Build a Custom Nutrition Plan in 8 Steps

You want to eat healthy, but you may wonder how to find a diet plan that's right for you as an athlete. Learn how to build your own custom nutrition plan.

I'm sure you've read nutrition articles on how to eat healthy and fuel your athletic performance. But oftentimes, you may be left wondering how to fit all the information and advice into a diet plan that's right for you. Fear not. Below are the eight steps you need to follow to build a customized nutrition plan as an athlete. (Learn about the 5 pillars of sports nutrition.)

Step 1: Find your weight in kilograms

• Get your weight in pounds
• Divide by 2.2
• Round to the nearest 10 to get your weight in kilograms

Example: 198 pounds / 2.2 = 90kg

Step 2: Find your height in centimeters

• Find your height in inches
• Multiply by 2.54 to get your height in centimeters

Example: 72 inches x 2.54 = 182.88 cm

Step 3: Find your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE)

Your REE is the amount of calories you burn if you lie motionless in bed all day.

• Male: 66 + (13.7 x kg) + (5.0 x cm) - (6.8 x age in years) = REE calories
• Female: 655 + (9.6 x kg) + (1.85 x cm) - (4.7 x age in years) = REE calories

Example: 66 + (13.7 x 90kg) + (5.0 x 182.88cm) - (6.8 x 18) = 2,091 Calories

Step 4: Find how many calories you need per day

• REE calories x 1.6 = low range of calories
• REE calories x 2.4 = high range of calories

Example:

• 2,091 Calories x 1.6 = 3,346
• 2,091 Calories x 2.4 = 5,018

Step 5: Calculate how many carbs you need

• Multiply your daily calories by .5 to determine many carb calories you must eat
• Divide this number by 4 to find how many grams of carbs you must eat

Example: (3,346 x .5)/4 = 418 grams of carbs

Step 6: Calculate how much fat you need

• Multiply your daily calories by .2 to determine how many fat calories you must eat
• Divide this number by 9 to find how many grams of fat you must eat

Example: (3,346 x .2)/9 = 74 grams of fat

Step 7: Calculate how much protein you need

• Multiply your daily calories by .3 to determine how many protein calories you must eat
• Divide this number by 4 to find how many grams of protein you must eat

Example: (3,346 x .3)/4 = 251 grams of protein

Step 8: Establish healthy eating habits

• Eat six times a day: three main meals and three small meals/snacks
• All meals should have a carbohydrate source from a fruit or vegetable
• All meals should have a protein source
• Drink water throughout the day, and avoid sodas and sugary beverages
• Always have breakfast to give your body the fuel it needs for the day
• Eat a small meal or snack 30-60 minutes before practice and workouts—e.g., almonds and fruit or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
• Eat a meal or drink a protein shake 30 minute after a workout, practice or game
• Consume lean sources of protein, like fish, chicken, turkey, beef, nuts and dairy products