Whether you have aspirations of becoming the next She-Hulk or simply like to get your sweat on at the gym, it is well worth constructing a gym diet that allows you to perform at your best while achieving your goals.
Luckily, we have taken the hassle out of developing a plan by giving you the ins and outs of how to nail a killer diet plan for you, whatever your goals.
For this, there is no need to buy anything special, although if you are looking for supplements for weight loss, you can get more info here.
What is the Plan?
Instead of setting out a strict plan to follow by the letter, we understand that everybody is different. Your gym goal may be to build muscle or it may be to lose weight – and both of these demand slightly different plans.
So, we are giving you the fundamentals that will allow you to tailor your own 7-day plan specifically to you, which is more sustainable in the long run.
Understand Your Macronutrients
Firstly, you must become familiar with your macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Protein (with 4 calories per gram) is key for so many goals, whether that is to lose weight, build muscle, or gain strength. Your entire body is made of protein, and you need a constant supply to repair and rebuild damaged muscles.
Good protein sources include beans, legumes, meat, fish, dairy, and plant-based proteins such as tofu, tempeh, seitan, and plant milk.
Carbohydrates (with 4 calories per gram) are your body’s energy source. They are found in wholegrains, rice, pasta, bread, and oats. Carbs are essential for both maintaining muscle mass and giving you enough energy throughout the day. In fact, the British NHS states that all meals should be based on carbohydrates.
This is sound advice, especially if you are working out hard. However, if you are following low-carb diets (like keto), then you will naturally be eating fewer carbohydrates.
Don’t forget that fruit and vegetables are also carbohydrates, although classed as fibrous carbohydrates. You should aim to fill at least a third of your plate with vegetables to give your body the vitamins, minerals, and fiber it requires to stay healthy.
Finally, healthy fats (with 9 calories per gram) are also essential for many metabolic processes as well as general health. Even if you are on a low-fat diet, eating some fat is essential – your body doesn’t function without it!
You can find healthy fats in foods such as olives, avocados, walnuts, and flax seeds, but avoid trans fats and processed fats where possible.
Goal #1 – Build Muscle
If you are looking to build muscle, then you will need to focus on being in a slight calorie surplus – around 300 calories above your TDEE (the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight) every day. If you don’t know your TDEE, then search for a free TDEE calculator online.
To achieve these higher calories in a healthier way, you can increase your fats and/or carbohydrates, while ensuring you are getting around 1.4g to 2.0g of protein per kg of bodyweight, as recommended by Precision Nutrition.
This will give your body surplus energy, which will be used to build muscle. You may gain a little fat during this process, but if you stick to a surplus of just 300 calories per day and work out hard, then the fat gain will be minimal.
Goal #2 – Lose Weight
If weight loss is your aim, then you will want to aim for a 300 to 500 calorie deficit every day. Determine your TDEE and then find ways to trim calories from your diet plan.
Reducing fat is often a good start as fat contains the most calories per gram compared to carbohydrates and protein.
When cutting weight, remember to keep your protein intake high (at least 1g per kg of bodyweight every day). This will ensure you do not lose muscle mass – you want to lose fat, not muscles!
Should You Supplement?
It can be a great idea to add supplements to your weekly diet plan too.
As we have mentioned, for all gym goals, protein is particularly important. While it may be easy to get some protein from a chicken breast or a block of tofu, these aren’t always things you want to eat when you have just finished a tough workout.
Therefore, a protein supplement can really help make things more convenient. They also tend to offer a great protein to calorie ratio, allowing you to stock up on protein without the extra calories – perfect if you are trying to lose weight.
You may also want to explore other supplements, such as creatine for explosive power and pre-workout powder for boosting your performance in the gym.
Finally, don’t forget about multivitamins, which can act as an insurance policy should you not meet your RDA of vitamins through food and drink.
Regardless of your goals, it is easy to put together your own weekly diet plan when you know how the macronutrients work.
Figure out your TDEE, adjust your calories to suit your goals, then be prepared to put in the hard work at the gym and you will always see results.
Just remember that the key to both weight loss and building muscle/strength is consistency. If you work out and eat healthily once or twice a week, then you are not likely to see much progress.
But do these things every day, and suddenly things become a lot easier. Good luck!
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