Your fitness goals may include better management of your food to support your personal fitness training plan, and especially to lose extra fat for weight loss or better body composition. You know the foods that you eat make a huge impact on your fat loss results and also affect the energy you bring to exercise workouts and in your life. At Vancouver’s downtown personal fitness trainer, 3DFitness we’ve seen clients progress in their physical training and often improve their food intake when they take note of what they eat and also how much and how frequently they eat.
All of these factors make the topic of how to eat for best results a hot one, so let’s dive into the most popular eating strategies.
Two food strategies for fat loss are the currently very popular Intermittent Fasting and the grazing idea of Six Small Meals. Which is best? The one that works for you, so let’s find out more…
Intermittent Fasting for weight loss and to support fitness training goals
This eating strategy cycles between periods of eating and periods of fasting. The content of your meals during eating periods is not a factor. Some cycle between eating and fasting each day. This means there’s a small window for eating, or feeding and fasting for at least 16 hours. Others cycle eating and fasting across several days, taking as much as 48 hours at a time to fast.
Pros: Humans have been fasting for thousands of years. Our bodies are well equipped to handle periods of fasting. Research shows that fasting produces benefits for disease prevention, metabolic health, weight loss and even life extension. Some find it much easier to fast rather than to plan for several small meals, or even the traditional three meals a day. During eating periods you get to eat whatever you want.
Cons: Abstaining from nourishment for long periods of time can be challenging, especially when food is all around you. Socially it can be awkward to skip meals while your friends and family break bread together. Some find themselves overeating during eating cycles, and some find the ongoing absence of food to aggravate food obsession and to produce an unbalanced focus on food.
Six Small Meals as a food strategy while training for fitness
This eating strategy, of breaking the traditional 3 square meals into 6 smaller meals that are spaced 2-3 hours apart, has been used by body builders and fitness competitors for years. The content and size of each meal is an important factor of this eating plan. Meals early in the day contain lean protein, fiber-filled veggies and a small portion of complex carbs, while meals later in the day are smaller and do not contain any complex carbs.
Pros: You never feel hungry. By fueling up every 2-3 hours you never get the feeling of deprivation that comes with fasting. Energy levels are steady and high due to the constant supply of wholesome calories. Fat loss results are steady, and, when done with an exercise plan, muscle is maintained.
Cons: You have to plan ahead on Every. Single. Day. Can you get used to carrying around a small cooler filled with containers of chicken, broccoli, brown rice and sweet potatoes? Each meal is small, so restraint is required. Unless you are including the occasional cheat meal, or cheat day, there is no room in this diet for empty calories or comfort foods.
The facts are out there to prove that both of these eat-for-fat-loss strategies work. There are photos of real, actual people who have subscribed to each of these methods and have gone from flabby to lean. Both methods irrefutably work.
But why? How can two methods that utilize opposing strategies both produce fat loss results? And which one is better? Let’s dive deeper into what makes these eating strategies work…
- Meal Timing
When you eat is a factor with both of these eating plans. This means that subscribers to both plans are required to wait until the appointed time to eat. So mindless snacking, or grabbing a muffin just because it’s there, is out of the question. This reduces overall calories, which is key to weight loss, and explains why both plans produce results.
- Meal Content
The Six-Small-Meals plan focuses on the content of each of your small meals in great detail. Your meals contain lean proteins, fiber-filled veggies, and limited complex carbs. This detailed control of calorie content is largely why this plan is a sure bet for fat loss, not just weight loss.
Intermittent Fasting does not consider the content of your meals during eating periods. Check out our food foundation plate blog here for more ideas.
- Meal Size
The Six-Small-Meals plan also focuses on the exact size of your meals, which makes sense since you are eating six times each day, and excess calories would quickly add up. Typically this is done by weight, so as you pack your meals for the day you’ll be using a food scale to ensure that you have exactly the right amount of lean protein and complex carbs. Veggies are often measured rather than weighed.
Intermittent Fasting does not consider the size of your meals during eating periods.
Both plans produce results as both result in lower calories. Personal fitness trainers will encourage you to consider wholesome calories that are ideal for burning fat and building muscle in your food choices, no matter which food regimen for fitness and fast loss you choose.
You get to decide what works. The more committed you are the better and quicker your results will come! If you want a reliable accountability partner to help go from flab to fab, consider personal training.
Get started on your fitness journey with a free initial consultation and assessment with Vancouver’s personal fitness trainer. Call or email us today.