If in this new year you have set yourself new fitness goals, you are probably working hard to reach them and not allow yourself to have another failed resolution. However, just working out at the gym, at home or outside is usually not enough. What you need to do is supplement your exercising effort with the right diet. In case you are not sure how this is supposed to be done and where to start, take a look below to see how you can create a meal plan that will help your fitness goals become reality.

Decide on your goals

The first thing you need to do is decide on what your fitness goals actually are. Is your objective to lose weight? Is it to be healthier in general? Do you want to develop lean muscle mass? Are you planning on doing a triathlon? Identifying the result you want is going to help when it comes to creating a meal plan. Implement the SMART goals technique – make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve and in which timeframe, you will have a clear picture in mind and can work out a strategy that will get you where you want to go.

Create your workout schedule

Now that you have your goals, you need to think about which exercises you will need to do to reach them as well as when and how often you need to do them. If you are not sure which exercises you should opt for, you can always consult with a professional trainer that works in your gym but running, cycling, swimming, boxing or practicing a sport are all great options. Putting it in your calendar or setting a reminder on your phone should help form this habit so that you stick to it in the long run. Furthermore, it’s important to know how much energy this will require. It’s a great thing that nowadays you can easily find a TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) calculator online and see how many calories you burn per day.

Calculate your daily intake targets

Being aware of how many calories you are burning means that you will know how many calories you will need to intake to reach your goal. This is why having a specific objective is important – you do not need the same amount of calories to lose body fat and to build muscle. Other than understanding how many calories you need, you also need to think about your protein intake, your fat intake and your carb intake. In order to meet your fitness target, you have to understand how many calories, protein, fat and carbs the meal you are preparing contains. It’s vital that you find the best ingredients and do some research on which types of food and preparation are going to help you the most. On the other hand, there are also services that provide you with healthy meals that can be delivered to your doorstep. For instance, if you live in New South Wales, you can easily find delicious gym meals in Sydney and check their nutritional value before placing your order. Your options abound so meeting your intake targets should not be a problem.

Put the plan into action

Once everything is calculated and you’re aware of what you have to do, it’s time to start doing what you set out to do. Get a journal where you will note down all of the food intake and the exercises you did or find an app that can do that as well. Then, follow the plan you set for yourself – exercise on a regular basis and make or order healthy meals. Make sure you are accurate when collecting data as that will help you see how well you are actually doing.

Reassess and change accordingly

After a month of following your fitness plan, you should start assessing whether it is actually working. First of all, did you follow the plan to the letter? If yes, then you can see what was effective and what wasn’t and start changing your routine accordingly. In case the exercises you were doing did not have the desired results, talk to a trainer to see what you can change and what to focus on more. The same goes for food. If the protein intake was too small, eat more lean meats, chicken, fish, eggs and even consider supplements. If you think the carb intake is too high, take it down a notch. Look for some new recipes or order something new that you haven’t tried before. Tweak the plan step by step until you see the effect you want.

These five essential steps will help you create a meal plan that will perfectly complement your workout routine and help you reach your fitness goals. Good luck!