Nutrition is not often viewed as the most important element to your overall health by the average person. But it truly is. Whether you’re skinny or overweight or in great shape already, nutrition is the best way to determine how you’ll feel and act each and every day. That’s why it’s vital to be knowledgeable about the many different facets of nutrition and how to apply them to your body and health goals.
Your diet can influence and curb all types of conditions or ailments. You can have more energy every morning simply by changing what you eat. You can successfully manage blood sugar levels without much medication with your daily nutrition. You can lose a lot of weight while gaining muscle at the same type by eating correctly during your workout period.
And men’s nutrition is different from women’s nutrition. The same general guidelines can be followed, but men need more calories, more protein, and more fats. This is because men have typically had a higher muscle percentage in their body than women, meaning they can burn more calories and fat, and need more protein to properly function.
The most important things to take into consideration when determining your daily diet are your personal goals, needs, restrictions, and preferences. This article will really help you choose the right diet based on your goals.
Your needs are based on your body size, type, and daily activity level. These will be addressed in the general diet section.
Personal dietary restrictions are something that will be unique to each person. For example, if you have higher blood pressure you might not be able to have as much salt or saturated fat intake. This can’t be addressed in a general guide article, so that is up to you and a dietary professional or doctor to address and know these limitations.
Your preferences are your personal tastes, what you like and don’t like to eat. Each of us has our own hiccups, but I recommend trying new things, especially foods, all the time. You never know when you’ll try something new that you love. And if you don’t, it’s just one bite of food that lasts for ten seconds and then it’s over. No harm, no foul. Man up and take a bite.
This guide will outline and describe six different kinds of diets that men can use. There are of course many other diets out there, these just highlight what you’ll be doing depending on your goals. Each of them has different parameters in mind and therefore you must choose which nutrition guide is the best fit for you. But first, we’ll talk about calories (oh joy) because it is relevant to every type of diet you can do.
Ugh, the dreaded hassle of counting calories. Nonetheless, it is the first topic we will cover. Calories are the unit of measurement we use to calculate the energy provided by food and the energy our body used throughout the day. It makes it a simple balancing act in terms of how many calories you put into your body versus how many calories leave your body.
Most of you, unless you have never read the back of an ingredients label, have seen the old adage of 2000 calories per day, per person. This is a pretty dated guide number and puts way too many people, especially men, in a generalized box of caloric intake. If you are truly going to take your nutrition more seriously, you need to know about how many calories your specific body needs per day.
There are daily calorie estimators everywhere, and your specific intake requirements depend on your age, activity level, and size. A 6’4” 220-pound 24-year-old young man who plays sports almost every day needs many more calories than a 5’8” 170-pound 50-year-old dad with a beer gut and who mows the lawn every week for exercise. That should hopefully be common sense.
Because of this, there are estimators and calories multiplier factors ranging anywhere from 10 calories per pound to 18 calories per pound. I would recommend just trying this site out and putting in your measurables to see about how many calories you need per day to maintain your current weight. The other calorie numbers aren’t as relative to this article.
So, once you know your daily caloric needs, then you know about how many calories you can eat each day to maintain your current body and health. And to track these calories, which is often the biggest hassle in any diet change, you need to know the approximate number of calories in each thing you eat. Which totally sucks. Luckily, there are free apps like MyFitnessPal which makes calorie counting pretty easy. I would recommend using this app to get familiar with calories for each food type and amount. Once you know the general idea, it may not be necessary to count exactly anymore, unless that is something that you enjoy doing or want to be highly precise about. To each his own.
As a general rule, if you want to simply lose some weight at a safe rate, which is one to two pounds per week, without changing your exercise routine or eating habits, you can simply cut the number of calories you eat each day. Cut about 500 calories per day to lose one pound per week, or cut 1000 calories per day to lose 2 pounds. Also, be sure not to dip below 1500 calories per day because that can be dangerous for your health, especially your brain function.
But you are not here to read that simple fact. You want to know how to improve your overall health. This means not just cutting calories, but changing the type of calories you eat. The higher quality fuel your body gets, the better results it will produce.
