If you workout regularly then you’ve likely noticed that your appetite is stronger compared to those who don’t work out.
Female “athletes” (I’ll explain this part in a minute) have higher nutritional requirements than sedentary women. But does working out mean you can just eat whatever you want with no concern of what type or how much?
Not if you want to have the best possible performance, a lean body composition, and long-term health.
If these are your goals, then you’ll want to start implementing these 7 nutrition tips…
But first, how do you know if you’re considered an athlete or not?
If you workout, at least 3x per week, then you’re an athlete.
As an athlete, you will need a highly nutritious diet that supports athletic training. Instead of “going on a diet” or “eating less”, athletes should be focusing on foods that help us feel and perform our best.
If your diet doesn’t support your energy or nutrient needs, meaning you don’t eat enough, or enough of the right foods, your results will suffer.
If your diet exceeds your energy needs you will carry excess body fat and your performance during your workouts will suffer.
When you get it just right you’ll be able to maintain optimal performance while getting as lean and healthy as possible. These 7 tips will help you ensure that you’re eating right for your both your needs and your goals.
Unfortunately, most people grow up with little understanding of Nutritional values. This information is not taught in school, but it’s one of the most important life lessons you’ll ever learn…
And by gaining a basic understanding of the nutritional value of the foods you eat you’ll be able to better control your weight and health for the rest of your life. Here’s a basic lesson in nutritional values:
Calories = the amount of energy in a quantity of food. All foods have calories but different food types contain different amounts. In general,
Macronutrients = Proteins, Carbs, and Fats.
Foods can be categorized as one macro type because of the primary macronutrient they contain, but almost all foods are a mix of all three.
Micronutrients = Minerals, Vitamins, Trace Elements.
Natures Multivitamins. Essential for our health. Natural organic foods contain much higher values of micronutrients than factory man-made foods. The more natural organic foods you can use to make up your macros and calories the better.
To be successful with nutrition, you need a plan. Your plan will guide you to understanding the right portion sizes that fulfill your energy and nutrient needs.
Instead of always trying to eat less or avoid junk food, you’ll be focusing on eating enough of the right types of foods to support a lean, healthy and capable body. (see below for a sample daily meal plan)
Instead of just going meal by meal, if you think of your day as a whole then each meal should have a decent balance of macronutrients but by giving and taking some from other meals you can design a day’s worth of eating that targets your goals.
No matter what your preference of eating cadence you can design a meal plan that works for YOU. All meals don’t have to be equal as long as they all add up to the right totals by the end of the day.
Instead of the ones to avoid. There are so many healthy nutritious foods that are both tasty and filling. If you make sure you get enough of the right stuff you will feel more satisfied without feeling deprived.
Some of the best foods to include in your diet are:
Vegetables, Meats, Fruits, Nuts, Herbs, Spices, Potatoes, Whole Unprocessed Grains. If you are eating MOSTLY these types of foods there will be little room left for some of the worst types such as Fried Foods, Processed Foods, Artificially Flavored or Sweetened foods with preservatives.
A lot of people think the only way to make healthy foods taste good is to add creamy, sugary or cheesy sauces dressings or toppings. It’s simply not true!
There are many seasonings condiments and spices that can add delicious flavor to your meals without the extra sugar, fat, and calories. Here’s a list of my favorite zero or low-calorie seasonings
Adding veggies to your meals is a great way to get more volume with fewer calories. Fibrous veggies are often referred to as “free foods” because the negligible amount of calories is less than the thermic expenditure of your body breaking them down for energy.
Here is a list of my favorite free veggies that I use in abundance:
When you see changes in your progress you’ll feel reassured that it’s because of the nutritional changes you’ve made. And when you struggle to keep on your nutrition plan you’ll have those progress checks to motivate you to stick to the plan and see it out long enough to make a visible change.
The two ways I recommend tracking progress are:
1) Tape Measure
When measuring your circumferences with a measuring tape here are the three points you’re likely to see the most progress:
You’re welcome to measure other areas like arms, calves or shoulders, but these 3 measurements are typically enough to gauge your progress. Jot down the notes of what your measurements were along with the date that you took them, then reassess once every 2 weeks or once a month to see a trend and confirm that your body is changing.
Progress pics are simple to do and show even more detail than measurements can. For example, part of getting fit is gaining more muscle tone, which is easy to detect visibly but can be missed by a simple measurement. It’s entirely possible that your measurements and clothing size might stay the same while you transform or shift your body composition (lean muscle to fat ratio).
I recommend taking a new set of measurements or pics once every 14 days. (It takes at least 2 weeks for a noticeable change). You’ll see even more results after 6-8 weeks of following a dietary change, so keep at it and don’t be too quick to judge your diet if you haven’t given it a fair trial.
Now that you know the 7 tips to get your diet in check, let’s take a look at an example meal plan and how you decide your nutritional goals.
A general guideline for athletes is to aim for your body weight number (in pounds) in grams of protein. So, for example, a 120lb female should aim for roughly 120g protein per day. Then, depending on your carb sensitivity you fill in the rest of your nutritional needs with carbohydrates and fats. (If you are insulin resistant you may choose to do higher fats and lower carbs, if you are not sure then you may choose to split them evenly).
I generally recommend for most to start with an even split of macronutrients to begin with and then make adjustments based on results seen and felt.
Here is a sample Day’s worth of eating that I recommend for female athletes:
Keep in mind you’ll get the very best results by customizing to your needs and based on the results you are seeing and feeling. The best diet for you is one that actually works for YOU. Keep adjusting and tracking until you see a clear trend of the direction you want to go.