There’s such a large amount of misinformation floating around regarding what should or should not be eaten as a “healthy” diet that the entire conversation has become obscured. For an in depth treatment of what “healthy” means, see the nutrition series posts. For now, we’re going to focus on specifically beginner categories.
- Lose fat, get stronger
As a beginner, you’re in a unique phase. Now, more than ever, you are going to have an extremely easy time getting stronger and putting on muscle. Doing pretty much anything will prompt the body to adapt, causing it to grow and get stronger. The unique aspect of this is that you can also do this while losing weight at this point. Later on down the line, putting on muscle while losing fat will be extremely difficult if not impossible. If this is your goal, make sure you’re eating enough protein and are in a caloric deficit – you’re eating less calories than your body is expending.
- Get bigger, get stronger
This is probably the simplest conceptually, but can be the most difficult if you have difficulty eating. If you want to get bigger and stronger, you’re in luck. All you have to do is eat enough protein and be in a caloric surplus. This usually means you’ll eat when you’re not hungry. If you want to get bigger and stronger though, get ready to eat.
- Stay roughly the same size, get stronger
If you want to stay the same size, eat enough calories to sustain yourself. This means being neither in a deficit nor in a surplus. Once again, stay up on the protein and consume enough calories to not lose weight. Your body can still get stronger (and probably a little bigger at this point) while not really changing size at all.