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You may have stuffed yourself senseless during the holiday season, and now you’re left feeling tired, soft and less confident and motivated from all that overindulgence. Instead of letting yourself go, bounce back with clean eating—you are what you eat, after all. With spring around the corner, you can lose fat, get tons of protein to help you build muscle at the gym, and be ready to rip your shirt off come summertime.
What you’ll need to follow this plan are simple, natural foods and ingredients with proven efficacy among even the most hardcore of trainers. For starters, these superfoods in particular will help keep you fit and healthy during the winter season, while helping you lean out for spring and summer:
Eighty percent of calories come from fat in avocados, but don’t panic because it’s the “good fat.” Monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids promote heart and digestive health and can help regulate blood pressure. These fats also trigger the release of bile from the pancreas, which helps rid the body of any toxins. And avocados are one of the most protein packed fruits—three grams protein and 18 amino acids. Since this fruit is creamy, it can easily be turned into a protein packed dessert.
Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, quinoa is not only a grain but also a complete protein. One cup of the cooked grain contains 5 grams of fiber—21 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Fiber can improve bowel movements and make you feel fuller for longer—aiding in weight loss. Eight grams of protein make up one cup of cooked quinoa, and this super grain contains a substantial amount of leucine. Leucine triggers the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, and this pathway regulates the repair and growth of muscle tissue.
Boiling this vegetable gives it the bad reputation because of the offensive, sulfurous smell and taste. Give Brussels sprouts another chance by roasting them in the oven—it will bring out a sweet, nutty flavor. And another reason to give it a chance is that for a green vegetable it’s high in protein—one cup has 3 grams protein.
Used throughout history to settle an upset stomach, ginger can help cure your food hangover and can possibly prevent you from packing on extra holiday pounds. Metabolism journal published a study in which a group of men drank two grams of ginger with breakfast. The results showed that the ginger did have a thermic effect on the breakfast they consumed—meaning calories were burned after eating. They also reported feeling less hungry. Ginger’s soothing effects also encompass muscle soreness. A study was published in The Journal of Pain in which a group of adults completed several workouts involving flexion of the elbow to prompt soreness and inflammation. Participants ingested either two grams of ginger or a placebo for 11 days. The ginger group results were a 25 percent decrease in muscle soreness 24 hours post-workout.
A super food for your liver—beets are rich in antioxidants and nitrates. But studies are recommending for you to ingest this super food as a juice. Here’s why: cooked beets have less of a nutritional value and beetroot juice can leave you with extra muscle pumps in the gym. The Journal of Applied Physiology published a study showing that beetroot juice can enhance nitric oxide (NO) levels in the body, which allows your body to perform better during workouts. NO is a vasodilator—increasing blood flow throughout the body. From the increased blood flow, more nutrients will be targeting your muscles, which can speed up your recovery rates and produce more muscle pumps.
Another food high in the omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and vitamin A is salmon. Three ounces of salmon will provide you with 19 grams protein. Salmon also contains a substantial amount of vitamin D, which can be a common deficiency during winter months. Lastly, salmon is high in the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan cannot only induce sleep, but it also gets converted in the body to serotonin. Appropriate levels of serotonin can improve mood levels, so goodbye winter blues.
A powerhouse of antioxidants, blueberries may be the next big thing to nurse you through recovery from an intense workout. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published a study demonstrating that muscle recovery was accelerated after ingestion of a blueberry smoothie pre- and post-workout. It is thought that antioxidants from blueberries are able to counteract free radicals that are produced as a result of working out.
Containing naturally occurring bacteria—probiotics—kefir milk can help improve your gastrointestinal tract during the holiday season. Kefir has been known to help regulate bowel movements and relieve GI disorders. The bacteria found in kefir can also support your immune system. One cup of non-fat kefir milk contains 11 grams protein, so incorporate kefir milk into your protein shakes.
A half-cup of beans contains 7 of grams protein, and that’s the same amount of protein in one ounce of chicken. They can also provide you with an array of health benefits ranging from regulating blood sugar levels to lowering cholesterol levels. This complete protein contains complex carbohydrates and only has 2-3 percent fat. Change up the protein in your diet by adding beans.
Using these ingredients, here’s a sample of one day on the recomposition diet >>>
560 calories, 15.5g fat, 66g carbs, 53g protein
290 calories, 20g fat, 13g carbs, 19g protein
716 calories, 21g fat, 51g carbs, 79g protein
230 calories, 7g fat, 33g carbs, 14g protein
245.5 calories, 1.5g fat, 24.5g carbs, 34g protein
310.5 calories, 10g fat, 5.25g carbs, 47g protein
521 calories, 17g fat, 28g carbs, 65g protein
278 calories, 28g fat, 33g carbs, 14g protein
3,151 calories, 120 g fat, 253 g carbs, 325 g protein