Basic Nutrition – A Quick Guide

Basic Nutrition

Basic Nutrition Tips

I would bet that without even thinking, you could name 4 or 5 diets or eating plans that are in the popular media…Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Atkins, South Beach, etc. Every time you turn around, there’s a fantastic “new” approach to eating. It’s enough to make your head spin!

But it doesn’t have to be that complicated. I’ve got some easy-to-follow basic nutrition principles that will help keep you on the right track. Beginner or advanced, these will work for you!

1. Focus your eating on natural, unprocessed foods as much as possible.

While I know it’s not always possible to get fresh fruit and veggies and other unprocessed foods everywhere you go, your body will always respond best when you feed it foods that are not altered through processing. Your body has evolved over thousands and thousands of years to process foods in their natural state – it’s only relatively recently that processed foods have appeared on the scene.

Your body has the digestive mechanisms for efficiently processing foods in their natural state. When you add in the fats, salt, sugar, additives, etc., your body starts having a hard time digesting and coping. Think of it like trying to put regular gas into a vehicle that runs on diesel. It may run, but it’s not going to be very efficient with the fuel and it could cause problems down the road (no pun intended!)

Bottom Line: Eating foods that are not processed allows your body to function more efficiently. You’ll lose fat without even trying.

2. Get plenty of good quality, lean protein sources in your diet

When you’re training, your body has a much greater need for protein. During weight training and endurance training especially, your body is constantly breaking down muscle tissue. Protein is required to rebuild it. By regularly feeding your body good protein sources, you’ll be able to hold onto and build muscle mass easier.

Good sources of lean protein include meats (look for leaner cuts like sirloin), poultry, eggs (while not lean, eggs will not shoot up your cholesterol as many worry), fish, low-fat dairy, soybeans, and various legumes (beans).

As far as how much protein your body needs, this will vary according to how much you weigh and your activity level. A level of around 1 gram per pound of lean bodyweight is a good guideline (we don’t count total bodyweight because fat is not metabolically active and doesn’t require protein to sustain it).

3. Don’t be afraid of “good” fats

Fats can be extremely beneficial, even when you’re trying to lose weight! Fats are important in a tremendous variety of bodily processes including hormone production, immunity, joint and organ protection, and even burning bodyfat. Without the “good” fats, your body will not function as well as it could.

“Good” fats include sources such as fish, nuts, flax oil, borage oil, and olive oil (there are many other good sources as well). Increasing your intake of these good fats can help keep you feeling good and burning your own bodyfat more efficiently.

Your total fat intake should be around 30% of your daily calories. A good way to go about getting this is to try and keep your focus primarily on low-fat foods while purposefully adding the “good” fats into your diet (like eating a few almonds every day or taking fish oil or flax oil capsules).

4. Carbs are fine

Despite all the talk about carbs being the enemy, it’s important to note that carbs and foods that contain carbs can actually be quite good for you! It’s generally the refined sugar added to foods that is the problem, not the carbohydrate as a nutrient on its own.

5. Non-nutritious foods should be minimized

This is an easy one. More than likely, you already know that you shouldn’t be eating Cheesy-Poofs or chocolate bars 3 meals a day. The calories you get from these foods don’t come with any actual nutrients. When your body is missing nutrients, it craves more food (not to mention the insulin response to the sugar in many of these foods) and you tend to eat more of the poor food that doesn’t have nutrients in it.

It’s ironic to think that many overweight people are actually malnourished! When you eat nutrient-dense foods, your body gets the nutrients it needs and functions much better.

5. Salads, fruits and vegetables will give you lots of fiber, roughage and nutrition

Eat plenty of salads, fruits and veggies every day. This is usually one that everybody already knows yet doesn’t normally focus on. The fiber in the foods helps keep you from getting too hungry and helps keep your digestive system clean.

6. Just do the best you can

It’s not always easy or convenient to follow good eating principles. There are plenty of tasty temptations to be found every time you turn around.