General Nutrition Plan
If you are mostly healthy and happy with your current body composition and want to maintain or if you don’t overly care about fitness but are just looking to eat better and get a little healthier, this plan is for you.
The principles outlined in this plan also mostly apply to all other diets in some way. Not exactly concept for concept, but the general rules for maintaining a diet apply to others. This will be the longest section by far because if you understand these basic dietary concepts, it will be much easier to adapt your diet to your specific needs.
Before getting into all the stuff you can and can’t eat, you must remember that you are human. You have cravings and moments of “weakness” and some downright tough days. If you are committing yourself to eating better every day and are sticking to that commitment, it is absolutely fine if you “cheat” or have some mac and cheese for dinner or have a few beers with some friends. You have to keep your sanity, and food and drink can be a great way to bond with others and relieve a little stress. Just as long as it isn’t a daily habit, in which case you may need to sort out your stress levels and releasors as well as your diet.
When to Eat
There are debates all over the place as to when and how often you should eat. Some say the good old three meals a day is great. Some say you should eat several smaller meals throughout the entire day to keep your metabolism going all day. Some say you should skip breakfast all together so your body burns some excess calories stored in fat before beginning to burn the food you eat.
All of these have merits. But for a general diet without specific rules to put your body or metabolism into a certain state, you should probably try to stick to the three meals per day with a couple snacks in between. It’s just easy that way. And if you like to have a lighter breakfast and a bigger dinner that’s fine too. Or if you like to eat a big breakfast and then only a few snacks between that and dinner that’s fine too.
What really matters is the quality of calories and food you are eating and making sure you aren’t overindulging each meal and spiking your overall caloric intake. So, if you’re hungry, eat. If not, you don’t have to. Just be mindful of what and how much you are eating each meal.
Your daily diet should be divided into three basic categories: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The body needs all three of these to function on a daily basis. Proteins do the work in your cells and build and maintain your body’s mass. Carbs provide you and your organs with energy to operate. And fats store energy, protect organs, and help proteins do their jobs. So, you can see why they are all essential.
It is recommended to break down your calories in this fashion:
- Protein: 10-35 percent. 20 percent is a nice balance for normal activity.
- Carbs: 45-65 percent. 55 percent is right in the middle and a good amount.
- Fat: 20-35 percent. 25 percent is a good middle ground.
So, if you keep your calories in these ranges, you are eating a well-balanced diet each that will provide you with the proper amount of energy and functionality.
Once again, proteins drive most of the functions in your body. You consume high amounts of protein mainly through meats or seafood unless you are a vegan or vegetarian. There is beef, chicken, pork, lamb, other poultries, and various game meats such as venison. Any type of fleshy seafood has high amounts of protein. You can also consume protein with eggs, dairy products, soy or tofu, legumes or nuts. In fact, most foods have some sort of protein in them, but the higher protein foods are what we are talking about here.
Many diets will say you want to always stick to lean proteins such as chicken or fish. While this is generally true, because beef and pork have higher fat contents than other meats, you don’t need to avoid beef and pork entirely. In fact, beef has high levels of many essential nutrients like iron that make it beneficial to eat on occasion. So, a little bacon here and a nice steak there are all good and dandy. If you need a little assistance to make your meats more appealing, check out this sweet guide to meats.
Most seafood is a great source of healthy protein, as the fat content in fish usually consists of healthy fats that the body needs. You just need to be careful not to overeat seafood as certain things such as mercury can harm you in higher doses. Also, with seafood, it is important to try and get wild caught, from good sources as farm raised seafood can be fed and raised in terrible conditions. And if the food you eat was fed terrible food, it’s probably not great for you to eat it. This is true with all meats and sources of food in general, it’s just often overlooked or easily disguised with seafood.
Eggs can be high in cholesterol, but the benefits greatly outweigh the downsides. Just don’t eat 8 eggs a day, duh. Dairy and nuts have a lot of vitamins and nutrients, but also have higher fat content so consume those moderately. Soy and other legumes are higher in carbs and sugars, but the protein is excellently lean.
