Nutrition – The True Key to Fitness Success

Nutrition questions are the ones that I am most often asked about, and in all honesty, nutrition is the biggest key to unlocking what looking and feeling good are all about.  I would have to estimate that nutrition makes up 80% of the equation when it comes to truly looking/being fit – with the other 20% being pretty evenly divided between INTENSE exercise and proper recovery.

Proper nutrition really isn’t a big mystery either.  Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats!  For some reason, everyone wants to over complicate what to eat.   I’m not a chef by any stretch of the imagination, and I honestly obtained my best results by just keeping it simple:  Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats (are you sensing a theme here?)  ;)

In the next few paragraphs, I’m going to share with you EXACTLY how to eat to get that super-fit body that you crave.  OK, pay attention, because here comes the important stuff.  First and foremost, develop a GOAL.  Just like your workout routine, you need to develop a goal that you want to reach.  Come up with a 30 day, 6 month, and 1 year goal.  Spend a few minutes really thinking about them, and then WRITE THEM DOWN.  Somehow, the act of putting pen to paper takes it from a thought, and transfers it into a REAL thing.  Now that you’ve done that, lets look at the next important things to follow:

  • Figure out what you need to do to reach that goal.  First and foremost, you need to know how many calories you should be consuming during the course of a day (regardless of your goal being weight loss, weight gain, or maintaining your weight).  For those of you that are Beachbody Club members, make use of the tools section for caloric needs calculator (if you aren’t a Beachbody Club Member, contact your coach and ask them to plug your info into their caloric needs calculator).  This is one of the most valuable tools on the website, because you can plug in your personal information regarding height, weight, and age, as well as the Beachbody workout program you are doing.  The calculator then tells you the projected  number (of calories) you need to consume to safely lose weight, as well as telling you the needed calories to maintain your weight. You can also use this simple method to estimate your daily caloric needs.

  • Now that you have that number to shoot for, its time to continue your map of success by using a food journal to really dial in.  For all of the people I coach, I strongly recommend using either or .   These are  FREE food journaling tools that allows you to enter all of your food for the day, tracks the total calories consumed, AND breaks all of those foods down by categories of protein/carbs/fats.  I typically urge people to use this tool for a solid three week period, because that way you get a really good feel for what XXXX number of calories really is (because most people tend to drastically under-eat, which is just as bad as over-eating).

  • Start keeping track of every morsel. Grade yourself at the end of each day. Healthy foods get positive number grades while junk food gets a negative number. That blue cheese dressing in your healthy salad gets a negative 1. Add bacon bits and you’re at a negative 2. On a 1 to 10 scale, 8, 9, and 10 are best. Below 5 means you’ve been cheating all day long.

Now, so far we have figured out our caloric target zone, and we have the tools to really track the intake to make sure that we’re really on track for reaching our goal.  What do I do next?  Now comes the time to put that information to use.

First, eating frequency:

  • Ideally, you want to eat 6 small meals per day – spaced out by eating every 2.5 – 3 hours.  If you were able to schedule the perfect eating day, you would take your targeted caloric number (for example sake, we’ll say 2400 calories), then divide that by 6 (giving you approximately 400 calories per each meal).  Make sense so far?

Just as a general guideline, I try to avoid eating within 3 hours prior to going to bed.  This way, the last of your consumed food is pretty well digested, and less likely to be stored as fat.  On those days where I’m looking at going to bed in about 30 minutes, but I’m REALLY hungry, I’ll mix up a couple scoops of whey protein powder (with water) or Shakeology and drink that.  Protein tends to give you a very filling effect, and it will be pretty easily processed by your body while you are sleeping (without being stored as fat).

Next, lets talk about water consumption.  Since our bodies have such a high composition of water, its important that we drink plenty throughout the day.  The general guideline that I follow is 1 liter per 50 lbs of body weight.  Water (aside from being necessary) also helps to keep the toxins flushed out of your system.

Now its time for some tips to help you stay the course and reach your goals:

  • 409716_266584540137207_1497967300_nAfter you’ve made your plan and committed to reaching your goal, get rid of all the junk food in your house.  Clean out the fridge, cupboards, and secret stash locations for all the garbage (come on, I know you keep a stash!).  With the bad food gone, head to the grocery store and replace the junk with clean healthy food choices (the top 2 tiers of Michi’s Ladder are full of them!  In fact, if you ate the foods contained in the top 2 tiers of Michi’s Ladder, you would consume a near perfect diet).

  • If switching over makes you feel deprived, then do what I do—I call it the 90/10 Plan. Ninety percent of the food I eat is in the top two tiers of Michi’s Ladder. The other 10 percent of the time I dip into Michi’s basement. I stay away from grease, fat (trans fat), sweets, and salt, You can access Michi’s Ladder in the nutrition section of the Beachbody Club (again, if you aren’t a member, you can get a copy from this site – or better yet, become a club member – its WELL worth the money).

  • Tell your friends and family what you are GOING to accomplish, and ask them to help hold you accountable.  Its amazing how much easier it is to reach a goal when you have your friends and family helping you to get there.

  • Start or join a Facebook group or a message board thread for your workout program and POST your daily food intake!  Somehow, when you post what you are eating for the world to see, it makes you work just a little bit harder to stay on track.  And your great example will also help you to motivate others that are going through the same thing.  Before you know it, you have an entire group of people working toward completing a goal.  People helping people – that’s what Beachbody is all about!

  • Use Post-It notes.  Put them up on your fridge, your cabinet, your computer at work, the microwave, ANYWHERE that you encounter temptation – it sounds silly, but it really works!

  • Lean on your coach for support.  We, as coaches, are all here to help you – so if you are struggling, we will gladly lend a hand to get you back on track – whether its giving you a needed kick in the pants (so to speak), or sharing in your success – we care about you and we are determined to help you succeed.

After a few weeks of eating clean and getting rid of the bad habits, you’ll find that you’ve adapted to your new healthy lifestyle.  The junk food that ran your life before will no longer have a hold on you, and you’ll see your cravings for it diminish more and more in time.  You deserve to be healthy, happy and fit!  Do the right things today, and they will always make for a better tomorrow!

Your friend in fitness,

~ Kevin

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All material herein is provided for information only and may not be construed as personal medical advice. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The publisher is not a licensed medical care provider. The information is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of medicine or any other health-care profession and does not enter into a health-care practitioner/patient relationship with its readers. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.