Six pack abs and biceps with lean muscle.

These are the fitness goals almost everyone wants. While working out and using weights play a crucial role in gaining this look, so does understanding nutrition.

If you work out without focusing on the right foods to help your body stay lean and build muscle, your goal becomes challenging. Here’s your guide for nutrition, and how it relates to your fitness goals.

Plan Your Meals and Adjust Portions

Eating frequently offers greater control over how much you’re eating, and what type of foods you choose. The amount of meals you choose to eat depends on your needs.

Some folks prefer anywhere from four to six meals a day. Others find that three or even 2 meals a day is enough.

Experiment with how often you need to eat. This will depend on:

  • Daily activity
  • Your workout schedule
  • How hungry you feel between the two
  • What types of workouts you’re doing

Eventually, you’ll determine the meal frequency that works best for you.

Eat Clean and Simple, Not Fast and Fried

Eating clean is the key to weight loss and muscle gain. If you think that eating clean involves one healthy ingredient among several others, guess again.

Here are two options for dinner:

  • Lightly season chicken breast on a green salad
  • A chicken sandwich on a bun, heavy on condiments and grease with a side of fries

Obviously, the first choice is correct. The key to understanding nutrition is selecting clean foods that will build muscle and replenish calories burned while working out.

As you prepare clean meals, look for items that possess these qualities:

  • Do not have refined sugars
  • Are not processed, but in whole form
  • For dairy and meat, look for items that are grass-fed, not grain-fed

Although you’ll find restaurants that offer clean and healthy options, plan on cooking at home for best results. You’ll save money and feel confident the items meet your nutritional needs.

Understanding Nutrition Means Cutting Back on Bad Habits

There are some bad habits that won’t build the muscle mass you’re looking for, no matter how much you work out. Two key items to cut out and never look back on include alcohol and deserts.

There’s no fault in having a cocktail now and again. But most alcoholic drinks are loaded empty calories that lack nutritional value.

Mixed drinks, in particular, are culprits, since they include alcohol, with a generous helping of juice or soda. Reducing how often you drink is a quick way to cut down the caloric intake.

Although some deserts have the option of being made protein friendly for athletes, most are made of refined sugar and take a long time to break down in the body.

One of the keys to understanding nutrition is that it’s normal to indulge and crave sweet treats. Make a point to look for healthy alternatives, or only have a treat once in awhile.

Don’t Cheat on Your Diet

Cheating on your diet puts you behind your goals. It doesn’t matter if you cheat with food, a drink, or a decadent dessert. Change up your choices, making the option health friendly.

If you cheat, go right back to your normal workout and meal plan routine. But try to avoid the temptation.

Ways to achieve this include:

  • Eating a healthy meal before you go out
  • Picking restaurants that have supportive food choices
  • Filling up on healthy items before you put yourself in situations that offer temptations, such as a Christmas party

Pick the Only Right Beverage

Among the various beverage choices out there, you’re likely wondering which one to go with. You want to stay hydrated during your workout but aren’t sure if a sports drink or protein water is the best way to replenish.

Forget all those man-made concoctions-make water your sports drink. Besides being a zero calorie drink, water is what your body is made of.

Every time we sweat and burn calories, we need to replace what we’ve lost. Drink water in place of soda at your meals, and you’ll notice a positive difference in the form of weight loss.

Drinking water is packed with nothing but benefits, helping you focus on your fitness goals.

Spice up Your Food but Don’t Sauce It

When making the switch to clean eating, many folks feel their food doesn’t have flavor. Eating should offer you tasty alternatives no matter what type of diet you have.

Rather than using sauces that are heavy, thick, or creamy, look for spice to season your meals. Spices offer a high-quality taste, with low-calories.

The same goes for salads. Look for dressing that is light, and free of dairy. Balsamic vinaigrette is a better choice for your salad, rather than topping it with caesar dressing.

Understanding nutrition means knowing what toppings to select and how you can enjoy your meals for half the calories.

Start Making Lifestyle Changes Today

If you’re ready to truly get fit, complete with a muscular, defined body, start by making nutritional changes.

Contact us today, and get started on the right path eating clean and exercising.

We will help you with understanding nutrition, and develop a meal plan that is just right for your goals and health. We can show you the workouts that are best for your body, and how often to workout in order to achieve the look you want.

Check out our blog, and learn more about developing a healthy attitude and mindset. Then, get ready to embark on one of the biggest changes you’ve ever faced, with results you’ll love.

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