The passion and aspiration to build fast muscles can sometimes relate to the risk of undermining your health if one don’t eat or drink the right food. To be a successful bodybuilder you should eat a healthy balanced diet comprising of carbohydrate, protein and fat. Eating a well nutritious diet starts from the grocery store. Things you buy from the grocery store will determine your eating habits. By choosing fruits, vegetables and fibre rich foods and leaving sodium, fat, and sugar-filled junk will make it much easier for you to make healthy food choices at home when you are starving and eat whatever comes to your sight.
CAN’T TOUCH THIS
Top performing athletes know that nutrition is king when it comes to gaining an edge over their competitors. However, no matter what your goal is—carving out your six-pack, increasing your stamina—the gateway to success lies on your plate. An athlete’s diet is more than just calories in and calories out—it’s fuel. The right foods increase your energy, promote muscle growth, and aid in muscle repair. The wrong ones set you back. When it comes to chowing down, there are certain eats a serious athlete just won’t touch.
Rice cakes have long held a “healthy” reputation, but the staple diet snack is practically empty—nutritionally speaking. Yes, they do boast a low calorie count, but athletes need calories to keep their energy levels up. Not to mention these crunchy little snacks will send your blood sugar soaring. Rice cakes can have a glycemic index as high as 91, not far off from pure glucose, which has an index of 100. For better carbs, grab an English muffin or some fruit instead, suggests White.
Artificial sugar is a definite no, but chowing down on too much of the real thing is just as bad. While active guys can afford to take in more calories than the average man, it doesn’t mean they’re scarfing down sugary foods on the daily. No athlete gets to the top of his game, and stays there, by starting his day off with a big bowl of oat cereal and marshmallows. Too much sugar also causes a spike in insulin, priming your body to store more fat.
Athletes see each meal as an opportunity to refuel—How much protein can I fit into this meal? How can I add more good fats? —because it’s what drives their performance. Nutritionally void foods like artificial sweeteners have no place in their diet. Not only do they offer no health benefits, but consuming artificially sweetened foods like a can of diet soda per day could significantly increase your risk for health problems and weight gain, says a study out of Purdue University. Artificial sweeteners trick the body into thinking it’s consuming real food, and because they’re over a hundred times sweeter than the real thing, your body starts producing insulin (the fat storage hormone). You’re better off consuming the real stuff in moderation.
Canned soup might be convenient, but most of the time they’re no healthier for you than other highly processed snacks–their long shelf life should tip you off. “Some soups are so processed and high in sodium that it trumps over the health benefits. I would opt for low-sodium or homemade instead,” says Jim White, RD. The body needs sodium to function properly, but too much can lead to high blood pressure.
Says Jim White, “White pastas, rice, and breads are OK, [but not ideal] because they are stripped of their nutrients and fiber.” Refined white flour is made from stripping the fiber, wheat germ, and essential B vitamins from the wheat kernel—what’s left is a highly processed food product, and when consumed, raises insulin levels and contributes to dips in energy and weight gain. Stick to whole-grain products; those made of white flour are not going to give you lasting energy.
Whether from the concession stand or popped in the microwave, this movie staple has got no place in a fit man’s diet. Saturated with unhealthy fats, unearthly levels of sodium, and in some cases, laced with chemicals, popcorn does not fuel an athlete’s body for a strenuous training session, nor does it encourage recovery after a long workout. Microwave popcorn bags are also lined with something called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical which is also found in Teflon pots and pans—yikes. There is a flip side, however. If you air pop the corn or pop it on the stove with a small amount of coconut oil, it turns into somewhat of a superfood, boasting high levels of antioxidants and a hearty dose of satiating fiber.
Maintaining a superior level of fitness comes down to consuming everything in moderation—especially alcohol. What serious athlete do you know shotguns beers or throws back shots on a regular basis? Alcohol inhibits your physical fitness in a number of ways. Too much booze slows muscle recovery, impairs motor skills, and decreases strength and sprint performance. It’s also a diuretic, so it dehydrates you. Research published in ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal also found alcohol depresses the immune system and slows the body’s ability to heal, which could increase your risk of illness and injury.
Unless you’re doing a really long, rigorous workout, chugging a sports drinks really isn’t necessary. Electrolyte-enhanced beverages usually contain up to up to 34 grams of sugar, so an athlete is better off drinking water and refueling with other foods and beverages. (Coconut water and tart cherry juice have been hailed as miracle workout elixirs.) Research backs it up, too. A study published in the journal Obesity found that people who consume one or more sports drinks every day gained more weight over a three-year span than those who don’t.
The problem with most bars—be it snack, protein, or energy—is all the added sugars and fats. Obviously protein bars are calorie-dense to help you gain muscle, but if you’re chowing down on ‘em after a light workout, or eating them even if you haven’t worked out, it can easily pack on the pounds. Likewise, nutrition and snack bars tend to be saturated fat and sugar bombs with add-ins like nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate. You want to opt for bars with minimal, pronounceable ingredients.
Flavored yogurt cups are portable and tasty, but they host an avalanche of sugar—especially ones with fruit at the bottom or granola add-ins. This will prevent you from achieving a lean, shredded physique and spike your blood sugar, upping your odds of binging on food and experiencing an energy crash. Greek yogurt is a far better breakfast for serious fitness and health enthusiasts because it’s protein-packed and, if you go with plain, relatively low in sugar.
Carbs aren’t the enemy all the time, but you really want to stock up on the best sources like quinoa, black rice, even whole-wheat pasta, because white pasta is stripped of its fiber and bran. You want unrefined foods, because more of its nutrients are preserved. And for an athlete, you want calories from foods that deliver the biggest nutritional bang for their buck.
OTTLED SALAD DRESSING
You wouldn’t douse important vegetables with cream, fat, and sugar, but that’s what you’re doing when you use most salad dressings. Instead of sabotaging your health with processed oils, chemicals, and preservatives opt for olive oil- or vinegar-based dressings, which you can add your own spices to for one-of-a-kind flavor. And if you crave creaminess in a dressing, use avocado or tahini as your base.
PACKED DELI MEAT
If you’re making lunch from home, kudos to you, you’re saving money and calories. But not if you’re go-to is a hoagie crammed with provolone, pepper jack, ham, salami, turkey, and any other number of add-ons like bacon and condiments. Packaged deli meats are hiding tons of added salt and nitrates, which are used to preserve their freshness and color. Aside from calories, you’re upping your odds for heart disease and cancer. A smarter choice: Buy rotisserie chicken, or cook up chicken and turkey breasts that have lean protein.
Pretzels seem wholesome. But they lack healthy fiber and fat so you can plow through half a bag and still be hungry after. Just 10 hard, twisty pretzels have 250 calories and lots of salt. Forgo the empty calories and snack on wholesome, nutrient-dense fruits and veggies instead .
Frozen yogurts are a healthier alternative to ice cream. Most are fat free, but high in sugar, so always in moderation. While most frozen yogurt is nonfat or very low in fat the calories still add up. Most nonfat “original” or “plain” (typically the lowest-calorie flavor at most frozen yogurt shops) is about 30-35 calories per ounce with about 20g of sugar—meaning that a large 16-ounce cup weighs in at 380 calories and 76g of sugar before adding any toppings.