Diet 101

How to drop weight while gaining and maintaining lean muscle by Jim Stoppani.

As a fitness enthusiast I started out thinking I could eat almost what I want, workout, take supplements and fat burners to reach my fitness goals. WRONG! as my fitness journey progressed I learned that the way you eat is just as important as working out in order to reach your goals. There is the saying "30% gym and 70% diet". As time progressed working out became easy and eating according to my fitness goal became the hardest part of my fitness journey. While being a college student I couldn't afford a nutritionist or personal trainer so I did some research and came across Jim Stoppani's article called "Diet 101".

He starts out his article by discussing a couple of his effective programs and why eating right has such a huge impact on reaching your goal. His various programs discussed are meant to help figure out where to start on a fat-loss diet and how to progress based on YOUR body's response. Fat loss is a enduring process and your diet changes over time. The worst thing you can do is start off on low caloric and carbohydrate diet because it will result in rapid fat loss but after a few months fat loss stops and will hit a plateau due to your body going into a "starvation mode" which lowers your metabolic rate then there becomes little wiggle room to remove more calories and continue losing body fat. 

Jim Stoppani's first step is analyzing your diet. Tip #1: take a hard look at your current diet and this can be done by recording everything you eat for one week. If that is too much than recording just 2 week days and 1 weekend day would be sufficient. Keeping a food journal will help keep eating healthy on track because knowing that you have to record unhealthy food in a food log helps avoid eating unhealthy. Weighing your food on a food scale will help give a visual of how many ounces a chicken breast or filet of salmon is. Using measuring cups and measuring spoons will help show how much a cup of broccoli or rice is. These tools help size your meal plans.

Tip#2 is to calculate the amount of calories, grams of protein, grams of carbs and grams of fat for each food that you eat. Add all of these up and using an Excel spreadsheet or a journal to record the amount of carbs,  protein, and fat you consume. Once you have the total amount of calories, grams of protein, carbs and fat for each day you need to get an average of all the days. If you record seven days of food intake, add the calories up for all seven days and divide that number by seven to get the average calorie intake for the seven days. If you did just three days, add up the total calories and divide by three.

The most important tip is calculating your average calorie intake. Take the number you got from tip #2 and divide it by your body weight in pounds to calculate your average calories relative to your body weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds and you consumed an average of 4,000 calories per day, you currently consume an average of 20 calories per pound of body weight.

Jim Stoppani's second step is focusing on protein, carbs and fat. His first tip is to make sure 1.5 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbs, 0.5 grams of fat and 18.5 calories per pound of body weight is consumed everyday. For example a 200-pound person consuming these numbers would amount to 3,700 calories, 300 grams of protein, 400 grams of carbs and 100 grams of fat per day.

If you read the article is goes into explicit mathematical details of why and how these numbers are important to fitness goals. Reading this article also provides a sample meal plan to give a visual of how one should be eating and how much in order to achieve their fitness goals.

Learn how to drop weight while gaining and mainting lean muscle! "Your first goal is to make sure you have your diet and supplement plan in place to maximize muscle growth. Study the 9 rules I break down in that article. They're still critical, even as your goal shifts to fat loss"(Jim Stoppani).


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