The general rule with protein is that you want to always have some sort of it in each meal. Not necessarily all your snacks, but definitely when you eat an entire meal. Stick to lean proteins if possible, with the occasional indulgence in beef or pork. And try to eat meat or seafood raised in good conditions or wild caught. This can get more expensive, so beware of that unfortunate cost.
This is generally the tricky one for a lot of people looking to change their diet to a healthier one. Not only because a lot of food nowadays has some sort of carb base, but because bad carbs are everywhere and they are generally delicious.
Carbs can be anything from fruits and vegetables to pasta and bread to candy and chips. They’re everywhere. And when you eat too many carbs, especially empty, unhealthy carbs, the calories get stored in your body fat and thus you gain weight. Not good in general and especially for a healthy, balanced diet.
Carbohydrates are really broken down into three categories: sugars, starches, and fiber. Sugars are used for general energy, starches are used for digestive energy, and fibers are used to help the digestive process. You have also probably heard of the terms simple vs complex carbs. A better way to divide carbs is with the terms whole and refined. Whole carbs have the natural fibers still existing in their structure. Refined carbs have had the fiber stripped out. Whole carbs are the good stuff.
Carbs provide the main source of fiber for your diet as well. Fiber is essential to your daily diet because it helps your body absorb nutrients and makes your digestive system work properly. A high fiber diet ensures your body will be processing all of your healthy food correctly. Vegetables are the best source of fiber you can get, so eat that broccoli!
You can also divide carbs into three other categories: fruits and vegetables, grains, and sugars. Fruits and vegetables are self-explanatory. And in an everyday healthy diet, they are good all the time as long as you don’t eat an excessive amount of fruit. Grains are pasta and rice and bread. This is where you want to stick to whole grains. Anything made with white flour or white rice is refined and not as good for you. Whole grains have plenty of healthy properties and nutrients and can be consumed regularly. Sugars are all your sweets and candies and soda and alcohol. Almost always refined, almost always bad for your daily diet and health. This is the area where you cheat or relax every once in a while.
Some examples of good and bad of each type of carb are:
- Vegetables: Pretty much always good. Potatoes and corn in excess are not great.
- Fruits: Usually good as long as consumed with some restraint. They have more sugar than veggies.
- Whole Grains: whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, multi or whole grain breads
- Refined Grains: pasta, white bread, white rice, bagels, muffins, biscuits, crackers
- Sugars: any candy or sweetened product, soda or sweetened drinks, all alcohol
It is a myth that you have to have carbs every day to survive. Your body can burn ketones (see the last section about keto diet), which is energy stored in your body fat to survive and operate every day. This is why some low carb diets work very well for people who want to lose weight.
But for the basic nutrition guide section, which we are still in, you do not need a low carb diet. You just need a healthy carb diet. I mean you don’t want to eat too many carbs, of course. Remember, we are trying to be balanced here. Stick to whole carbs and limit them to about half of your daily caloric intake.
Fat store energy and help proteins do their job. The colloquial usage of “fat” turns many people off the term and scares them away. In fact, this is how many low-fat or non-fat foods came into existence. And in reality, these low-fat food substitutes were often just as bad or worse for you because the product was artificial.
While it is true that bad fats should be mostly avoided, good fats are essential to our health and a necessary part of our daily diet. Fats make our food taste better, and that’s why they are craved and included in many recipes or types of food. Bad fats like saturated or trans fat can lead to cardiovascular issues or weight gain. Good fats like monounsaturated and omega-3 promote healthy bodily function and provide essential nutrients.
Some examples of each type of fat:
- Good fats: Nuts, avocados, olive oil, almond butter, salmon, trout, tofu, seeds
- Bad fats: fatty cuts of beef and pork, butter, dairy, poultry skin, lard
- Worst fats: fried foods like French fries or doughnuts, baked goods like cookies or cakes, processed snacks like popcorn or chips, margarine, vegetable shortening
Again, you should try to avoid too much of the bad fat category and most of the worst fat category, but an occasional cheat or a burger or something like that isn’t forbidden. Just try to stick to the good, natural fats and your health will benefit.
