Why you should eat like a bodybuilder! The tips and tricks competitors use that can help you!
When people think of bodybuilders they imagine tiny portions and boring food. They can't possibly imagine how aspects of the competitors approach could be used for someone looking to lose some weight,tone up or build some muscle. In reality, bodybuilders preparing for competitions are really just using the same basic principles in a more specific manner! Here are 5 ways we eat when preparing for a show and how they could help you no matter what your goal:
1. The FOCUS on food: Food is fuel in its most basic form, its only as the human species has developed agriculture and farming that we no longer just focus on getting food, but also what it tastes like. Bodybuilders treat food purely as fuel, focussing on the properties of the food that are going to fill a specific nutritional need. Changing the way you THINK about food can help you to focus more on what you should be putting in your body, and less about what taste and texture your brain is craving at that point in time!
2. Macros: For many people, getting your macros right is the one basic rule they never break. Generally speaking, bodybuilders daily and even weekly diet is pre planned, taking the difficultly out of trying to navigate your days macros. If you have not or are not counting your Macros (proteins,carbs and fats), then I recommend doing it even for just a month. It will help you to understand just what is in your food and the amount you need to eat to help you burn fat while not driving yourself crazy hungry. If you can, plan your days macros like a bodybuilder to prevent poor decisions during your day and take choice out of the equation.
3. Frequency of meals: Almost every bodybuilder I know eats regularly. There are some key reasons for this! Firstly, it can help to control appetite and cravings to eat smaller amounts more regularly. It also prevents you overloading your system with calories and nutrients in massive servings later on because you are hungry and need food. Some people argue it does not matter when you eat your calories, just that you do not exceed your macro requirement. This is rubbish and flies in the face of every scientific concept of our bodies. Common sense tells you when you eat big portions you feel tired, bloated and lethargic as your digestive system works over time to digest and process the food.
4. Timing of food: There is always a lot of difference of opinion on this, but I always fall back on principles of physiology and biochemistry. The fact is your bodies requirements change over the course of the day, so your food requirements do as well. I personally time my carbohydrate intake around my gym session, and taper carbs off over the course of the day. Clearly I do not need to 50g of carbs when I am about to go to sleep for 8 hours. My coaches food program for my competition diet is structured to give me what I need when I need it.
5. Quality of food: We are surrounded by processed food, shaped into forms that have refined and concentrated calories. Everybody knows chicken breast is better for you then a burger patty! Bodybuilders eat "clean" food because its better for the body, causes less gut inflammation, has less calories per gram and is less likely to end up being stored as fat. All reasons that fit everybodies diet. Its tough completely changing your diet from takeaway food to veggies, rice and chicken, so do not expect it to happen quickly. Your body and brain have adapted to what you have been eating over your whole life time. My advice is each week or fortnight, pick TWO things you can change to make your diet better. Maybe its swapping cereal or toast for an omelette, or cutting the amount of sauce you use. The overall aim that I live by when I am out of competition is 70% of the time eating clean, 20% not too bad, and 10% is my cheat meal time.
So there you have it! You may not want to LOOK like a bodybuilder and live their lifestyle, but if you want to improve your body then you can simply use the same principles to an extent that fits with your lifestyle and goal!