8 Keys to Setting Up Your Nutrition Program- Part 2



Video Version


Audio Version


In case you missed Part 1 of this 4-part series, here’s what we discussed:

The first 4 of 8 Keys to Setting Up Your Nutrition Program are:

Key #1- Behavioral Habits and Systems

Key #2- Your WHY and PURPOSE

Key #3- Reward System

Key #4- Increase Adherence and Consistency

Now, as we get into the last 4 keys, just understand that the first 4 keys are what lay the foundation down for the final 4 keys.

We see too many people trying to jump the ladder and immediately get into the last 4 keys and just like anything else in life, you can’t climb Mount Everest in a day.

So really think about the first 4 keys, be patient, put in the extra work for those, and we promise, after working with over a thousand clients and being in the fitness industry for over a decade, you will have a more purpose driven, joyful, and results oriented fitness journey.

Here we go with part 2!


Key #5- Total Calories Matter Most

We’ve seen this and heard this so many times that weight loss, gain, or maintenance, all comes down to “good vs bad foods.”


How many meals you eat per day.


What “named diet” you do.

The overall arch of diets that are successful induce restriction in some way and put you into a negative energy deficit (eating less calories than you burn) or a positive energy surplus (eating more calories than you burn).

Total energy balance (calories at the end of a 24-hour cycle) is the biggest consensus determining weight loss, weight gain or maintaining; this has always been and always will be the secret sauce behind the magic bullet success with diets. [1]

Once you understand that one of the magic bullets comes down to expending more calories than you consume, you can then decide on what type of nutrition program will work best for you.


DYNAMIC Action Step to Take-

Step 1) Be clear on what your goal is (weight loss, gain or maintenance)

Step 2) Set your total daily calories

Step 3) Decide what nutrition program you can see yourself realistically adhering to for days, weeks, months, and years



Key #6- Conceptual Integration Within Nutrition

We want to jump right into this one as we feel “Conceptual Integration Within Nutrition” is not talked about enough and undervalued.

Too many fitness enthusiasts have this black and white mindset and think they have to pick a “named diet” like Paleo, Ketogenic, Calorie Counting, Intermittent Fasting, etc.

What we like to teach our DDT members is that you don’t have to select 1 “named diet” and follow rules and feel like if you break them, the nutrition police are going to arrest you.

Instead think of these “named diets” as “nutrition concepts.”

{Side note: One of the best positions stands we have to support this in the scientific literature is the 2018 ISSN Exercise and Sports Nutrition Review}[2]

Once you reframe your mind to understand they’re concepts instead of rigid rules, you can then integrate these concepts.

For example:

One of our clients Jenny, wanted to count her macronutrients, preferred a lower carbohydrate and higher fat diet, and wanted to NOT eat 6-8 meals per day.

Perfect we told her!

We took concepts from calorie counting, low carb/high fat, and intermittent fasting and created a nutrition program around her goals, lifestyle, metabolic variances, and personal preferences, and she THRIVED on it.


DYNAMIC Action Step to Take-

Pick 2-3 nutrition concepts that fit your goals, lifestyle, and preferences, and see how you can integrate them to increase adherence and consistency and thus results.



Key #7- Nutrient Timing

We will get down to the nitty gritty within nutrient timing because we feel the topic of nutrient timing can be an entire 1-2K blog post itself.

There’re 4 main components within nutrient timing you want to understand:


Component 1: Pre and Post workout meal timing– Timing your pre and post workout meals around your workouts to keep your body in a muscle growth environment and mitigate muscle protein breakdown from training

Ex) pre-workout meal at 6-7 a.m

Train from 8-9 a.m

Post-workout meal between 9-11 a.m


Component 2- Before bed meal timing- having a high quality-slow digesting protein source such as eggs, egg whites, yogurt, cottage cheese, steak, or casein protein 2-3 hours before bed to keep your body in a muscle growth environment throughout the night and help stave off hunger which could lead to disturbed sleep


Component 3- Meal frequency- This consists of how many meals you can realistically eat per day. Whether its 2-6 meals are the sweet spot. This all comes down to your personal preferences and individual schedule


Component 4- Meal structuring- This helps structure how many meals you decide to eat, pre/post-workout/before bed meals, and making sure its structured around your daily schedule and lifestyle correctly.

Ex: 4 meals per day

Meal 1-pre-workout/breakfast- 8 a.m

Train- 10 a.m

Meal 2-post workout/lunch- 12 p.m

Meal 3-dinner- 4-5 pm

Meal 4- Before bed- 8-9 p.m

We could make a case for “Intra Workout” as part of nutrient timing, but unless you are spending 2-3 hours in the gym or doing a very high-volume training program, then it’s not necessary.

Nutrient timing has been shown in the scientific literature[3] to be important for a high-level athlete and one looking to have an elite body composition. So, it all really depends on your goals and how far you want to take it within your fitness journey.


DYNAMIC Action Step to Take-

Once you’ve mastered Keys 5 and 6, start playing around with inserting each of the above nutrient timing components into your fitness journey to break plateaus, get that extra 1-2% results, and have fun experimenting with them.


Key #8- Supplements

Now, notice that supplements are the very last key and there’s a reason for that, because “supplements just SUPPLEMENT a nutrition program” or “supplements are just ICING on the cake.”

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking they can “OUT SUPPLEMENT A POOR DIET” and will spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on supplement stacks thinking that will get them results.

We really don’t want to go into great depth with supplements because we feel this could be a separate and long form article itself, but just understand that “supplements just SUPPLEMENT a sound nutrition program” and should never be put at the forefront in your nutrition program.

But since we are feeling generous today, here’s a list of supplements and dosages that are tried and true through the latest scientific literature and the most effective for your money: [4]

  • Caffeine- 3-6mg/kg of body weight, consume in form of pills 30-60 min before workouts
  • Creatine monohydrate- 5g, consume any time of day
  • Daily multi vitamin, if deficient in micronutrients within your diet
  • Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil), about 2g per day/Higher EPA dosage


DYNAMIC Action Step to Take-

You CAN’T “out supplement a poor diet,” put a sound nutrition program at the forefront and then understand that “supplements just supplement a nutrition program” or “supplements are just icing on the cake.”



Stay tuned for part 3 as we begin to get into the first 4 Keys to Setting Up Your Exercise Program.


Our new physical paperback book “The New Era of Fitness” is finally out!

We are pretty much giving it away “FREE” and giving away a “FEW BONUSES” along with it.

Get it HERE


Thank you for reading Part 2! Please help us out by sharing it 😊











[1] NHLBI 1998; Wing 2001; Jakicic 2001


[2] Kerksick et al. ISSN exercise and sports nutrition review update: research and recommendations. 2018; Aragon et al. ISSN position stand on diets and body composition. 2017

[3] La Bounty et al. ISSN position stand meal frequency. 2011; Aragon et al. Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post exercise anabolic window. 2013

[4] Burke et al. IOC consensus statement: Dietary supplements and the high performance athlete. 2018; Harty et al. Multi ingredient pre workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes, a brief review. 2018