General Nutrition Summary
I know this section has been quite long, but the base of knowledge you just gained will help you adjust your daily diet and adjust your diet to your personal goals. You’ll know more about the types of food you’re consuming and what these foods do. It will be easier and quicker to understand the next sections with specific diets and diet goals explained.
To live a healthy lifestyle and maintain or improve your overall health and shape, you need to make sure what you eat is good for you. I recommend you start by learning how many calories you need each day, based on your body type and activity level, to maintain your health. Then you should start learning how many calories and what type of calories are in foods you most commonly eat. This will provide a good base of knowledge for your own personal health. Try to keep the number of calories you consume about equal to the number of calories you need.
Even more important the number of calories is the quality of calories. You need proteins, carbs, and fats each day. Around 20 percent protein, 55 percent carbs, and 25 percent fats, with wiggle room around each. Key points to remember are:
- Try to stick to lean proteins such as poultry and seafood, and be mindful of where they are sourced from.
- Carbs are not all bad, stick to whole carbs such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Avoid refined sugars like candy and alcohol and white flour.
- Avoid bad fats such as too much beef or pork or dairy, and fried or processed foods. Stick to nuts and fish and fats in natural forms if possible.
These are just the quick hits. The rest of the preceding section gives the juicy details.
Final General Nutrition Tips
You must always remember that you are human. You’re not perfect. So, you must allow yourself to cheat or have a little leeway in your diet, especially if you enjoy a certain type of “bad” food. If you are using this general guideline, then you are probably already in a decent enough health to live life a little. And you must to stay sane. So, this isn’t some strict regiment with targeted goals, it’s just a guide to eat and live healthier.
Also, once you learn your caloric needs and the correct types of foods to eat, it can be very helpful to mean prep each day or night to keep your diet in check. This way, you don’t get stuck eating out for lunch every day and thus pigeonholed into unsavory meals. This guide can help you learn to meal prep.
Workout Meal Plan
Now onto the first plan with specific goals in mind. If the first part of living a healthy life is nutrition, the second in undoubtedly staying active. And the third is monitoring and treating any acute or chronic health conditions. So, make sure to stay active. Take walks. Play a sport. Workout.
That’s what this meal plan is specifically designed for. If you are on or planning on starting a specific workout regimen, you should adjust your diet accordingly so you get the fuel you need to in turn get the most out of your workouts. If you are working out consistently, this probably means you are trying to gain lean muscle while reducing body fat. Unless the workout is for a specific sport or activity, this is generally the case and this diet plan can be followed.
When to Eat
There have been many studies and theories and so and so forth as to when or if you need to eat surrounding a workout. The general consensus has been that you don’t need to eat before if you don’t want to, but you should eat something after, especially if you didn’t eat before your workout.
A workout of any type burns many more calories than normal activity. It makes sense that you should need or want more energy to burn during the workout. But your body also stores energy that can be used during your workout. This is what will happen if you don’t eat beforehand. Studies have shown that unless you are preparing for a very long or intense cardio session, not eating beforehand will not affect your performance in the workout. So, it is up to you if you want to eat before your workout. If you do, try to do it an hour or so before and stick to whole carbs.
Whether or not you eat before your workout, you should definitely eat something afterward. And eat some protein or have a protein shake along with some carbs. This will help your muscles recover and promote more muscle growth. It will also replenish sugars in your blood and keep your metabolism up.
So the basic idea is to definitely eat after a workout and beforehand is up to you. Another useful little tip, a handful of almonds after your workout will help reduce soreness the next day.
As you are already eating a well-balanced, healthy diet, there aren’t too many changes you need to make to adjust for a consistent workout routine. You will be burning many more calories per day, so you need to up your total caloric intake each day unless you are trying to lose weight as well. But we’ll get into that next section.
You should up your calories each day by a couple hundred, depending on your body type and size and how intense your workouts are. The bigger you are the more intense your workouts, the more calories you need to add.
