Optimizing Nutrition for Muscle Building and Weight Loss: Advice from a Registered Nutritionist

Published on November 8, 2023, 12:35 am

Victor, a 60-year-old man, sought advice from Insider’s Nutrition Clinic to improve his eating habits and achieve his goals of building muscle and losing fat around his waist. Despite having a sedentary desk job, Victor exercises twice a week by lifting weights and doing cardio.

Previously, Victor tried the keto diet but found it too restrictive. He has now shifted his focus to counting calories and eating low-fat in order to control his calorie intake. However, registered nutritionist Jamie Wright suggests that Victor should shift his focus from aesthetics to athletics. According to Wright, chasing a certain “look” can compromise exercise performance and potentially lead to inadequate nutrient intake.

Wright explains that spot training, which involves purposefully trying to lose fat in specific areas of the body like the belly, is not possible. Instead, she recommends increasing Victor’s calorie intake to maintenance level. This may initially lead to a small weight gain due to water retention but will ultimately reduce the risk of malnutrition and provide energy for more physical activity.

To combat the loss of muscle mass that naturally occurs with age, Wright advises Victor to include one or two additional strength sessions per week in his workout routine. Increasing lean muscle mass will contribute to a leaner physique overall.

For breakfast, Victor aims for no more than 400 calories and typically consumes Special K cereal or oatmeal with two turkey sausages or bacon slices. While it’s beneficial that he includes protein in his breakfast, Wright suggests occasionally swapping the processed meats for egg whites or whole eggs to limit processed meat consumption. Regularly consuming processed meats has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular illness and certain types of cancer.

Victor’s lunch consists of a turkey burger or frozen low-fat meal accompanied by a protein bar. Wright acknowledges that preparing a nutritious lunch can be challenging on busy workdays but emphasizes the importance of adding fruit or vegetables for additional micronutrients and fiber.

For dinner, Victor includes lean protein sources like chicken, beef, or pork, along with vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower rice, or carrots. Wright considers this a nutritious dinner and encourages Victor to increase his calorie intake by incorporating some carbohydrates into his meal. This would provide him with more energy and benefit his workouts.

Victor snacks twice a day on a piece of fruit (such as a banana, apple, or cantaloupe melon) and some nuts (cashews or walnuts). While fruit and nuts are nutritious options, Wright suggests incorporating more protein into Victor’s snacks. This can be achieved through protein shakes, jerky, boiled eggs, cottage cheese, or Greek yogurt with berries. Consuming protein throughout the day helps build and maintain muscle while keeping you feeling full.

In conclusion, Victor is on the right track with his diet but could make a few adjustments to optimize his nutrition for his fitness goals. Shifting his focus from aesthetics to athletic performance will help him achieve better results in terms of body composition and overall health. Incorporating additional strength sessions and increasing calorie intake will prevent muscle loss and improve performance. Swapping processed meats for eggs at breakfast, adding fruits and vegetables to lunch, including carbohydrates in dinner meals, and increasing protein in snacks will further enhance Victor’s diet for muscle building and weight loss purposes.