Once you make the commitment to become an athlete, and a committed one at that your life changes forever. No longer can you casually order carrot cake with your pimped out latte in trendy coffee bars. Instead, you have to consider what it is you’re putting into your body every meal, every day! This doesn’t mean to say you cannot be normal, it is simply a case of knowing what you can and can’t have, and more importantly when. When I was a beginner, I wouldn’t consider anything off any menu I hadn’t prepared myself in fear that I would infringe upon the regulations of being a trainee bodybuilder. However, as I have matured and learned more I am now able to enjoy more normal things knowing it is OK. Today I wanted to cover some everyday situations you face as an athlete, and ways to overcome them with ease.
Due to the time of the year, I would suggest most people want to build muscle therefore getting shredded is not high on the agenda. With that said I believe the following advice allows you to be normal, sustain good health and protect your hard earned muscle all at the same time.
Visit to the coffee shop
I will never forget driving home and pulling into a service stating, gasping for a coffee as I eagerly walked into Starbucks. Ironically, for probably the world’s best known coffee shop not ONE option was labelled ‘’coffee’’ or anything that resembled such a beverage. It was caramel this with American that, or Brazilian this with walnut this and the list went on. It is always slightly embarrassing when you have to ask the person behind the counter ‘’which one is just coffee’’ but that was the situation I found myself in. After successfully purchasing a ‘’coffee’’ I fancied something to go with it, a healthy snack. At this time muscle mass was the goal, so a little sugar didn’t really worry me as long as the foundation ingredients were good. I ordered a granola bar, to enjoy with my coffee whilst my girlfriend enjoyed a very tempting mango and orange concoction. I couldn’t even tell you the name; it was probably longer than this entire article. The point is, I was able to go into a Starbucks and have a drink which was completely OK with my goals and a snack right of their menu. To me, it is vital to find that degree of normality in your life to keep you sane and in touch with your loved ones.
Going out for a meal
Another common occurrence is going out for a meal with friends and family, but in my experience I cannot remember occasion where there wasn’t something on the menu I could eat. Admittedly, this isn’t including the likes of Macdonald’s, Burger King or KFC. Pubs always do a good steak option, and there is usually a jacket potato there to accompany it. Salmon fillet is always another common meal option with potatoes, as is chilli and rice and spaghetti bolognaise. Even on the drinks menu, having a diet coke won’t hurt. Yes, they are full of aspartame which I would never advocate as a daily thing but whilst out for a meal it won’t hurt. Diet coke has hardly any sugar, it is just the aspartame (which is used as a sweetener) isn’t great for your overall health, but once or twice when you’re out with friends and family shouldn’t hurt.
This can differ slightly depending on what is available. However, if you go to a BBQ with a regular menu such as burgers, sausages and maybe some pork loins you’re fine. Ditch the sausages and go for the burgers, try and see if they are quality lean burgers. Many are these days as many more people appreciate the benefits of this quality food. Always opt for a brown bun, grab some potatoes and away to go. Sure, you may love a hot dog bursting with mustard and ketchup but you’re still joining in, and you’re still staying on track! In the middle of my transformation in the summer I went to one, I actually took my own steak which is another option.
There are three real life situations many athletes find themselves in, and there are three relatively easy solutions from my experience I use all of the time!