Follow these 7 simple food rules and start eating to lose belly fat, and build lean muscle mass, to achieve a leaner, fitter, stronger and healthier body, says New Body Plan editorial director Joe Warner
Have you ever heard the saying “you can’t out-train a bad diet?”. It’s meant to dispel the myth that you can get away with eating whatever you want, as long as you work out regularly.
The trouble is that too many people – despite really wanting to build a leaner, stronger and healthier body – fall into the trap of believing what they eat really doesn’t matter if they’re putting in the hours at the gym.
An even bigger problem – and the main reason why so many people actually increase their body-fat levels, despite being gym regulars – is they not only eat whatever they want whenever they want, but also never exercise at the necessary intensity to burn calories in significant numbers.
This is a disaster for your better-body aspirations. Why? Because you’re burning far fewer calories than you think, and then eating far more calories than you realise. The inevitable result is an expansion of your waistline, not the shrinking of it that you really want!
Luckily, there are some really quick and easy tweaks you can make to the way you eat that will immediately kick-start the processes by which your body burns fat and builds muscle. All you need to do follow the seven tips below and you’ll start sculpting a bigger, stronger and leaner physique!
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1 Follow the 90% Nutrition rule
We created the New Body Plan 90% Nutrition guide to make it incredibly easy for you to eat for a leaner and more muscular body – without giving up the foods you love. The guide couldn’t be any simpler: all you have to do is eat foods and meals that support your better-body ambitions 90% of the time, which means basing meals primarily around lean protein and veg, with some carbs and some fats.
That leaves up to 10% of your meals where you can eat for pure pleasure, including all your favourite foods and snacks, so you’ll never again feel like you’re missing out or depriving yourself. The 90% Nutrition guide to eating makes burning fat and building muscle easier than you ever thought possible, and has already helped thousands of people get into the shape of their lives.
2 Keep a food diary
If you are really struggling to stay on top of your diet, even when following our 90% Nutrition guide, start keeping a food diary. You don’t need to write down every single calorie you consume, or the number of grams you’ve eaten. A simple note of what you ate and how much you ate – using your hands as good guide to portion control – as well as notes on how you feel, especially your energy and motivation levels, will give you some fantastic insight on where you’re going right or what you might be doing wrong.
If you’re struggling to recover from workouts or feeling sluggish, for example, you may discover you simple aren’t eating enough. Even if you are feeling great a food diary can still be well worth keeping, because the feedback will give you a greater insight into which foods make you feel and perform the best.
3 Clean up your cupboards
Almost all the food you put in your shopping basket (and yes, always carry a basket rather than pushing a trolley) should be in its natural form or as close as possible to how it’s found in nature. That means stocking your fridge with plenty of lean red and white meat, fish, eggs, and as many varieties and colours of veg as you can get your hands on.
You probably know from experience that going to the supermarket when hungry always results in your trolley getting loaded with foods and snacks that are high in sugar and calories but low in the essential nutrients your body needs to get and stay lean. So only ever shop when you’ve recently eaten, or do a big online shop once a week so you only buy the healthier foods – on special offer – you know you need.
4 Eat protein with every meal
Why is eating enough protein so important to your body transformation aspirations? Lifting weights breaks down your muscle tissue, and your body needs protein to repair and rebuild your damaged muscles so they grow back bigger and stronger.
Lean protein is also low in calories but packed with the essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to look and perform better. And because protein takes longer to digest than carbs or fats it keeps you feeling fuller for longer so you don’t get hungry between meals, and your body burns more calories digesting protein that other macronutrients. Here’s five simple ways to eat more protein.
5 Buy good-quality meat
Eat more free range and organic meat, fish and dairy products rather than processed products, if you can afford it. Why? Because it’s an investment in both your short-term better-body goal and your longer-term health. Free range animals have a more varied diet and get a lot more exercise, allowing the development of more muscle, which tends to contain more vitamins A, B and K, amino acids, iron, selenium, phosphorus and zinc.
For example, beef from free-range grass-fed cows have far higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3s – which are two types of fatty acids linked to lowering body fat levels and improving brain health – than factory-farmed cattle. Eating free range feels less like a frivolous luxury if you think of it this way: it’s so nutritionally dissimilar to cage-reared that it’s basically different food!
6 Don’t fear fat
Eating fat doesn’t not make you fat. In fact, you need to consume good-quality fats if you want to build muscle and burn body fat because this macronutrient plays a number of crucial roles in energy expenditure, vitamin storage, and hormone production.
So there’s no need to avoid the fats found in red meat, avocado and nuts, but do avoid hydrogenated and trans-fats, which are those found in cakes, biscuits and other processed foods. Not only will they derail your muscle-building and fat-loss mission, they are also really bad for your health.
7 Snack smarter
When you’re trying to lose fat but hunger strikes between meals, always snack on low-calorie, high-satiety foods. It’s much harder, for instance, to over-eat carrot sticks and hummus than it is to go overboard on chocolate biscuits and crisps. If you healthy snacks that will accelerate your fat-loss mission rather than derail it, this can play a huge part in how successful you are, and a little planning goes a long way to prevent you ending up glassy-eyed in front of a vending machine.
And if you’re aiming to add muscular size quickly it makes sense to keep high-calorie, easy-to-eat foods close by for those days when you simply can’t get in enough food via meat and veg alone. Keep a jar of nut butter, a packet of mixed nuts and pots of Greek yogurt close to hand.
Leaner, stronger, fitter!
Are you ready to take back control of your heath and fitness so you can look, feel and perform better than ever? If that’s you, the New Body Plan transformation training programmes are all you need to achieve the better-body results you want!
And we’re so confident that our plans will work for you it’s why we offer a money-back guarantee! So check out what you get in our most popular fat-loss training programmes, as well as getting all the answers to the most frequently-asked better-body questions.
If you have any questions about the different New Body Plan training programmes and which one is best for you, or have any general exercise or eating questions, you can find us on Twitter and Instagram. We get back to every question, so don’t be a stranger!
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