Finding The Right Diet For You

Finding The Right Diet For You

There is no wrong diet, just diets that don't work for you!

Akash Vaghela Akash Vaghela · 23 Nov 2017

Nutrition Beginner
11 Mins

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One of the core principles that underpin all of our transformations at RNT is making sure we find the right diet for each client.

Of course, we have a key set of beliefs and principles that guide us, but aside from those, we never pigeon hole our clients into any particular diet type. Or worse yet, force clients into a specific way of eating. Or even worse, tell them it’s impossible to achieve results without eating [XYZ special food group!].

The truth is, all sensible diets will work. Whether you’re following Intermittent Fasting, Low Carb, Vegan, Zone, Atkins, Paleo, Slimming World, WeightWatchers, etc, they all work via the same pathway – a calorie deficit.
Ultimately, a caloric deficit is the absolute number one critical factor in achieving weight loss.

The second most important thing? Adherence.

You could have the most meticulously planned out diet in the world involving nutrient timing, “carb cut offs”, intra-workout nutrition, you name it. But if you don’t “buy in” to it, enjoy it, and have it fit your lifestyle, what are the chances of you executing it 90% of the time? Pretty slim, right?

Here are a few examples.

If you don’t have the appetite to eat first thing in the morning, it’s going to be pointless attempting to force you to have breakfast. You’ll just skip it, which will skew the macronutrient and calorie targets we planned for you. Instead, we can condense your meal plan down into less frequent, larger meals that start later in the day.

If you don’t have the time during the day to sit and eat three meals of chicken, rice and broccoli, that’s fine too. We can use a few “meal replacement” shakes that you can quickly mix and drink on the go. By doing so, you’ll still reach your calorie and protein goals for the day.

If you’re a vegetarian who can’t eat eggs, telling you that the only way to get results is to convert to eating meat is going to be a futile (not to mention disrespectful) - task. In fact, every time I hear this I cringe, especially given how being vegetarian or vegan doesn’t limit your ability to transform – we’ve worked with far too many to know otherwise! Instead, building a meal plan to your individual dietary requirements is key here. If there’s specific foods you can’t eat, and/or certain days you must eat a specific way, that’s okay – we can work with you to solve this.

With all that said, you’ll note that I used the term “weight loss” when referring to calories being the number one priority. And that’s correct.

But for those of you reading this, as well as our members, the goal en route to your first Transformation Checkpoint isn’t simply weight loss. It’s fat loss, while retaining as much muscle tissue as possible.

You don’t want to end up looking “skinny” after you’ve dieted. You want to be looking lean, strong and healthy, which requires paying attention to a few more details outside of simply calories.

Here are the key ones:
  • We set a caloric deficit that isn’t too extreme from the start. This ensures those that are new to the gym will maximise muscle growth even while in a deficit. (Yes, it’s possible for complete beginners, people coming back from layoffs, and "genetic freaks)".
  • We set a minimum protein threshold. Somewhere in the ballpark of 0.8-1.g protein per lb of bodyweight. Depending on gender, body fat levels, age and so on.
  • We’ll keep an eye on dietary fat intake, and not take it below the extremes – in order to keep everything ticking over hormonally. Usually this would be no less than 40g for females and 50-60g for males. The stage of your diet will determine this.
  • With some members, we may place the majority of their daily carbohydrate intake around the workout. Firstly in the pre-workout window, to fuel the session. And then in the post-workout window, to enhance recovery
  • With some members, we encourage the use of EAAs during training sessions to maximise MPS (Muscle Protein Synthesis) and chase that extra 1% gain.
Taking our members feedback on board, we try and integrate the above five points as seamlessly as possible. They’re written in order of priority, highlighting the importance of focusing on the basics first, and getting into the finer details as you go along.

How you set it up exactly is completely driven by your lifestyle, needs and goals.

As long as the principles are in place, what we really need to focus on is adherence.

To show you how to put this into practice, let’s go through an example of one of the easiest types of diets to follow for most members.

Does it change? Yes. Is it perfect? Probably not. Does it work? The proof is in the pudding (excuse the pun!). For body composition, this is a structure that can work very well.

One thing to note when reading it. Don’t look at the specific foods; pay attention to the principles, the types of foods (whole food vs. liquid, ease of cooking and preparation), and the set up.

Breakfast:

2-6 Whole Eggs

1-3 Slices of Sourdough Bread if carbs are in this meal, otherwise Spinach etc

We can all cook and eat these in <10min at home. Or even head to M&S, Pret, Itsu, Sainsburys to buy them pre-boiled and in a pot with spinach. Simple.

