Let me guess, you’ve been training pretty hard and consistently for the last few months. You’re hitting all your lifts and your strength is starting to improving quite nicely.
You’re even packing on a bit of muscle and your buddies are starting to notice. Hell, you’re probably getting a few double takes from the ladies over on the elliptical machines!
You’ve even gone as far as sprinkling in a cardio session or two from time to time to burn a few extra calories and not be a complete meathead.
But, to your utter disappointment, all that work and hard earned muscle is completely buried under a layer of fat that you just can’t seem to get rid of.
This is a classic case, my friend. A classic case of “I lift big and heavy weights so I can eat whatever want!” This is totally fine if you’re going for that Pilsbury doughboy or The Rock in 1987 look.
All kidding aside, you’ve made some common, yet critical, nutrition mistakes. Don’t worry though, with a few small adjustments, this can all be fixed. I’m going to help you get back on track and you’ll be leaner than ever in no time.
Let’s take a look at some of the nutrition mistakes that are keeping you fat and how to fix them.
1.You’re not eating enough protein – If you want to build muscle and maintain it while you are trying to lose fat, you need to keep your protein intake relatively high. Aim for at least .8-1.0 grams per pound of bodyweight.
This will also help to keep your testosterone levels elevated, enhance recovery, and regulate blood sugar levels. I would recommend using an app like MyFitnessPal to keep track of your daily intake.
2. You’re eating too much fat – Too many guys are far too concerned about their carbohydrate intake when trying to shed fat but don’t realize that they are completely offsetting their low carbs with a high fat intake. This is usually worse in most cases since 1 gram of fat yields 9 calories and 1 gram of carbohydrate only yields 4 calories.
Even if you’re eating healthy fats like olive oil and avocado, you still have to be very moderate in your approach. Limit your intake of nuts, nut butters, cheeses, and fatty meats. Aim for a fat consumption of 50-60 grams per day. Again, if you start tracking your intake, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the fat grams add up.
3. You’re not eating enough carbohydrates – Like I said before, most guys become completely carbophobic when they’re trying to cut weight. There’s a couple of problems with this.
First, your training will start to suffer since you won’t have the energy to train with any real intensity. Your muscles and your brain need glucose (what carbs eventually become once digested) for energy and without it you become a complete zombie. Second, your metabolism will start to slow down to conserve energy making it harder for your body to burn fat.
Aim for at least 1.25-1.5 grams of carbs on training days and slightly less on non-training days if you’re trying to lose fat. Try to consume 40-50% of your total carbs in your pre and post workout meals.
See Related Article : 40 Nutrition Tips for Optimal Health and Performance
4. You’re drinking too many sugary drinks during your workouts – I know I just said that you’re not eating enough carbs but for the guys that aren’t as carbophobic, you may be taking in a lot of extra calories by drinking sugary drinks during your training.
Unless you’re doing really high volume, endurance workouts that last for hours, there’s really no need to be drinking high carb drinks during training. Water and maybe some amino acids will be more than enough to sustain you.
5. You don’t know how to cook – I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing how to prepare simple meals. This is an essential skill for survival, fellas. You’ll save yourself a lot of empty calories and money by preparing your own meals. If it really is that much trouble for you, then I suggest you look into a food service that can prepare and deliver your meals. For the same money you spend eating out, you’ll at least get something more nutrient dense.
6. Not planning your meals in advance – This may seem like a lot of work in the beginning but it will actually save you time in the long run. Having the majority of your meals planned a few days in advance will eliminate the temptation to binge on all kinds of crap. At the very least, you should know what you’re going to have for breakfast and dinner ahead of time. The key is to be proactive not reactive when it come to your nutrition.
7. You’re relying too heavily on supplements – Whey protein, creatine, amino acids, pre-workouts, meal replacements and the list goes on. Your cupboard probably looks like a warehouse for GNC. They’re called supplements for a reason. They should make up a very small percentage of your total daily intake – i.e less than 5%. No amount of protein powder is going to save you if your fat and carb intake are all out of whack. Use supplements mainly pre and post workout to get some quick nutrients to support your training and let whole, nutrient dense foods do the rest.
See Related Article: 10 Nutrition Commandments
8. You’re not eating enough vegetables – I’m always amazed at how many grown-ass men don’t eat vegetables. It’s like you never outgrew your pre-adolescence when your mom wouldn’t let you go out and play until you ate all your brussel sprouts.
The fact of the matter is, veggies pack a lot of nutrients and very little calories making them a critical part of your daily intake. It’s probably the only food group that you can eat to your heart’s content. Eating more veggies will give you the fiber you need for digestive health, will keep you feeling full longer, and reduce your cravings for sugar. Eating them raw or lightly sauteed is best to keep all of the vitamins and minerals in tact.
9. You’re eating 6 meals a day – Unless you’re a pro bodybuilder or an athlete who’s sole job is to eat, sleep and train, eating 6 meals a day is probably the most unsustainable thing you can do. Our ancestors did hard labor for 10-12 hours a day, maybe ate one or two meals depending on what they were able to catch, and they got by perfectly fine. Not only that, but unless you are tracking your meals carefully, you will most likely consume too many calories. What’s more important than eating every 2-3 hours is making sure your TOTAL calories and macros for the day are within your limits. An eating schedule that fits your lifestyle is more sustainable in the long run. Don’t get caught up in the hype, food is fuel and as long as you get it in the right amount, that’s what matters most.
I’ve given you a lot of info here so don’t try to do everything all at once. The key is to make small gradual adjustments to your nutrition until things become more and more automatic. Like everything else in life, it’s a process. As long as you’re better than you were yesterday, it’s a win.