The 5 Nutrition Rules You Should Follow

nick mitchell
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1. Losing fat isn't just 'calories in vs calories out'

Simply 'burn more calories than you eat' is the wrong way to look at fat loss. Scientists will argue that a calorie is a calorie regardless of where it comes from, but this is pure hogwash – 100 calories from chocolate-covered cereal are not the same as 100 calories from eggs! Focus on quality foods that provide the three macronutrients: protein, fat and carbohydrates. So it is protein first (1.5-2g per kg of bodyweight a day), essential fats, and then carbohydrates – which should be a distant third if fat loss is the goal.

2. Ignore anyone who says not to count calories

I see far too many personal trainers telling their clients that they can eat as much as they want from the right sources. If only this were true! If you consume 10,000 calories a day from meat and nuts, you will get fat. I make no apologies for telling you that if you want to drop below 10% body fat, you will have to suffer a bit. Get used to going to bed a little bit hungry.

3.  Adjust your carbohydrate intake

There isn't much wiggle room when it comes to protein intake: you need what you need to maintain and build muscle. Not getting enough means you risk losing hard earned muscle mass. You can vary your fat intake a little, but you do always need essential fats (hence the name). Fat as an energy source is often better than carbohydrates because it doesn't have a negative impact on blood sugar levels. This leaves carbs, and for most people carb consumption is the biggest barrier to fat loss. My advice is to drop all carb sources from your diet except for leafy green vegetables for a couple of weeks, then gradually reintroduce them around your workouts in the form of brown rice, yams and sweet potatoes. Monitor how your body reacts to different forms of carbohydrate and adjust your intake accordingly. The real secret to improving body composition is to get to know your own unique body.

4. Get it right during and after your workout

Adding muscle as well as losing fat is tough but achievable. One essential way to do it is to arrest the muscle breakdown caused by intense training sessions as quickly as possible. You can do this by chugging down at least 20g of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) during your workouts and then ensuring you have a decent post workout protein shake. Ideally the shake would consist of 50g whey protein, 10-20g glutamine and 5-10g creatine. Once you are lean enough to deal with the blood sugar spike, add some fast-acting carb source such as Vitargo.

5. Eat small amounts frequently

This is hardly a new rule for improved body composition, but ignoring it can be disastrous for fat loss. If you allow yourself to go hungry your blood sugar will drop and you'll start craving (and probably pigging out on) junk. Avoid temptation by not putting yourself in harm's way in the first place.

Former web editor

Between 2014 and 2015, Andre Jackson was the web editor of Men’s Fitness UK, which predated and then shared a website with Coach. A love for climbing ropes and boarding slopes, he doesn’t have the most traditional of workout plans but he’s obsessed with finding out how much protein he can get from everything. His favorite gym move is double wave battle ropes, his favorite sports are football and snowboarding, and his personal best is conquering a V6 bouldering climbing wall.