Aim for six small meals a day. Small, regular meals are the best way to keep your body energised and provide a regular intake of protein to help you build muscles and burn fat. Eating little and often keeps your metabolism – the speed at which you burn energy.
Base your meals on fresh meat, fish and vegetables, and cooking your meals from scratch rather relying on packets and takeaways. Processed foods such as cakes, pies and ready meals tend to be high in calories, full of salt and additives and low in essential nutrients, so while they’re poor at providing sustained energy, they are very good at making you gain weight. Many also contain trans fats, which your body can’t digest properly, leading to high cholesterol and clogged arteries.
Base meals on protein:
This is really important whether you want to add muscle or burn fat. Basing each meal on a high-quality source of protein – think meat, fish and eggs – will make you feel fuller for longer so you’re less tempted by high-sugar snacks, provide the nutrients needed to repair damaged muscles and provide a host of essential vitamins and minerals. Each meal should also contain vegetables in a variety of colours. For carbs, stick to brown rice and sweet potatoes.
Don’t cut out fat:
Many people try to cut out fat when trying to lose weight, but this isn’t the best course of action. We need fats to help better absorb certain vitamins, and some fats can also help us feel fuller for longer. The best sources of fats are olive oil, avocados and nuts, but remember fats are still very high in calories, so don’t go overboard.
Drink a plenty of water:
We can survive several weeks without food but only a few days without water. Your body can’t store water like it does food, so you need a constant supply to replenish the fluid you lose through sweating and toilet stops. The average person loses around one litre of fluid for every hour of exercise, and that can have a detrimental effect on your health and performance. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water every day, but more if you’re exercising or if it’s hot. A good indicator of how much water you need is to weigh yourself before and after exercise: for every 1kg lost, drink 1.5 litres of water to replenish fluids. You should also get in the habit of sipping water throughout the day. If you feel thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated.