Real bodybuilders follow a real bodybuilding diet. This means eating up to six meals a day, spaced two or three hours apart. It means subsisting on lean meat, fish, egg whites, whey protein, sweet potatoes, rice and lots of veggies. It means packing a tupperware box of grilled chicken and steamed broccoli every time they leave the house.
Unless you’re currently training for a competition, you’re not a bodybuilder. You don’t have to plan your day around your meals and faithfully record your macros. But you can still benefit from adopting their good habits. From selecting wholesome foods to regulating portion sizes, there’s a lot you can learn from the pros. Follow these steps to clean up your diet and start eating like an athlete.
Healthy eating is a way of life
Clean eating is not a fad you adopt for a few weeks – it’s a lifestyle. Get over the concept of ‘dieting’, with all the notions of quick fixes and short-term gains this elicits. When you’re dieting, you’re more likely to feel deprived and more prone to cheating. Instead, think of clean eating as a lifestyle choice – one that will benefit you every day for the rest of your life.
Eat for your goals
Before you rush off and start filling your trolley with groceries, take a moment to think about your goals. To slim down, you’ll want to reduce your calorie intake and cut back on refined carbs. To build muscle, you’ll want to up the protein without neglecting the complex carbs and healthy fats that are essential for your body to function. If you’re training for a half marathon or an endurance event, you’ll require more carbs in your diet. Eating clean is a laudable goal, but as you can see, it’s one whose interpretation will vary according to the needs of the individual.
Make a shopping list
Although there is no strict definition of what constitutes clean eating, it’s obvious that some foods are better than others. Try to include nutrient-dense foods that will fuel your body and allow it to grow. Your diet should include lean sources of protein such as:
- Chicken or turkey breast
- Lean beef
- Top round steak
- Whey protein
- Cottage cheese
Your shopping list should also include good complex carbs such as:
- Sweet potatoes
- Green leafy vegetables
- Brown rice
- Steel cut oats
Don’t forget to eat heart-healthy fats, found in the following foods:
- Fish oil
- Fatty fish
- Unrefined vegetable oil
- Coconut oil
- Nut butters
Take good dietary supplements
Whey protein, BCAAs, vitamin D and other supplements can all help you stay healthy and hit your fitness goals. They’ll also make it easier to meet your daily nutritional requirements – particularly helpful when you’re operating in a calorie deficit.
When choosing supplements, always scrutinise the label to make sure that the product supports the clean diet you’re adhering to. Avoid cheap protein powders that contain sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial dyes and fillers. Quality options, on the other hand, include Healthy Whey, whose formulation packs all the essential nutrients you need for muscle growth and recovery including whey protein isolate, zinc, magnesium and vitamins.
In summary, cleaning up your diet requires four steps:
1. Start thinking of clean eating as a lifestyle rather than a short-term fix
2. Choose foods that will support your fitness goals
3. Include good sources of lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbs
4. Use quality supplements to optimise your body
Get those four right and the rest will fall into place: better habits and a wholesome diet that will help you build a better body.