My Simple, “Lifestyle” Approach to Nutrition

Written by Jason FerruggiaTopics: Nutrition


salmon-dinnerThe last thing I could ever imagine doing is carrying around Tupperware containers and weighing my food all day.

I need freedom and simplicity in everything I do. Otherwise my life sucks.

So my approach to nutrition reflects that.

When I wake up in the morning I’m not that hungry. I just need to get shit done. That’s my most productive time of the day and I need to attack my MIT (Most Important Task) with a vengeance.

That means I’m drinking water and coffee and skipping food for the first couple hours.

Some people freak out and cry, “Holy shit, you’re gonna lose muscle if you don’t eat immediately after waking up!

Honestly, if it’s that easy to lose muscle than this whole strength training thing is a bullshit scam and I’ve been wasting my time.

If you’re telling me I have to let eating control my entire fucking waking existence otherwise I will LOSE MY GAINS, then I’m out.

Seriously. There are better ways to spend my days.

To anyone with half a brain, it’s obviously not as easy to lose muscle mass as insecure meatheads think it is. I just don’t see people shrinking down to bone on a regular basis.

Now, if you told me I had to gain 20 pounds for a role in a major motion picture, then yeah, I’d eat first thing in the morning. The reason would be just because it’d be easier to get in more calories throughout the day. No other mystical voodoo involved.

I will have some food somewhere between 10 and 1 for the first time. I don’t obsessively watch the clock like Rain Man waiting for Wopner. When I finish my work and there’s a good time to eat I eat. Simple as that.

During the day I’m doing a ton of stuff and I’m on the move. I don’t have the time or desire to eat a lot.

Other thing is eating a lot during the day drains my focus and energy. If I go out to a big lunch I’d rather nap afterward than do any work or physical activity.

A Specific Example

Jay grassRight now I weigh about 197. Throughout the last few years I fluctuate between 193 and 205. I spent most of my 20’s and early 30’s fluctuating between 217 and 225, but that got to be too much for me to handle.

And now, three months shy of my 40th birthday, I’m more active than I’ve ever been in my life. That’s got me thinking that dropping down to 185 might help my ankles, knees, hips and lower back a whole lot better.

The insecure skinny kid in me hates the thought of that but I’m sure it’d be beneficial.

So how would I approach this?

First, I’d set my calories at 12 times bodyweight. That would give me 2,364 calories for the day. Again, I don’t weigh food and obsess but I can have a rough idea.

That’s not a lot of food. I can crush that in one sitting. And I enjoy doing so.

There’s no time or desire to eat during the day but I love to feast at night. So I will have some protein and maybe fruit throughout the day two or three times, max. These will be small servings so that I don’t get weighed down or tired.

Maybe I will have 20-30 grams of protein, a little bit of fat and some carbs from the fruit. It’s not a lot of calories.

I do this strategically so that I can chow down at dinner. Some people like front loading fat during the day so they can focus on carbs at dinner. I get that approach but even that’s too restrictive for my personality.

I want my feast to be delicious. That’s not gonna happen if I only have ten grams of fat in it. So I tend to limit fat, along with carbs during the day just so I can go all out at dinner.

Again, this isn’t perfect; it’s just what I do.

If I eat around 80 grams of protein at dinner that gives me 320 calories. Another 200 grams of carbs gives me 800 calories. Then 50 grams of fat gives me 450. That totals 1,570 calories which is a pretty decent sized meal.

Most people think they are eating less than they are. Your inability to lose fat could simply be that you’re eating too much.

Another common mistake is to try to add in more carbs without lowering your fat intake. Then you say “carbs don’t work for me,” or “I can’t tolerate carbs,” even though that might not be the case.

Eating high carb and low fat is harder than eating high fat and low carb. I think that’s one of the reasons Paleo is so popular.

The reality is that a higher carb/ lower fat diet is better for physique enhancement and performance for most people. But then you’ve gotta be really strict. You’re primarily eating white fish, poultry, mixing some egg whites with your whole eggs, getting only the leanest cuts of meat, etc.

For me, that’s too much of a pain in the ass and it cramps my style. That’s the only reason I go a little higher with the fat and lower with the carbs.

You’ve gotta do what’s right for you.

And always keep it simple and stress free.

Jay

PS. Hopefully that helps you simplify your approach to nutrition a bit. If you have any questions about how to modify this approach for specific situations or goals please don’t hesitate to ask.

And if you haven’t downloaded your copy of The Renegade Diet yet you can do so HERE.

 

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21 Responses to My Simple, “Lifestyle” Approach to Nutrition

  1. Kiley May 23, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    “If you’re telling me I have to let eating control my entire fucking waking existence otherwise I will LOSE MY GAINS, then I’m out.”

    PREACH!!!!!

  2. Alex May 23, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    Coach,

    This is the greatest part of your article.

    “When I wake up in the morning I’m not that hungry. I just need to get shit done. That’s my most productive time of the day and I need to attack my MIT (Most Important Task) with a vengeance.

    That means I’m drinking water and coffee and skipping food for the first couple hours.”

    As Steven Pressfield would probably say, “Sit down and to the work”

    Right away in the morning is when I’m most productive as well but food fogs the mind up. I’ve been on the velocity diet going on 3 weeks this coming Monday, having lost ~19lbs. This all happening eating 2 solid meals thus far (1 coming tomorrow). O, and my snatch has gone up from 250lbs to 260lbs. Now, this is a temporary diet but the valuable information learned is lifelong.