Even more importantly, you need to shift your caloric percentages to include a much higher percentage of protein. This means you will be reducing both carbs and fats, but mostly carbs. Your protein percentage should be closer to 35 percent each day, maybe more. Protein is what builds and maintains your muscles. It also takes longer to digest so you burn more calories digesting.
So eat more calories, and up your protein percentages. Simple, right?
What to Eat
As I just said, you need to eat more protein when you are working out consistently. But if you are trying to add muscle and reduce body fat for that beach bod, you need to focus on lean proteins like chicken and fish and eggs. Really try to avoid fatty meats like pork and beef. A protein shake or some edamame after a workout are great sources of extra protein. So are nuts, and they also give you the good fats when you are on a workout regimen.
You are also going to be cutting some carbs, but not too many. You should really focus on not having sugars here. They give you the least energy and get stored the quickest as fat in your body. You are trying to cut fat, not gain it. So, stay away from sweets and sugars. Whole grains before or after a workout are great at replenishing your energy.
The bad fats should also be reduced as these will make you more sluggish in your workouts if consumed often. So, stick to natural, good fats like nuts. One fat you don’t really have to avoid is dairy, as it will give you good nutrients and bone health for your workouts.
Workout Meal Plan Summary
The main thing to remember when your working out is that you are burning more calories, so you need more calories to function properly. You just need to adjust the calories you consume. You want more lean protein and less of everything else. Stay away from sugars and bad fats. Some examples of meals you could eat are:
- Breakfast: Eggs and fruit. Oatmeal, fruit, and protein shake.
- Snack: Almonds. Quinoa and veggies. Protein bar.
- Lunch: Turkey sandwich with cheese on whole grain with a side of veggies. Brown rice and leftover chicken. Lettuce-wrapped turkey burger and salad.
- Post workout snack: Protein shake. Edamame and rice. Almonds and veggies.
- Dinner: Grilled salmon and roasted veggie salad. Steak and asparagus and salad.
There are endless possibilities for your meals each day as this diet is not super restrictive. You just need to keep the protein up.
Final Workout Meal Plan Tips
One last thing you have to keep in mind is that unless you are trying to lose a lot of weight or gain a ton of muscle, you have some leeway in your diet. Working out consistently is a wonderful way to keep your body functioning at a high level, so it will be able to process some foods that aren’t great for you better than if you weren’t working out. So, you can eat some white rice or some fried chicken here and there and still see great results from your workout. Just keep the protein up and the sugars down.
Weight Loss Meal Plan
Each different type of dietary and nutritional plan is going to continue to get shorter because lessons from previous sections are easily applied to later ones. So, if you want to lose weight, the basic concept is you need to consume fewer calories than you use each day. Your body will burn some weight off as energy and you will be lighter. Voila!
While the concept is simple, the execution isn’t always as much. You will be more susceptible to hunger and energy lulls and cravings. All of these are usually best overcome by keeping your long-term goal in mind and by distracting yourself. This can be done in any way you choose, besides eating what you shouldn’t.
You must also remember that your goal should be to lose weight in a sustainable way. This means not cutting too much weight too fast, because you will be much more likely to gain it back due to your dietary changes being too difficult to maintain or ease off of.
When to Eat
When to eat when you’re trying to lose weight doesn’t really change at all. You can eat when you want as long as you stay in control of what and how much you eat. I would highly recommend avoiding eating late at night, before bed, because your body will not process these calories as well because it will be in stasis. This is true for any good diet, but especially true when trying to lose weight.
There are three activity levels to lose weight, and each requires different caloric restrictions to work properly. If you don’t want to change your current daily activity level, you need to restrict your calories the most. Each pound you want to lose per week means about 500 calories less per day. So, two pounds per week means 1000 fewer calories per day. This is a lot more than you think.
The next level is if you want to up your activity level moderately. This could mean increasing your workouts from they already were or taking up moderate exercise each day when you were previously mostly sedentary. You’ll probably be upping your calorie burning by 100-400 per day, meaning you would only need to cut your caloric intake very slightly to lose weight. You might not even need to at all because your body will be running at a higher level than it was.
