Some quick and easy tweaks to your daily diet are all it takes to kick-start the processes by which your body burns fat and builds muscle
When you’re trying to build a bigger, stronger and leaner body, what and when you eat is as important as how you exercise because no-one ever built a better physique through training alone.
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight in the past but failed because you couldn’t adhere to a boring diet, or found yourself very quickly craving those foods that you were “banned” from eating, following the New Body Plan nutrition guide is going to be a transformative experience in itself.
Follow the seven tips below and start building a bigger, stronger and leaber body
1 Follow the 90% Nutrition rule
We’ve created the 90% Nutrition guide to make it incredibly easy for you to eat for a more muscular and leaner body without giving up all the foods you love. This guide couldn’t be any simpler: all you have to do is eat to 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 never suffer those motivation-zapping cravings. The 90% Nutrition guide makes eating for a bigger, stronger and leaner body so easy you’ll be amazed.
2 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 rich in some of 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).
3 Buy good-quality meat
Try to eat more free range and organic meat, fish and dairy products rather than processed products if you can afford it. 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 tends to have much higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3s, both types of fatty acids linked to reducing body fat levels and improving brain health, than factory-farmed and intensively reared 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.
4 Don’t fear fat
Eating fat doesn’t not make you fat. Indeed, you need to consume good-quality fats if you want to build muscle and burn body fat because this macronutrient plays a number of roles in energy expenditure, vitamin storage and making testosterone, the male sex hormone. 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, because not only will they derail your muscle-building and fat-loss mission, they are also really bad for you.
5 Clean up your cupboards
Almost all the food you put in your shopping basket (and yes, carry a basket rather than pushing a trolley) for the next eight weeks should be in its natural form or as close as possible to how its 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 you know you need.
6 Always 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 overeat carrot sticks and hummus than it is to go overboard on sweets. If you have healthy snacks to hand 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 on hand 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 to hand.
7 Keep a food diary
If you are really struggling to stay on top of your diet, even when following our 90% Nutrition guide and Perfect Portion approach, start writing a food diary. You don’t need to write down every single calorie you consume, or even the number of grams of protein you’ve eaten.
A simple note of what you ate and roughly how much of it, using your hands as the approximate guide, as well as notes on how you feel – especially your energy and motivation levels – will give you a good steer on where you are going right or what you might be doing wrong. If you’re struggling to recover from workouts or feeling sluggish, for instance, you may discover that you just aren’t eating enough.
Even if you are feeling great with your eating plan a food diary can still be well worth keeping, because it will give you a greater insight into how certain foods make you feel and perform.