Part three of Gamer to Gym Rat we talk about diet. I’m no nutritionist, but I want you to understand some basic principals I’ve learned through reading, trial and error.
- Ask 15 people what they should be eating you’ll get 15 different answers
- There’s conflicting peer reviewed research on just about every supplement and diet
- If you want to gain size, you need to eat more calories than you use
- If you want to lose body fat, you need to eat less calories than you use
- Calories > Macros (fats, protein, carbs)
- The best diet is the one you can follow (LONG TERM not just for three weeks)
- I’ve tried zero carb fad diets, hated it didn’t see any better results and felt terrible
- BUT, you need to find what works for you
- Genetics plays a huge factor in how many calories you burn naturally
- My wife weighs less than 100 lbs and eats pop tarts, tacos and pizza for a daily diet and doesn’t gain weight
So with those basic statements out of the way, I feel eating for health long term should be a balance between carbohydrates, proteins and fats. I tried being a vegetarian for two years and felt miserable so you can try that out but it didn’t work for me.
- Lean red meat (sirloin, 93% hamburger)
- Beans (vegetarian)
- Olive Oil
- Fish Oil
- Some salad dressings
- Omega 3 added butter
Mainly just common sense stuff here, does it grow? Eat it. Does it eat something that grows? Eat it. If it’s super processed, tons of added flavors don’t eat it.
Calories in vs Calories Out
The main goal when going on a diet to restrict calories is eating roughly 500 less calories a day for a week (seven days) will net you one pound of body fat loss. You do not want to eat 1,000 calories a day and do three hours of cardio because your body will think your starving and you’ll start to look “skinny fat.” So long term, goal is 500 less calories on average a day for a week. At rest, a good starting calorie guideline is around 2,000 depending on genetics. Now this number goes up and or down with exercise, yard work, chasing a baby around all day or if you sit at a desk for 12 hours. For me, I’ve always been a big proponent of eating more, working out more instead of starving myself and feeling miserable. I increased my actively level by 2-3 hours of exercise a day (half hardcore half walking) plus eat around 500 calories every 2.5 to 3 hours to speed up my metabolism. This setup for me, my genetics, and work load allows me to eat 3,000 calories a day and lose 1-2 lbs a week (so far 28 lbs in 18 weeks).
This is what I eat currently (May 2017).
- 4am Wake up – 2 whole eggs, 4 egg whites, 1 cup of oatmeal with handful of blue berries
- 6:30am Pre Workout – 1 Apple, Whey Protein, Pre-workout drink
- 8:30am Post Workout – I travel with my shake so soon as I’m done I have 16oz of Gatorade, 1 1/2 scoops of whey protein NO FATS (slows down digestion)
- 9:30am Post/Post Workout – Now we get into mundane eating over and over BUT IT WORKS, 8oz of chicken breast, 1 cup of rice, 1 tablespoon of fats (good dressing or butter)
- Noon – 8oz of chicken breast, 1 cup of rice, 1 tablespoon of fats
- 3pm- 8oz of chicken breast, 1 cup of rice, 1 tablespoon of fats
- 5:30pm – Family dinner which may include Red meat or fish with rice no added fats
- 8pm – Bedtime Greek Yogurt with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
This is roughly 3,000 calories depending if I hit all my meals. If I’m traveling or have something come up, I buy protein bars so I can eat on the go. Most importantly, get something between 300-500 calories every 2.5 to 3 hours. If you can, do a short walk for 5-10 minutes after each meal to help digestion. I’m telling you right now, eating meals is much better than drinking protein powder over and over. Whey protein is great for pre/post workout but you need to eat if you want to gain muscle. Additionally, I have a cheat meal once every 7 days which is usually a cheese burger and fries to reward myself for hard work.
The reason you eat more rather than less is so your body can gain a new “set point,” or a point at which it can consume a higher amount of calories. I combine weighing myself weekly at the exact same time (Monday 4am) with looking in the mirror. If I gain weight and look fatter, I cut back on the rice and carbs to restrict my calories while keeping fats and proteins high (muscle repair). If I lose too much weight (over 2 lbs) I increase my calories with more rice 1 and 1/2 cups at each meal. It’s a constant energy and math problem nothing else. It will take time and effort to figure this out for you, but here’s the best tips I can give you.
- Find the best diet for you, long term. Is eating zero carbs realistic for 50 years? Than don’t.
- Calories are what matter for getting bigger or losing weight. Find what you burn naturally and adjust depending on your goal.
- Reward yourself weekly with a cheat meal though factor those calories into your overall weekly progress.
- Measure yourself WEEKLY not daily or hourly like some people. Combine mirror appearance with scale weight to determine increase or decrease.
- Progress slow and steady with a goal in mind and a timeline to get there (mine is a year).
Like I said earlier, these are general guidelines and I’d talk with your doctor and get blood work done to see where you are at before you start. Within 30 days my blood work improved in every aspect and my resting heart rate dropped by 20 beats per minute. If I can do it, you can too.
Check out Part Four here.