The last option to lose weight is to really amp up your workouts to much higher levels. You will be burning 300-800 more calories per day and thus may even need to increase your caloric intake to lose weight at a healthy rate. Only you can know which level you need to adjust your diet to.
What to Eat
Now onto to the money question. And the most difficult of all challenges in losing weight. Most diet plans out there have you reducing carbs by quite a bit when trying to lose weight. And for good reason, excess carbs that your body doesn’t use for energy get stored as fat on your body. Not good at all. So, to ensure you don’t have any excess carbs, diets require to reduce them quite a bit.
Some popular diets you can check out on your own include Paleo, Atkins, Keto, Intermittent Fasting, Dukan, and Zone. Not all of these are low-carb, but most are.
I agree with the low-carb idea because it is the easiest way to make sure you don’t store extra fat, and for your body to burn the fat it already has as energy. But you must also remember to eat good carbs, as those are much more difficult for your body to store as fat as they take longer and more work to process.
Overall, you want to up your protein intake and decrease carbs. It’s rather simple. Protein burns more calories as your process it and good carbs don’t get stored as fat. The best mantra to remember when trying to lose weight without a defined diet plan is lean protein and veggies. Pretty simple.
Some other foods that can boost your fat loss in different ways are:
- Fatty fish like salmon or trout.
- Eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs. They are a fat loss powerhouse.
- Coffee, good for everyone!
- Whey protein, get buff bro!
- Chili or chili peppers, bring the heat and vitamins.
- Apple cider vinegar, just a health food beast really.
Weight Loss Meal Plan Summary
The basic gist, once again, to lose weight is to take in fewer calories than you need each day. This can be unique to each person depending on their size and activity level, and whether or not they will be changing their activity level to lose weight.
You also want to keep the carbs low so they don’t get stored as fat. And you want to keep the protein high because it builds muscle and muscle burns fat. You can also try incorporating some super foods into your diet to increase its fat-burning capabilities.
Weight Loss Meal Plan Tips
The only tip I have for you I’ve mentioned earlier. There are going to be times when it’s difficult to stick to your diet because you will be hungry or craving something bad, you just need to keep the end goal in sight and distract yourself if need be. It really does work. If you’re thinking about that donut just start reading or watching TV or something. Focus on something else besides the food.
Also, remember to try and lose the weight at a healthy rate and with healthy eating habits. There’s no point to losing all that weight just to gain it back in six months. Keep your goals and diet sustainable and healthy.
Weight Gain Meal Plan
Gaining weight for some can be more difficult than losing it. It often takes more diligence and consistent effort rather than restraint, though both require the same amount of will. Some men want to gain weight just because they want more muscle than they already have. They like the bulk. Some men have always been skinny and just want to have a little meat on their bones. If you’re the latter, congratulations as you may have a naturally fast metabolism, though more likely you just don’ eat as much as you think you do.
The basic concept is the exact opposite of the weight loss plan. You need to consume more calories than you burn each day. So, the first step is knowing about how many calories you burn. This is important because tracking calories is essential to gaining muscle weight. You must track your calories to start to ensure you are eating enough.
When to Eat
This is more important than in any other diet in this article. You are going to be eating a lot. Probably so much you won’t want to eat anymore. So, it is important to eat more frequent yet smaller meals throughout the day, so you are less likely to feel over-stuffed and sick to your stomach. Eat an early breakfast then eat every 2-4 hours from then until the end of the day.
This is where the diligence comes into play. It may sound easy to eat a lot, but after a while, it just isn’t. you’re going to be eating mostly healthy foods so meals will tend to get repetitive and boring. It will not be easy to eat as much as you need to, but you must if your goal is to gain weight.
You’re going to need to eat around 500 more calories than you need per day to gain weight at a healthy rate. Any more than that and you won’t be turning those extra calories each day into muscle, but into fat. That isn’t what you’re going for. This number can be higher if you’ll be working out like The Rock each day, but who’s really doing that?
