It is day one of your weight lifting program and you are ready to start your body transformation.  It is the best workout out there, but with all of this searching for a workout plan, do you have a solid nutrition plan?  Nutrition is not only 90% of the battle when it comes to improving all the aspects of health and fitness.  It can be the ultimate reason why you may not be seeing any results.  Trust me, it has taken me years to figure out what foods, how much to eat, and how often to eat.  What makes this challenging is everybody is different.  What may work for you may not work for me.  Some people can get away with eating crap and not gain an ounce but with me if I have a piece of cake, I will gain 5 lbs.  I am a creature of habit.  Six days of the week consist of eating just about the same thing or rotating foods around day by day.  What really helps me from getting sick of eating the same things are changing up the seasonings that I put on each item. For example, one meal putting pepper and garlic and the next meal onion parsley.  Adding salt is something that I do not personally do that much because I try to keep my daily sodium intake between 1500 and 1800 mg per day.  You do not have to be a world class chef to make things taste great, I honestly put on random seasonings and they come out tasting surprisingly great.

Here are some proteins, carbohydrates and fats in the nutrition plan that I recommend to my clients, I also eat them on a daily basis. These foods are not only great for you, but they are inexpensive for the people who are on a budget.  

When you are counting calories, remember that there is 9 calories per gram of fat and 4 calories per gram of protein and carbohydrates.  When you are counting calories, you are counting the calories from the protein, carbohydrates and fats.  It is different than just counting the calories that it tells you on the package.

If you are having trouble figuring out your daily caloric needs, this is something that I used as my New Year’s Resolution nutrition plan last year

Fat loss = 12 – 13 calories per lb. of bodyweight

Maintenance = 15 – 16 calories per lb. of bodyweight

Weight gain = 18 – 19 calories per lb. of bodyweight

Proteins

Depending on what your goals, protein intake should be around .5-1 gram per lb of body weight.  If you are a calorie counter, the calories that come from protein should be around 40% of your daily intake.  The you can get to 100% lean protein, the better!  Here are some recommended lean protein choices that can be included in your nutrition plan.

1. Chicken

Chicken is about as lean of a protein as you can get as long as it is skinless.  In a 4 oz (112 g) serving of chicken, it consists of 24 g of protein and 1 g of total fat.

 frozen chicken

2. Turkey or Turkey Patties

Light turkey meat is the leanest type of protein that you can have.  One patty (151g) has 35g of protein, 2 g of carbohydrates and 6 g of fat.turkey burgers

3. Tilapia

Some people tell me that they will eat tilapia because it does not have that “fishy” taste.  If you do not want that “fishy” taste, I recommend buying frozen over fresh. In a 4 oz (113 g) piece of tilapia, this has 23 g of protein, 2 g of Total fattalapia

4. Bison

Bison meat is something that I have recently added to my nutrition plan.  It is not something that I eat daily, but it is something that I will eat 2 meals a week.  Ground bison is a great source of lean protein, it s 90% lean and 10% fat.  In a 4 oz (113 g) piece of ground bison, this contains 23 g of protein and 11 g of total fat.

bison meat

5. Eggs

Eggs are not just a breakfast food.  They just about go great with everything. In 1 large egg, there are 7 g of protein and 5 g of total fat.

eggs

Carbohydrates

Depending on the type of training and days off (on days off carbohydrate intake is lower), daily carbohydrate intake can range from 2.7 to 4.5 grams per lb of bodyweight a day.  The calories that come from carbohydrates should be 40% of your daily intake.

1. Steel Cut Oatmeal

Oatmeal is high in fiber and low in sugar.  I usually add a cup of fresh cranberries that are also low in sugar and great for taste.  In 1/4 cup (40 g) of Oatmeal consists of 27 g of carbohydrates, 2.5 g of total fat, 5 g of protein and 4 g of fiber.

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2. Lentils

Lentils are a great source of not only carbohydrates, but they also consist of fiber and protein (great source of protein for vegetarians).  In ½ cup (122 g) of Lentils consists of 16 g of carbohydrates, 4.5 g of fiber and 6 g of protein.

lentils

3. Brown Rice

Brown rice is a high carbohydrate source.  In 1/2 cup (146 g) of brown rice, this has 39 g of carbohydrates, 1.5 g of Total Fat and 4 g of protein.

brown rice

4. Yam

Yams are high in carbohydrates, potassium, and fiber.  In 100 g yam, this has 28 g of carbohydrates, 1.5 g of protein, 542 mg of potassium and 4 g of fiber.

yams

5. Fruits and Veggies

Vegetables are something that I have with every meal and fruits are usually eaten in the morning or right before a workout.  I usually do not count the calories in my vegetables because they are lower in calories but I will count with fruit.  All vegetables are great to eat, especially if they are darker (more nutrients).  With fruits I just stick with apples, cranberries and bananas.

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Fat

Depending on the type of training and days off (on days off fat intake is higher), daily healthy fat intake can be around .25 grams per lb of bodyweight a day. The calories that come from healthy fat should be 20% of your daily intake.  Try staying away from trans fats.  You will find trans fats in processed foods, chips, crackers, cookies margarine and foods made with shortening and hydrogenated oils.  If you have a healthy nutrition plan, then counting how much fiber you need a day is not as important, but 25-35 g is a good number to shoot for if you need to add fiber to your plan.  Potassium according to most research says that 2,000 mg is plenty for 1 day.

1. Olive Oil

Olive oil can be used not only with cooking, but it can also be supplemented into your protein shake.  Surprisingly it tastes pretty good.  In 1 tbsp (15 g) of olive oil it consists of 14 g of total fat.

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2. Avocado Oil

Avocado oil can also be used just like olive oil and it can be found in all grocery stores. 3.53 oz (100 g) of avocado oil has 14 g of total fat.

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3. Avocado

Avocado’s are loaded with healthy total fat, potassium, carbohydrates and fiber.  In a (173 g) avocado there are 27 g of total fat, 877 mg of potassium, 15 g of carbohydrates, 7 g of protein and 12 g of fiber.

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4. Nuts (I eat almonds and raw peanut butter, but most of the nuts are similar in nutrition facts).

Raw nuts are always a preferred choice, if you are going to have salted nuts, then you better keep track of your sodium intake. Nuts are also high in total fat, potassium, fiber and is a good source of protein. In 1 oz (24 whole kernels)(28 g) of nuts, there are 14.2 g of total fat, 6 g of carbohydrates, 207.44 mg of potassium, 3.5 g of fiber and 6 g of protein.

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It is really easy to say that you want to lose weight and look your absolute best.  Talk is cheap!  I am not telling you that you have to weigh out every meal.  Figure out what your goals are, how many calories are you going to have a day and stick to the nutrition plan.  Try measuring out every meal for a week, so you can get the idea of what amount you should have and then you will be good to go.  Take a couple minutes to do this and you will do great!

Written by Chris Barber, CPT