The journey to a better body isn’t just about exercise; it’s also about eating the right type of food. Even the people that seem to be blessed with being able to eat what they want, when they want won’t make the most of their body without good nutrition and if you are genuinely looking for a better body, then nutrition is the key. However, it’s easy to make nutrition mistakes. Avoid ruining your game plan for a fitter, leaner body by reading the five nutrition mistakes that make the difference between fitter and fatter!
1.Not Eating Enough
You might think that by skipping meals and drastically reducing your food intake that you’ll drop weight and you’re right, you will. However, the weight-loss will only be short term because your body soon adapts to a restricted diet and once you start eating “normally” again, it will pile on those pounds quicker than ever before and hold onto as much fat as it can to prevent “famine” again. Also, simply put, your body needs calories for energy, if there’s not enough coming in, it won’t have enough to burn. Equally, if you’re looking to build muscle then not consuming enough calories won’t work. You will dramatically lose muscle mass and strength. Every person is different so you need to work out how many calories you need every day to perform to the optimum. Try a calorie counter and then divide up your calories as follows: 40% from carbohydrates, 30% from protein and the rest from fats. To really boost your muscle mass and increase fat loss, double your daily allowance of protein. Another interesting tip to help is that the bigger your muscles, the more calories you burn – whether training or relaxing. So make sure you consume the right amount of calories for your body.
2. Avoiding Fat Completely
You need fat as well as exercise but it’s far better for your body to consume “good” fat. Avoid sweets, chocolate, cake and pastries (you can enjoy these in moderation) and eat quinoa, avocado, and nuts for example. If you’re looking to shed some pounds, reducing your fat consumption is best but never totally eliminate fat from your diet, especially if you’re bodybuilding. Also, remember, your body needs some fat to build the hormones that turn protein into muscle. Not to mention for men particularly over 30 and 40, healthy fats are important to boost testosterone.
3. Blasting Through Your Calorie Ceiling At The End Of The Day
The end of the day is the point when there is usually the most risk of blowing through your daily calorie ceiling. It’s easy to be templated to eat more when feeling hungry after a long day, but if you’ve eaten well through the day try not to blow it by going overboard at dinner. You’ll have less time to burn off any excess calories and eating too much before bed is likely to increase your risk of poor sleep as the body is digesting (particularly problematic with processed, refined, calorific foods). For dinner, try to increase your protein and have moderate carbs with some healthy fats – typically a ratio of 40/40/20 will work for most people who are exercising regularly. Avoid simple, refined sugars where possible and if you fancy something sweet, opt for berry fruits or bananas which are high in potassium, a natural sleep aid. It’s worth noting that having carbs with proteins in fats can reduce their insulin impact.
4. Cutting Carbs Completely
You probably think that you should cut back on carbs and yes, you should reduce your intake if you’re consuming too much for your energy expenditure. However, cutting out carbs entirely restricts your body from getting the fuel it needs to perform well. Certain simple carbs can be removed from your diet (or limited), such as chips, crisps, cake, white rice, white bread etc. but you can eat carbs, just ensure you’re not overeating them through the day. One way to do this is to eat them early in the day and reduce intake in the evening (point 3) and/or ensure any you eat are fibre rich like wholegrains. Sadly, beer and other alcohol should be limited over the course of the week for maximum benefit. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, just enjoy it with some control.
5. Eating Gluten Free and Lactose Free
Of course, if you’re gluten-intolerant or lactose-intolerant then you must remove these from your diet. However, if you can tolerate gluten and lactose don’t avoid them. It’s better to focus on removing refined food and processed food from your daily diet.