Today’s blog is going to be centered on individualizing the subjects of nutrition and exercise. We miss out on effect results if we do not have a component of individualization in our exercise and/or nutrition plan. I believe the fitness community has lots of positive and inspiring qualities. However, I also believe that there are detrimental aspects that need to be addressed. Cookie cutter programs being one of these. The truth is what works for me might not work for you exactly. The most effective coaches and trainers understand this truth. I believe in structuring nutrition/exercise plans around principles and science. With science there still needs to be components of individualization if we are to reap the most effective and sustainable results. Here are some practical ways to individualize nutrition and exercise to help best fit your lifestyle.
Calories matter! This is the most basic and fundamental scientific truth. While there is more to the equation, caloric intake either creates weight gain, weight loss, and maintenance. One way to individualize calories is through caloric loading. This basically means how you eat your calories throughout the week to best support your goal. For this example, let’s use a client that wants to lose weight (seeing as this is the most popular goal). First we have to establish a calorie goal. I use the 'Mifflin Equation' to get an educated estimate and use some other methods to dial in this number. Once we have established a calorie goal we can then look at lifestyle factors. Let’s say this client’s (Susan) calorie goal is 2100 calories per day (just for example). Now Susan loves going out on the weekends with her friends and finds that it is harder to stick to the 2100 calorie goal on Fridays and Saturdays. Often times she finds herself going over this number and as a result tends to binge due to guilty feelings. I would recommend loading her calories differently to adhere to her lifestyle. Caloric importance tends to work better when we look at the weekly scale. If Susan’s goal is 2100 calories per day then her weekly goal is 14,700 calories (2100 x 7). I would suggest that Monday-Thursday she aim for 1800-1900 calories. If we can create an additional 1200 calories to work with on Fridays and Saturdays then Susan can eat up to 2700+ calories on the days she enjoys going out with friends. We can also add other feeding strategies such as intermittent fasting to help the calorie goal become more enjoyable.
While calories are king, macros (protein, fats, and carbs) are queen. The important idea here is that quantity and quality both play a factor in fat loss. I would suggest that Susan create a protein goal to go along her calorie goal. I suggest .7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight as this is a great starting point and is research based. Once Susan has a protein goal and calorie goal we can then look at carbs and fats. I suggest listening to the individual’s body and eating accordingly. If you are a person that does better with higher amounts of carbs then eat carbs. If you are a person that does better with higher amounts of fats then eat fats. Carbs and fats won’t affect the law of thermodynamics (results) as long as calories and protein are accounted for. With that being said, I suggest higher amounts of carbohydrates if exercising intensely throughout the week.
While nutrition creates the base for seeing effective results, proper training helps enhance or multiply these results dramatically. For the sake of simplicity, I will break down exercise individualization into 3 categories. These are the categories that I believe should be tailored to each individual. Adherence is the key to staying consistent with exercise habits. Manipulate each category to fit your own individual lifestyle and blueprint.
How many days can you exercise throughout the week in which you can stay consistent over a 12 month period? This is a very important question to ask yourself when you begin an exercise regime. The goal isn’t to make it through January after you create your new year’s resolution. The goal is to string together multiple months of solid programming and nutrition. The person that works out consistently 3 times a week for 10 months beats the person that works out 6 times a week for 5 months. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
How long should each workout last in order for me to stay consistent over a 12 month period? Similar to frequency, session time should be considered as well. You do not have to be in the gym for hours on end. If you are programming efficiently with focused intensity an hour is plenty.
What type of exercise do you enjoy if any? Enjoyment should be a priority when it comes to creating your exercise regime. I suggest this format (see below).
So there you have it. There are a couple of my thoughts on individualization and methods you can utilize in your own training. Remember the goal isn’t the perfect workout schedule or the perfect diet. The goal is the most consistent workout schedule and the most consistent diet over a long period of time. If you are looking for exercise and nutrition programming or just need a change of pace consider the SparkThrive program. Obviously, this is what I believe in because it offers everything you need in order to see real results but I also think it's the best bang for your buck in terms of price. My goal is to create a system that is pound for pound the most inclusive, effective, and practical program at an affordable price. Message me for details by clicking the button below. Your best is yet to come!