The REAL key to proper nutrition is to focus on trying to do well MOST of the time, not all of the time. It’s what you do most of the time that will give you the long-term results you’re looking for. Determining that you MUST be perfect all of the time is a sure way to set yourself up for disappointment when the time comes that you don’t eat a perfectly healthy food choice.

Sometimes, you just have to eat those Cheesy Poofs and not worry about it.

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About the Author: Nick Nilsson has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been innovating new training techniques for more than 18 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding books including “Muscle Explosion! 28 Days To Maximum Mass”, “Metabolic Surge – Rapid Fat Loss,” “The Best Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of,” “Gluteus to the Maximus – Build a Bigger Butt NOW!” and “The Best Abdominal Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of”, all designed to maximize the results you get for the hard work you put into your training.

Be sure to grab your FREE copy of Nick’s 30-day “Dirty Little Secret Program for Building Muscle and Burning Fat FAST,”

5 Excuses That Won’t Fly in 2011

5 Excuses That Will Not Work in 2011

It’s 2011. Your old excuses for not getting in shape won’t work. As Dr. Evil (Austin Powers) said, ZIP IT! I don’t want to hear them anymore! Read em’, then haul your excuseless butt to the gym!

1. I have no time.

According to a story in a recent issue of Men’s Health magazine, Barack Obama works out for 45 minutes a day, 6 days a week. Obama doesn’t just play basketball either. Our new president stays fit to lead with cardio and weight lifting. He also says he wishes he could train 90 minutes a day. Have you ever seen what the daily schedule of a U.S. president looks like? If the busiest man in the world can train every day for 45 minutes a day, then what’s your excuse? ZIP IT! You ain’t got one!

2. It’s too expensive.

Getting in shape certainly is expensive… if you keep wasting hundreds of dollars, month after month on worthless “miracle” weight loss pills, internal cleansing gimmicks and “magic” potions that all claim to make you slim. Deceptive advertising and slick marketing for bogus diet aids is more rampant than ever. 2010 was the year of thewu-long tea scam, the acai berry scam, and, of course, the ubiquitous “cleansing” and “detox” gimmicks . Unless you put on your critical thinking cap and learn to investigate before you invest, then you’ll get scammed by 2011’s flavor of the year as well. Your quest for those elusive “6-pack” abs will not only continue to be expensive, you’ll go broke. Walking, jogging, calisthenics and body weight exercises are FREE. If you want to know what’s really expensive, tally up the cost of legitimate expenses like natural food, gym memberships, fitness education, dumbbells and so on, and compare that to your doctor’s bill when you’re sick.

3. No one will support me.

Experts on social influence say your income will be approximately equal to the average of your 5 closest friends. Not only do I think that’s pretty darn accurate, I also believe that your health is your greatest wealth, and your physical condition will be about equal to the average of your 5 closest friends. It’s a real challenge to stay positive, focused and active when you’re surrounded by critical people and negative influences. However, in 2011, lack of support is no longer a valid excuse. Online social networking is exploding (check out Twitter and Facebook ) and more IN PERSON friendships and associations are being made from an internet connection than ever before. Training buddies can be found online. Connect with them. Mentors and coaches are easily found online. Hire them. Support forums have been around for years. Use them. No support from your current friends? Stop whining, start reaching out and go make new ones. In 2011, support partners and new friends are just a click away.

4. I can’t lose weight because of my genetics.

The marvels of modern medical and biological research are astonishing. Our top scientists have mapped the human genome! In the past few years, numerous genes linked to obesity have been discovered. However, the obesity epidemic we’re facing today has only developed over the past 50 years and genetic mutations that lead to serious obesity are extremely rare. Genetic predisposition only means that you have a tendency. It’s when the genetics meet lifestyle and environment that the genes express themselves. If you have a family history of heart disease, is it smart to smoke, eat junk, be a stressed-out, type-A maniac and a couch potato? Well of course not, and it’s the same with obesity. If you have a tendency predisposing you towards obesity, you’d better be the person doing the MOST exercise, not the least. You’d better be the person paying the MOST attention to your nutrition. You’d better be the person with the healthiest lifestyle. But unfortunately, it’s usually the opposite. Most people throw up their arms in frustration saying, “what’s the use, I was dealt a bad hand.” Sorry. That won’t fly in 2011. The latest research says genetics are a factor, but a tendency is not a destiny!

