Nutrition can make, break your fitness routine

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image Contributing blogger Troy Meyers is a certified personal trainer and sports conditioner with more than 10 years of experience. He owns Atlanta-based JockBoyLocker.com and contributes to the site’s Lockerroom Blog.

A critical factor in any fitness routine is diet. Food, carbs and calories can undo the progress you make in the gym or help progress your routine even more. So consider these nutrition mistakes:

Real men stick to their diet 365 days a year. Most people say to build muscle or lose fat you should stick to your diet 365 days a year. What happens by doing this is an occasional all-out eating binge.

Instead, schedule a day to cheat once a week. Eat what you want, but do it early in the day so it can be burned off throughout the day. The rest of your diet throughout the day should be the same.

imagePutting on five pounds a week is better than one. Over doing carbs will make you fat. Most people realize this, but they still take in huge amounts of carbs with the excuse that it gives them more energy to train.

If you put on more than one to two pounds a week, most of it will probably be fat or water. So you do yourself no favors by putting on extra weight.

Eating anything that doesn’t move. Some people get the idea that putting on muscle means needing to eat as much as possible. Although bodybuilders and elite athletes must eat a lot, especially those with fast metabolisms, eating too many calories means they will get stored as body fat. It would be far better to eat at your maintenance level and add another 300 calories on top of that to put on mass while limiting body fat.

Not eating enough. As well as people eating too many calories, eating to little will also limit your gains. You should shoot for around 250 calories over your maintenance level to make gains while minimizing fat storage.

Not eating enough will send your body into a catabolic state and begin to use muscle for energy. This happening every day is not the way to build a superior physique.

Following diets from magazines. Like most people, I’ve followed diets from magazines, too. But I soon realized these are best served as an outline. For example, they tend to outline a diet for a person weighing 160 pounds without considering how metabolism can impact your diet.

Thinking fat is the enemy. You need good fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated that are best gained from flaxseed oil and nuts. Although it’s important to have fat in your diet, try to stay away from taking in unnecessary saturated fats.

imageTraining alone will help you reach your goals. Some people in the gym use perfect form, don’t spend 10 minutes talking between sets, and are using an effective exercise program. But then they head straight to the nearest fish and chip shop after their workout. Your diet accounts for about 80 percent of your overall progress, so it makes sense to concentrate more on perfecting your diet than your training routine.

Using someone else’s diet just because it works for them. No two people are built the same, so it can be a big mistake to mimic someone’s diet. Use the diets you read about for a base but also take into account your goals and your calorie maintenance level, rather than focusing on the person that gave you the diet.

Supplements replacing a good diet. This is another common mistake. As someone is using a great supplement stack, they may ignore their diet and rely only on supplements. These guys — although maybe using top-notch supplements – won’t reach their full potential. Whole foods should be a solid base to construct your diet; finish by adding supplements.

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