Screenshot of diet tracker used by Bristol Personal Trainer

Diet 101

Diet 101


Aim of Article: explain our approach to Diet here at Bristol Personal Trainer.


Why bother with diet?

  1. If goal is fat-loss, you can get results with good diet + no exercise, but cannot guarantee results with bad diet + exercise.
  2. If goal is increased athleticism, muscle mass or general-awesomeness, diet acts as the multiplier factor for results. Nail your diet and results from workouts will be orders of magnitude faster. Get it wrong and experience the opposite


Our approach to diet

There are too many variables at play for any book, person or app to tell you what is the perfect diet for you. Plus who wants to be told exactly what to eat. Our approach focuses on  understanding the fundamentals of nutrition, and using these principles to tailor a strategy to individual circumstances. We focus on the easiest factors with the biggest return first, while remaining open to tweaks depending on how your body is responding. 

So although no two people will have exactly the same diet strategy, we use our same five step process to create the ideal approach to compliment all your hard work in the gym.

  1. Learn the basics of nutrition
  2. Nail down goals, motivation and timeframe
  3. Identify current diet and habits
  4. Tailor strategy to goals, motivation level, timeframe and individual requirements
  5. Apply it to the real world


Step (1) – Learn the basics

In the same way you wouldn’t jump straight into heavy back squats without learning how to squat, jumping into a diet without understanding why or how it will work is at best going to be inefficient (baby-food diet, yes it’s a real thing…) or at worst dangerous (zero fat diet).

Not only will understanding the basics help you stick to the diet, it will empower you to tweak your strategy to your needs and become less dependent on your trainer.

Below are some brief articles on the principles you should have a basic understanding of before we get into your diet strategy.

  1. Basics of food and nutrients
  2. How and why our bodies can adapt
  3. Importance of daily energy requirements, deficits and surpluses
  4. Why context is required before for healthy/unhealthy labels
  5. Cost:Benefit analysis


Step (2) – Nail down goals, motivation and timeframe

Now you understand the basics of how dieting works and what is possible, its time to nail down exactly what you want to achieve and what your are willing to change to get there.

If you are highly motivated, and wanting maximum result in minimal time, and are willing to make some big changes, you are going to prefer a more intense diet right from the off.

Whereas if you are just wanting to make some minor changes to start guiding your health in the right direction, a gentler approach is clearly more appropriate.


Step (3) – Identify current diet and habits

Once you have your goals nailed down, we need a snapshot of your current diet. This is vital for deciding where to start; if you are not assessing you’re guessing. And if you are guessing how can you possibly hope to guarantee results?

At the very least you need a simple diet log of what you are eating and how much much.

As most diet strategies are typically going to focus on manipulating food intake against daily energy requirements while ensuring you are getting ample macro and micronutrients to ensure optimal muscle growth and recovery, having a more accurate snapshot that includes typical calorie and macronutrient intake would be ideal.

There are plenty of macro trackers out there such as (Myfitnesspal, Fitocracy, Forksy). We prefer our in house macro tracking tool, as we get all the data and can make pretty graphs. But it doesn’t really matter how you track it, as long as you are collecting the data somehow.


Screenshot of diet tracker used by Bristol Personal Trainer

Example of one of Bristol Personal Trainer’s Diet Tools – Macro Tracker


Step (4) – Create a Strategy

Only now that we know the basics, have set our goals and identified current eating habits, can we create the ideal strategy for you.

As we can’t do the strategy for you, it is important that you fully understand what the strategy it, how it works and why it is best for you. So we only move onto the next step after you fully understand and agree with the strategy.


Step (5) – Apply it to the real world

Now we have outlined the strategy and have brought into the rationale behind it, it’s time to apply it to the real world. You could have the best strategy in the world on paper, but if you can’t actually implement it, it is useless.

This section is pretty much endless, and attempts to address any obstacles preventing the diet. From cost of good food, to time cooking, potential intolerances or religious beliefs, learning how to cook, to finding the most time-effective ways of putting this diet into practice.

For some people this step could be as simple as just outlining some top-tips for putting it into practice, such as:

  1. Aiming for a decent protein source with each meal
  2. Focusing on getting breakfast right first, before trying to fix lunch and tea.
  3. Incorporating certain supplements based on any likely/observed deficiencies.
  4. Alternative healthy and tasty recipes
  5. Advice on how to source high quality food cheaper

For others it may be introducing the idea of meal prep, as the ultimate solution to the issues of an optimised diet requiring:

  1. Time
  2. Money
  3. Willpower to make right choice while hungry (or worse hangry).

Going even further we even offer a meal prep service for those we want all the benefits of meal prep, but can’t find the time to do it each week.



So there you have it, our approach to dieting in a nutshell. 

It is no coincidence that all of our most impressive transformations to date have come from those who are able to commit and get their diets on track as soon as possible. 

Good luck with your strategy, and as always, if you have any other questions or need an extra push, don’t hesitate to get in touch with either of us at Bristol Personal trainer.