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January 12, 2022

Cityside Nutrition Summary

While the time and effort you spend in the gym is important to improving performance and making physical changes to your body, maybe more important is how you go about fueling yourself day-to-day. In recognition of this, we have put together this handy guide that provides our baseline recommendations for approaching nutrition.Before we jump into the particulars it’s important to remember the most important thing when it comes to nutrition: Consistency. Regardless of whether your goals are improving physical performance, losing/gaining weight, or anything in between, the fastest way to reach your goals is to have a plan that you execute consistently. While this guide is meant to provide an overview of the things that are most impactful to how the food we eat will affect our bodies, we would be happy to have a coach sit down with you and develop a more individualized plan for your particular goals. Just send an email to and we’ll have one of our nutrition coaches reach out and get everything set up!Now let’s get into the details...ENERGY BALANCETurns out the laws of thermodynamics are inescapable, even (especially!) in the gym. The concept of energy balance is colloquially known as “Calories in, calories out” and leads very generally to three conditions:

  1. To gain weight (think, add muscle) you will need to consume more calories on average than you expend every day.
  2. To lose weight (think, reduce body fat) you will need to consume fewer calories on average than you expend every day
  3. To maintain weight you will need to consume on average the same number of calories that you expend every day.

While energy balance is king, of secondary importance is what form the calories consumed take. If you’ve ever read the nutrition label of a packaged food item then you’re no doubt familiar with fats, carbohydrates, and proteins which are collectively referred to as macronutrients.MACRONUTRIENTSThe molecules that are the source of calories in the things we eat are grouped into fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Fats are more calorically dense (9 calories per gram) than carbs and protein (4 calories per gram, each) and so will typically be consumed in much smaller volumes than the other two. ALL of these are important to the body functioning as a healthy system, with the primary function of each as follows:

  • Fats - store of energy for use by the body via oxidative pathways (think aerobic exercise). Also critical for organ health among others.
  • Carbohydrates - store of energy for use by the body via glycolytic pathways (think higher intensity exercise including weight training). Also important for protein synthesis.
  • Proteins - Building blocks for muscles and other tissues (and also a potential energy source!).

Before we set out some guidelines for deciding how many of which macronutrients to put into a plan, let's touch on the less heralded nutrients that include vitamins and minerals.MICRONUTRIENTS AND SUPPLEMENTATIONAlthough the macronutrient profile of any nutrition plan will be determinant in outcomes like bodyweight and body composition, the micronutrient recommendations in that plan will have more of an effect on overall health and efficiency of the plan to maximize the energy balance. Specifically the vitamins and minerals consumed as a part of any nutrition plan will have a direct effect on the following:

  • Energy production
  • Immune function
  • Bone health
  • Fluid balance, etc…

Supplementation of any diet with specific vitamins and minerals might be helpful in certain circumstances (eg, electrolytes to combat dehydration when training in heat, ahem, Houston), but most vitamins and minerals should be consumed in adequate amounts through a sufficiently broad and varied diet. NUTRITION PLAN RECOMMENDATIONSOk, so how much and of what should you eat? Does keto really work? Why are carbs the devil? Should you be fasting? ARE HOT DOGS SANDWICHES??Seriously though, deciding how and what you should eat can be complicated but it doesn’t need to be (and hot dogs are open-face burritos, btw). With all the usual caveats that the below will change based on specific performance or physique goals (and those with diagnosed metabolic conditions should absolutely seek the opinion of a medical professional), we recommend the following seven keys for the average adult:

  1. Consume 0.8-1.2 grams of complete proteins per pound bodyweight daily.
  2. Target between 14-17 calories per pound bodyweight each day to maintain weight. (PLEASE NOTE, best/only way to determine maintenance calories is to monitor intake and weight over several weeks to track changes)
  3. Divide remainder of daily calories (after protein consumption) between fats and carbohydrates according to needs/preferences. (Good starting point is 60% carbs and 40% fats)
  4. Follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of calories consumed on average should be from whole/minimally processed foods. The other 20% is for you living your life.
  5. Have a serving of fibrous vegetables with every meal. The more colorful the better. (One serving equals 1 fist size or 1 cup chopped- bonus points for 2+ servings)
  6. If consumed across 3-6 meals per day, meal timing with respect to both absolute time of day and training is secondary to points 1 through 6. To help with recovery, aim to eat a well rounded meal within 1 hour post workout.
  7. YOU CAN’T OUT-TRAIN YOUR DIET...the key to feeling great is training hard and recovering harder, and being consistent with these keys is paramount to being successful at both!

HYDRATIONWater is life, it constitutes approximately 60% of the human body. Without the appropriate intake, every physiologic function is impaired. Even worse, performance levels will suffer. Guidelines for proper water intake (v important in the Houston heat)

  1. Men should consume 3.7 L (125oz) and women should consume 2.7 L (91oz) of water daily
  2. Drink 14-20oz (2) hours before exercise
  3. Drink an extra 18-36 oz for each hour of training
  4. For workouts lasting longer than 1 hour, consider adding an electrolyte supplement (for example: nuun tablets)
  5. Ingest 16-24 oz of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise for proper rehydration

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