Body Composition Importance Pyramid

Most of us have seen the food pyramids the government puts out, where it shows us to eat bread, cereals and pasta mostly (they are on the bottom of the pyramid), then fresh fruits and veggies, then lean meats and dairy, then at the top, minimal fats and oils.

After 1992 more and more research showed that, 

"the USDA pyramid was grossly flawed. By promoting the consumption of all complex carbohydrates and eschewing all fats and oils, the pyramid provided misleading guidance. In short, not all fats are bad for you, and by no means are all complex carbohydrates good for you."

Then, they developed the 'My Plate' where the plate is divided into 4 equal parts, each having a portion of veggies, fruits, grains and proteins (with a glass of dairy on the side).

Fascinating stuff, because the research seems to be way more advanced that what the government has in place at a given moment (thank you red tape).

First of all, this is not enough protein if you are on a mission to transform your body, be that via fat loss, or muscle gain, or both.

And secondly, it leaves questions like nutrient timing (ie when you should eat), supplements, calories, food composition as a bit of a mystery.

So today I am going to clear up what the research tells us is important for body composition change (which by the way is different to eating for health). So my focus will be body recomposition. In a future VFGB, I will talk specifically about health.

There are 5 nutrition principles, that are required for body composition change.

When I say 'body composition change', I am referring to a change in body fat percentage and lean muscle mass.

Now this may or may not include your body weight on the scale.

To explain this concept further, if you are eating at your maintenance energy value (the energy you eat equals the energy your body needs), every day when you stand on the scale, your weight will stay the same (give or take).

But this does not indicate any kind body composition change. It simply means that your total body weight is the same.

If you are training hard at the gym doing progressive resistance training and therefore increasing lean muscle mass as you build beautiful tone, AND you are dropping body fat at the same time, those scales will potentially still stay about the same.

This is called body recomposition, or body composition change.

Back to those 5 principles: (I've put how important they are as a percentage of the big picture)

Number 1: Calories Matter 50%

Yep. No matter what you've heard, this is the number one principle you must understand. If you want the scales to move in either direction, you must consider how much energy (calories) you are putting IN to your body, and how much energy your body is putting OUT.

Number 2: Macronutrients Matter 30%

Protein, Fat AND Carbs ALL matter. They all have a role to play, and unless you have a medical condition, you don't need to exclude any one of these macronutrients to achieve your goal. Protein is the most important macro when it comes to body composition change.

Number 3: Nutrient Timing 10%

Do you eat 3 meals a day, or do you eat 6? Guess what? It doesn't really matter THAT much, unless you are a top end athlete and looking to absolutely optimise your nutrition on every single tiny little details. So I always say, do whatever helps you achieve a long term approach.

Number 4: Food Composition 5%

Does it come out of the ground / off a tree, or does it come from a packet. Yes, it is something to consider if you are also desiring a healthy body and a healthy life, but isn't as important as the previous 3 principles, sitting at only 5% importance of the overall big picture.

Number 5: Supplements don't matter too much 5%

... not when it comes to changing your body composition. Okay, so 5% of the big picture is still 5%. But have you ever picked up a 'fat blaster' supplement and read the fine print? "Works well with a calorie controlled diet". Yep - say no more.

So when you are wondering if something you desire to eat is going to move you towards your goal or away from it, think about these 5 principles. Rank them in order of importance, and know that the lower 3 principles matter only a little bit, while the top 2 are super critical to your success.


These workouts are designed to be done in the gym environment where you have the use of equipment. They take only 30 minutes with each workout following on and building upon the previous.

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