You’re going to up your protein for sure to build muscle, but you don’t need to cut carbs and fats as much because you’ll be eating calorie-dense meals so you don’t have to stuff your face each time you eat. This doesn’t mean you’ll be eating spaghetti and pizza all of the time; it just means you will be having larger portions of carbs and fats with each meal you eat.
What to Eat
Protein, protein, protein is the name of the game. As well as foods that are loaded with healthy calories in each meal. This means not as many veggies as other plans. More brown rice and avocado and yogurt and peanut butter. Eggs are your great friend when gaining weight. And beef isn’t a bad option either as it has more calories, just don’t eat it every day. Stick mostly to lean proteins.
Protein shakes and post-workout meals are especially important when trying to gain weight. They enhance muscle recovery and growth, which you have to have for this to work.
You still want to keep away from the sugars and refined carbs because these will still add fatty weight, not muscle weight. It’s too bad all those sweet foods are bad for you no matter what, eh?
Weight Gain Meal Plan Summary
Gaining muscle is not as fun or easy as some deem it to be. You’re going to be eating so much more than you’re used to each day that you may grow tired of eating. The first step you need to take is to estimate how many calories you’ll be burning each day and thus how many calories you need to consume. Then you need to initially track those calories to be sure you are actually eating enough.
Next, you just have to eat, and then keep eating. Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. Stick to lots of proteins but adjust meals to include healthy, calorie-dense foods like yogurt and avocado. And make sure to eat after your workouts, always.
Weight Gain Meal Plan Tips
As you’re trying to gain weight, you need to lift heavy to build your muscles. Don’t focus on cardio though you still need to include it for heart health.
The only other tip I have is to treat your eating like a workout regimen. It’s going to get tough to keep up the intake, so you have to treat it like something that must be done, rather than something you want to do.
Vegan or Vegetarian Diet Plan
A switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet is often done for motives other than a diet change, but they have some great nutritional benefits as well. A vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat any meat. A vegan is someone who doesn’t eat any meat or animal products, like eggs or milk. These diets can have some wonderful benefits for your cardiovascular health as well as other benefits.
The downside to these is that most people have to switch to this diet as they aren’t raised a vegan or vegetarian. It can be a difficult adjustment for both your mind and body. The biggest of those being resisting temptation or craving of meat and getting enough protein in your diet. I’m not going to go into too much detail on these diets as there are much better sources out there than me.
When to Eat
This doesn’t change at all from the normal, everyday nutrition guide. Stick to 3-4 meals throughout the day, though you find more need to snack due to the lack of protein.
Your caloric intake will probably drop a little though not as much as some think. But you will most likely be operating on lower protein percentages especially as a vegan as there just isn’t as much protein in other foods than meat, or dairy or eggs if you’re going vegan.
What to Eat
Obviously, no meats, but if you’re vegetarian eggs and dairy can be a great source of protein for you. I keep talking about proteins because your carb levels will be just fine on these diets. Fat levels usually are too due to the number of nuts eaten.
Other sources of protein include soy, such as tofu and edamame. Seitan, which is a protein product made from gluten. This, of course, doesn’t work for anyone with a gluten allergy, but for others, it is often a better tasting source of protein than soy. Lentils and legumes and nuts are also great sources of natural protein.
Vegan or Vegetarian Diet Plan Summary
Again, I’ll harp on the protein, but it is by far the biggest adjustment you’ll have to make when switching to one of these diets. Everything else involved is a healthy switch, except you still have to watch out for refined carbs and sugars, as they are present everywhere!
You have to try the many types of alternative proteins out there to see which you like the best. Food like hummus or bean dip or eggs would be the most easily adjustable to, I think.
Vegan or Vegetarian Diet Plan Tips
If you chose to switch to one of these diets, you chose with some conviction more than likely. So, stick with that conviction and stick with the dietary changes, no matter how hard it is to adjust. Give it an honest shot and then see where you land.
