We've all been there... “I want to put on some muscle”
“I want to get shredded”
“My abs are under here... somewhere!”
Countless times I've spoken to people, often putting in excess of 10 hours in the gym weekly, struggling to make any real progress. I mean, that guy you see in the gym without fail, day in day out? hitting failure on the same weights? with the same rep ranges? You can bet on the fact that the reason his progress has halted isn't because of what he's doing in the gym, but more so what he isn't doing in the kitchen. Fun fact of the day: The most fundamental piece of the fitness puzzle is... Yep, you guessed it! Diet!
The most overlooked and underestimated key to physique success i'm afraid to say, is kitchen discipline! In this article I will cover the good, the bad and the down right ugly about dieting do's and dont's, and the big 3 macro nutrients. In this blog, i'll be discussing macronutrients. Not to devalue micronutrients but just to save this turning into a 20 page essay. Lets get started! Protein. Carbs. Fats. Also known as the big 3. Put simply, Macronutrients. These are the things calories are made of.
Ahh. Here we are. Probably the most frequently used word in amongst fitness enthusiast's and bodybuilders alike. “What is protein” I hear you ask? To put it bluntly, protein is the building block of life. Its what we're made of. All of our organs are made from proteins, and yes, that includes muscle! There's a lot more to why and how our body breaks down proteins into
amino acids, however for now, all you need to worry about is that you're getting enough protein in. For men, that would be 1 – 1.5 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight, 0.8 – 1 gram per lb for females. So for a typical 150lb male that would be between 150 to 225 grams. However much protein you decide to eat, you need to ensure that the allocated amount is evenly split through your daily meals.
Sources of protein: Chicken breast Fish Beef Eggs Steak Whey protein powder Carbohydrates:
Probably the most speculated of the 3 macronutrients. Many different people have many different theory's on carbs, weather they're necessary, and how many to eat.
Firstly i'll explain what they are. To put it simply, carbohydrates = energy. When carbs are eaten, the body breaks them down, and converts them into glucose, glycogen and lots of other good stuff witch the body uses primarily for fuel. Sounds great right? Not so fast! When the body gets fed carbs in excess, it produces excessive glucose. Excess glucose that does not get used, gets stored as fat. So you can understand the importance of getting the balance right. If gaining muscle is your primary goal, then you'll want to make sure you're eating enough carbs from clean, unprocessed sources. However, if loosing weight is the goal, then you'll want to consider a lower carb diet. Sources of carbohydrates: Rice Pasta Potato's Bread Oats Grains “But what can I eat if I cut my carbs down” I hear you ask!? Well that leads me onto the next macronutrient... Fat.
The most tainted word in the dieting game... fat. Any supermarket you go to, you will always see alternative foods branded as “low fat” or “fat free”. But why?! What's so bad about fats? Surely they make you fat right? Its a common misconception that if you eat fat, then you'll put on fat. But guess what? Thats not the case. Yep, you did just read that right. Woah woah woah, hold on a minuite. That doesn't mean you can deep fry everything and still loose weight. There are a few different types of fats, witch ill briefly touch on. Good fats and bad fats. Good fats = Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated Bad fats = Trans fats / Hydrogenated fats Fats do have a place in diets for many people and there is a direct link between fat consumption and increased testosterone production. As mentioned above, if your goal is to gain muscle, you'll want to keep your fat intake quite moderate, as you will be getting the majority of your calories from carbohydrates, but this is where it gets interesting. If your goal is to loose weight, and you've already lowered your carbs, then the majority of your calories will come from the fats you eat coupled with proteins. Good fat sources: Olive oil, Coconut oil, Nuts, Avocados, Nut butters
Wether you are a fully fledged IFBB pro, or whether you've stepped foot in the gym for the first time today, diet is critical! I hope you have been able to take something away from this article, however big or small. Always remember, dieting is trial and error. It really is about experimenting with different foods and different amounts until you find the “sweet spot” that works best for yourself Thanks for reading and happy dieting!