As a Certified Life Coach, Certified Weight Loss Coach, ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer and Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, Warrior Strong Wellness’ Founder Mary Ricciardi is often asked about often asked nutrition.

Following, please find some of the most Frequently Asked Questions answered by Mary:

Sugar- is it bad? How much should I consume per day?

As a general guide, I suggest sugars be kept to no more than 20-25% of your total carbohydrate intake targets. If you are targeting 250 grams of carbs, then 50-60 grams of sugar is a pretty decent level. If you’re an uber low carb dieter with 100 grams or less, you’ll hit that 20-25% really quick.

Don’t fret over sugars in fruits, veggies or potatoes. Those foods are micronutrient rich (full of vitamins and minerals). I would suggest using wisdom and moderation with refined or added sugars and syrups. You can still have them, but just be sure to stick within your targeted grams.

As long as you’re getting enough fiber, I see no reason why you can’t have a limited amount of refined sugar in your diet. Minimum fiber intake is 25 grams; I suggest around 28-34 grams for most ladies, 32-40 for males.

Should I cut out carbs at night?

Not necessarily. Our muscles are like storage units for carbohydrates. If you’ve been active and using your muscles, you’ll have depleted part of what you have in storage. It doesn’t matter when you eat the carbs to fill up that storage space; what matters is if you are consuming too much.

If you have small muscles or you don’t use them often, you’ll have less storage capacity and therefore need a lot fewer carbs. If you have bigger muscles and/or use them often, you’ll have the ability to enjoy epic proportions of those super delicious carbs.

If you work out first thing in the wee hours of the morning, a good carb meal before bedtime will actually increase your productivity/performance with your workouts.

How much protein do I need?

I wrote a blog about this! Be sure to click here to read more. So many people have heard that you need 1 gram per pound of body weight. I would argue that you do not. Proteins are vital for regenerating hair, nails, skin, muscle tissues, etc. But, we don’t need protein to help regenerate or maintain fat mass. It’s the lean mass that we care about.

For ladies, if you take your weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.65 to 0.8, this will fall in line with the number of grams of protein you need to eat each day. If you carry more body fat, you’ll need closer to the 0.65 grams. If you are quite lean, you’ll be closer to the 0.8. When I start to work with ladies online, I tend to average them around 0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

For males, body weight multiplied by 0.8 to 0.9 is a good general guide for protein gram intake. These numbers are based primarily on body fat. Protein grams at 0.65 per pound would be adequate for someone with 35% body fat. 0.8 is 20% body fat. 0.9 is 10% body fat.

What’s the best nutritional formula for fitness?

I recommend that everyone get a good mix of protein, fiber, good fats and good carbs in each meal or snack. For example, a snack of about 15 almonds and an apple is a perfect snack because the apple is considered a good carb and has a lot of fiber (which will make you feel full and nourish your body), while the almonds have protein and fiber and are considered a good fat.

Our bodies need a lot of healthy, good carbs (fruits & veggies) and good fats (nuts, nut butters, avocados, olive oil, etc.) and lots of lean protein to be nourished properly. Don’t rely heavily on just one thing. Mix your food types together to ensure proper absorption and to successfully nourish your body.

How much water do I need to drink?

One of the most important things you can do for your body is drink water. Be SURE you are drinking water all day long and consume at least half your body weight in ounces! I drink 100 ounces or more a day! And, I only drink water! A lot of times people tend to drink their calories. Most of my clients lose a lot of weight as soon as they eliminate drinks, alcohol, sugars, and simple carbs. Replace everything you used to drink with water and you will notice a huge difference in how you look and feel. Water flushes out toxins and is great for your skin, hair, organs, and brain.