5. I don’t know how.

The lamest excuse of them all in 2011 is “I don’t know how.” NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO DO ANYTHING UNTIL AFTER THEY HAVE ACTUALLY DONE IT! Ponder that for a while. You don’t need to know how at first. To get started, you only need to know WHAT… what is the goal? Setting well-formed goals is the master skill of success. Not wishy-washy resolutions that have no resolve behind them, but real goals. In writing. With emotional ooompf! As you continue to affirm, visualize and focus on your goal with clarity, belief, and expectation, your new goal or intention will be received by your subconscious. Once a goal is accepted into your subconscious mind, your brain, being a goal-seeking mechanism, will turn on your attention filters to seek out all the information you will ever need to reach your goal. It will also turn on an infallible navigation system to guide you to your goal like a torpedo to its target. As your brain guides your attention, your direction and your behavior, you will discover that today, in 2011, there is more good information, coaching and instruction available than ever before. And when you’ve activated that “success radar” in your brain by setting goals effectively, it’s not as hard to find honest, accurate and helpful HOW-TO advice as you might think. In fact, you found this webpage, so you’re doing pretty good right now, aren’t you?

No more excuses. In 2011, remember my Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle Creed: You can either make excuses or get results, but you can’t do both!

About the Author: Tom Venuto is a fat loss expert, lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, independent nutrition researcher, freelance writer, and author of  Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle and founder of Burn the Fat Inner Circle.  Follow him on Twitter.

Holy Grail Body Transformation Review

Holy Grail Body Transformation by Tom Venuto as Reviewed by Marc David

When I first grabbed my copy of The Holy Grail Body Transformation Program by Tom Venuto, I DID expect the best.  I have known Tom since I started by online fitness business several years ago.  With his original Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle, my nutrition knowledge was already top-notch.  The real reason I wanted to test out this body transformation program was simple.

I’m tired of the typical bulk and cut cycles that are preached on the Internet.  I’m tired of gaining fat in the off-season and having to work hard to burn it off and just hold pace during the rest of the year.  I also am a glutton for new challenges as I get bored easily. The ideas proposed by the Holy Grail Body Transformation Plan intrigued me on many levels.

Here’s your chance to read this Holy Grail Body Transformation Review and figure out if Tom Venuto’s Holy Grail Body Transformation System is something for you.

Holy Grail Body Transformation:  What You Can Expect

Part one starts out with the theory and science covering the Holy Grail Body Transformation program concepts.  While many people may want to breeze over this section, I guarantee you it is not overly scientific or boring.  You need to understand the physiological process of  a body transformation and how you gain muscle and burn fat.  The whole nutritional program is based upon your ability to manipulate your nutrition to achieve the results you desire.

“Should you decide to pursue the Holy Grail, you are about to embark on a challenging journey. ~ Tom Venuto

Part two gives you the Holy Grail Body Transformation nutritional techniques to make this into reality.  Nutrient timing and nutritional periodization are discussed.  Your choices for the cyclical nutrition plan is the absolute core of the Holy Grail Body Transformation Program.  If you don’t get this right, it’s the difference between making a little progress and significant.  Sounds complicated but it is not.

