The first step in accomplishing fat loss and gaining lean muscle mass is to establish a base diet or reference point.  This diet tells you how many calories you need each day to maintain your current body weight and muscle mass. This is the superior approach to any other method, thus; how you eat will resolve what you will change in order to shed body fat.

The most important thing about the base diet is taking control.  In order to do this, it is important to weigh all the food you eat.  If you don’t know how much total calories you consume each day with proteins, carbohydrates, and fat, you will not be able to make essential adjustments in your diet to activate fat loss.

To start, add up all the calories you consume per day, and repeat this for the following two days.  Again, most foods will have to be weighed in order to determine how many calories you are consuming every day.

One thing to remember is that most people do not consume the same amount of calories per day.  In order for this to work, you must eat the same amount of calories each day because your body will begin to give up its fat as fuel.  The human body will not respond to inconsistency in nutrition.

Essentials in your base diet:

Protein:Egg whites or egg substitutes1% cottage cheeseWater packed tunaOrange RoughySalmonSwordfishCrabLobsterShrimpChicken breastTurkey
breastLean ground beefFlank steakSirloin steak
Protein is only nutrient that builds muscle.  If you do not eat enough protein your body will not recover or build muscle tissue. The body will look elsewhere for the essential amino acids and begin destroying your muscle tissue in order to fuel itself.
Carbohydrates:Old-fashioned oatmealGritsBrown riceWild riceBaked potatoYamWhole wheat breadCornStrawberriesAppleOrangeBananaCantaloupeHoneydew melonCarbohydrates are the primary fuel source behind weight training because they provide you with the amount of energy you need to train hard.  If you don’t eat enough carbohydrates, your body will not be able to train as hard, thus you will not stimulate the body to build more muscle tissue.  Your body will lack insulin which is essential in driving amino acids into building muscles.  Your muscles will begin to deteriorate because your body is feeding on them in order to nourish itself.
Vegetables:BroccoliBrussel sproutsCarrotsCeleryCauliflowerCucumberGreen pepperGreen beansMushroomsAsparagusSpinachPeasZucchiniTomatoVegetables are fibrous carbohydrates that control insulin output to favor muscle building and fat burning due to slowing
down the digestion of carbohydrates, which depresses the build up of body fat.

It is imperative to eat at least five to six times per day, usually every 2 ½ to 3 hours. Each serving should be no larger than the palm of your hand. This will allow you to eat a lesser amount of carbohydrates at any one meal. As stated before, too many carbohydrates eaten in one sitting will boost your insulin levels and result in more fat storage within the body. Five to six meals daily provides the body with ample supply of protein for growth, and the fact that the meals are smaller will modify insulin output. Pick one item from columns 1 and 2 for breakfast. Pick one item from all three columns for lunch and dinner. Drink a meal replacement shake between meals and before bed. Frequency of smaller meals united with carbohydrate timing and the right amount of protein will push the body to grow more muscle tissue without adding body fat.

The Tricks behind Carbohydrates: What and When to Eat

Breakfast: When you have not eaten for eight to ten hours there are few carbohydrates present in the blood stream. Thus, muscle glycogen is not saturated and carbohydrates will satisfy and replenish muscle glycogen before having the potential to affect the body fat storage. Therefore, breakfast can be your biggest meal in carbohydrates.

Post-training: Like breakfast, there are few carbohydrates present in the blood stream after a great work-out because your body has locked up all the insulin in order to begin building muscle tissue. At this time, carbohydrates are needed to replenish and draw the insulin to the muscle to promote growth. Ingesting a higher amount of carbohydrates at this time also stops protein breakdown and suppresses cortisol levels in order to save muscle mass. Thus, the post-training meal should be your second biggest carbohydrate meal of the day.

Summary of the Base Diet

1. Develop a Nutrition Strategy and Starting PointFind out “on average” what your daily caloric intake is which will help you determine how to build mass or lose fat.
2. Establish Accurate Protein RequirementsBased on your lean body mass make sure you count complete sources of protein in meeting your daily protein needs.
3. Alter Your Carbohydrate TimingGreater consumption of carbohydrates at times where the body needs them (at breakfast & after training). AVOID carbohydrates at night before going to bed in order to control body fat while trying to gain muscle mass.