July 07, 2021 5 min read
Fitness is a hobby for many people around the world. From Olympic sprinters to professional bodybuilders to swimmers to everyday gymgoers, many people make personal fitness an important part of their lives. Considering the two most important aspects of fitness are training and regulating diet, it’s no surprise people need to establish healthy habits at home or in the gym. What makes an effective diet depends on an individual’s level of fitness and goals. Here are some simple ways to meal prep and stick to a healthy diet that anyone can use to progress in their fitness journey.
Before starting any diet or meal prep plan, you need to set goals while making sure they’re realistic to your fitness lifestyle. This will look different for everyone, and that’s okay. Start with assessing your main objectives. Do you want to lose fat, tone up, or build muscle or strength? Each of these requires its own set of macronutrient ratios and caloric intakes. Again, no diet is universal.
Those who want to lose body fat should strive for a caloric deficit. This means that you eat less than the number of calories you burn during your workout. Start with a base number of calories (depending on your fitness level and activity). Then, gradually reduce the number of calories every few weeks to keep your body constantly feeding off its fat stores. You’ll feel lighter, more energetic, and in due time see the weight loss you expect. Importantly, if at times you feel lethargic, lightheaded, or sick, keep the calories normal. This is your body’s way of telling you it needs the nutrients.
Those who want to tone up or lose fat while simultaneously building some muscle should eat a base number of calories in addition to their workouts. Since the goal is to keep a base weight but change body composition, the amount of food can stay relatively stable. Note that this doesn’t mean consuming junk food. Keep your food clean, and you should see results.
Thirdly, those who wish to build strength and muscle but don’t care about losing that much body fat should eat a caloric surplus. This means consuming more calories than you burn during workouts. It might be tempting to consume more junk food during this time, and for some people like powerlifters or strength athletes, this is possible. However, it’s still smart to keep food clean. This way, you won’t add additional body fat to your body composition.
Meal prepping and healthy dieting must become part of your routine, like sticking to daily workouts. Fitness is, in some respects, a formula made up of several variables. While training is one of them, dieting is the other. Given that, sticking to a routine of healthy eating, such as eating more frequently throughout the day, helps you maintain your goals. Not only will you feel better for sticking with your fitness and diet goals, but keeping a meal prep or diet plan will help structure you as a person. You might find yourself more regimented than before your started.
While you might feel tempted to use a fad or celebrity diet for your own fitness journey, you should listen to your body. Professional athletes and celebrities have their own dieticians, coaches, and personal trainers to get them to their desired bodies. The average person doesn’t have these resources at their disposal. For that reason, take things step by step. It’s always better to start slow and steady than rush into a poorly formatted diet and burn out.
Three main macronutrients make up everyone’s diet: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Each of these are the building blocks that fuel muscle growth and stave off hunger. You can eat healthy proteins through lean red meat, chicken, turkey, white fish, salmon, tuna, eggs, tofu, beans, and lentils. Carbohydrates give your body energy for daily activity. They are a little more multifaceted, as there are simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates digest quickly and may have a higher glycemic index. Examples of these are white bread, white rice, pasta, or fruit. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates metabolize slower and offer more nutrients and fiber with lower glycemic indexes. These include brown rice, whole wheat and whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, and oatmeal. Finally, don’t let the word “fats” scare you. There are healthy fats that regulate hormones, fight off hunger, and lubricate joints and muscles. Consider adding olive oil, sesame oil, avocados, hummus, or any nut butter to your meals to consume some beneficial fats.
While macronutrients make up your major food groups, don’t neglect micronutrients either. These are the essential vitamins and minerals within foods that help protect your immune system and promote bodily wellness. Rich sources of micronutrients include leafy greens, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. Alternatively, you can use a daily multivitamin, which has all your essential vitamins and minerals in one pill.
With all that said, there’s no limit to what you can and can’t do for an exceptional meal plan. Some people might implement a meat-heavy diet, while vegans or vegetarians can easily format their dietary needs towards their fitness journey. The point of meal prepping and dieting is to advance towards the body you desire. With strenuous exercise, your body needs nutrients to fuel muscle growth or lose body fat. Customize your diet or meal plan towards your dietary restrictions or preferences so that you can eat the same foods every day without losing interest or making unhealthy choices.
As previously stated, fitness is a journey. There are no shortcuts to achieving your dream body. Therefore, a healthy meal plan and exercise routine will help you reach those goals. Still, it’s perfectly okay to enjoy a cheat meal once in a while. Depending on your fitness level or type of activity, this might be weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Don’t get discouraged from enjoying a cheat meal either. These allow you to enjoy guilt-free food while sticking to your diet during the rest of the week. Cheat meals also have some physical benefits, such as replenishing glycogen stores after a week of intense training. Just don’t incorporate cheat meals too frequently, or you might sabotage your progress.
Once you’ve created a meal plan, focus your energy on your workouts. Now that you know simple ways to meal prep and stick to a healthy diet, you may want to obtain equipment to help you exercise effectively. We at Top Fitness know what goes into building a dream body, which is why our home gym rowing machines are perfect for losing fat, building muscle, and toning up. Check out our selection, along with our weights and other home gym equipment, to get started.
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