Here’s the tough truth about transforming the composition of your body: what you eat is what you become. That’s just the way it is. You can train hard day in and day out, but if you’re not fueling up right, nothing is going to change. If you’re following along with our 30-day RECOMP’D workout program with Gabe Snow, here’s how he approaches nutrition:
Start With Quality
Quality means whole food — think farm to table here. Mostly plants. You’ll want to avoid processed, fried, sugary, or artificial stuff.
Understand and Optimize Your Macros
“The quantity of how much food to eat is where things get tricky,” says Gabe. “We’re dealing with different body types and sizes, so it’s a little different for each person."
That’s why we recommend starting with a basic calorie and macronutrient calculator. This isn’t 100% necessary — or even a rule — but it’s good to have an idea of where you should be.
All you need to do is enter your information, like your age, height, and weight. That'll tell you the recommended amount of food you should be eating in CALORIES. From there, break those calories into specific MACROS, which are protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
“For performance, I’d ultimately want to get everyone to 40/40/20 (protein, carbs, fats), but for body recomposition we probably want to go higher on the protein for the thermogenic effect, so that they are burning more fat initially,” Gabe says.
A 6’0”, 190-pound man needs approximately 2,600 calories per day to maintain him weight. To start changing the composition of his body (more muscle, less fat), he now needs to dial in the macros. If he follows the 40/40/20 protocol, that would mean he should consume 260 grams of protein, 260 grams of carbs, and 57 grams of fat per day. If he consumes five meals per day that comes to approximately 50 grams of protein, 50 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of fat per meal.
A five-foot-seven, 140-pound woman needs just under 2,000 calories per day to maintain her weight. If she follows the 40/40/20 protocol, she should consume 200 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs, and 44 grams of fat per day. Broken down into five meals, it would be: 40 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbs, and eight grams of fat per meal.
Calories and Macros: Simplified
Don’t want to count calories or macros? That’s cool — it may be harder to see results (OR it may not). But if you chose to go that route, here are a few more simplified tips:
- Eat way more veggies
- Eat more protein
- Eat less carbs
- Eat less fat
Need a good calorie/macro calculator? Gabe recommends checking out Precision Nutrition’s here.
Meal Timing and Snacking
According to Gabe, there are no hard rules when it comes to when to eat, but he does suggest shooting for four to five meals per day.
“Body recomposition is all about blood sugar regulation,” he says. “When you’re on a regular fueling schedule and eating a balanced combination of foods, everything stays in balance."
As far as snacking goes, Gabe says he likes biltong, rice cakes, and nuts, for example, but says to be mindful of portion sizes.
“If you’re eating four to five quality meals a day and a potential shake, you don't really need the snacks,” he explains.
Want Gabe’s Four Favorite Meals?
Here’s his breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a shake. (Remember, your serving/portion sizes will vary based on your body’s individual needs and goals.)
A serving of oatmeal or cream of rice mixed with plant-based protein powder and a tablespoon of nut butter, or an egg white omelet with one whole egg.
A serving of lean ground turkey, grilled chicken, white fish, and a side of white or jasmine rice with as many servings of vegetables as you want.
A serving of a higher-fat fish (such as salmon) or red meat (such as steak or ground beef), but on the leaner side (think 90+% lean), a small serving of rice or sweet potatoes, and a heaping serving of green vegetables.
Post-Workout or Pre-Sleep Meal
If it’s post-workout, Gabe likes a couple of scoops of protein powder, ice, water, and a half of a banana. If you’re having the shake before bed, or anytime other than after a workout, ditch the banana and replace it with nut butter.
The Most Important Part About Nutrition
Above all else, listen to your body and be especially mindful of how you feel after you eat.
“If you feel like crap, something is probably not right with how you’re eating,” Gabe says.
Of all the many things that it could be, one culprit may be that you’re too low or too high with one of your macros. Feel free to experiment.