No matter what goal in life you want to accomplish you will have to come up with a strategy. Without the proper strategy and gameplan, a goal is nothing more than a dream.
When it comes to meal planning and nutrition your goals might be to lose weight, to gain weight, to lose fat and gain muscle or to simply live a healthy life. Whatever your goals may be this post is meant to teach you how to reach your goals and show you what strategies and principles are proven to work.
In order to give you a complete and concise introduction to nutrition, we have to start with the most abstract principles and work our way towards more practical advice.
So in this post, I want to teach you the most important dieting principles that govern your body composition and will determine whether or not you will reach your goals. Just like a properly-functioning car must be based on the principles of internal combustion, structural design, and computer control a diet must be based on the principles I’m about to show you.
Together they will make up what we call a meal and diet plan and you have to understand each aspect to execute your plan correctly. All of these principles play an important role in your diet but some are a lot more important than other.
Think about it this way, the most important component of the car is the engine. Without it, your car won’t go anywhere no matter what other features are included. Now, the frame and wheels come in at a close second, and the control systems right behind, but after that, the details are much less important.
Even a car with only a steering wheel but no seats or displays can get you from point A to point B. When applying this framework to fitness nutrition and dieting the most important principles are:
1.) Calorie Balance
2.) Macronutrient Amounts
3.) Nutrient Timing
4.) Food Composition
Note: For the most important principles of healthy dieting see this post
As you can see, your calorie balance is the most important principle of any diet, and has by far the largest effect on your body composition. In it’s most basic form it implies that weight gain is mostly a matter of eating more calories, and weight loss is mostly a matter of eating fewer calories.
You probably already know this and think it’s obvious but trust me when I tell you that a lot of people neglect this principle when setting up their diet plan. Determining your optimal calorie intake can be more difficult than you think, but don’t worry I teach you everything in more detail in this post. For now just keep in mind that calories are everything. They are the most important aspect of any diet. Period.
For now, just keep in mind that calories are everything. They are the most important aspect of any diet. Period.
Macronutrients are in second place. Whereas calories define how much you eat, macronutrients define the right amounts of protein, carbs, and fats. They make an important difference to your body composition especially if you want to build muscle and lose fat.
Nutrient timing comes in at third on the list and it basically states when you eat. While third place might sound pretty high up the list, in reality, it’s much less impactful than the first two principles. More on this in the following lessons.
Food composition takes the fourth place and is a minor detail of the dieting process. While food composition is important for your overall health, it should only be considered when the top three priorities are in order.
The same applies to supplements. As the name implies, “supplements” are meant to supplement an already effective diet. No supplement in the world will magically make you overcome errors in calorie balance, macros, or timing.
When designing a well-rounded diet, it is a must that you address the bigger picture first.
If you focus on the important things first and come up with a functional diet the right supplements will further improve your diet. Of course, I will show you all the steps involved in this process, but let’s start with the essential factors first.
The last thing you want to do is invest all our time and energy into small details that have little to no effect on the outcome of your diet. Like so many others you would quickly lose your motivation and give up dieting.
We want to first build a solid foundation and later add all the small improvements that will make your diet perfect. So without further ado, let’s look at each dieting principle closely and gain an understanding of its impact on diet success.
Click on the links below to learn more about the 5 important principles of meal planning