In a perfect world, bodybuilders build muscle and lose fat, for those lifters who are trying to speed up the process, however, most quickly realize that most diets don't work for long term weight loss. Diets focus instead on reducing weight and actually will strip vital muscle, undoing everything you're trying to accomplish at the gym. The keys to long term weight loss for bodybuilders are quite simply, calories and carbohydrates. Your body today is a mirror of everything you've consumed over the last six months. Changing your lifestyle and the choices you make regarding the food you put into your body is the only way you'll see long term weight loss. Following are a few tips to help you.
- Start taking stock of everything you eat in one day. So much of what we actually put into our bodies gets there unconsciously. If you don't know what your current problems are – it's difficult to implement a regime to overcome them.
- Realize from the beginning that your goal is long term. Change will take time and effort. To avoid feeling frustrated, test and record your body fat level every two months. Avoid the scale more than once a week. Set a realistic goal of ½ to 1 pound per week.
- Eat larger meals in the morning. Dinner should be the lowest caloric meal of the day.
- Drink at least 2 liters of water every day. Not realizing the importance of water in their diets is the biggest mistake most beginning bodybuilders make.
- Reduce fat and salt intake in your diet.
- Plan your days to include a low calorie day following a day of unusually high calories.
- Do your training in the morning rather than the evening. You'll burn fat quicker as your metabolism is usually higher in the morning than in the evening.
- Make sure that you're doing resistive weight training at least 3-4 times a week. Your rest period between sets should be no more than 60 seconds.
- Limit your workouts to one hour to keep anabolic hormones high and catabolic hormones low. Overtraining will burn muscle as well as fat.
- Use High Intensity Training (HIT) rather than long cardiovascular workouts 2-3 times a week on alternate days of weight training. This training program will burn fat and increase your metabolism.
- Avoid low fat or fat free products that are loaded with carbohydrates and simple sugars.
- Complex carbohydrates should be eaten in moderation. This will reduce insulin output and prevent fluctuations in blood sugar. High insulin levels are responsible for the body's inability to burn stored fat for energy.
- Substituteoatmeal, lentils and brown rice for breads, pasta, white rice and other processed, low-fiber carb sources. High carbohydrate diets will not encourage fat loss and still preserve lean muscle.
- Carbohydrate intake should be no more than .8 to 1.2 grams per pound of body weight. An easy way to calculate is (weight x .08) /150 x1.2 = grams of acceptable carbs.
- Food of choice should be high quality, low fat proteins such as lean red meat, skinless chicken, and seafood.
- If necessary, add protein supplements to increase the amount of lean protein. This will increase metabolism and anabolic hormones while preventing muscle loss.
- Avoid saturated fats by substituted flax oil or olive oil and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats are a necessary part of your diet.
- Omega-3 oils will improve fat loss as well as health. Eat plenty of fish. Your best bets are tuna, salmon, red snapper, cod, haddock, flounder, perch and sea bass.
- Fibrous vegetables will improve weight loss and digestion. Raw vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower are excellent choices to reduce your appetite while supplying the necessary fiber.
- Eat 5-6 meals per day to improve fat loss by preventing fluctuations in blood sugar.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.
Putting the tips given above into practice just may not be as simple as you think. The success of any long term weight loss plan in is your ability to set personal goals, track your successes regardless of how minute they may be and keep your eye on the end result. Many bodybuilders actually hire personal chefs or catering companies to provide their meals as it can be difficult to prepare foods according to a strict regime. Other options include purchasing a diet plan that is endorsed by a professional bodybuilder. While these can be costly, the time you'll save trying to figure this out on your own could be worth the investment. A few of the programs on the market today include programs for beginners, competitors, and even older bodybuilders who have hit plateaus for muscle gain.
Stick to It!
Once you decide whether you can implement your weight loss program on your own or whether you decide you need help, the options are endless. The key, however, is to find a program you're comfortable with and stick to it. Once you start making lifestyle changes, you'll find that your body no longer craves sweets and high carbohydrate foods. The first 30 days will be the most difficult, after that, however, healthy eating will become the norm instead of the challenge. Another way to make it easier to stick to your diet is to partner with others who have the same goals. It's a lot easier to be around people who are working towards the same end result than those who have no problem waving a chocolate bar or bag of chips in your face. Long term weight loss is a long term goal. Your success will rely on your level of commitment and your ability to see the end result, however far in the future it may be.