Where To Start
How we choose to fuel ourselves means a great deal to the speed at which we achieve results. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to abandon all your feel good treats and current diet practices.
If you can replace just 2 snacks or sodas with a glass of water everyday, you would be extremely surprised by the results.
Don't be fooled by supplement companies, the best way to lose fat and build muscle is through proper diet and exercise. We do have deficiencies in our bodies that benefit from supplementation but only if your deficient. However, the best supplement has and always will be whole foods and the nutrients they provide.
That being said I will agree that Beta-Alanine pre-workout and Creatine post-workout has proven to be a noticeable combination. Look for pure forms of both, try not to buy the complicated powders with a million ingredients. Use as directed on the label. Your really don't need more than 1 gram of beta-alanine and no more than 5g of creatine in a training day. Beta-Alanine gives you the face tingles and a slight boost of energy, Creatine floods the muscles with water which can improve hydration in the muscle and lower recovery times.
Add some color to your meals.
You don't have to food paint your rice but add some vegetables and fruits to your meals. Don't be afraid of some spice either, there are a lot of seasonings that don't involve added calories or a high sodium count, just remember to check your labels.
Calorie Intake and Macros!
Ah the dreaded calorie cut! Good! I'm glad you think its stupid too. Cut your calories gradually don't rip them out of your diet with a vengeance. Like I mentioned above, try just dropping a couple snacks a day when you begin your workout program and replacing them with water. As for consistent health and strength I suggest 3-4 meals day with maybe a light carb/protein snack or 2 in between.
If your confused on where you should start, count your current daily intake and deduct 500 calories. You can also take your body weight and times it by 12. Though it's not as accurate of a method, it usually lands pretty close.
As for Macros, there is a lot of research suggesting a 50/30/20 split for optimum energy and recovery.
That's 50 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, 20 percent fat. There are 4 calories to every gram of protein or carbohydrate and 9 calories to every gram of fat. Here is a basic example:
Example for a 2000 Calorie diet:
50% = 1000 calories/4 = 250 g carbohydrates
30% = 600 calories/4 = 150g protein
20% = 400 calories/9 = about 45g Fat
Unless your body building I wouldn't stress this too much but it helps to have an idea of what you want to stay around. There are a lot of great diets out there that encourage new foods and different macros. Explore and enjoy but don't starve yourself!