A Balanced Diet
From the Flex 2002 October Issue: My nutrition plan for reducing bodyfat is an exercise in moderation.
When I am guest posing or conducting a seminar, certain questions about training and dieting are asked almost every time. As a professional bodybuilder, part of my job is to disseminate information, and these questions tel me what bodybuilding fans and hopeful competitors want to know most. Here’s one of the most frequently asked questions : How strict do you have to be on a diet when you’re preparing for a bodybuilding contest?
To diet successfully, you must do two things. First, eat all the nutrients your body needs for muscle maintenance. Second, consume fewer calories than you need for bodyweight maintenance. If you do both of these things, you will maintain your muscle mass as you shed bodyfat.
You may read about bodybuilders ieting on nothing but chickenbreasts and yams. These are important core foods for a contest diet, but they should not be the only foods you eat. You still need the nutrients that come from eating many foods. In addition, a diet that highly restricts variety can lead to excessive calorie restriction. When you reduce calories too much, you will lose muscle mass in addition to bodybat, even if you’re still eating plenty of protein. My recommendation is to cut calories to 10 or 15% below that maintenance, but no further than that. When I prepare for a show I increase the amount of gym work I do. The more calories you burn through training, the less you have to carefully monitor what you eat as you get close to th show. Performing regular cardio ( four or five sessions of 45 minutes per week ) allows you to cheat a little bit, even while dieting. You can take in a little more sugar and complex carbohydrates, if you follow the type of cardio program previously described. If you want to eat a little bit of these foods as you shed bodyfat, that’s fine – as long as you put in the time at the gym doing cardio and weight training.