Now, we don’t need to tell you how important diet is when it comes to smashing your goals. Whether you’re keen to gain a few extra pounds or on a mission to burn fat, you most definitely are what you eat. We all know that guy at work who makes his way through three carefully prepped lunchboxes each day. And we’re all familiar with the cardio fiend who lives off diet shakes and rice cakes. But, how should you really be eating to hit your goals?
What if I want to gain weight?
Maybe you’re bulking? Or you might just find it particularly hard to put on weight? Well, if you’re cramming in the calories, it may be best to eat more smaller meals each day rather than the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’re bulking or gaining weight to turn into muscle, it’s likely you’ll be heading to the gym a lot. No one wants to take on a weights sesh on a full stomach!
When you eat little and often, you’re less likely to feel full. Pace yourself and you’ll be able to pack in the extra calories. Try having some fruit or a protein shake first thing, then have your breakfast an hour or so later. Split your lunch into two separate meals and do the same with dinner. This equates to six meals a day – sounds a lot, right? But eating little and often will help and incorporating shakes and smoothies into your diet will make the additional calories easier to consume.
What if I want to lose weight?
Keen to shed a few extra pounds? Maybe you just want to look a little leaner? Whatever your goal, in order to lose body fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit. Sounds scary, right? But, don’t worry. We’re not about being hungry! Just because you’re counting calories doesn’t mean you can’t eat!
When trying to lose weight, many people find it easier to stick to the classic three meals and throw in some healthy snacks throughout the day. Don’t neglect carbs, especially if you’re working out – you’ll need these to replenish you after your weight session or cardio blast. Choose complex carbs, such as whole wheat breads, rice and pasta, rather than refined carbs, as these keep you fuller for longer and are packed full of nutrients that often stripped from the refined variants.
If you’re finding it tough cutting the calories, be sure to set aside some of your allowance for healthy snacks – nuts, Greek yoghurt and dark chocolate are great options. High protein snacks, such as our tasty Carb Killa® bars, are also a good shout and will keep you fuller for longer.
What’s the deal with intermittent fasting?
So, word on the street says that intermittent fasting is what it’s all about nowadays. What actually is it? I hear you ask. Well, it’s basically when you eat during a set period of time and don’t eat outside of this time frame. For example, you may choose to eat between 12pm and 8pm (a method referred to as 16/8, where you have an eight-hour window where you’re able to eat and a 16 hour window where you must fast) – you’d need to consume all of your calories in this time frame.
There are many claimed health benefits linked to intermittent fasting, with fat loss, lowered blood insulin and sugar levels and increased energy being just a few.
So, how many meals should I eat each day?!
Let’s be honest – it’s completely up to you how much you eat each day. The above is a basic guide based on your potential goals. In simple terms, if you want to gain weight, you need to consume more calories than you burn and if you want to lose weight, you need to be in a slight calorie deficit. It’s really that easy. But, remember, food is to be enjoyed and if you feel as if your diet is making you feel restricted or unhappy, it’s probably worth looking at other ways you can achieve your goals or altering them slightly. Life’s too short, after all!