NUTRITION

Basic Nutrition for Tightening and Toning

Hitting the gym isn't the only thing you should be focusing on for that summer body.

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By Maddy Barney

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Well, it’s midsummer and you’ve been grinding it at the gym and are STILL not quite where you want that summer body to be. Why? A lot of factors play a part in getting that holiday bod into that tight summer bod. The main one? Diet. In my experience no matter how hard you’re working out, a bad diet can undo all of the hard work you put in at the gym. But we live in a world where the food is WAY too delicious to pass up. So what do we do? How do we resist the delicious foods AND get that tummy tighter? It all comes down to a few basic guidelines, and one big word…. MODERATION.

Basic Guidelines

So, guidelines first. There are a few basic things that you can do to get closer to your goal. We’re going to focus on a simple anagram, KISS. Or, Keep It Simple Stupid. The more complex a goal is, the less likely you are to stick to it. Keep it simple at first, and then we can get to the complicated stuff.

First, make sure that you’re eating ENOUGH. A lot of times my clients will think “If I eat less, I’ll lose weight” which is a common misconception. If we eat less than what our body needs, our metabolism slows down and we end up storing food as fats rather than burning them. How much is too little? Everyone’s daily caloric needs are different but never go below 1200 calories, and for weight loss never go above 2000.

There are ways you can monitor the amount of food you’re intaking but to keep it simple, eat small meals regularly. Eating at regular intervals of every 2-3 hours keeps our metabolism burning throughout the day, fuels our body keeping us energized, and provides nutrients to our muscles so we keep that “toned” look.

Next, WHAT do we eat? Stay calm, don’t panic, and remember, KISS. Each meal needs protein, carbs, and fats. Simple proteins: Eggs, chicken, turkey. Simple carbs: Potatoes, rice, oatmeal. Simple fats: Almonds, avocado, fish (also a delicious protein!). Don’t forget your veggies! As for the amount… Protein: the size of your palm. Carbs: should be able to fit in one cupped hand. Fats: the size of your thumb. Veggies: the size of your fist. These are approximations to help keep it simple!

Next we have to make sure we’re getting enough water for our body! Our bodies are made up mostly of water, if we’re not getting enough do you think it’ll function at its best capacity? Probably not! Now you’re not going to die of being slightly dehydrated, but weight-loss may be a little trickier. It’s recommended that we drink approximately 8 glasses of water a day. It doesn’t seem like much but you’d be surprised how many people struggle with this (guilty over here!). Simple tips to stay hydrated-buy a nice water bottle and carry it around like it’s your new best friend. Might seem like a hassle but having that reminder around with you is going to help, plus we get to help the environment by using less plastic bottles so double win!

Last basic guideline (almost there!) is to cut down on the alcohol. I know, it’s a struggle. But trust me when I say that from experience with clients, it’s the silent killer of weight-loss. Appoint two to three days a week where you are allowed a drink or two and then stick to that goal!

All things in Moderation

Just like those two to three glasses of alcohol, the same goes for food. MODERATION. We live in a world where the food is getting more and more delicious and unique. Yes we want that summer bod, but that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice a fun dinner with friends to get it! All things in moderation.

I am a firm believer that we need to take care of ourselves both physically and mentally. I stick to my meals and I eat my veggies just like my body wants, but 1-2 times a week I’ll go and eat that burger that’s been calling my name. I’ll eat a cookie, I’ll eat the french fries.

It’s stressful to focus on sticking perfectly to your diet and then when you cave and binge eat an entire box of oreos and peanut-butter (guilty again!) you feel terrible. Not good for the body, or the soul. The key is that it’s not ALWAYS, just occasionally. And it’s not 20 cookies, just 1-2. I satisfy that sweet tooth, and I get back to my veggies.

Now it’s your turn. Go eat your veggies, enjoy those greasy foods (moderately), and I’ll see you at the beach!

Maddy is currently living in the Bay Area and moved there to pursue her Masters in Exercise Physiology at San Jose State University. She has a Bachelor's degree in Human Performance and has been working as a Personal Trainer for the past 3 years. She has worked with a wide demographic of clients pursuing various goals and works hard to help them see their potential. She is an outdoor enthusiast and dedicates her workouts to rock climbing, hiking, and whatever new experiences may come her way.

Main Photo Credit: Kiian Oksana/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: Elenadesign/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: MAD_Production/shutterstock.com; Fourth Photo Credit: Karpenkov Denis/shutterstock.com