(disclaimer: I have no training in nutritional sciences, the information below is merely based on my experiences)
When I started losing weight, I closely followed my bodybugg and the meal plan. I maintained a 1400 calorie intake and aimed for 2400 calorie burn (1000 calorie deficit to average 2lb per week weight loss). I kept my nutritional balance at: 60 – 20 – 20. Sixty percent carbs, 20% protein, and 20% fat. Once I lost the weight, I started playing with the carb/protein ratios. I went to 40% each carb and protein, I tried 50% protein, 30% carb, and briefly tried some carb cycling. Each has had its place in the process.
The one consistent aspect of my nutrition since I finished the weight loss process has been the pre and post workout nutrition. I work out in the evenings, so I have a mid-afternoon snack (protein and carb at about 150 calories) and then a whey protein shake about 15 minutes before my workout. Within 45 minutes of finishing my workout, I have a whey and casein protein shake with banana, flax seed, almond milk (sugar free), water, and lots of ice.
What has changed? The water I drink throughout my workout has 4 ounces of coconut water to 20 ounces of filtered water (for added hydration and potassium). Note: I drink water regardless of the workout I am doing – when I swim there is a bottle of water at the end of my lane from which I frequently drink. A more recent change, now that I am only lifting 3 days per week, I am going to make a change in my post workout meal. I will continue to drink the protein shake after weight training, but after my swimming workouts I am going to have egg white omelets with vegetables and some low fat feta cheese. I will still be getting a lot of protein, but I don’t need as many calories after my swimming workout. I am not basing this on any science or advice; rather I am making this change based on my gut. It has served me well through most of this process and I am going to trust it for now.
A good friend and I were having a discussion yesterday about nutrition and we both laughed as we talked about how others view the perceived monotony of our diets. You may wonder how I can eat the same things over and over and over again. The food I eat DOES taste good. However, I do not eat to entertain myself, to fill a void, or to heal some emotional injury. Food for me is fuel. I eat to give my body what it needs to run well and to do what I need/want it to do. Crap in, crap out. High octane fuel in, high speed and top performance out. Simple as that.