Some of you may freak out when you see the number of daily grams of protein and carbs I'm about to share with you. Please trust me that if you fuel your body it will run like you are hoping it will and your metabolism will kick it up a gear. This is especially true if you are doing an intense workout program like TurboFIRE, ChaLEAN Extreme, P90X, Insanity, or heavy training at the gym. Your body can't sustain the energy output without having energy come in through quality foods. I know from experience with friends and customers doing TurboFIRE that when someone is hitting a wall and completely exhausted come weeks 5-8, it's usually because they are not getting enough carbs. If you are feeling sluggish despite eating 'well' and working out, you can track your food for just a week to see where you're at now.
So how do you figure out how much food you should be eating?
If you have a Bodybugg or heart rate monitor it will help you see how many calories you are burning each day. ( I used to use a heart rate monitor with a watch and it was good but not as accurate as the Bodybugg in case you are looking to buy one or the other.) Also, you can enter your personal information here and it will give you a estimate of how many calories you need. Remember, if you don't eat enough you are telling your body to store food as FAT. If you eat too much, you will not lose weight or build the muscle you want. Please don't get caught up on the exact number you need, just make sure you know it so you have some boundaries to set for yourself.
How should these calories be dispersed?
This is an easy way to break down your daily calories. This is not the only way and obviously can change based on your personal goals. But why not have a place to start? I try and eat 1 part fat, 2 parts protein, 3 parts carbs. What does that mean?
If I am eating 2000 calories a day I would divide that into 6 parts (1 fat/2 protein/3 carbs). This would mean I need 1 part from fats (333 calories), 2 parts from protein (666 calories), and 3 parts from carbohydrates (1000 calories).
So what does this mean when it comes to looking at food labels and determining how many calories the item contains?
- Fat has 9 calories per gram so in my 2000 calorie diet, the 1 part fat is 333 calories which would be 37g of fat (333 calories divided by 9 equals 37grams of fat).
- Protein has 4 calories per gram so my 2 parts protein is 666 calories which would be 167g of protein (666 calories divided by 4 equals 167grams).
- Carbohydrates also have 4 calories per gram so: my 3 parts carbs is 1000 calories which would be 250 grams (1000 divided by 4 equals program).
Divide those numbers by how many meals you eat each day (most nutritionists suggest 5 meals per day) and you can see what you should be eating at each meal.
Next Monday, I will show you where different foods fall into these categories and how you can make a menu for yourself. When you track your calories for a day or two which area do you feel you struggle with the most to keep within the limits? For me it's keeping the fat low enough and the carbohydrates high enough.