Ask Stew: Diet and Weight Loss In Preparation For Hard Workouts

HealthyEatingChoices

Choosing a diet or eating plan for yourself can be as frustrating as trying to live on the Cabbage Diet. If you are seeking to lose weight in preparation for harder workouts, consider first focusing simply on progressing into more difficult workouts (Time and Intensity) and eating a normal diet. Give the added increase is calorie expenditure a try for a few weeks. If that is not working for you, try reducing portion sizes for a few weeks. If that is not working, try a well-balanced diet that includes all of the macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein) in a balanced way so that, when combined with your exercise routine, you can actually see weight loss.

Consider the following question on weight loss and dieting:

Stew,

I'm trying to lose some weight so I can get into better shape for some more intense workouts. I was looking at this diet where you cut absolutely all carbs and sugar (except vegetables and some fruits), but what do you think? The diet also says I can't even have the bread from a sandwich if I'm eating one. Sounds kind of extreme, but I'm not sure. Since I've been working out pretty intensely and eating a lot better, I've actually lost close to ten pounds. I've lost weight, but I want to make sure I'm maximizing the amount I lose over time.

Remember, you are eating for energy to train hard as well as lose weight, so your food choices should continue to be rich in nutrients. Do not starve yourself or fail to eat an entire macronutrient diet. Otherwise, your lack of energy will affect your intensity/ability to train at your desired goals. Often, people group sugar, fruits, and vegetables into the same category: CARBS. "Stop eating carbs!" is a common battle cry for many diets.

There are also grains, breads, and pastas that are a part of that group. Limiting sugars and grains (even significantly reducing them) has shown to be helpful with weight loss. However, eliminating fruits and vegetables is not a great idea as they are nutrient rich and will help you with energy for your training goals.

Lowering your carb intake will work to lose weight, BUT so will eliminating sugar. When in doubt, a big green leafy salad is a great source of nutrients that is low on calories. Mix in some tuna or grilled chicken and you have solid forms of protein and fat (tuna).

Try this idea: I tend to eat SOME bread / pasta. If you take off one slice of bread of a sandwich you cut your bread intake by 50%. Some people call this going 100 percent Paleo 80 percent of the time.
Eliminate all Soda and replace it with water. If you need caffeine, replace soda with unsweet iced tea. I have seen people lose 20lbs in 3-4 months by ONLY eliminating sodas from their world.
Drink More Water. Add water to your day – ALL DAY. Sip water and try to consume 50-75 percent of your bodyweight (pounds) in ounces of water. A 200 pound man could get 100-150 ounces of water in a day. Regardless of weight, there is not much need to consume more than a gallon of water in a day.

Lean Down Plan – Some food options that may work well for you.

Stew

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Contributor

Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

Latest Fitness Books: Navy SEAL Weight Training and Tactical Fitness