If you’ve read my training philosophy page, I start it off by praising simplicity. Just like training I don’t overcomplicate my nutrition and keep it plain as day when I am in my competitive season. When I don’t have any shows on the horizon, I will allow myself to have some unordinary foods, well, unordinary for me. I’m not a nutritionist, but I know that a body works in repetitions, that’s how you train yourself in the gym and out of the gym. By repeating a pattern, you create a habit.
When it comes to our bodies and the way they function, all depends on how we choose to program it through repetitions at a very early age. For example, if you form a habit of eating only a few times a day for years, your body will make it a habit to utilize those few meals and make sure everything is getting it’s proper nutrients. It will be programmed to function on those few meals, because the consistency of having those several meals over the years has made that kind of eating a habit. Like teaching a dog tricks over a period of time, through repetitive actions they learn what you would expect of them to. In the same pattern, since your early days through your actions, you teach your body to adapt to a system.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”Aristotle
A diet is something that people tend to do temporarily, but once they come off their diet, they go back to their usual eating habits and the body goes back to looking like it used to before they started dieting – unless that diet becomes part of the lifestyle and develops into a habit, hence reprograming your body over time to get used to this different kind of nutrition plan. Basically, it will fight tooth and nail to go back to it’s programmed state. That’s why I feel that diets don’t work for long term goals, but merely a temporary solution. You have to synch your mind and body to work together and listen to it. Don’t go on a diet, but pick a nutrition plan that is comfortable to apply to your lifestyle, something that you can live with and won’t get fed up with over time, kind of like choosing a career, think of this nutrition plan as a long-term investment. Be a little flexible with timing and specific types of foods when you pick your plan. Tracking your macros is another great way to make sure you know exactly what you are getting to meet your goals, just like tracking your progress in the mirror by taking a photo of your current shape every week. Notice how I say track by the mirror, not a scale. A lot of times, you’ll look in the mirror and be happy with how you are progressing, then step on a scale and get discouraged because the weight had not changed, or changed in the opposite direction of where you were trying to make it go, yet you look better than you did the last time you stepped on scale. After all, that’s what we should all be after, bettering ourselves and constantly improving, small improvements are better than no improvements, therefore chasing a number that constantly changes is not always the best idea. If you are happy with what you see in front of you when you look in the mirror, you know you’re on the right track. Scale won’t tell you a lot of different factors, including body mass index, body fat and bone density.
Everyone sets different goals they’d like to reach, adjust your nutrition according to those goals. Myself, being a hardgainer, I had a hard time grasping the concept of eating a lot. It wasn’t until I started eating until I was full, 6-7 times a day, every day, that I started seeing an increase in size. I called it “see-food diet”, where I ate everything I’d see.
“To sculpt, we must first have concrete.”
I knew even back then, that if I didn’t keep my eating consistent, it would take a lot longer than I would intend it to. I knew I was going to have body fat increase along with my size, I accepted that. I recall my weight being 175lbs. Eating felt like force feeding most of the time, but I had a goal to reach and I wasn’t going to stop until I got there. Once I reached a desired weight of 205lbs, (heaviest I’ve ever been) I started looking into ways to adjust my eating accordingly. I added just enough cardio to make sure I’m decreasing my body fat little by little, all while being very paranoid about burning off any muscle I had gained. with a revamped training style and nutrition plan I had dropped to 190lbs, the weight I felt content with, which was also the time I decided to stop weighing myself. From this point on, I’ve incorporated clean eating into my lifestyle and started looking into ways to gain only lean muscle mass while keeping body fat at bay. These days I continue to grow, even in my competitive season. My meals are typically split into 45% protein, 45% carbs, 10% fats. Those are rough estimates as I don’t weigh or monitor my food intake too closely, I listen to my body and adjust accordingly.
In order for something to work, you have to give it time, there is nothing better than personal gratification, especially after a long term commitment. Don’t overcomplicate things, keep everything simple and flexible, otherwise you might forget why you started in the first place and get sidetracked. There are plenty of ways to satisfy your cravings with healthy alternatives. If you’re a big desert junkie and crave sugar, stay away from refined sugar and substitute desert for fruit, your sodas and juice replace with water (unsweetened flavored tea is a great, cold or hot), fried food for grilled food. Simple changes like this will help better introduce you to healthy eating and allow your body to slowly adapt to new eating habits, instead of going straight into extreme diets and latest nutrition fads. Look into supplementation that can aid in fat loss if that’s the route you’re taking, you can read about some of the supplements I recommend here. Here are my simple key points that you can try following to help you get started: