One aspect of fitness – arguably the most important aspect – always seems to fall through the cracks.

You can work out eight days a week if you want but if you’re eating rubbish, no amount of crunches or cardio is going to give you washboard abs, ripped arms and a tight rear view.

Even the genetically blessed types who can eat Double Downs for breakfast and Big Macs for dessert without gaining a pound can potentially gain more lean mass or cut more fat by eating the right stuff. Everyone’s workout regime can always be tweaked to achieve faster and more satisfying results but more often than not, the accompanying eating plan is what will make or break the outcome.

Certain genetic make-ups do allow for more lenient nutritional choices but many require precision and discipline. Everyone’s body is different, and even closely following a meal plan from a fitness magazine serves as merely a guideline or a starting point. From there, it takes a lot of patience to find the right strategy for your body.

Although counting calories and monitoring carbs, protein and fat intake is a very effective method and, some would argue, a necessity, it can be a slightly daunting learning curve. For a more basic and less numbers-oriented method, websites like absdiet.com or magazines like Men’s Health or Women’s Health are an awesome place to start.

Like I mentioned last issue, clean eating requires realistic, achievable goals.

Personally, I love food. One way I stay sane is allowing myself treats in moderation.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a homemade cookie to eat.

Read more from Jenn at inthebeginningwasmuscle.wordpress.com.