Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nutrition - Part I

Last week, I posted a brief screencast of using That is a wonderful tool and can be a huge resource for tracking your food intake. For the sake of time, I brushed over some very basic elements of setting up your nutritional plan. Over the next couple weeks, I will be posting a 3 part series on nutrition. Specifically, setting goals for fat loss. Are you ready?

Part 1: Nutrition 101 - Your needs, simplified.
It is truly simple physics here... you have to take in calories to burn for fuel. If you take in an equal amount of calories for the work your body does in a day, you will maintain your weight. If you eat MORE than your body burns in a day, you gain weight. And yes, you have it, if you take in fewer calories than your body requires for a day you will lose weight. Now all of these statements are based on a continued state of surplus or deficit... one day below maintenance won't make you drop 10 lbs, but a month at the right deficit could!

Caloric Need

I have been most impressed with the P90X formula for caloric needs and have found it to be a very accurate way to calculate your needs. With that being said, let me say this once:

You have to listen to your body. This will be a starting point, but monitoring your progress through the scale, BF% calipers, and even clothes sizes will allow you to fine tune your plan. All people are similar in many respects, but we are not perfect copies. What worked for me, may need little adjustments to work for you. Give any changes a chance to work, 2-3 weeks, and reassess.

Back to caloric needs. Here is the formula I use:
The 20% you use for daily activity is one place where you may have to tweak your numbers. Go to 30% if you are super active at your job, or drop to 10-15% if you are behind a desk all day and don't move. The Exercise portion may be different too. You can calculate your personal burns most accurately with a HR monitor. I use one here and there, but after a year of these programs, I know what I burn on average.

As for the deficit, around -600 a day will allow most people to lose 1 lb a week, while maintaining muscle mass. If you have more to lose, by all means run that deficit up to -1000 calories a day! That is what my coach did for his first round of P90X. He was 255lbs. and got ripped at 212 by the end of 90 days. That was obviously more than 1 lb. a week. It was all from running a daily 1000 calorie deficit. It takes commitment and determination, but sticking to a deficit pays off!

Macro-nutrient Needs
I have talked about the Fat Shredder percentages before: 50% protein, 30% carbohydrates, and 20% fats. These percentages maximize fat last. The high levels of protein keep you full and satisfied, and the lower carbs reduces the chance of any of those carbs will get stored as fat. I think it is beneficial to eat you carbs early in the day and make sure to eat some simple carbs (sugars from fruit for example) after your workout. That will replenish your glycogen stores. Beachbody's Results & Recovery is a perfect product for post workout. Use the P90X shopping list as a guide of what to eat. Then make sure your portions line up with your daily needs. Without going to far, here is a quick list of my common foods:

Chicken (white and dark - HAB free, local birds)
Egg Whites
Lean Beef
Turkey Lunch meat
Beef Jerky
Turkey Jurkey
Whey Isolate (just to supplement)
Pure Protein Chocolate Deluxe Bars (~$1 at Meijer)

Whole wheat bread (watch for HFCS)
Sweet Potatoes
Oats, oatmeal
Bananas (Post workout, in my Shakeology!)
Essentially any vegetables (watch out for corn- High Gycemic Index) 

Natural Peanut Butter
Some Olive Oil
Egg yolks

Go back over the screencast and practice a little. You can click the date forward and play with a day. Build the perfect day with what you normally eat. Try baked sweet potatoes. Cook on the weekend and package lunches and snacks for the week. Then check back in, are you hitting your protein, carb, and fat marks? Adjust, adjust, and then do it! Just like your teachers told you, "If you cheat, you are only cheating yourself." Do it for yourself, do it for your family, do it for your kids! 

Email me at or FB message me! I want to help you get set up and on the right track. Keep bringing it!


  1. Great article Coach! I know that what I eat and what I shouldn't eat can get confusing at times! This really helps break it down to baby steps! Thanks

  2. My pleasure! It all comes with time. You just need to focus on big things, like cutting sugars, then you can really get picky and dial it in for maximum results! Keep it up!