BY JUSTIN GRINNELL, CSCS
You don’t need a perfect diet to see results, and trying to completely overhaul your entire nutrition regimen from Day 1—while also starting a brand-new training routine—is too much, too soon for most people. For the next six weeks, make the following four areas your primary goals. As you adopt these foundational healthy habits successfully, continue cleaning up your diet gradually from there.
FOOD FUNDAMENTAL NO. 1: EAT AT LEAST ONE GRAM OF PROTEIN PER POUND
With the increased stress on your body from the new workouts, your body is going to need a steady flow of amino acids from protein to help repair and grow muscle tissue. Focus on getting a gram of protein per pound of body weight every day, primarily from chicken, fish, red meat, eggs, and protein powder. If you weigh 200 pounds, shoot for 200 grams (or more) of protein daily. Simple.
FOOD FUNDAMENTAL NO. 2: DRINK A GALLON OF WATER EACH DAY
Your body is primarily made up of water, especially your muscles. By consuming an ample amount, you’ll improve your energy and recovery, fuel your body, and stay mentally sharp.
FOOD FUNDAMENTAL NO. 3: EAT A VEGETABLE OR FRUIT AT EACH MEAL
This is something that everyone has told you to do for years, and for a good reason. As an active person, you have an increased demand for vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients from plants. Aim for three to five servings of vegetables and two to three servings of fruit every day.
FOOD FUNDAMENTAL NO. 4: DON’T BE AFRAID OF CARBOHYDRATES
Many popular diets advise eating a low amount of carbohydrates to improve health. But a hard-training individual, who needs sufficient glycogen for energy and recovery, has greater carbohydrate needs than a sedentary person. As you start a workout regimen, your body will be changing rapidly, and so will your energy demands. This doesn’t mean to eat as many carbohydrates from any source you want. Rather, focus on eating two grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight to gain weight and one gram per pound to lose fat, coming from potatoes, rice, fruits, vegetables, and sprouted grains. Adjust your intake as needed.
STARTER’S GUIDE SUPPS
In addition to making these small dietary changes, use some basic supplements to help meet your nutritional & energy needs now that you’re working out several days a week. Check out The 2016 Starter’s Guide Supplements.