Keto Diet Plan
The last diet plan we’ll get into is also the most specific on the list. And we’re going to get into because it is the most popular diet out there right now. The keto diet is a way to put your body into a state of ketosis. I mentioned this earlier and will explain it now. Ketosis is when your body is burning stored fats for energy, rather than carbs you have consumed.
Your body enters and stays in ketosis on this diet by consuming almost no carbs at all. You replace those in your diet with healthy fats, and then your body is trained to use and burn fat for energy, rather than carbs.
This can be a very effective way to lose weight both healthily and rather quickly. It has also shown great benefits for blood sugar and insulin levels and can be used in some cases to treat type-2 diabetes.
The main problem with this diet is that it can be very easy to put weight back on after you lose it as the eating habits are hard to maintain for longer than you planned on from the beginning.
There are several types of keto diets, but the primary concepts are all the same, high fat, extremely low carbs.
When to Eat
Eat normally throughout the day. 3-4 meals with 1-2 snacks in between.
This is the biggest adjustment in this diet. You will be eating a slightly higher than normal amount of protein, but you will be reducing your carb intake to almost zero and upping your healthy fat intake to take the carbs’ place.
It sounds weird, but I explained the logic earlier. By doing this, you train your body to burn fat for energy rather than carbs.
What to Eat
We’ll keep this section simple with foods you should avoid and foods you can eat.
Foods to avoid:
- All sugar. All of it. No sweets. No juices. No soda. None of it.
- All alcohol. Alcohol is very high in carbs and can take you out of ketosis.
- Grains and starches. Pasta and rice and bread are all no good.
- Beans and legumes. No magical fruit.
- Almost all fruits except small portions of berries.
- Root veggies like potatoes or carrots.
- Any low-fat or sugar-free foods. They are high in carbs.
- Unhealthy fats
Foods you can have:
- Meats. All meats.
- Fatty fish.
- Butters and creams and many other dairy products.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Healthy oils.
- Most green veggies and tomatoes.
It’s actually fairly simple, it’s just not easy to adjust to and even more difficult to wean yourself off.
Keto Diet Plan Summary
Drastically up your fats, drastically reduce your carbs. Easy as pie in concept, not execution. The keto diet works by putting your body in a state of ketosis, where you burn fat for energy rather than carbs. You must enter ketosis and stay in this state for the diet to work effectively. That is the hardest part of it. You have to try your hardest to never break ketosis.
If you succeed, your body will become a fat burning machine and you can lose weight very fast. Keto has also shown several other health benefits besides weight loss.
Keto Diet Plan Tips
There are a couple tips for this diet. The first being that you can workout as you normally would while on this diet. The lack of carbs won’t affect you as your body will just burn fat instead as the diet intends.
The second is that you must wean yourself off this diet when you decide you’re done with it. If you go back into normal carb eating mode, your body will store much of those as fat and you will put weight back on. You must gradually reintroduce carbs back into your diet.
The last is that if you are an absolute lover of all things carbs, this diet probably isn’t for you. It will more than likely be too hard to maintain. Try something else.
Nutrition is relatively overlooked in terms of the complete and overall health of a man. What you put into your body determines what you get out of it. Changing your dietary habits is the absolute best way to improve your overall health. And who doesn’t want to be healthier?
The main things you have to remember are fairly simple. When choosing a diet that’s right for you, you need to know your goals and personal restrictions. The goals help you determine which adjustment you need to make and your restrictions determine what you can and can’t do.
You have to know how about how many calories you need each day to know how many calories you need to have in your diet to maintain, lose, or gain weight.
You need to know which types of food are protein, carbs, or fats, and what each of them does for you and how they affect you. And you need to know where each food falls within the health spectrum. Remember, you have more common sense about food than you know. If a food seems bad for you it probably is, so avoid it.
Finally, you need to choose the right diet for yourself. Stick to the plan you lay down but also remember that you are human and are allowed to relax and stray from the plan occasionally to release some stress.
Hopefully, this guide can help you choose the right diet for yourself and can be the start of a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. Good luck!