What do you think of when you hear of building muscle and getting 6-pack abs?
Let me guess…
Eating X times per day.
The list goes on and on…
Open up any fitness magazine or check out your favorite fitness website and you’ll often see sexy men and women peddling pills, powders and nutrition protocols for supplement companies that guarantee you the body of your dreams.
The supplement industry will have us believe that good nutrition and health is about consuming their products.
The only problem here is that the vast majority of nutritional supplements simply don’t work.
There are a few supplements that are backed by research and worth using.
But, not many.
I certainly love the idea of downing some pills and powders and seeing immediate muscle growth and fat loss as much as the next guy.
Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way.
Which brings us to to the nutritional priorities pyramids for improved body composition.
The supplement companies have it backwards and upside down.
Here’s Their Bizarro World Mistaken Idea…
Breaking Down The Nutritional Priorities Pyramid According to Supplement Companies…
You need these and a lot of them. Everyone knows you can’t make gains without these. If the photo-shopped fitness model says it’s true, it obviously is 😉
Meal Timing / Frequency
How do supplement companies get you to buy more supplements? Easy, tell you that you need to stoke your metabolism by increasing the number of meals you eat in a day.
And you have a crazy busy life, so what’s the best way to eat more times throughout the day? Take a supplement.
Vitamins & Minerals (Micronutrients)
Yes, you need a supplement to get all your vitamins and minerals in.
Protein, Carbs & Fat (Macronutrients) and Calories
Little effort is made by supplement companies to tell you how much you should actually eat. And when they do, it is usually a product that is to be used in place of real food.
Now Here’s The Truth About Nutrition…
This is the most important piece of the pyramid and the base. The best way to explain this is in terms of overall calorie (energy) intake.
If you’re consuming too much energy, you’ll gain weight. If you consume too little energy, you’ll lose weight.
Pretty simple right? Yes, but it’s not always easy.
These are broken down into protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Macros are the next most important factor. Think of macronutrients as having an impact on the quality of your weight gain or weight loss.
Here’s an example…
Let’s say you love eating carbohydrates. It’s time to lose the love handles and you decrease your overall calories but you’re still eating a very high amount of carbs compared to protein and fat.
Because you’re in a caloric deficit, you’ll lose weight. But more of that weight loss will be muscle loss due to not eating adequate protein (protein is muscle repairing / sparing, especially in a caloric deficit).
The ideal scenario would be to get adequate protein, fat, and carbs. Not only will this be healthier for your body, but the weight lost will be more fat and little to no muscle loss.
Right in the middle of the pyramid are your vitamins and minerals. These are important and many of these you get through eating whole foods.
Meal Timing / Frequency
There are so many different opinions out there on how many meals to eat per day and when to eat them. This ranges anywhere from 1-8 meals per day and claiming a host of health benefits for each protocol.
As you can see, meal timing / frequency is higher up on the pyramid (less important). It’s best to eat the right amount of meals for you. This could mean 3-4 meals a day, 2-3 meals per day and a snack, six meals a day, etc.
I personally eat about two times per day and that’s what works for me. The takeaway point here is that overall intake and the makeup of that food is more important than when you eat.
The right supplements can be beneficial depending on the person, their physiology, and goals. But, they are the last piece of the puzzle and in many cases, not needed to transform your body.
- Calories matter and are the ultimate determining factor on if you lose or gain weight.
- The content of those calories matter (i.e. how much protein, carbs & fat).
- Get the bulk of your vitamins and minerals through whole foods. Supplementation can be beneficial here for some who have trouble getting their veggies in (multi-vitamin / greens supplement).
- Meal timing and frequency is not as important as supplement companies would have you believe. Overall caloric intake and the makeup of that food is more important than when/how often you eat.
- Supplements can be beneficial, but their intake should be minimal.
If you really want to build a head-turning body, here’s are the staggeringly obvious big “secrets”:
- Train hard and heavy
- Eat right
Do the above two things over and over again, week after week, month after month and year after year.
Supplements can have their place. But, they are overused. And the supplement companies exaggerate their benefits.
No supplement can replace hard work, consistency, and a sound nutrition plan.
More Questions on Nutrition and Supplements?
Ask me anything below in the comments, and I’m happy to help.