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Get a handle on nutrition by Gary Chappell

A FEW people have asked me how I intend to make gains over the next year and what they can do to make improvements.

Some say they eat plenty but struggle to put on weight. When I ask how many calories they are currently eating, the answer is the same: “I’m not sure but I eat quite a few meals a day.”

While I don’t feel qualified to tell people what they should or shouldn’t be doing, I can share some of the things that have

worked for me and that I would recommend – and that starts with getting a handle on nutrition.

Whatever your goals in the gym, you really need to know how much fuel you are giving your body. Want to add weight, eat more food [fuel] than you are burning. Want to lose weight, eat less than your body burns. As a starting point, it really is that simple.

First of all, find out how many calories your body needs on a daily basis. I use what is called the Harris Benedict Equation, which can be found here:

Next, if you are serious, weigh your food. I use a cheap set of food scales from Argos.

Last time I checked, they cost £8.50.

Map out your food each day using these scales and chart everything using websites such as MyFitnessPal, which has most foods listed to the gram, including carbs, protein and fat.

Yes it seems odd at first but after a while doing this becomes second nature and eventually you will even be able to ‘eyeball’ what 2

0grams or 80grams of a particular food actually looks like. Sad but true.

Weigh yourself weekly. Ideally first thing out of bed in the morning, before food or drink and preferably naked.

If you want to gain weight and the weight is not moving at all, add 250-300 calories until you see a 1lb increase each week. Keep an eye on fat gain though, as there is no reason in my view to simply bloat up in the quest for muscle gain; it m

eans a more painful dieting phase when it is time to get shredded.

Try to know your body; which areas you tend to store the most bodyfat. When these areas start to gain a lot of fatty tissue, perhaps you have pushed calories too much and it is time to reduce them by, say, 150 a day.

But at least by weighing everything, you know where to make changes, be it 20g of carbs here or increasing protein by 50grams there. Do it blind and you are making it more difficult for yourself.

The secret, if it can be called that, is consistency, day after day, week after week, month and month. There is no quick fix.

Finally, Ab Salute have done a terrific job getting all their gyms ready and safe for us to return. Being back can help so many people in so many ways, not least physical and mental well-being. As well as enjoying the addictive muscle aches the morning after a workout!

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