Part three covers the Holy Grail Body Transformation weight training aspect.  There’s a program called “The New Bodybuilding” or T.N.B. workout.  In a nutshell, it’s an upper and lower body routine, twice a week, with different rep ranges, sets and rest periods.  You will be focusing on strength training and muscle hypertrophy, twice a week.  I found this to be very unique for my style of training.  Being a typical bodybuilder, I focused on split routines and a single goal.  While I’ve mixed and matched rest periods, sets and weights, this upper and lower body concept was a breath of fresh air.  Granted, it’s not a new concept by any means and for many people, they have done this style but if you have never tried it before, it’s interesting.

  • Upper and Lower body workouts; twice a week
  • Focused strength and muscle growth priorities

While the Holy Grail workout is great, it’s limited.  You will find that after 3 cycles of this program, roughly 12 weeks, you want to change it up.  Maybe do something entirely different.  The exercises listed are top-notch but for those who workout at home or the gym does not have the correct setup, you will be forced to mix and match your own program.  That is not a problem for most but could be a limiting factor.

You can use the nutritional outline in this Holy Grail Body Transformation Guide with any workout program.  While it appears to be optimized for the T.N.B. workout, there is no barriers to using this concept with any other weight training program.  Which is the ultimate in mix and match in my opinion.

The Holy Grail Body Transformation report would benefit from a plug and go type exercise chart showing sample exercises, reps, sets and rest periods.  For example, list several exercises for each body part and the user can pick and choose what to do.  This still allows the concept of the T.N.B. program to be completed but it would give much needed options for those who may not be able to do or have access to that piece of equipment.  It’s the only flaw I see in the Holy Grail Body Transformation workout section.

Part four talks about Holy Grail Body Transformation lifestyle factors that will and can effect your progress.

  • Sleep
  • Alcohol
  • Stress

Part five is a question and answer section specific to the Holy Grail Body Transformation report.  After the first version of the Holy Grail Body Transformation manual which was done and completed during a Burn the Fat Inner Circle challenge, Tom Venuto took the hundreds of e-mails and put them into a Q&A format.  The latest version really drills down into things that are covered but maybe overlooked the first go around.  This turns out to be an immensely helpful chapter of the Holy Grail Body Transformation e-book.

In the Holy Grail Body Transformation appendix sections, you will find things like:

  • Sample Holy Grail Body Transformation meal plans
  • Calorie calculators
  • Burn the Fat 2.0 food database
  • The T.N.B. workout program to be used with the Holy Grail Body Transformation

Please understand that if you aren’t versed in nutrition or just a beginner, this program may be a little too complex.  The Holy Grail Body Transformation does have sample meal plans but you don’t find an in depth coverage of nutrition for a lifestyle and the workouts assume you can handle yourself in the gym as far as knowing when and how to push yourself past limitations.  A person without 6 months of solid weight lifting experience would be best to stick with a more generalized program and not worry about body composition changes as described in the Holy Grail Body Transformation that are left to a more advanced athlete.  That being said, if you are dedicated and one of the exceptions to the rule, as a beginner you could make some significant progress on such a plan.

The Holy Grail Body Transformation Bottom Line

In summary, the Holy Grail Body Transformation program is one of the most fun and nutritionally challenging programs I’ve tried in a decade.  I’ve seen my own body fat go from the lower end of average (14%) for a bodybuilder to a lean, 7.47% with a small amount of muscle gain, significant fat loss and gains in overall strength.  The Holy Grail Body Transformation Program bills itself as a body composition changer and if followed to the letter, it will do just that without making you feel starving for food or in such a low carbohydrate deficit you are walking around like a zombie with a constant low sugar, low carb headache.

Over the course of 8 weeks using the Holy Grail Body Transformation, I personally have received many questions about this program myself.  So I’ve developed my own question and answer section that pertains to the Holy Grail Body Transformation program.

Holy Grail Body Transformation:  Question and Answer

QUESTION:

What kind of diet do you go on, in terms of calories, protein, fat, and carb ratios when doing the Holy Grail Body Transformation program?

