Let me ask you something. What should the perfect diet do for you? In my opinion, a diet which is perfect for you as an athlete needs to cover 3 major areas. Firstly it should optimise your overall health, secondly it should help you perform at your peak in the gym and finally it should enable you to control your body composition. To get a diet which does all three can be very difficult, if not impossible. Here are 5 things your diet should do for you!
As I said, your diet first and foremost should be healthy. To define ‘healthy’ is almost impossible, yet my own definition would be a diet which provides you with the right level of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, pro-biotic digestive enzymes and of course nutrients. What is healthy for one person may be completely different for another. This comes down to their exercise regime, their body type and the way their body works. If your body isn’t in good health then there is no way you can effectively improve your body composition, a healthy body works best! Regular exercise, especially resistance training, smashes your immune system and CNS so it is absolutely key you provide your body with the correct, vitamins, minerals, nutrients and anti-oxidants to sustain a good level of health. If you find yourself constantly picking up colds, sore throats, feeling run down then I would suggest your diet may not be giving you everything your body needs!
Everyone has different performance goals. Some body may want to lift the earth and not give a monkey’s nut what they look like. Others will want to be able to train with ultra high intensity with a view to changing their body composition. To determine how well you are performing with your current diet, you need to know what your current goals are. From here you can apply foods to your diet which will help you attain your performance goals.
Controlling body composition
One of the biggest things a diet should allow you to do is control your body composition. Maybe you want to increase lean muscle mass or maybe you want drop 5% of body fat. Whatever the goal it should enable you to do it. Of course the goal has to be achievable with a generous enough time scale. Does you diet enable you to make positive changes to your physique or not? If it doesn’t, it is time to start making small changes.
Would you look at the time! It is already time for your next meal, what does your stomach say to you? Is it happy or do have that feeling of ‘I will try to eat it in 30 minutes.’ If it is the latter, it is clear your diet doesn’t please your appetite for food. Half an hour before my meal time I am counting the minutes down, I cannot wait for my next meal! If your diet is boring, you hate eating the food and it is a chore STOP! Make changes which enable you to enjoy your food and stay on track. I am a firm believer that there are healthy foods 99% people like. If you are the type of person who would say ‘’ all I want to eat is pie and chips’’ then it is more of a lifestyle issue, which quite frankly you need to sort out! In this instance persevere with your healthy diet; you will learn to like it.
Most people need a lifestyle change when they embark upon a new diet; therefore it makes good bloody sense to ensure it is something you can stick to. What is the point in jacking in your past habits as a porker, only to count down the days before you can launch a sever assault on your insides with prohibited foods? Instead find a diet which makes sense, one which suits you and one which you could follow for the rest of your life. Are there going to be changes? Of course!!! Maybe for 12 weeks you increase the carbohydrates, or decrease them, some weeks you may be allowed 2 cheat meals as with others you may not be allowed to have one! The idea is that you find what works for you, and then you use it as a foundation to work with.
There are 5 points I genuinely feel the diet which you choose to follow LONG term should provide you with. All 5 points are key in every day life for anybody who exercises regularly, don’t accept anything less!