So. You’ve got a meal plan routine and you know what to put in your face. You understand what foods have protein, carbs, and fats, which ones are the “good” kinds, and what the right portion size is. You eat the right ratios of macronutrients for your body type and lifestyle. You’ve come a long way since Day 1, and you’re ready to kick it up a notch. What’s next? We’re here to explain a few additional tips that will help you tweak your plan to work even better for you.
Change how often you eat
If you’re measuring your nutrition over the course of the day—great! You’re already ahead of the game. But if you’d like even more control, check out how your meals distribute over the course of the day. This is where the information and research starts to get complicated and conflicting. Without introducing a lot of terminology, we suggest that you experiment with a couple different meal styles. You can eat several small meals of approximately equal amounts. Or, you can frontload your calories toward the beginning of the day, and be done eating early in the evening. Or, you can mix and match. There’s really no wrong answer, but it will take some time to find the ideal formula for yourself. You’ve probably met some people who never eat breakfast and some that are ravenous the second they wake up. Rather than trying to conform your body to someone else’s routine or advice, try different things and see what works. Measure the effectiveness of your changes by how you feel, your workout performance, and your progress toward body composition goals.
Mess with macros
You’ve heard of “carb cycling” or “calorie restriction?” The idea with these types of programs is to change the days on which you eat more or fewer calories period, or vary the distribution of macronutrients by day or week. The simplest iteration of this is to get more of your calories from carbohydrates on days you perform high-intensity exercise, where your body needs quick energy sources, and reduce the percentage of carbs on other days. There are plenty of other variants, though. You can introduce a week of lower carbohydrate every few weeks of your program. Or, you can strictly control your nutrition on some weeks or days but not others. You could look at your calories on a longer timescale, like a whole week, and reduce the amount you eat on some days. Some of these ideas have lots of science behind them, some don’t. The most proven method is the simplest, just eat more carbs when you need more carbs—i.e., on those tough workout days.
Fueling for performance
Our last tip for experimenting with your personal nutrition game-plan is to consider how you structure eating around a workout. First, consider what type of exercise you’re doing. If you’re endurance training, you’re going to have different needs than if you’re doing a max load weight sesh. For performance athletes, figuring out the effects of during-workout nutrition is a major priority. But for the average Jane, do what makes sense. Marathon training? Some simple carbs halfway through your workout will keep you going if you’re hitting the wall. Attending our bodyweight boot camps? Get some protein after your workout to repair those muscles.
At Bootique, we know all the variables, and we are happy to help you design your nutrition experiments to get even more out of your fitness plan. Let us know how we can help!