It’s that time of year again – spring is here and summer is just around the corner. Will you be the guy hanging around the beach with your shirt on, or the one showing off that six-pack? The first few weeks of a diet can be the toughest, as you reduce those high carb and high fats foods, in exchange for less calories, more protein and less carbs. Getting started can be a challenge, so give these 5 tips a try to spring clean your diet and jumpstart your clean eating diet plan.
TIP #1: Lean Proof Your Kitchen
The first step of any diet is to remove the junk out of your kitchen. More than likely if you have junk food hanging around, there will come a point in your diet where your cravings will get the better of you, and you will crack and reach for those less desirable foods. Clear your cupboards, your freezer and your fridge of any food that isn’t on your diet. Replace the junk with food that is on your plan. Keep plenty of fresh vegetables on hand and cook and grill lean meats so you have food ready and available come mealtime!
TIP #2: Get into the Meal Prep Habit
The best way to kick start a diet plan is to prep and plan all your meals ahead of time for the week. Get out of bad habits like going out to buy lunch, or skipping meals because you don’t have a healthy option with you. Cook and prep in advance to ensure you get back into healthy habits quickly. Go grocery shopping once or twice per week for healthy food, then cook off and portion food for the week. The more consistent you are, the better prepared you will be. If you don’t have time to prep your food, consider using a meal plan service that offers customized plans that allow you to pick your proteins, carbs and veggies.
TIP #3: Switch Up Your Macros
When it comes time to lean down, the best way to do that is to switch up your carbs and your proteins. Carbs are a primary source of energy for our muscles, but most of us eat too many of them. Carbs get stored in muscle, but once those reserves are full, the body will store them in our fat. Increasing your protein and reducing your carbs, help switch the body from using carbs as their main energy source to using fat instead. Increasing protein helps maintain your body’s muscle, but also increases thermogenesis. To change your body composition to lean and muscular, eat about 50% protein, drop your carbs to 20% and maintain your fat at 30%.
TIP #4: Set A Goal
It can be tough to find the motivation to eat better, but if you want something bad enough you will find a way to make it happen. Choose a date when you want to be beach ready, go on a vacation, or perhaps finally compete in that first physique show you’ve been thinking about. Setting a goal will give you reason and motivation to keep going when you don’t feel like dieting anymore.
TIP #5: Plan Your Pre and Post Workout Meals
What you do in the gym is important, but what you do before and after is just as important. If you just spent a few hours in the gym and expended a ton of calories, that doesn’t give you free will to just eat whatever you want. Your body runs on the food you feed it – give it empty calories and you can guarantee you won’t get the results you were hoping for. Pre-workout, be sure to have a source of lean protein and an energizing source of carbs and fat such as tuna with avocado and rice cakes. Post-workout, have a protein smoothie with a quick digesting protein, such as a scoop of chocolate whey protein isolate combined with a source of carbs like half a banana.