Employ one small nutritional change each week and you’ll make drastic improvements that will soon leave you biblically ripped. Here are the 10 commandments which will give you 10 weeks to get lean
Your nutritionist, Matt Lovell is a Sports nutritionist to British Olympians, personal trainer and Kinetica Sports brand ambassador.
Week I – Thou shalt ration thyself
Track the calories you take in versus the calories you put out to get a base measure of what it takes to create your bodyweight. To lose weight, make incremental reductions to your diet: if you’re eating four slices of toast at breakfast, only eat three. If you’re eating a whole baked potato, eat just half of it. Also, reduce your saturated fats by eating less cheese and red meat, and by trimming the rind on animal fat. But don’t let your daily protein intake drop, so try eating more oily fish.
Week II – thou shalt forgo sustenance
Train when your blood sugar and insulin levels are at their lowest: first thing in the morning. That way you’ll burn more fat to produce vital calories, and improve your hormonal profile if you train above your lactate threshold for more than 10 minutes.
Week III – thou shalt see fruit as thy frienemy
Fruits and vegetables are good for you, but fruits are rich in sugar, which can hamper your ability to lose body fat. To maximise your health, aim for nine servings of fruit and vegetables each day, but try sticking to three fruits and six vegetables. Fruit sugars (fructose) will replenish liver glycogen quickly so it’s a good food source to eat between multiple exercise sessions.
Week IV – thou shalt use grains and glycaemic loads wisely
Eat fast-digesting high GI carbohydrates, including grains, only if you’ve exercised, and stick to slow-digesting low GI carbs at all other times, but try to reduce grains in general. Grains, particularly wheat, can make getting lean difficult if you’re intolerant to them, and they can cause water retention, digestive bloating and sluggish digestion, which will not help you get a lean physique.
Week V – thou shalt savour thy food
By now your eating is spot on, but you may not be losing body fat. Eating too quickly means you eat too much, especially in strength and power athletes. Put less food on your plate, chew properly, put your fork down between mouthfuls and turn off the TV. If you find this difficult then drip feed yourself calories before meals (while cooking) by eating raw veggies, or by starting meals with a soup.
Week VI – thou shalt flex
Flexing nutrition to fit your training is crucial to maintaining performance and staying lean. Eat the same, day in and day out and you’ll recover the same for all sessions. However, this can be slightly improved upon by eating more following intense training sessions, and eating less following less intense ones, because some days you’ll over-recover and other days you won’t eat enough to recover.
Week VII – thou shalt remain consistent with protein
Protein preserves lean mass while you’re cutting calories; plus, it keeps you full. But eating too much of it all the time can provide you with unnecessary calories from saturated fat. It’s better to eat higher amounts of protein when your muscles need it most, like after training, and drip feed the protein at other times. On intense training days eat more, then eat less on less intense days to reset your catabolic enzyme levels.
Week VIII – beware the evils of metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is when you have poor carbohydrate metabolism. Simply put, the more overweight you are, the more insulin-resistant your cells become. Higher levels of insulin resistance mean more insulin is released to provide glucose (energy) for your cells, but high insulin levels predispose your body to gain fat. To make matters worse, insulin resistance can happen in stages: firstly, the liver becomes resistant, then the muscle cells and then finally your fat cells.
If your body fat is higher than 15-16% you’ll be experiencing the initial stages of metabolic syndrome and you’ll be unable to control blood- sugar levels. Include more Mediterranean style foods, like olives, beans, nuts, tomatoes, fish and yogurt, because this diet will reduce your blood pressure and help fight this syndrome.
Week IX – thou shalt fix what thou lacks
Yes, exercisers in the know probably won’t have deficiencies because they eat more high-quality food, but below are the main areas in which most people lack the knowledge to make a major difference to their leanness levels.
1. An imbalance in omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids can make you insulin-resistant, as well as having a host of other negative health implications. If you cook with vegetable oil (olive oil is fine) and don’t eat oily fish, pumpkin, linseed, hemp or walnuts – there is a likelihood of deficiency.
2. Chromium, zinc and magnesium keep your blood sugar levels regular, and if you’re low in these minerals, it can actually help you regulate your sugar intake.
Week X – measure everything again
Now that you have your plan, measure yourself again and then all your food intakes. If you want to cut more weight, reduce it all again.