, I am not with them in their kitchens while they meal prep so they need to know this stuff.
So today, I rounded up the top 4 most frequently asked questions I get specifically on nutrition and I will answer them as clearly as I can for you!
-This is number one for a good reason; it’s by far the most talked about topic with my clients. I get so many questions on what macro’s are, how to utilize them for results and ultimately when to have them.
So first I will break down what macro’s are; “Macro’s” is a term short for “Macronutrients”, which are simply fat, carbohydrates and protein. The way you utilize these for results can be complicated, but having a good coach who understands these correctly can benefit you tremendously.
First, let’s go over protein. If your training hard you need an ample amount to recover properly and effectively burn fat, about .7-1 grams per pound of bodyweight. Therefore you should make sure that each meal of your day has protein in it, to ensure you’re getting the proper amount.
Next up, carbohydrates. This is where people freak out and get really confused. Should you be taking in carbs? How much? When? Honestly, plain and simple, there are too many questions and that is an entire article in itself. BUT, I will answer it briefly in the next question of this article.
Last but not least, fats. Fats are extremely important for your health for reasons ranging from brain function all the way to actually burning stored fat. The key is what kinds of fats to consume. So if you stick to consuming healthy dietary fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated you are in the clear. Saturated fat can also be beneficial depending on the source you’re getting it from. If you are consuming saturated fats from lean cuts of meat, then that is good. But when you over do the saturated fats from dairy products like cheese and butter, that’s when you need to possibly cut them out. Now trans-fat, usually coming from commercial/processed foods, is the fat that we want to avoid completely.
So how can you receive beneficial results from them? Well that’s a tough question because for optimal results it always depends on the person, their weight, their training, and their overall goal. But for the sake of this article, balance your fats and proteins evenly throughout your day and save your carbohydrates for post workout. This will always lead to a healthier system that can efficiently burn fat and build lean muscle.
2.) “LOW CARB? POST CARBS? PRE CARBS?!”
-This is another “It depends” type of question, which believe me are my least favorite when trying to figure out something! But these are the things it depends on…
– What’s your goal?
[ If your goal is to lose weight/fat, save your carbs for post workout. You can still have carbs but you will not need them before a training session or if you are not training. So my suggestion is to save all healthy low glycemic starches for the post workout period and stick with veggies and small servings of fruits on other days. ]
[ If your goal is to build lean muscle while maintaining a low BF%, then you should stick to during/post workouts and if your really lean already (10% or below) directly before training as well. This would be consuming a powdered carb + protein drink while you’re training (I suggest consuming with a good amount of water to ensure absorption/hydration) and having your protein + starch meal post workout. If you are one of those really lean guys needing that pre-workout carb, I suggest making a shake with a smaller amount of carbs, fats and protein (whey/peanut butter/oats works great) to consume 30-60min before your training session starts. Remember this would be on HEAVY LIFT days, not cardio or conditioning. ]
– What’s your BF% currently at?
[ This is where it gets a bit more specific, but specificity leads to specific results. Easily put, without me dropping numbers, the lower body fat you are the better your body will tolerate carbohydrates. So with this it’s somewhat a guessing game unless you have a good coach to tell you exactly what to do. But if your BF% is high and you need to lose weight/fat, drop carbs to about .5g per pound of body weight. Even easier put, eat a small serving of starches AFTER your train heavy and only eat veggies on your rest/cardio days. For those of you who do have a lower BF% or who are fairly lean already, go with what I described above. ]
3.) “CAN I HAVE PEANUT BUTTER?”
-This may sound funny, because it actually is pretty funny, but its unbelievable how much I get asked this! Every time I prescribe a diet or a guideline approach to losing fat/weight the first question is always… “Soooo… Can I have peanut butter?!”. Well I completely get it, I love peanut butter and if I could I would eat it by the jar!
The answer is simple, yes as long as it’s in moderation. The problem with nut butters and nuts in general is that you really do not need that much and it is easy to over eat them. If you spread it throughout your day properly you would probably only eat about 1 tbsp. per serving at a couple of times a day tops and with nuts that would be a small handful.
So my suggestion is to prepare it ahead of time so when you do eat them, you just have your Ziploc bag of nuts and you don’t go nuts on a full container… [Pun intended] This is the best approach because nuts have great dietary fats and fiber that you can benefit from, but when trying to get lean it is important to eat them in moderation.
4.) “WHITE RICE OR BROWN RICE?”
-This one is extremely common and for a long time it stumped me as well, but I did my studying and came to a solid conclusion. But before I answer this for clients, I first assess if starches are appropriate for their diet yet. Most likely it’s a yes unless we are on an extreme fat loss mission or have a specific deadline coming up that we need to be shredded for.
After I assess that, I then look at their goals. Since the answer for muscle/mass gain is a lot simpler and shorter I will start with that. Eat whatever your skinny heart desires! But really, if you like white rice then go for it! White rice will give you a bigger insulin spike, which in your case is good because it will create more disturbances in the glycogen system causing more mass gain.
For fat/weight loss it’s always “It depends”. Most people don’t completely understand why they need starches when they train hard in the first place. Most just assume the obvious, that it’s for recovery. Well yes it is for recovery, specifically because your body is in need of obtaining glucose to replenish our glycogen stores within the muscular system so that we can continue to have the proper fuel [energy] for training hard. It also helps replenish the liver glycogen stores and ultimately fuels the anabolic state of physical activity, keeping you out of catabolism [the break down of muscle for fuel].
As most of you know, brown rice has more fiber, which is usually why people eat it over white rice. That and they usually believe white rice is processed and bad for you because it’s white, like Wonder Bread. But that’s the problem; white rice isn’t bad for you at all!
Now, in the case that we are using starches for recovery and replenishing our glycogen stores as I spoke of above, we want the glucose to enter the glycogen stores as fast and efficiently as possible. To make sure this happens you should choose white rice, not brown rice. The reason being that brown rice isn’t as effective is because of the bran the grain contains. This bran contains what’s called phytic acid and phytic acid can be problematic for digestion and mineral absorption giving the risk of mineral deficiencies.
So in short, we want starches for recovery and to have the most ideal recovery it is safe to say that white rice is the premium grain of choice. Now, if your sedentary, only performing low intensity cardio, or looking to lose a large amount of fat or just lose it rapidly fast than rice in general is probably not the way to go. In those cases I would highly suggest hiring a nutritional coach to assess your meal/diet plan.
[By the way…. I am a nutritional coach ;)]
My intent with this article was to list the questions and then answer them clearly yet quickly…. Once I hit 1,000 words I realized I failed at that!
BUT, I am POSITIVE I answered them clearly! Hope you all took notes!
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or help needed with your own personal nutrition and I will do my absolute best to help you out!