Optimal Nutrition will give you the best potential for gaining results from effective training. For the average lifter, either too much emphasis is placed on their own diet or not enough - and eliminating these common mistakes will make sure you stay away from either end of that spectrum:
1. Thinking 'More Is Better'
With phrases like 'bulk up', 'off season', 'winter bulking' and others like 'cutting', 'shredding' and 'leaning out', it's no wonder that people associate muscle building with excessive food eating. No matter how hard you try, you cannot accelerate muscle growth simply by eating more. If you eat very very little, or the wrong thing then eating more of the right things will definitely help - but gorging yourself on whatever you can find is a fast way to becoming the Michelin Man - Fat. The human body does not need a lot of food to grow and maintain, as long as you give it the right things. Learn more about what your body needs here.
2. Relying Too Much On Nutrition
An Optimal Diet alone never gave anyone their dream physique. It may help you lose some body fat, but without optimal training it really doesn't matter how good your diet is, those muscles aren't going to grow. The person on a bad diet who trains well and with Intensity will obtain better results than the person on a perfect diet who does not train well. The workout is the stimulus and the diet is the supplement, no stimulus = no growth. Learn how to train optimally here.
3. Neglecting Fat
Most people on a 'Fitness Journey' have the best intentions, they want to get fit, healthy, lean, strong, look good and be happy. Yet very few actually know how to do it. Dietary Fat has one of the worst reputations of anything in the media. 'Fat will kill you, don't eat fat - fat is unhealthy'. The tragedy is that it is exactly the opposite. There are vitamins that you can only get from Fat, building blocks for blood vessels, muscles and organs that only Fat provides - and an unlimited supply of energy that comes with metabolising dietary fat as well as your own body fat that far surpasses Glucose (Carbohydrates). Fat also has no effect on Insulin - the hormone that when stimulated and raised transports excess energy to your fat stores. Meaning that dietary fat is very, very rarely stored as fat on the body unless eaten along with plenty of carbohydrates (high insulin stimulation).
4. Eating Too Often
Today, there is a constant fear that at any one time your body is 'starving'. That it's running out of Protein by the minute, and that food 'over there' is going to save your life and your 'gains'. Well, it will be a huge relief to you to know that your body is incredible, and is more energy efficient then the best piece of man made technology in existence. If you eat a meal, it will make energy out of it, rebuild damaged cells with it, maintain healthy cells, and replenish stored energy for when energy intake is low. All this takes at least 4-5 hours. Chances are that when you reach for the 'life-saving' snack, your body is still digesting the last meal you had, the nutrients have not even been released yet, and the nutrients that are currently replenishing your body and running through your blood stream are from the meal before that, or even the night before. We must learn to leave at least 3 hrs between meals, and let insulin levels recover. Controlling metabolism and insulin is key to staying lean and building muscle. More info on Optimal Dieting here.
5. Obsessing About Carbs
Carbohydrates are the only non-essential dietary macro-nutrient. You could never eat another carb for your entire life and be absolutely fine - and probably healthier too. However, stop eating protein and fat and you will start to waste away and die within a few weeks. Carbohydrate or Glucose does not form part of the structure of any human cell. Glucose can be stored in muscle cells, organs and be used as energy - but it is completely unnecessary to obtain huge amounts of Glucose from your diet. Your body can manufacture Glucose from Protein and Fat, and only the exact amount it needs. Trying to get Glucose from your diet is basically playing a guessing game as to how much your body needs at any one time. It spikes insulin levels, and makes it more likely for it to be stored as fat. You must change your perception of Carbohydrate to get the most from your nutrition. Click here to find out how much of each nutrient you need.
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