When you’re trying to achieve and maintain a lean, muscular build, good nutrition is crucial. Even if you’ve perfected the art of the weights and cardiovascular workouts, you’re only fulfilling half of what’s within your reach if you aren’t paying any attention to what you’re eating.
Making the right food choices to burn fat and build muscle isn’t as difficult as you may think. Here are the basics of nutritious eating:
1. Choose Unprocessed Foods Over Processed Foods
This one is probably a common-sense rule for most people. Which do you think is a smarter choice: getting your 2,000 calories a day by eating nothing but Doritos, hot dogs, and ice cream, or by eating salad, carrots, broccoli, and chicken?
The rule of thumb is: If it goes bad, then it’s good for you. If not, then it’s probably bad for you.
If you want a leaner, sexier body in a shorter amount of time, you should increase your intake of the following types of foods:
One of the reasons why lean proteins, such as chicken, turkey, pork, lean red meat, eggs, cottage cheese, and whey protein, are so highly recommended by nutritionists is because of their good thermic effect. It takes 30 calories for your body to digest, utilize, and eliminate 100 calories’ worth of these proteins. Not only that, but they satisfy your appetite better than any other food group.
2. Start Every Day With Breakfast!
According to a study conducted at Harvard University, people who eat healthy breakfasts every day have an average of 8% less body fat than people who never eat breakfast.
If you’re not already a regular breakfast-eater, here’s an easy way to work breakfast into your everyday routine:
Tomorrow, eat just a little bit of breakfast food in the morning. For example, you might start with a tiny bowl of oatmeal and one egg. Get into the habit of eating those foods every morning, then, when you feel like it, add more food to your breakfast.
3. Coordinate Your Diet And Workout Schedules
You can optimize your workouts and your diet by eating starchy carbs on the days when you work out, and non-starchy carbs on days when you don’t workout and when you only do cardio. You can get starchy carbs from foods like whole-wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and brown or wild rice. Non-starchy carbs include apples, salads, green beans, and other vegetables.
Most people’s diets contain an excess of starchy carbs, and therefore, an excess of glycogen, which the body stores as fat. Therefore, you should only eat starchy carbs on days when you’re going to use up all that fuel by working out. Among bodybuilders, this diet technique is known as “carb-cycling.” Starchy carbs get broken down into glucose, which is the gasoline of your body – without it, muscles won’t fire.
By carb-cycling, you’ll ensure that your body has enough glucose on the days when it’s needed for your workouts. If you don’t eat high-calorie starchy carbs on the days when you’re less active, your body won’t turn those extra calories into fat.
Sticking to this diet and workout regimen is not only the most effective way to lose fat and gain muscle, but it also helps your body maintain optimal levels of anabolic hormones, and it’s fun, too!
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