Is there an ideal workout and diet for every person?
Of all doubts, this is number one.
Should I follow a low carbohydrate diet or a flexible diet?
Maybe a paleo diet is better, no?
What about training, which gives the most results? How many times a week should I do it?
These are just a few of the many examples, but is there really a perfect plan?
And if so, what plan is that?
Let's start by addressing the diet.
The ideal diet
When asked at Sik Nutrition if our protocol is compatible with the paleo, vegetarian or low carbohydrate diet the answer is simple. We are compatible with all these approaches.
All diets have strengths and weaknesses, and our job is to make a connection that leads us to understand how to measure whatever approach we choose.
Let's say we are an intermediate point of connection between the various diets.
Most people expect our response to be extreme.
Change everything, cut back on hydrates, take a paleo approach, eliminate sugars, salt, do fasting cardio and eat only protein.
This is not our answer.
If you have never been careful about your diet, the first steps are actually quite basic and simple.
The first job is to implement basic daily habits and routines.
Some of the common and simple strategies are:
- Try to consume some protein source at most meals.
- Try to cook healthier, avoiding fried foods and betting on grilled, stewed and steamed.
- Increase the intake of vitamins and minerals by eating vegetables at most meals, and fruit at least twice a day.
- Consume fats healthy enough through foods like olive oil, avocado, nuts and their natural butters, etc.
- Increase water consumption between meals by trying to keep the body hydrated.
Most people don't do at least one of the points above, so that's where we're going to focus.
Once all the above points are guaranteed then we can really go into detail like the amount of protein to eat, the ideal amount of calories for your goal, among many other things that we monitor in our Team follow-up.
Do not forget, first all previous assumptions must be fulfilled, only then the details matter.
Thus, the ideal diet should fulfill the following:
- Be sustainable in the long run.
- Be monetarily sustainable.
- Respect your needs for Calories, macro and micronutrients.
- Provide enough energy to support your daily physical and mental needs.
- It should ensure a healthy body composition (ideal weight and body fat).
- Respect personal preference and palate.
- Be compatible with your beliefs and ideologies.
- Include only necessary restrictions (not unfounded beliefs).
- Make you happy.
It is critical to reach enough calories for your goal and you should pay attention to that..
In addition, it eats enough fiber. For each 1000 kcal you should use about 10g to 15g of fiber.
Finally, try to consume most of your food unprocessed.
So make sure you're not using a ton of processed food, and focus mainly on the foods that will provide you with all the necessary micronutrients.
Here are some helpful articles:
- How many calories do you use to gain muscle mass?
- How many calories ingest to lose weight.
- How to diet without going broke.
- How much protein do I need each day?
After the diet, it's time for training.
The guides are general and generally applied, but they serve as a good starting point.
How to begin?
- Choose a goal. Not just a wish, but a specific, realistic and achievable goal.
- Handles training frequency, volume and intensity. Bet on two of them and leave the third out to ensure recovery.
- Choose a focus. Hypertrophy or strength? In this way we will be able to use each one of them in different training blocks, and enhance it.
- Exercises. Regarding the choice of exercises, choose them according to the objectives. Everything must have a purpose.
The second point is extremely important, but often left to the background or at random.
You prefer to go more or less days to gymnasium? (Frequency)
If you have a need to work at higher intensities, choose higher loads, a greater number of near-fault series, or both. (Intensity)
If you prefer high volume training, then use a large number of sets, repetitions and exercises. (Volume)
Don't forget, bet on two of them and leave the third one out.
Below are two articles that may be helpful to you at this stage.
Make the plan come true
As we mentioned above, you can choose from a huge panoply of combinations of diet and training.
And now that you have chosen your personal preference, how to make them work?
Create a routine (habits)
Surely if you are reading, you have probably tried to implement the perfect plan in the past.
But why does it always seem so hard to make it work?
And why are there people who do it so much more easily than others?
I recommend you read Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit.
A habit consists of three components.
The sign. It is the trigger that triggers a behavior.
Example. Your alarm clock in the morning.
The routine. It is the behavior itself.
Example. When you get out of bed.
The reward. The benefit from previous behavior.
Example. Warm porridge when you get up.
The reward is how your brain learns to like and need specific behavior.
Have you ever thought that you get up faster and less lazily on the weekend than during the week?
Because the reward of waking up and having the day off is possibly more important to you than getting up for work.
If you are already exercising all this is already part of your day even if you do not realize.
You know what the sign is, you know what your routine will be, but often the part of the reward is undervalued, so many of the habits do not become permanent.
A curious observation made in the book is that our brain there is not the ability to differentiate between a good and a bad habit.
Reward yourself more and create the ideal plan
Usually the first step of someone who decides to implement a training and nutritional plan is (very) radical.
Remove all the candy, all the salt, basically everything except the broccoli, the sweet potato, and of course the chicken.
What if I tell you that keeping some foods that bring some sanity and pleasure can allow you to implement solid routines?
If I tell you that eating chocolate can help you get more exercise, would you believe it?
But to do so you have to think about forming your new habit.
At the signal, in the routine and only then the reward.
In general and in the long run, I feel that the rewards for training and diet should not be food related, however in the short term it may be a good technique to implement the plan.
If you are starting out and already know the choices that will be the basis of your diet, you know that 80-90% of your foods are set.
What about the remaining 10-20%?
These will be foods that are likely to be a little less healthy than the rest, but can be used as a reward.
Imagine that you decide to train four times a week, and on those days you keep those 10-20% of your daily availability to spend pleasantly on your post workout.
In practice it would be something like this:
- The sign. It's 18h and it's time to get off work. Today is Monday, the day to go training.
- The routine. Get off work, go to the gym and train.
- The reward. Get home and have that special meal waiting.
When we talk about these 10-20% we talk about numbers, calories, macronutrients, portions or whatever method you follow.
For example, if your current diet has 1500 kcal daily, you know that you can store 150-300 kcal to consume after training more pleasantly to make this habit stronger.
It can be a delicious smoothie, some pancakes, a porridge or even a snickers.
Remember, moderation is the key.
This was just an example using food, but there are plenty of rewards you can use in this habit, or in others you want to implement.
A relaxing hammam after training, buying new gym clothes after 2 weeks without missing a workout or any other activity you like.
That is, always reward yourself in some way and thus increase the chances of achieving lasting change.
Do not make drastic changes overnight. They do not work.
Start by choosing a nutritional approach that you enjoy, feel comfortable with, and be comfortable and sustainable in the long run.
Choose a number of weekly workouts that will allow you to be consistent, as well as the type of workout you like best.
Finally, reward yourself so that the habit becomes lasting.
It sounds simple, but it works.
Article written by Sik Nutrition.