How often do we hear, abs are made in the kitchen? You can’t out train a bad diet? All very true but the quick fix mentality of supplementing always comes to the table during this conversation. What protein supplement should I take? What mass builder should I add in? Do you use pre-workout? These can take our training to the next level but only if our foundation is in place. Adding in supplements will not address the underlying issue. They are called ”supplements” for a reason because they are supposed to supplement our food and our food is our foundation!
Let’s take a look at basic amounts and types of food we should eat during our day to get a better understanding. Whenever we sit down for breakfast, lunch, or dinner there should be 4 sections of food on our plate. These are lean proteins, fruits or vegetables, fat, and carbohydrates. The analogy I use all the time is the assembly line. If 4 people are working the assembly line and one person steps away, the remaining 3 people will have to pick up the slack and do more work. Same with our food! For our body to function at peak performance, we need to consume all of these foods in large amounts. These foods are what we call macronutrients and the preface of that word, macro, meaning “large scale”. This is why we should be consuming them at every meal!
How many of my moms out there wake up and have a cup of coffee for breakfast while running around, getting their kids ready for school? You may think you’re good because you’re surviving the day and putting your head on the pillow each and every night. Are you looking to just survive or do you want to thrive? I’m sure if we’re being honest, we know the answer to that question!
A very quick way to assess how much of each food we should put on our plate is hand portions. See below for your reference guide!
Protein: 1 Palm
Carbs: 1 Cupped hand
Fruit or Veggies (Fiber): 1 Fist
Fat: 1 Thumb
Generally speaking, most people do well with 1-2 servings of each of the above at every meal. To get really specific, for those of you weighing out your food, lets look at protein. On the high end, we can consume anywhere between 2.2g-4.5g of protein per kg of body weight. So if we take a 150lb woman who is looking to build muscle so she can have an easier time picking up her kids, she could have around 150g of protein on the day. Now, other variables go into this of course! Is she performing any resistnace training during the week? Is she completely sedentary? Let’s assume she is performing resistance training 3-4 times a week, she could consume higher amounts off protein. On the low end, she could consume 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight which would be about 54g of protein. This would be approximately how much a sedentary individual would consume considering the equation above.
My point is, in both scenarios, whether its 150grams of protein or 54 grams of protein, both are very realistic to hit with our meals. You just take the total amount of protein on the day and divide it by the amount of meals you’re having each day, which should be 3 meals minimum. You can see how hitting this protein target is very doable on the day and you would be good with protein. There wouldn’t be a need for a protein supplement!!
My whole purpose for this piece is to encourage you to think, “food first!”. In addition to our macroNutrients, we also have micronutrients or vitamins and minerals!! People will often supplement these as well. ConsuMing an extremely colorful diet of fruits and vegetables will allow us to digest a large array of different vitamins and minerals! Considering the reference guide I put above, we should aim to have 1-2 servings of fruits and vegtables at each meal which will allow us to hit around 5 servings on the day. Again, most people will perform well with this amount!!
In closing, instead of rushing to GNC, consider rushing to your local grocery store on a weekly basis! Shatter your conditioned beliefs of, “I don‘t have enough time to eat healthy”, “healthy food is too expensive”, “I can’t eat the amount I need to eat with my food”. You most certainly can and I hope everything above encourages you to see that!!!
Let me know what you think about this post and comment below!!!!