Mid-Morning:

30-50g Whey Isolate
50-80g Oats if carbs are in this meal, otherwise 15-30g Nut Butter

We understand our clients have to work and often are under time pressures. These meals are easy to prepare, consume and digest.

Lunch:

120-200g of a Lean Protein (Chicken, White Fish, Prawns, Turkey, Egg Whites, Soy, Meat Replacement etc)

Rice or Potato for carbs, otherwise Walnuts, Olive Oil, Avocado, Coconut Oil etc if low carb

Most people have time to prepare at least one solid food meal to take to work. If not, spending some time meal prepping can help a lot.

Worst case scenario is going to M&S or any local supermarket and buying the ready cooked packets / meals. These days it’s so easy to find healthy meals on the go. 

Again, most people have 30-60min for lunch, so they have the time to eat this.

Mid-Afternoon:

30-50g Whey Isolate

50-80g Oats if carbs are in this meal, otherwise 15-30g Nut Butter

Exactly the same reason as the mid-morning version.

Dinner:

120-200g of a Fatty Protein (Beef, Pork, Lamb, Salmon, Sea Bass, Halloumi, Soy, Meat Replacement etc)

Rice or Potato for carbs, otherwise Walnuts, Olive Oil, Avocado, Coconut Oil etc if low carb

Here we have time to actually cook a meal fresh. How long does it take to cook a piece of steak? 5-10mins tops. If you wanted to make this even easier to prep, you could keep lunch and dinner the same source of protein, and use leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day.

There’s endless ways to play around with this. The key is to dial into what works for you, and what can be slotted easily into your life. You don’t want any diet you follow to take over your life or headspace, and nor should it.

If you’ve struggled in the past to build momentum and consistency on a diet, stop chasing perfection. For fat loss, which will typically be the goal in the early stages of your journey, eat in a calorie deficit, hit a minimum protein goal, and let the fats and carbs fall where they do – so long as training performance doesn’t suffer.

And of course, try the above diet template! You may find it surprisingly easy to follow!

One of our key beliefs at RNT is to create a safe environment for you to work within. With so many “diet camps” and “diet zealots” preaching their way as the only way, it’s time to take a step back and look at what actually works: basic principles. These can be followed on any “system” you prefer, which explains why our clients all achieve spectacular transformations, despite living such contrasting lifestyles with different needs and requirements.

The Lifestyle Caveat

There is one important point to make before I conclude. A caveat. Yes, we will build a nutrition plan that fits around your lifestyle. But it won’t be exactly the same as your current lifestyle. Remember, your current lifestyle isn’t conducive to your goals, and is one represented by your old identity. Your current lifestyle will have poor behavioural practices that need to change.

In order to facilitate a true long-term transformation, it requires behavioural, mindset and identity shifts that represent a new lifestyle.

When you’re in phase one, Cleaning The Palate, we need to focus on building your 3 S’s (structure, strategy and systems) and regaining control of your day. By default of doing so, you begin adopting a new identity - Which means eating biscuits at 4pm with a tub of ice cream after dinner may not be a regular feature.

Once you’re in control, you’ve learnt how to say no, and you have rules you live by, that’s when truly fitting it around your lifestyle can manifest.

In the beginning, what we do is mould the principles around your lifestyle, and pay attention to your individual needs, dietary requirements and scheduling preferences. It’s after this goes on autopilot, and you’ve solidified your 3-S-s, that you can start working on building the ultimate lifestyle solution that works for you.

This circles back to the power of accountability we have with our members. The RNT community as well as the support from the coaches makes all the difference. 

Through this, we hold you accountable to building your 3-S-s, installing your non-negotiables, and adhering to the initial plan that’s built to facilitate this.

As the weeks go by, we use your feedback to make tweaks, refine your 3-S-s, and coach you to match your new lifestyle with a diet that serves you in the long run, so you’re able to feel, look and perform at your best all the time!
Akash VaghelaAkash Vaghela

Akash Vaghela has spent 10+ years transforming bodies and lives around the world, and in May 2017, founded RNT Fitness to serve this purpose. His vision is to see a world transformed, where ambitious high performers experience the power of the physical as the vehicle to unlock their real potential. He’s the author of the Amazon best-selling book Transform Your Body Transform Your Life, which explains his unique and proven five-phase methodology, is host of the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, has been featured in the likes of Men’s Health and BBC, whilst regularly speaking across the world on all things transformation.

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