If improving your body composition has been on your list of goals, the off-season is a great time to focus on it! I've put together a list of five tips to help jump start your progress.
1. Prioritize protein
If you’ve ever done one of our programs, you know that we always make daily protein intake a focus. Why? Protein is important for satiety, hormonal health and immune function, and muscle protein synthesis. Adequate protein intake is also essential for maintenance of lean mass, which is crucial when you are in an energy deficit for fat loss. If you're normally getting 1.2-1.8 grams of protein per kg of your body weight per day, up this amount to 2.0-2.2 grams per kg per day.
2. Don’t avoid carbs
Because you’re (hopefully) not totally sedentary during your off-season, you’ll still want to take in adequate carbs to match your training level. You may not be eating a “high carb diet” but you don’t want to over-restrict carbs either. Focus on getting in adequate carbs before, during, and after your training sessions and choosing high-fiber, nutrient-dense carbohydrates that will give you plenty of micronutrients and will keep you full. Hint, hint: Eat more veggies! I like to play a game where I try to fit as many veggies as I can in to each meal and snack...including breakfast!
3. Log it
I'm not an advocate of using MyFitnessPal 24/7. However, there is a benefit to logging your intake as you start out. Doing this even a couple times a week will give you an objective look at your intake. It will also let you know if you are falling short or over-doing any macros.
4. Keep alcohol in check
Trust me, I know 2020 has been quite a year. Many people have been drinking more alcohol than usual, but even 1-2 drinks a day can really add up to a large amount of excess calories over the course of a week. It’s possible to still enjoy a drink while losing body fat, but you don’t want to compromise your nutrient intake by drinking your calories. Even if you’re not interested in going cold turkey, scaling back might not be a bad idea.
5. Find a community
Just as with training, having a like-minded community to help motivate and support you through the process is helpful for staying on track. Our group focuses on building and maintaining sustainable habits so you can experience successful long-term changes. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what works short-term, but those gains rarely last.
About the Author
Dr. Namrita Brooke began her coaching practice while a doctoral student. Today she is a full time coach and nutritionist, and she runs an online group program called Fueling Fat Loss. She is also a cycling coach and the head nutritionist with Velocious Cycling Adventures. Her personal athletic experience ranges from endurance mountain biking to off-road triathlon, cross-country mountain bike racing, running, road cycling, duathlon, and cyclocross. Her research background includes hydration and sports drink research, and the interaction of nutrition, physical activity, and the brain.