I’m new to weight training and my overall goal is to gain lean muscle mass and get rid of fat. I have incorporated cardio and strength training into my program, but need help with the diet. I’m a highschool student, so that doesn’t really help my situation. All suggestions are welcome! If you need clarification I’ll be happy to respond! Thanks!
There are a few things to consider, but let's break it down into categories...
- Water - Drink plenty of water! Have it with every meal, every snack, and even inbetween if you're thirsty. If it's reasonable for you, carry a water bottle with you wherever you go and you can sip on water all day long. There are so many benefits to simply drinking water that this should be a no-brainer.
- Calories - A TDEE Calculator will be a good starting point, but your weight scale will be what confirms what you stick with. As both a new lifter and as someone with enough extra bodyfat, you're a prime candidate for something called a "body recomposition" (building muscle and losing fat simultaniously). To do this, you'll want to maintain your current weight, and to do that you'll want to eat a certain amount of calories every day (refer to the beginning of this paragraph). Right now, you'll want to do something like 2700 calories a day, but if you end up gaining or losing weight at the end of any given week, just modify your calories by 200 or less depending on how close you are to maintaining your weight that week.
- Protein - Protein is a macronutrient, one of three (the other two are Fats and Carbohydrates). To ensure that you're getting the maximum muscle building benefits of protein, you'll want to consume about 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So for you, right now you'll want to eat 146 grams of protein each day. This shouldn't be consumed in a single meal, but rather spread throughout the day.
- Fats and Carbs - Apart from protein, the rest of your calories will come from these other two macronutrients. There are various ratios which you might hear suggested, but just do what works for you - it really doesn't matter. Keep in mind that fats tend to be more satiating while carbs are your body's primary source of energy.
- Micronutrients - All of these are important, but most notable of all is going to be fiber (30 grams a day). You don't have to wrack your brain trying to find a perfect balance of all your micronutrients in each meal across the entirety of the day. Instead, just make an effort to include them all throughout the day.
- Meal Planning - Download "MyFitnessPal" to your phone and plan your days in advanced. There are several meal planning strategies, but one that I would suggest is the three part meal; a protein, a leafy/fibrous carb, and a starchy carb. Experiment though, see what other people are doing and find out what works best for you. Some people have success eating every 2-3 hours while others have success eating in a small several hour window. Some people have success by eating only certain kinds of foods while others have success by only eating certain amounts of food. My biggest suggestion here would be to do what is sustainable for you, if you hate what you're doing, it isn't sustainable.
- Supplements - They aren't necessary, but they can certainly be helpful. Protein powders for example are just one of many potential sources of protein that you might choose to utilize. Multivitamins likewise contain the same vitamins that you can find in normal food. Preworkout is something that you're simply not going to get from food, but it's also something that couldn't be more optional. Two supplements that I would recommend are creatine (5 grams a day) and omega 3 fish oils (2000-3000 milligrams a day) as they provide many benefits and are unlikely to be sufficiently found in a person's food intake alone. One of the best places to find quality supplements is going to be LabDoor, an unbiased source with fair lab tested reviews.
... all of that said, if you want to make the most out of your time spent in the gym and your time spent recovering, you'll want to make sure that you're following a competent training program that was created by someone credible. Make sure whatever program you follow matches your training goals too. Best wishes!