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Think you're good with nutrition—think again

Think you’re good at nutrition? Think again. Many people erroneously think they understand what “good” nutrition is, but they do not. Too many times we’ve heard people make stupid statements in an attempt to show they have good nutrition:

  • I eat organic

  • I don’t processed foods

  • I’m a vegan

  • I eat pretty good

  • I eat clean

All of these statements don’t mean you have a good nutrition strategy or that you’re “good at nutrition.” Saying you eat organic simply means you eat organic, and all that really means is that your food is GMO and pesticide free. That does not mean you have the proper calorie intake, macronutrient intake, food choices, and food timing. A person can make any of the five listed statements, and indeed many others, and still have poor nutrition habits that prevent them from reaching their goals.

A good nutritional plan:

  • Considers goals

  • Accounts for situational factors

  • Has a structure

  • Is progressive

Considers goals

Just as a workout plan is no good if it does not focus on your goals, a nutritional plan cannot be considered good if it does not consider your goals. While this might seem commonsensical, many people miss this. It may be somewhat intuitive that you must eat less to lose weight and eat more to gain weight, but some people stop there. To lose fat or to gain muscle, other things, such as macronutrient intake, must be considered.

Each person must take a look at his or her goal to determine what he or she must do. For example, if you want to gain muscle, simply eating more is not good enough. Even if you are hitting the weights hard, if you do not eat the right macronutrients at the right times, then you may see more fat gained than muscle gained. Conversely, if you’re trying to improve performance, but do not understand how to fuel properly to do so, then your performance may suffer.

Accounts for situational factors

As with exercise, nutrition must account for situational factors. Situational factors include schedule, medical conditions, and food preferences, among others. This might seem odd to you, but understand that if these things are not accounted for a person may not achieve success.

Think about your schedule for a moment. Imagine the nutrition strategy a person creates for you calls for you to eat every three hours, but you can only eat twice in nine hours at work. That strategy won’t work. In that same vein, imagine person who must manage blood sugar levels (such as diabetics). Now imagine some encourages them to engage in intermittent fasting and to carb load a few meals each day. This strategy is not safe.

Has a structure

Again, as with exercise, the nutrition plan must have structure. The exact level of structure varies on the goal of the person. For example, someone concerned only with weight loss need a different structure than someone who is targeting improvements in body composition. The same is true for the plethora of various goals that people of the world target each year.

Structure may consider aspects such as caloric intake, macronutrient balance, micronutrient consumption, food timing, food preferences (including those related to allergies, religion, etc.), and supplementation. Other factors may be considered as well, as some professionals prioritize non-traditional methods, such as nutrition by blood type.

Is progressive

Progression is another key to success in both nutrition and training. A progressive program keeps you moving toward your goals, meaning you see change (i.e. reduced fat, improved performance) when using the program, but the program also changes as your needs change.

Imagine a person targeting muscle mass gains 10 pounds of muscle on a 2000 calorie diet. Now imagine that person has reached the point where 2000 calories is maintenance for their weight. To add more weight, ideally that person will need to add more calories.

The same idea is true of performance. If a person has set training routine and their current food intake supports that routine, then they are in a state of maintenance. Now imagine their training activity increases by 25 percent. The persons intake of fuel will need to increase as well.

The bottom line

You might think this is simple stuff, right. Well, you’re not wrong. Yet many people still miss these things and you might be one of them. The ideas we’ve present here are far from all-inclusive. There are other aspects to be addressed. We cannot, in a single newsletter or blog, possibly cover the ins and outs of nutrition.

That said, if you are not considering goals, accounting for situational factors, using a structure, and making sure the plan is progressive, then you’re not good with nutrition. Sure, maybe you wing it and have success for a while, but that will only last so long.

Or maybe you say “well, such as such doesn’t follow a plan and they see success.” To that we say, that person probably knows their body. Some people know what their body needs and can intuitively eat and train. If you’re reading this, that person is not you, as you’re here looking for knowledge, meaning you don’t know what to do.

Trust us. We’ve been this for a long time and we’ve seen the people who know what they’re doing and the people who don’t.

If you want to learn more about our services, visit the homepage for our site here: We offer a variety of services for training and nutrition. Just visit the page, read the write-up, and visit the links to the service pages to learn more and sign-up.

Image of Nathan DeMetz

Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, and the International Sports Sciences Association. Nathan has 17 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.

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