My diet, whether or not I'm bulking or cutting, always has these key factors.
- High Protein - Protein is the basic element all meals should contain, preferable from sources which contain full proteins (meat or dairy is you're best bet rather than plant sources like rice or soy protein for example)
- Veggies - In an ideal world I'd eat vegetables with every meal but honestly I can only manage salad with about 50% of my meals. the kind of vegetables I'm talking about aren't your starchy ones (potatoes etc.) but rather the fibrous ones, veggies like spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, etc.
- Get rid of sugar! - Refined sugars like High fructose corn syrup and sucrose (found in all of your favourite treats) are the enemy for one they'll give you a quick energy burst followed by a hell of a crash. another major problem is that excessive consumption of these sugars will ruin your insulin sensitivity (the beginnings on diabetes) which in turn will cause greater fat gain as well as cause problems with energy levels.
- Meat for Breakfast , No excuses - whether I'm bulking or cutting meat is always the basis of breakfast, particularly read meat. having meat for breakfast will make a great difference in your energy levels. One reason is that it increases neurotransmitters like acetylcholine and dopamine which control motivation and drive. The other reason it will increase your energy is because meat contains no carbohydrates, the absolute worst time of day to eat carbohydrates is the morning, the reason being insulin sensitivity is at its worst in the morning (this means consumption will cause a crash like mentioned above)
- Supplement! - If i could only use two supplements I'd use Whey protein isolate (WPI) and Omega-3 Fish Oil.
- WPI is a complete protein source that is found in most protein shakes. the reason it's such a good supplement is its fast absorbing nature means it supplies your muscles with amino acids when they most need it, after training, thereby allowing fast recover and better muscle gain. the other benefit is that if you've got no time for a "real" meal a quick WPI shake will.
- Fish Oil has a countless number of benefits, and chances are, your not getting enough from your diet. here's a quick list of the key reasons you need to supplement Fish oil: it reduces inflammation, increases serotonin levels, increases general brain health, decreases blood pressure, decreases stress, increases insulin sensitivity and as said, countless other benefits.
The Cutting Diet
While all of these have their merits the most effective way, in my opinion, is low carb dieting (in conjunction with regular weight training of course).
The beauty of the low carb diet is that it's far easier to eat a caloric deficit. This is for 2 reasons:
- Eating high protein meals are far more satiating than high carb meals. Meaning you'll stay full for longer (I've also found eliminating carbs from my diet has greatly reduced carb cravings).
- On a low carb diet one can easily get ample amounts of the essential nutrients (fat and protein) whilst remaining in caloric deficit (yes you dont NEED carbs).
Example of my Diet when Cutting:
Meal 1: 250-300g rump steak, handful of roasted almonds
Meal 2: 250-300g taco meat (beef mince capsicum beans and some spices)
Meal 3: Half a roast chicken and a salad (spinach, capsicum and avocado)
Meal 4: Casein protein shake
Meal 5: WPI Shake (2 scoop)
Meal 6: 250-300g fish, salad, 200g sweet potato (optional, if hardcore cutting go without, if slower cut, enjoy!)
- Each meal is approximately 2.5-3 hours apart except WPI shake which is directly after workout
- Drink a lot of water between meals (not with meals)
- Coffee is allowed, only black
- Supplements: 2-3 teaspoons of fish oil, Multivitamin, Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) and Casein Protein
That's it! stick to this essential diet plan you'll be well on your way.
If you're still having trouble shredding up don't be tricked into doing doing cardio, it will wreck your recovery and you'll likely end up loosing muscle mass and strength. Just throw in a conditioning training day once or twice a week (I'll be posting my conditioning workout here very soon)