If you are trying to lose body fat or reach your fitness and physique goals, then you need to implement these advanced nutrition strategies that are specific to women.
Although there is an overload of fitness information online covering pretty much every topic, 90% of this is always tailored to men or to be more precise, hardcore bodybuilding and this approach will not be suitable for women looking to take their results to the next level.
If you are ready to put your diet plans and your results on over drive?
If so, Let’s go…
1. Women Need to Further Tailor & Pin Point Their Energy Intake
Based on numerous research studies and experience with hundreds of clients, I’ve found that women require a more pinpointed and accurate energy (calorie) intake.
Women have a lower metabolism and energy expenditure compared to men. This basically means that women require fewer calories per day for all the everyday bodily functions. While this information may not be anything new, I’ve found that women need to be meticulous with their nutritional intake.
Women have a small window of opportunity to create a calorie deficit and still maximise their health and physique.
When a woman is dieting, there will be a fine line between reducing calories low enough to see noticeable results, but not going too low that they become weak, ill, nutrient deficient, stressed or crash their metabolism which is what the majority of us do, which in turn just makes it harder in the long-run.
As an example, men can reduce their calories down to 2000 and still lose weight quickly, whereas most females will not be able to maintain a relative low body fat on this number. If you are a female and have ever dieted, then you know that you may need to drop to 1300 calories or less, dependant on your particular body composition. However, when we get to this low range, it can be very hard to fuel the body with macro nutrients of carbs, proteins, fats and micronutrients, while fueling your muscles for intense workouts.
To counter this, you must use more advanced methods such as carbohydrate cycling, re-feeds and nutrient timing, and tailor these aspects around your menstrual cycle or menopause and possibly add in some advanced supplement protocols to give you a helping hand.
2. Women Need to Maximise & Tailor Their Carbohydrate Intake to THEM!
In a similar fashion to energy/calorie intake, women may need to closely monitor and tailor their carbohydrate intake more than their male counterparts.
First, both male and females need a higher-than-recommended protein intake to maximise fat loss, recovery and muscle growth (so increase your protein intake if its low!) I do believe females may need to further tweak their carb-to-fat ratios and get even more specific than men.
Although it always varies between individuals, I do find the majority of women (based on real feedback and results) benefit from a pin-pointed carb cycling intake.
This advanced carb-cycling intake allows women to still consume and even benefit from carbohydrates (do not fear them!). The only difference is we use them when they will go to the muscle for fuel and recovery and remove them when they would be going to the fat cells or not being utilised efficiently!
The need to tailor this further than males can be explained for several reasons, including:
· Females tend to have less lean body mass.
· Females have small glycogen capacity (carb stores).
· Females burn less carbohydrates when exercising (due to metabolism differences and body mass/muscle requirements).
· Females have unique differences in hormones such as Estrogen and insulin sensitivity.
· Female menstrual cycle or menopause can also affect carbohydrate timings and needs.
3. Women Should Tailor Everything Around the Menstrual Cycle and Menopause
One clear and undisputed fact is that females have the menstrual cycle and menopause that cause clear differences and issues that should be accounted for.
Starting with menstrual cycle, I’ve spent hundreds of hours reviewing all the research and created a blueprint that helps you tailor your regime around the 4 phases. Here’s a very brief summary:
· Phase 1 — Follicular Phase: In the Follicular phase, research shows improved strength and performance, allowing for more intense workouts. Nutrition wise, you will have increased carbohydrate tolerance and insulin function, allowing for more high-carb periods (which also makes sense if you are training harder) and re-feeds.
· Phase 2 — Ovulation Phase: During the Ovulation phase, you are able to optimise performance and intensity. It’s a perfect time for planned over-reaching and carb re-feeds. The only caveat is possible increased injury risk. Therefore, you may wish to avoid ballistic and power based movements.
· Phase 3 — Luteal Phase: The Luteal phase will likely have the biggest and most noticeable negative impact on your training. Do what you can and lighten the load or workout volume if needed. I also recommend you de-load here if you are implementing strategic de-loads and over-reach periods into your training regime. Your hormones will be out of whack and serotonin will drop which can also cause cognitive issues and mood swings. To counter this, eat tryptophan-rich foods and stay extra strict with your diet.
· Phase 4 — The Menstruation Phase: In the Menstruation phase, hunger and cravings are likely to yo-yo and it may be harder to stay on your current nutrition plan. For this reason, I often recommend you use clever strategies in your diet to maximise satiety and reduce cravings. Remember, hunger is a key reason people fail on their diets, so you should really focus on reducing this at all times, regardless of your cycle.