Several time a week someone will approach me and say something like "Man, you are jacked. Do you compete? What do you eat?". They will often continue to explain that a close relative or friend also competes and follows some form of low carb diet or intermittent fasting program. I estimate I get more diet related questions than any other type. Talking further with these folks, I find the level of misconception surrounding what one should eat to gain or lose weight is remarkable. So I am here to tell you what you eat is the most important factor in losing or gaining weight. It is vastly more important than the workouts you do, the supplements you ingest or even the steroids you take. I would say that if your diet is not correct you might as well not even go to the gym.
Diet is also the most difficult aspect to maintain of any fitness plan. I love to go to the gym and pour my heart into my workout, to really give it my all. Now to go home after my workout and have chicken and brown rice is no fun! Going to a corporate dinner or friends dinner party and not be able to eat some of the foods served is difficult to say the least. Going to the gym is hard work. Not eating what you want, or as much as you want, is pure discipline.
I have trained at many gyms across the country and something I see everywhere is the well built guy that is probably 25% body fat. He is tearing it up on the weights and is pretty strong but he looks 5 months pregnant. I know this guy because I was once this guy too. When I walked out of the gym, it didn't matter what I ate, after all I just worked out, and hard too. Then I would flip open the muscle magazine and wonder how these guys got so ripped. As I look back, I wonder why this was not a no-brainer for me. They ate for those results!
I will also see the individual who shows up to the gym religiously and pours his or her heart into their workout, yet they look the same as they did 2 years ago. When you ask them how their training is going they talk about plateauing but come to find out they have not adjusted their eating habits.
No matter what if your goal is to lose weight or put on muscle, get your diet in check. That does not mean you are condemned to a monastic life of chicken and asparagus, but you need to have a plan. It is really not that hard to do. In future posts and videos I will outline the basics for a purpose driven diet that can be both satisfying and rewarding as well. After all, the ice cream will taste all that much better when you haven't had any for several weeks.