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Is diet an important aspect of the gym?

Diet is hands down the most crucial element to building a physique. It is also the most misunderstood and neglected by the inexperienced gym goer. Learning to implement correct dietary practices, supplemented by a good training regime, guarantees quick progression in the gym.

Fundamentals of Dieting

Part 1

  • The right types of food

Part 2

  •  Counting calories and macro-nutrients

Part 3

  • Bulking

part 4

  • Cutting

The right types of Food

Before I was aware of the importance of diet, I ate whatever I wanted. This was fine at first, but I soon got to a stage where my progress slowed. I knew my diet was the cause of this plateau so I began my journey to fix it.

The first question I had was, what foods should I eat? After acquiring some knowledge, it soon became apparent that the foods I was consuming were far too processed. My body couldn’t utilise them as effectively and they lacked the nutrients that are essential to growth.

Whole foods, specifically nutrient dense ones should make up the basis of a diet.

What are whole Foods?

Whole foods are simply foods with none – minimal processing. E.g

  • vegetables
  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Lamb
  • seafood
  • eggs
  • fruit
  • nuts
  • legumes
  • grains

There’s a lot of controversy over dairy and whether we should consume it or not. But regardless of your decision, you need a source of calcium which can be found in almond milk or products alike if you refuse to eat dairy.

A simple test is to take your grandma shopping with you and if she doesn’t recognise something, don’t buy it. Alternatively, look at the ingredient profile of the item you wish to buy. If there are any additives or artificial substances then it’s not a whole food.

What are nutrient dense Foods?

Nutrient dense foods are foods crammed full of micronutrients ( vitamins and minerals). Most whole foods are nutrient dense, but to ensure you are getting enough nutrients, be sure to consume a decent variety of whole foods, Not just chicken and rice. Very simply, nutrients are essential to keep your body functioning at peak performance.

Why is chicken and rice so popular?

If you really want to get pedantic about dieting. Another factor to take into consideration is digestion. The easier the food you are consuming is to digest, the more efficiently the body can utilise the food and nutrients. When eating a lot, if your food isn’t digesting quickly enough, it builds up in the stomach, leading to bloat and further digestion problems. Chicken and rice is commonly consumed because it is the fastest digesting, healthy meal. Containing lean protein and low fibre carbohydrates.

Fibre and fat slow down digestion.

What do I eat?

Protein 

  • Chicken
  • Steak
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Whey
  • Eggs
  • Acidophilus yogurt

Carbohydrates

For Energy

  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Kumara
  • Potatoes
  • Banana

For Nutrients

  • Leafy greens
  • Frozen veggie mix
  • Seasonal fruits

Fats

  •  Natural nut butters
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Coconut oil
  • avocado

My experience

When I first began eating clean, I wasn’t a big fan of whole foods.  In comparison to processed foods rich in sugar and salt, their flavour profiles were inferior. Fortunately, this changed after my first cut. Once I got really lean, my hunger became so fierce that even the blandest foods e.g. plain oats, would be delicious.

As I transitioned into my bulk, I was worried that my love for bland food would disappear. To my surprise, as my body fat increased, I was still a big fan of foods that I had previously disliked.

This experience made eating healthy in general a lot easier as I now have an appreciation for the taste of plain whole foods.

I noticed changes to my physique within a week of eating clean. My gut was less distended because my food was digesting a lot quicker. It also got rid of a lot of the water I was carrying in my face and muscles. They still looked the same size, just firmer and more shapely.

Over a long period of time, eating clean will result in the following

  • More lean mass
  • Better gym performance
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Leaner physique
  • Higher nutrient intake
  • Larger food intake
  • Better pumps
  • More energy, less lethargy

 

Along with doing wonders for your health outside of the gym. Eating a diet consisting of whole foods will miraculously transform your gym experience.

Gyming without a clean diet is like showering without soap.

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