Here are some nutrition and work out tips that will help you put on some extra muscle while taking off or keeping of the fat. It will also provide other good "side" benefits that could be useful such as more energy during the day and improved health. While some of these things you may know or are just common sense, this will at least be a refresher and a reminder. Many of these things you also may not know and they will be valuable throughout your fitness career. This is a little bit of reading but read it all and it'll be worth it.
Nutrition is probably 50% of having a good physique, not to mention feeling good throughout the day and all the health benefits that can come from a good diet. You do not want it to go to an unhealthy extreme though in either direction such as undereating or eliminating one macronutrient such as carbs or fat from your diet. The key to nutrition is to MANIPULATE YOUR METABOLISM TO BURN MORE CALORIES! Here are some major tips to keep in mind. You do not have to follow all of them all the time as this is unrealistic but knowing sometimes is half the battle and if you can at least follow a few of these then it will make a difference.
-Instead of eating 2-3 big meals a day, try to go for 5-7 smaller meals throughout the day. This will prevent you from overloading you digestive system and will keep your metabolism (how many calories you burn) high. Try to carry around some small healthy snacks with complex carbs, protein, and fiber (nuts, health bars, fruit, granola, etc)
Example) Medium Breakfast - light/medium snack - medium lunch - light/medium snack - medium dinner - light snack or two
-Try to eat the majority of your food during breakfast and lunch time (and before and after your workout to a lesser extent) when your metabolism is at its highest.
-Unless you've had a very long day and haven't eaten much food, do not eat too much food after about 7pm as your metabolism slows down at this time. If you eat something it should be somethin light, ideally with mostly protein, fiber, and complex carbs. No late night pizza or chinese food runs!
-If you are trying to lose weight in a healthy way, it is best to eat 300-500 calories less than normal 5-6 days per week but 1-2 days a week you can over-eat a little bit and consume 300-400 calories more than normal. This allows you to have a "cheat" day when you go out to eat out, get shitfaced (not recommended of course), etc while also keeping your metabolism from going down. If you diet everyday your metabolism will drop because your body cannot work as hard on no energy and will thus conserve its fat and calories (not to mention you'll feel like shit). If you wanted to gain weight without putting on as much fat, then you would do the opposite eating an extra 300-500 calories 5-6 days a week and 300-400 calories less on 1-2 days a week.
-Vegetables are always good, fruits are good but eat in moderation as they contain a lot of simple sugars as well as nutrients.
-Increase your protein intake to approximately 140 grams a day as protein will help muscle recovery since you workout a lot, increase the metabolism, fill you up, and it isn't stored as easily as fat. Foods that are good for this while being low in fat include skim milk (your favorite i know haha), protein powder, nuts, seeds, chicken, turkey, lean beef, fish (wild alaskan salmon is the best!), protein bars, beef jerkey, fat free cottage cheese, and fat free yogurt, etc. PROTEIN WILL GET YOU JACKED!
-Avoid simple sugars from foods such as soda, fruit juice (oj is ok in the morning), white bread, cookies, candy, cakes, etc. This is nearly impossible but you should try to opt for more complex carbs when you can such as whole wheat products, oatmeal, sweet potatos, kashii, total, etc.
- All fat is not bad for you, unsaturated fat can be quite beneficial and actually increase your metabolism and health, good sources include nuts, seeds, and especially fish such as salmon.
-Consume protein and simple carbs right after your workout to jumpstart recovery since your metabolism will be boosted significantly..
-When you drink no fruity wussy sugary drinks! Only light beer, straight alcohol, and diet soda chasers!
-Supplements don't work miracles, only use the ones that are proven at least somewhat effective and with no major negative side effects.
-Whey protein is the highest quality protein on the market besides eggs and is very quick dissolving making it perfect before or after a workout. If you are active I would recommened 20-50 grams per day to help you get the protein you need without adding the fat. Brands include GNC 100% whey (6lb tub on sale for $23 is the best bargain u can get), On, Nature's Best, and dozens of others. They are all basically the same when it comes to macronutrients (high protein, low carbs, low fat) but some include extra vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that you can get just as easily in a multivitamin.
-Take a multivitamin everyday to cover your bases
-Green tea has excellent antioxidant and metabolism enhancing properties.
-L-glutamine (powder) is the most abundant amino acid in the body including in the muslce and after a workout may help improve recovery by reducing unecessary muscle breakdown.
-Creatine (cheapest in monohydrate powder form) is the most researched and proven supplement in history.
It boosts overall stregnth, recovery, explosiveness, and endurance while adding weight but some of it can be from increased water retention and may not be good if your trying to lose your gut or get ripped. Also while short term use is deemed harmless, long term use is not very well researched even though it is hypothesized to be relatively fine.
-Get 8 hours of sleep a night so you recover fully, don't get too stressed, and don't throw off your hormonal balance which can lead to muscle loss and weight gain.
-Stay relaxed, increased stress leads to weight gain and overeating.
-Everything in moderation, no over-drinking, no over/under-eating, and at least 1 day of rest per week from working out.
-Try to do cardio 2-3 times a week for 25-45 minutes. To burn the most calories you should do quick 30 second to 2 minute intervals of increased speed or intensity to really push your body and raise your heartrate before returning to your normal pace; repeat every 3-5 minutes or so. Other small changes like using/not using the handles on the elliptical or peddling it backwards or turning up the incline on the treadmill will make small changes that push your body in a different way and keep your workout a little less boring.
-Lifting workouts should take 45-60 minutes. Sets should be at a weight that you can do with good form for 8-15 repetitions with 1-2 minutes between sets. Start with the larger muscle groups and work your way to the smaller ones.
- Lifting workouts boost metabolism for up to 72 hours and burn off a lot of carbs, also bigger muscles burn more calories because they're metabollically active.
- If you do lifting and cardio on the same day, either split them up (lifting in morning, cardio at night for example) or do lifting first then a quick cardio workout after (20-30 minutes).
-Lifting workouts will focus mostly on compound exercises that will use the most muscles at one time and therefore burn the most calories at once as opposed doing isolation exercises.