ANSWER:

Your calorie calculation requires you to figure out how many calories a day you will need for weight gain, maintenance and weight loss.  You will use either the Harris-Benedict Formula or the Katch-Mcardle Formula.  Nothing out of the ordinary here.  The reason you will want to know all three is that depending on the cylindrical diet plan you choose, you will have different calorie targets.

This Holy Grail Body Transformation plan revolves around the concept of Zig-Zag nutrition.  That’s where you have a few days below maintenance, then you follow it up with a maintenance or above maintenance calorie day.  You might choose the plan called the 3:1 Cycle.

That’s 3 days of 15%-20% below maintenance and 1 day in a surplus or 15% above.  Or you might choose a 3 day of surplus and 3 days of a calorie deficit.  There’s a few options depending on what your primary goal is for your macrocycle.  Meaning…

Are you trying to primary build muscle and burn some fat, or burn fat as a priority but keep muscle or maybe.. do the unthinkable and get leaner while gaining muscle which is the crux of the Holy Grail Body Transformation.  The nutrition portion of the Holy Grail Body Transformation plan will guide you through all 3 options very nicely.

Proteins, Fats and Carbs will be in the standard.. 45%, 35%, 20% .  Focus for the Holy Grail Body Transformation is on higher protein for muscle retention and satiety.  The lower carbs is very comfortable with emphasis on carb tappering and burning fat without sending you into low or zero carb mode where you feel like a zombie.  The fats are there to keep your intake in-line with recommendations.

Where it gets REAL INTERESTING specific to the Holy Grail Body Transformation system is the carbohydrate tappering plans (carbs specifically around workouts) and post-workout nutrition that makes the Holy Grail Body Transformation program stand out a bit from others.  Rather than just having a standard set meal plan, the focus is on lowered carbs overall (200g per day) with a focus on most of those carbs coming into play before and after the workout.  This allows you to have plenty of energy for that specific time when you need  it most.  Most plans don’t take this into account.  It makes it a bit more specific to your goals.

Being on a continued lower calorie plan is a good way to lose muscle.  Being in a surplus too long and you gain fat.  This Holy Grail Body Transformation 3:1 style along with the others is just easy enough to follow without making every single day a “new” meal plan and overly complicated.

Nutrition in the Holy Grail Body Transformation Program is a top priority.  Get this right and you are almost guaranteed some significant results.

QUESTION:

What does the T.N.B. workout consist of?  Heavyweights 8-10 reps, light weight 12-15 reps?

ANSWER:

Called the T.N.B. (the new bodybuilding) workout is an upper body, lower body workout, done twice a week and is included in the Holy Grail Body Transformation program.  The focus is on strength and muscle growth and that is accomplished by variable sets, rep ranges and rest periods.  Loading periods are cycled so that each week, you aim to be personal bests.  Your ranges for strength will be in the 5-6 rep range and muscle growth in the typical 8-12 range.  Strength phases will use a 5×5 method which is quite good for raw strength gains. Lower volume will be used for higher rep ranges.  While you can use any program with the Holy Grail Body Transformation system, I’d recommend at least trying the included T.N.B. workouts to the letter before making any switches or determinations.

Week 1: Introductory loading

Week 2:  Base loading

Week 3: Overloading

Week 4: Shock loading

Week 5: Begin a new cycle of the Holy Grail Body Transformation

After 3 cycles of this Holy Grail Body Transformation, you’ll need to switch up the exercises.  It’s a very detailed program that covers what most bodybuilders want. Strength with significant muscle growth.  And while it may not be new to some (upper and lower body routines) it creates a nice foundation in which you can build upon to further create your own workouts.  The only thing I’d wish for is some easier method to create these sticking to the principles outlined. It’s far too easy to start adding new exercises to the original Holy Grail Body Transformation program and you’ll end up in the gym for 2 hours.

In the current form, you can do this Holy Grail Body Transformation routine in about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

After the third (3rd) round of the Holy Grail Body Transformation workout, Tom recommends switching to a new program or continue to use the weekly workout schedule, set/rep parameters while changing some or all of the exercises.

