Any successful diet plan starts with one important question, and that is; why are you dieting? What’s the goal behind creating your diet? What are your diet goals SPECIFICALLY?
While this question seems easy on paper, the answer could be a bit more confusing and complex than it seems. Some people can have any of the following goals:
- Build lean muscle mass
- Lose fat
- Improve your health
- Look good naked
- Improve your athletic performance
- Lose weight
- To prevent or control a medical issue
- Combination of any of the above-mentioned goals
While this list covers almost every single goal there is, those goals are somewhat broad. Some people will have more precise goals such as -but not limited to-; lose 10 pounds of PURE fat, build 10 pounds of muscle, lose 30 pounds (weight), control your insulin levels, improve your cholesterol levels…etc. the list goes on. You may want to look like a monster, but others just want to look shredded and have that beach body. Whatever your goal is, identifying it before designing your diet plan is your first step to success. If your purpose of dieting is a combination of more than one goal, recognize that as well! Just know what the heck you want to do instead of “spraying and praying”.
Still confused? Carry on
The reason why it’s crucial to identify your goal(s) beforehand is that many aspects of your diet plan will be adjusted according to those goals. Several components such as caloric intake and macronutrients ration will be manipulated accordingly, and thus you need to pinpoint what your goal is.
Since everyone has almost different goals, it would be impossible to address every single one of them in one broad guide. That would be more towards the coaching side. Instead, I will categorize different goals into 5 different main categories that should in my opinion address every goal variation.
1- Weight Loss
2- Fat Loss
3- Muscle Builders
Let’s go over each category so you can identify which one you belong to.
People who fit in this category have one main goal, and that is to lose as much weight as possible.
This category is aimed more at overweight individuals who have quite a good amount of “weight” to lose. People in this category do not care whether this weight comes from fat, muscle, water or whatever -it will be a combination-, they just want to lose 30, 40, 5, 100 pounds as fast as humanly possible.
It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, man, or woman. If you want to lose tons of weight fast, this is your category. Now, I do NOT suggest losing “weight” since it comes on the expense of lean body mass along with fat, but if you just care about dropping weight for a competition, personal goal, reunion or just want to fit into old clothes and move easy and feel healthy again, this is your category.
You will have specific tips for your diet plan. So, hang on. Meanwhile, I highly recommend that you know the difference between weight loss and fat loss first and why fat loss is superior. So, read this guide.
People in this category have the sole goal of reducing their body fat and getting lean to enhance their appearance.
Now, people with “fat loss” as their main goal will usually just want to lose no more than 40 pounds of fat. However, it’s completely possible that someone with that much fat to drop could have this goal as opposed to just mindlessly losing “weight”. If you want to burn that extra fat on your body and reveal the muscles buried under it, this is your category.
With that being said, people who want to only lose fat will usually be individuals who already work out or just have a bit of fat to lose. But, again, someone with tons of fat to lose could have this goal as well.
I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. People in this category just want to build some nice lean muscle mass and improve their appearance. Now, the reason why there is no category for “weight gaining” is that most people who claim they want to gain weight really just want to build muscle, but they don’t know it. If you want to gain some “weight”, this is your category, my friend.
Whether you want to build just a bit of muscle or a lot of muscle or get “toned” and aesthetic, this is your goal. Guy? Gal? Teen? Old? Want to build muscle? You fit here.
In some rare cases, some underweight individuals who are suffering from or in danger of facing certain medical issues will want to just put on some weight (doesn’t matter if it’s muscle or fat) for obvious health reasons. Good news is that you still fit in this category since the dietary adjustments will be almost identical.
People who fit in this category are individuals who are happy with their current weight and just want to maintain it. Some people will want to maintain their weight, feel healthy and enjoy life. Others will want to maintain their weight while improving their athletic or gym performance. Both of you fit in this category.
Some individuals are content with the way they look and are really not interested in looking lean/toned (dumb term) or building muscle, they just want to maintain that same number they see on the scale year-round. Guess what? You belong here.
On the other hand, some people are content with their aesthetic appearance, meaning they are already somewhat developed and really just want to maintain that look year-round while enjoying life and improving athletic performance, getting stronger or increasing their cardio capacity. You, my friend, fit right into this category.
Here comes the most common yet controversial topic in the history of fitness, recomping. Recomping simply refers to adding muscle mass WHILE losing fat SIMULTANEOUSLY! If this is your goal, you fit right here. When I address recomposition, you will understand why it’s so controversial in the fitness realm. But, for now, if you want to gain some muscle and lose some fat at the same time, you belong here.
Quick alert; recomping is hard and slow, period! The rate at which body recomposition occurs COULD be greatly enhanced, but the reason why it would be impossible to do a generic guide on that is that it would require a diet to be specifically tailored to each individual. And that diet will require many factors and complex concepts to design. So, a generic guide WILL give you results, just not as fast as if I was to design a recomposition specifically for you.
Did you identify your goal yet?
By now, you should be able to easily identify the goal(s) behind your future diet plan. And you’re now ready for the next step;
What are calories, why should we count them and how can we do so?
PS: Whenever I address a certain category/goal in this guide, people who fit in that category should recognize that I’m exclusively speaking to them. For instance; if I talk about losing fat, people who are specifically interested in losing JUST fat should know that I am talking to them. Pay attention people.
This concludes the first segment of this comprehensive diet designing guide. This should cover all the essential basics and allow you to start.