Exercise Nutrition

Why You Should Eat Differently If You Workout

Nate Miyaki
Written by Nate Miyaki

Does your diet really need to change when your exercise does?

Absolutely!

You’ll never convince me that a pre-diabetic, non-exercising office worker who wants to reach a natural bodyweight and improve health markers should be eating exactly the same things as a healthy, regular exerciser chasing after a glorious 6-pack.

But if you’re following most diet plans on the market today, none of these things are taken into account. Those other programs all say that there’s one “universal diet” that works for everyone everywhere regardless of their situation.

Should everyone have the same career, fashion styles and sex lives too?

You know that doesn’t make any sense. And neither does a “one size fits all” diet.

My approach fits your diet to your needs and your lifestyle because it considers a variety of individual factors — body stats, metabolic condition, activity levels and physique goals.

 

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What if I have an integrated routine that mixes strength training less than 3 times a week with some other form of activity?

If you end up with a nice integrated routine — for example, high-intensity full body strength training twice a week paired with lower intensity yoga geared towards flexibility twice a week — then you’ll roll with the active exerciser template and some starchy carbs on the lower end of the calorie range.

What if I really want a beach body? What exercise style and diet template should I use?

If you have the highest-level beach physique goals, then I believe you’ll have to include some traditional strength training (bodyweight and/or free weight based) in your program. When you do start training this way, use the active exerciser template and enjoy some starchy carbs.

 

MY BASIC STARTING TEMPLATES

I use two basic dietary templates as a starting point. And there’s a template for people on both sides of the Spandex Spectrum.

  1. Inactive – Your idea of exercising is Internet surfing or couch potato peeling. And that’s okay for now, because diet is the most efficient way to lose fat and improve your health profile. You’ll want to eat a lower carb Paleo-style diet made up of animal proteins, veggies, whole fruit and healthy fats.
  1. Regular Active Exercisers – You like to hit it hard in your workouts, sweating through high-intensity training (strength training, cross-training, intervals) 3 or more days a week. You’ll go with what I call a Traditional Japanese Village-style diet made up of animal proteins, veggies, whole fruit and a select few starchy carbs (potatoes and rice).

Here’s an even shorter summary:

  • If you’re inactive, use a lower carb approach
  • if you exercise regularly, take a moderate carb approach.

The above simplifies the process if you fall neatly into one of these two categories.

But… What If You Need to Transition Between the Two?

Maybe you’re becoming more active or less active. Or maybe you have some kind of alternative or hybrid training protocol. Either way, you’re not sure which diet template fits you best.

Let’s talk about some of those situations so you’ll know what to do and how to eat.

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Here’s The Bottom Line

Most people’s dietary needs are a clear-cut case. Inactive people are inactive, athletes are athletes, and you know which you are.

But there are an infinite number of situations that fall in the middle ground. I hope this article gave you some good ideas for when to transition between inactive and active plans, and which template you should choose to meet your needs.

When in doubt, test it out. If you have a middle ground situation, try out both templates for two weeks at a time and see which one works better for YOU.

24 Hour Cheat Meal Slimdown

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