A really common question that we get in the gym is “how much should I eat?”
Unfortunately there is no perfect answer, nice round number or exact portion size that will work for each person.
If you want to get 100% exact about it you can figure out your lean body mass and multiply that by 10-12 and that will give you your base number of calories, then you’ll want to increase by 1-2 calories on training days. Then you have to figure out how many calories you burned during training and factor that in and yeah, you could do it, but it would be kinda stressful and you may not have much of a life…
There is an easier way.
Here’s the thing though. When you are first starting out, or getting used to portioning your food, you WILL have to look at labels and measure things a bit. Once you do this for a few weeks, you will really be able to eye-ball a portion and know if it’s too much or just right for you.
This is just a bit of homework to teach you how to really understand how much you are eating. After that you can easily go to dinner with friends without having to “count” calories because you know that that steak you ordered is actually two portion sizes, so you cut it in half and take part of it home.
So, what’s the easy way?
Thanks to Dr. John Berardi and Precision Nutrition, there is a simple strategy that anyone can use, anywhere.
Here we go.
You can measure everything simply by using your hand.
- Your palm determines your protein intake
- Your fist determines your veggies
- Your cupped hand determines your carb intake
- Your thumb determines your fat portion
Here’s how to figure out your protein (this is for meat, fish, eggs, dairy). This will be based on not only the diameter of your palm, but also the thickness.
- Men will have two palm sized portions with each meal
- Women will have one palm sized portion with each meal
How to measure your veggies (salad, broccoli, spinach, etc)
- Men will have two fist sized portions per meal (closed fist)
- Women will have one fist sized portion per meal
Here’s how to measure your carbohydrate for a meal. I recommend staying low carb on the days that you don’t train, so this would be typically during dinner on the days that you train. You want to add in a starch for those days. For the off-days, simply go with protein, veggies and fat.
- Men will have two cupped hand-sized portions in a meal
- Women will have one cupped-hand size portion for the meal
Measuring your fat intake (oils, butters, nuts, avocado):
- Men will have two thumbed size portions per meal
- Women will have one thumbed size portion per meal
Start using these formulas to easily measure your food and create a lower-stress way to eat. In the next blog post I’ll show you exactly how to plan out your week for training and non-training days using these hand measurement formulas.
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