I was talking to a client the other day about seriously trying to drop some body fat. In the personal training world, many clients will primarily be training for fat loss. Sure you will have many that want to improve health, get stronger and the like, however, the majority of adult age clients will want to lose some fat. While there are many ways to lose body fat the number one factor will be consistency.
I could tell my clients what to exactly eat and they would drop weight for sure but staying consistent on a well-written diet plan is hard to maintain. So, instead, I like to give my clients some examples and guidelines to follow. We will pick a few key things to work on, continue to educate them and move forward from there. Below is an example outline of how I would educate one of my clients on how to eat. We would review this and then pick a few of them and get after it for a few weeks, see how it goes and adjust depending on how well they are doing.
- Try and go at least 10-12 hours without eating anything. The majority of the time is while you sleep. So, you could have your last bite to eat at 8 pm, and not eat until 6-8am the next day. 12-hours is optimal. Adjust the time period as you see fit. If you feel good going periods of time with just water, tea, and coffee, we may extend it to a 16-hour fast (male clients.
- When going out to eat double up on the protein and/or veggies instead of having starchy carbohydrates. Limit to potato or rice when going out to eat.
- Take 2 tablespoons of cod liver oil and 20-30 spirulina and chlorella tabs. In short, it’s your insurance policy to make sure you have enough Omega-3 fatty acids and micronutrients (minerals, vitamins, enzymes etc). It keeps the body balance, cells healthy thus more energy from proper mitochondrial production. You, by all means, don’t have to get them from me but we sell them at a discount. You can also sub the s/c for a green food powder.
- No snacking unless it is scheduled, meaning, you know you need/usually have a protein bar near the end of work to keep you until dinner, that makes sense. Just don’t grab chips here, a bowl of cereal there type snacks.
- 90/10 rule. 90 percent of the time you eat what you need to, the other 10% enjoy! In math, if you eat 4x a day each week, that’s 28 total meals. Ten percent of those meals is about 3, So you have some wiggle room for events, parties, oh shit moments or just to enjoy whatever the heck you want.
Example meal plan
Meal 1: 2 scoops protein powder (mixed in water), with some type of healthy fat (coconut oil, peanut butter- really any nut butter or nuts.
Meal 2: at least 4 and up to 10 ounces of protein source (depending on individual needs), unlimited veggies, mindful amount of starchy carbohydrates.
Meal 3: you have a variety of options here. I think you need to eat something before you go home. Things like perfect bars, Rx bars, even some leftovers from the night before are good options.
Meal 4: same as meal 2. The key will be the snacking and stopping eating by 7-8pm.
Fat Burning and Muscle Building Tips
- Focus on local and when possible, organic produce. Choose grass-fed meats, organic eggs, and poultry and wild-caught fish for protein sources.
- Eat slowly and enjoy your food. This will help with digestion, absorption, and utilization of nutrients and keep you from overeating.
- Don’t focus on calories, grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats when reading a food label. Focus on the ingredient list instead. Quality first, then focus on the quantity of the food. There may be good times to track calories and macronutrients but first master the 7 steps above.
- Don’t be afraid of eating fat. Many healthy fats, such as coconut, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, grass-fed meats, organic eggs, and wild-caught fish provide you with fats that help increase the metabolism, burn fat and keep you satisfied.
- Eat the right types of carbohydrates. Foods such as root vegetables (beets, parsnips, turnips, carrots, onions), potatoes (sweet, white, purple, redskin), squash, jasmine and basmati rice are high-quality sources of carbohydrates that provide fiber, tons of phytonutrients (plant particles) and sustained energy.
- Choose grains wisely. Sprouted grain bread, ancient grains, quinoa, and steel cut oats are your best options. Fruit such as berries, apples, and pears should be consumed 1-3 times a day for optimal health and fat burning.
- Drink gobs of water and eliminate calorie-containing beverages. Tea and coffee have wonderful benefits and can be part of the SOF nutrition protocol but just make sure to get your water in.
- ½ plate veggies
- ¼ plate Meat, Eggs, Fish
- 1/8 plate fruit and or starch
- 1/8 plate fats
- Most of your plate should be covered with fresh leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, arugula, collards, or other greens. Broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, peppers cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are also great options that provide a great nutrient punch. In the end, find the veggies you like and start there. Raw is best, but minimally cooked and frozen veggies are good as well.
- Proteins such as grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, organic turkey chicken, and eggs should make up around a quarter of your plate. If you are a vegan, you can focus on more nuts, seeds, quinoa and possibly a vegan protein powder supplement.
- Eat whole fruit and ditch the processed types of fruit (applesauce, juice, etc.). About 1-3 servings a day should do the trick.
- For optimal energy, satiety and fat loss, make sure you consume nutrient-dense fats that come from coconut oil, grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Avoid processed oils.
- If you are very active and/or need some extra energy, adjust your carbohydrate intake accordingly. Stick with starchy veggies, potatoes, sprouted grains, and rice.
- In a time crunch or to get a ton of nutrients in easily, make a super shake. Pick a protein powder (grass-fed whey, hemp, brown rice, chia), liquid (water, coconut water, almond milk), fat (coconut or coconut oil, nuts or nut butter), veggies (spinach, kale, green food powder) and fruit (berries, banana) and blend with ice.
I hope this gives you a little snapshot of how I educate and help my clients eat. There are no absolutes when it comes to eating and you need to be mindful and willing to adjust when needed. If you are having issues figuring out what best works for you, keep a food log that not only tracks what you eat but also how you feel after you eat. Then, work with a qualified professional that will give you sound advice and hold you accountable.