    1. 40-60 oz in the morning with a greens powder plus 2 cups of coffee (8 oz.) with vitamins
    2. Maybe have some sort of protein, preferably in a shake form
    3. Delay eating until the afternoon and make it a small amount of calories so as to not make me tired (protein, fistful of veggies/fruit)
    4. Feast at night

    Your podcast with Nate Miyaki was the one that really got me thinking about that sort of lifestyle for eating. In conjunction with what I was/am doing and how I am feeling, it made perfect sense. I am more productive than I’ve ever been while losing weight and improving my 1RM Snatch by 10lbs. But again, the greatest reward from this type of lifestyle nutrition you speak towards is the productivity factor. Love your stuff and awesome job on starting the podcast. Keep it rolling Coach.

    • Jason Ferruggia May 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

      @Alex- Thanks so much for the detailed feedback and kind words. Sounds like you’ve really got it dialed in and are doing great. Congrats, man. Keep it up.

  3. Eric May 23, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    Love it, simplicity at it’s finest!

  4. Travis May 23, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

    Renegade diet. Easy. Works. Simple. What more is there to say.

  5. James Potter May 24, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    That doesn’t sound like a lot of protein for your size there Mr Ferrugia, are you taking in a bit more than that?

    James

  6. Bill Hogue May 24, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    Great article as always Jason!
    As a strength coach and lifter, I am constantly being asked about diet. It seems we obsess over it more than our workouts.
    I have one client who eats well but kept obsessing over it. She told me one day if she had to eat another piece of spinach again she was done….I told her to take it out of her eating, don’t replace it, just remove it and then go eat whatever you want tonight of as much as you want.
    She came back the next day with tremendous energy and said she never felt better.
    Also, in my case, I struggle with how to eat the right way. I am 6’8″ and big boneded as they say….I played basketball, football, and spent some time as a professional wrestler. I am 44 now and I don”t want to carry this weight around all the time….especially with knee and back issues….so this article helped me a lot.
    One question though, I do find if I do not eat I tend to get headaches….how do I avoid this? Especially in the AM?
    Thank Jason

    • Jason Ferruggia May 24, 2014 at 8:39 am #

      Bill- then eat in the morning. I have plenty of people do that. I do it myself quite often if I have a day full of physical activity. A scoop of protein or a few eggs and some berries works perfectly there. If you want to no carb it first thing in the am just have some eggs, meat or smoked salmon.

      Thanks for the feedback.

  7. Sam May 24, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    Jay,

    Have been following the Renegade Diet for over a few after a recommendation from the strength coach at a University I once worked at. It has completely changed my life and the way I look at nutrition and fitness. I have had some great transformations and gains over that time. Now I am getting into the teachings of Nate Miyaki. My only issue has been in my attempt to lean out and get beach ready abs, I worry that I never get enough cals feasting 8 hours a day. I work out in the AM before work and start eating in the afternoon when I get home. Any tips on getting my cals up so I can continue to see the payoff from getting after it in the gym Renegade style, while I stay mindful of the stubborn belly.

    Thanks!

    6’4 225 Athletic Build

    • Chad Proud June 2, 2014 at 9:01 am #

      Hey Sam,

      If you are struggling to get your cals in during an 8 hour window, simply open up the 8 hours to 10-12.

      No hard and fast rules with the Renegade Diet. The BEST part about it is the simplicity and curtailing it to fit your schedule and needs.

      Congrats on the progress!

  8. Pattie May 24, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    Enjoyed the article!
    I love the simplicity of how you view diet & nutrition. Would you recommend this same type of regimen for women?

    • Chad Proud June 2, 2014 at 9:03 am #

      Hello Pattie,

      Yes, this same type of regimen can and definitely does work for women. The idea is to just keep it simple and DON’T over think it.

  9. CASE May 24, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    I work better training energy wise with higher carb I love salmon & white mash potato is that a fine combo to have

    • Chad Proud June 2, 2014 at 9:04 am #

      Sure! If it’s working for you, more power to you. No need to over analyze and move away from something that’s working.

  10. Stephen May 24, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    Great post, Jason. This is pretty much the same way I eat (and I’ll be 40 in September). I’ve never been much of a breakfast person. I can cruise through to lunch on a strong black coffee and water no worries. I’ll eat some tuna or salmon sushi for lunch, have a couple of pieces of fruit in the arvo, then chow down at dinner-time after my workout.

    The idea that it was necessary to eat first thing in the morning was dispelled by Berkhan long ago.

  11. Zack May 29, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    Hey,

    Very nice article. I’ve been needing some help with it came to nutrition. I will definitely use the advice you have gave us in this article :)

  12. Chad Proud June 2, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    Excellent post Jay!

    With literally too much information about what to eat, when to eat, how many times a day you should eat, etc. it’s good to have guys like you promote simplicity.

    The ONLY times I have every made progress in something, be it in the gym, nutrition wise, or even a work project was when I stopped thinking and just focused on simplicity.

    Thanks again!

  13. Janet Cesar June 4, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    Great post.. Loooove simplicity!!

  14. Adam Fox June 14, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Jason,

    I truly believe in the underlying message of this post: you have to do what works for you. The best diet, and best workout routine will always be the one that you can stick to. Without enjoying what your doing it can be hard to maintain consistency, and without consistency it will be difficult to make progress.

    I know several years ago there was the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” dogma, but thankfully that died down with the rise of intermittent fasting (which helped demonstrate that the world isn’t going to end if you decide to skip breakfast). Everyone functions differently so it’s important to create a food plan that is congruent with your personal biological profile. I know for myself I function better by eating a meal in the morning, but that doesn’t mean that everyone must eat this way. Ultimately you should enjoy what your doing…otherwise what’s the point?

  15. Chante June 18, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Jay,

    That’s a good point about losing muscle. So many people try so many things to lose but if it was just as simple as not eating breakfast, why wouldn’t everybody do that? Duh! It’s not that simple. Lol. Nice post.

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