This article is to show bodybuilders the various nutritional mistakes we make, and how to repair these problems to get better performance. Avoiding these blunders will help you get stronger, have fewer injuries, and ensure you stick around on this planet a little longer. Below are the top 10 nutritional mistakes that will keep you from reaching your ultimate potential in bodybuilding:
- Believing that real mean follow their diets 365 days a year. Nearly everyone says to build muscle or lose fat you should follow your diet 364 days a year. This is what bodybuilder John Lamare did during his first year of bodybuilding, but all that happened was an occasional all out spree – eating six chocolate bars in two minutes and fearing his next meal.
Are you determined to never eat another cookie, or to throw out ice cream completely? Giving up what you love is the worst thing you can do when you're trying to control your weight. You may long for what's forbidden when you are worried or unhappy – and binge. The beautiful part of working out and living a healthy lifestyle is that you don't have to get rid of your beloved treats forever. Schedule a cheat day every Sunday where you can have a Danish pastry or chocolate bar that you have been longing for all week.
- Drastic calorie cutting. A lot of dieters are swift to fault themselves for eating too much, in actual fact; some may not be eating enough. A diet too low in calories is counterproductive because your body slows down the metabolism to save body fuel, thus using a smaller amount of calories at rest and play. Basically, it tries to become more efficient, akin to going on a budget.
Eating too little will limit your gains, and will send your body into a catabolic state, so that it uses muscle for energy: definitely not the best way to build a superior physique.
- Eating too much. Surplus calories are stored as body fat. Building muscle is the number one objective of bodybuilding and body fat is the bodybuilder's number one foe. In addition to doing aerobic workouts, to lose fat and keep muscle you need to eat precise amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat. You need to become nutrient savvy, so read the labels on the food you eat.
- Not drinking enough water. Soda and coffees don't count. Though they are liquid beverages, the caffeine in both can in fact add to fluid loss through diuresis. When this occurs, the body starts storing water. Conventional wisdom tells you 6-8 glasses of water daily is adequate. You need more, since you're training for an unconventional physique.
- Skipping breakfast. Studies show that people who begin their day with a balanced breakfast are more successful at controlling diet and weight.
- Gorging on weekends. Professor of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina, Barry M. Popkin, says one of the biggest mistakes people make is that they gorge on weekends.
"They let go of their controls … they eat a lot more fat and alcohol on the weekend than they do during the week and it's the equivalent of around five or six extra pounds per year," Popkin says.
- Eating too much protein and not enough carbohydrates. The recent popularity of low-carb diets has a lot of people trying to fuel their workouts with poultry instead of pasta. Our muscles' stamina and performance comes from the glycogen in carbohydrates. A diet with too little carbs usually means a diet with too little water, and that can set you up for increased risk of injury and dehydration.
- Dieting impatiently. Many bodybuilders jump from one diet to another without ever giving the first program enough time to work. It takes at least three weeks for your body to become used to nutritional changes. You can look forward to seeing nutritional changes after about 21 days if you start a high carb, modest protein and low fat diet with reduced calories in order to lose fat.
- Failing to plan. "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Working out without a fixed exercise routine is like going on a trip without directions; you'll almost certainly wind up getting lost. Solicit the help of a competent personal trainer to design a good resistance training and aerobic program. Buy one of the numerous handbooks on fitness programming and teach yourself the fundamentals.
- Not changing your calorie plan as you lose weight. Most people attach their calorie intake to a specified number and look forward to losing weight at the same steady rate over a period of weeks. If you want to lose weight at a constant rate, you must repeatedly:
- Reduce your calorie intake to adapt to the calorie expenditure drop
- Increase your calorie output by exercising more
Weight loss on a successful diet is usually slow and steady and the scales can be misleading because muscle is heavier than fat. You should weigh yourself once a week at most and at the same time of the day – first thing in the morning. You should also keep in mind how noteworthy each pound that you lose is. One pound in weight is equivalent to 3500 calories – so if you lose one pound per week, it means that you have reduced your calorie intake by 500 per day.