QUESTION:

I work out at 3:45am everyday Monday thru Friday and it drives me insane when everyone’s diet never takes into account for people like me that workout first thing when they get up because tons of bodybuilders and trainers do that.  All the diets start out about eating breakfast, then a snack, etc then talk about working out at night. Some of us get up early and workout.

ANSWER:

Even if you do your weight workouts when you get up.. it’s IMPERATIVE to eat.  While cardio can be done on an empty stomach (but there’s really no added fat burning benefit), weight training should not.  You need fuel for those workouts.  If you get up early, you should have some type of high protein, high carbohydrate breakfast and give yourself 30 minutes to digest the food.  You may need more time, maybe less.  Personally, I can eat a full meal and be ready to go in about 30 minutes.  But you need to be fueled for those workouts.

Many bodybuilders do workout early.  But if  you want to build muscle, you’ve got to fuel yourself.  Even the individuals I know who hit the gym at 5:00am still make time for a quick breakfast at 4:30am.  This breakfast can be as simple as raw uncooked oats, protein powder and an orange.  Plenty of carbs and protein for a weight training workout.

There are less benefits to weight training without adequate nutrition.  After being asleep and potentially catabolic with lower nitrogen levels, the last thing you want to do is induce more stress via weight training without proper pre-workout nutritional support.  Take the time for a short, quick breakfast to get some fuel into your system so you can attack the weights.  After that, support yourself with proper post-workout nutrition.

QUESTION:

Can you give like maybe a 2 day complete sample diet of what you eat on the Holy Grail Body Transformation quest to give some new ideas of what to eat.   Right now I’m stuck on protein drinks, grilled chicken breast, green beans, and egg whites for pretty much my entire day.

ANSWER:

Oddly enough, the meal plans that come with the program are nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, they actually matched my target calorie goals for both a deficit and surplus.  While it’s hard to believe, I have stuck with the defaults for two reasons:

  1. It makes life simple
  2. It makes life really simple

All joking aside, the one thing that had me pulling my hair out was the constant switching of high and low calorie days too often or different meals for every day.  While the variety was welcomed, it made it frustrating to grocery shop quickly and it made bulk cooking and planning an event not worth pursuing anymore after a couple of weeks.  This Holy Grail Body Transformation plan is not much more than eggs, chicken, fish, occasional beef, and vegetables.  It makes shopping a breeze.  It makes eating dull.

Now there’s options as the Holy Grail Body Transformation program comes with the standard Burn the Fat 2.0 food database.  Meaning, you have a list of foods in which you can substitute for any of the items.  Tired of Salmon?  Switch it for Tilapia.  Tired of turkey?  Switch it for Venison.

Bottom line, the Holy Grail Body Transformation program comes with several sample meal plans for men and women, based upon some basic calorie goals.  There is a nice one that shows you the carb tappering method of nutrition that is discussed in detail.  Meaning, a fair amount of carbs before and after your training.  But not too much before and after. Thus, you can keep a reasonably low carb plan but have plenty of energy specific for the workouts.  This is something missing in most meal plans today.  They hit macro-nutrient ratios and calories with a wide variety of foods but they don’t necessarily target those calories specific to a workout.  Just seeing the concept is enough for you to adjust any of the sample plans to whatever you might need.

Got a question about the Holy Grail Body Transformation program general or specific? Feel free to ask.  Tried this program?  Let others know your experience in the comment section if you have used the Holy Grail Body Transformation program by Tom Venuto.

Update:  I’ve gone back to using the nutrition concepts outlined in the Holy Grail Body Transformation system but switched my weight workouts to 2 days a week full body heavy lifts and 2 day a week using TRX.  I’m pleased the results.

- marc david

P.S. - Not sure?  Here’s your chance to get the Holy Grail Body Transformation Free Download PDF reports that cover these details and more.