In Are You Guilty Of These 7 Muscle Building Diet Mistakes? I explained a few foundational remedies to help you build a solid base of muscle – 7 essential principles to get you from scrawny to brawny. Here I will expand and explain 7 more diet crimes you may be committing on the path to your ultimate physique.
Of course you know by now that you need adequate amounts of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats and also enough calories to facilitate your hard training, but what about a few of the details? What about some of the small things flying under your nutritional radar otherwise unnoticed?
Below are 7 practices that can sabotage your efforts, slow your gains and ultimately prevent you from building the body you want. Read on about how to identify these crimes and finally leave no stone unturned for a better, more effective diet plan.
1. You’re Always Starting Over
Are you an “I’ll start on Monday” type of person? Are you always in reinvention mode, constantly restarting your big transformational plan? Where has it gotten you? Not very far I can guess. It’s time to stop always starting. It’s time to start exactly where you are right now and commit to a plan of action.
Make it right: Your plan of action doesn’t need to be perfect or with all the details worked out. You just need to start. Execute a single step, one small action and then build from there. Discipline isn’t an overnight occurrence; it’s built brick by brick over time until you have a solid foundation of positive habits and desirable outcomes. You will stumble and fall at times but just keep moving forward little by little.
2. You Eat Too Many Processed Carbs
We are constantly being inundated with so called health foods full of promises of low sugar, low sodium and superior health benefits. The truth is many of those claims are only partially true. Many of these products are highly processed and far from their original, natural state leaving you with little nutritional value and, ultimately with few results.
Make it right: Nothing will ever replace real food. Processed starchy carbs only raise insulin levels, increase insulin resistance and leave you feeling tired and listless. Be sure you are getting enough of the right kinds of carbs: Sweet and white potatoes, brown, wild and white rice, 100% whole wheat bread and oatmeal. Not only will your body know how to process these foods properly, they are also nutrient dense to help facilitate hard training.
3. You’re Unprepared
Professional bodybuilders, physique athletes and fitness models have one thing (among many) in common: They are always prepared. Are you? Constantly searching for the right kinds of foods when you are at work, out at an event or somewhere with friends isn’t the right path to be on when a better physique is what you’re after. Winging it won’t do – you need to be prepared on a daily basis.
Make it right: Start planning your meals at least a day ahead of time. Cook big amounts of chicken, turkey, rice and potatoes on Sunday so you are never without a meal being ready. Also, get used to packing a cooler full of those pre-prepped foods so you are always within reach of the proper nutrition you need. Stop getting caught in the rain without your raincoat!
4. You Eat Too Much Processed Meat
Much like the processed carbs mentioned above, processed meats are a big no-no as well. Sure, once in a great while processed meats are okay but never on a consistent basis. Packed with fillers, preservatives (yes, even the all-natural kind has these), sodium and other foreign, subpar proteins processed meats are last on the list for quality.
Make it right: Lunch meat, hotdogs, sausage, bacon and other man-constructed meats should be eaten sparingly at best. Choose chicken, beef, turkey and fish – free range if possible. Also, don’t be afraid to eat other sources of protein such as bison and other wild meats. Of course you also have an arsenal of non-meat protein-filled sources such as Greek yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese and whey protein.
5. You Eat Too Much Sugar
Along the same lines as too many processed carbs, too much sugar can wreak havoc on not only your energy levels and muscle-building potential but you can also do damage to your insulin sensitivity and overall health. Too much sugar is increasingly being linked to a myriad of health problems from diabetes to elevated cholesterol levels.
Make it right: On the muscle front, a high sugar intake will severely sabotage your efforts in the gym robbing you of the sustained energy and muscle glycogen uptake. An intake of complex carbs will keep insulin levels at bay and your blood sugar levels steady. Try eliminating your added sugar intake. A cheat meal once per week is fine but try keeping your diet mainly clean and complex in nature.
6. Your Meal Timing Is Off
Skipping a high-protein breakfast, grabbing a quick lunch when you can and then fitting in dinner into a packed schedule isn’t the way to a better body nor is it any way to live. Meal timing isn’t just about bookending your training with whey protein powder and pre and post workout supplement drinks. It’s about getting in your required meals at the same times each and every day. It’s about being prepared so you won’t have to grab and go when it’s the most convenient.
Make it right: Write out your daily schedule of eating for the day. If you’re like most Americans you will most-likely have a pretty set schedule each day of the work week. Sure, you may have a bump in the road here and there regarding certain things coming up during your day, but if you are prepared ahead of time with pre-cooked meals you’ll see how much easier it is to stick to your schedule and get those meals in.
7. You Don’t Eat Enough “Other” Foods
So, you are sticking to your plan of action, are eating the right amounts and kinds of proteins and carbs and you’re prepared and eating on a strict schedule. What’s left? By other foods I mean fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and other micronutrients vital to building muscle, losing fat and improving overall health.
Make it right: Be sure you are getting in copious amounts of vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, salads, and peppers among many others. Also, a variety of fruits such as apples, bananas and blueberries are packed with antioxidants. Lastly, don’t forget about healthy fat options such as olive oil, nut butters and avocado. These nutrients will not only fill in the gaps to your overall diet plan, they will also provide much-needed satiety while on a reduced calorie eating plan.