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Default Diet Fundamentals Never Go Out of Style
by Soldier 10-04-2013, 11:30 AM

In the world of dieting, trends come and go. And just like trends in pop culture, Todayís trend is tomorrowís mistake (the trick with trends, of course, is to hold on to whatever falls out of favor until it becomes cool again. One day my POG collection will be cool again, trust me!). Low fat dieting came and went alongside the brat pack, crimped hair and acid wash jeans. Low carb was here while we watched Clarrisa explaining it all and Bill rocking the sax while wearing our flannel jackets (or maybe thatís just me summing up my early teens.). After we managed to survive Y2k everyone got a little crazy by going back to the beginning and starting from scratch, and thus were born the alternative diets. Now we have carb cycling, keto and carb upís, and one of the ultimate rule breakers, leangains/intermittent fasting (IF)/eat-stop-eat.

Sometimes it seems like using ďold schoolĒ dieting techniques would amount to an act worse than the social suicide that would result from showing up in LA gear sneakers (with 2 different color laces, of course), large framed glasses and a massive perm. But the basics that help you lose fat can be found with almost any of the dietary methods that have climbed olí mount de trend only to thrust themselves off the cliff of popularity in a fashion only a lemming could truly appreciate. Like so many issues in the lifting world, people would be stunned if they would focus on the fundamentals instead of fighting for whatever dogmatic dietary decisions happen to be popular this week. If you find that your diet isnít taking you where you want to go, reflect on these points and see if you need to change some things around.

WATER

Your body is designed to survive. If you donít give it food it will react, which is the primary reason cyclical dieting was developed in the first place. But remember the old adage; you can survive 3 weeks without food, but only 3 DAYS without water. Fail to give your body the water it needs and your body will fight even harder to survive (survival=NOT giving up stored fat and NOT keeping extra muscle mass). Chances are if you arenít already thinking about keeping hydrated, you arenít, and if youíve read all the way to this point of the article without having to pee, you arenít drinking enough! Welcome to the world of the clichťí health-conscious guy who always has his trusty gallon jug. Embrace the image, and get some water in your system.

Beware, however, that drinking lots of water will flush your system of both the good and the bad. Overhydration can lead to depletion of vitamins and minerals, which means a multi is even more important if you are staying well hydrated.

PROTEIN

Most lifters are well aware of the benefits and mechanisms of protein. It helps your body rebuild muscle tissue after a workout, and nary a young lifter goes without his whey immediately following every intense, stimulant fueled workout (Nothing like a scoop of preworkout mixed with an energy drink to get you through those 10 curl variations!). By just as cutting often leads us to make the mistake of abandoning the type of lifting that got us big in the first place, we also often toss protein to the wayside when it comes time to cut, instead placing our focus on carbs and fats, reverting to the lessons we learned during the fat scare of the 80ís and the carb hatred of the 90ís.

Proteinís benefits are numerous to both the lifter and the non-trainer who wants to shed pounds alike. Everyone wants to keep what muscle they have, and the body will gladly relieve itself of the burden of excess muscle mass if it isnít given both a reason to keep it and the materials to rebuild it. Protein is also the macronutrient that takes the most effort for the body to digest. This is helpful on many levels. Not only will you burn more calories in the process of digesting protein in comparison to carbs and fats, youíll also stay fuller longer. Protein has the same ability to keep you full that comes with fat, along with the lower calories per gram of carbs. Itís the best of both worlds!

When planning out your intake, start with protein. 1 gram for every pound of lean mass is a MINIMUM. For me this number is 170. If you arenít sure about your numbers, take your bodyweight and subtract 20% (BW x .8). When you calculate everything out you will find that getting this much protein probably wonít leave much room for carbs and fats. If you find this to be the case, then you have a good reason to believe that to this point you havenít been getting enough protein, and Iíd bet dollars to low-carb fat free donuts that increasing your protein intake will have a positive effect on your diet.

LOGGING/CALORIE COUNTING

I know. I know that you were told that if you do intermittent fasting or ketogenic dieting then you wouldnít need to count calories. I know that weighing and keeping track of your intake is a pain. I know that itís more fun to eat based on what you want instead of measured out portions of food you probably arenít that into in the first place. But if you want to know how much is going into your mouth then you need to keep track of it! If you read a scientific article about a study where nothing was measured, you probably wouldnít take it very seriously. Well, if you arenít keeping track of whatís going into your mouth, youíre more in the dark than an FBI agent in a blacked out basement chasing after a genital-tucking, skin-sowing serial killer (ďIt puts the brown rice on the food scale, or else it gets the hose again!Ē).

But take solace in the fact that after a very short amount of time you will be rewarded for your diligence. You will know what you are eating, and you will be able to compare these numbers to your bodyís reaction and change your diet accordingly. Knowing your intake will give YOU control over your diet, instead of leaving your progress up to your whims and emotions. After a short time you will find that you are almost inherently aware of the caloric value of foods you regularly eat, to the point where you may not even need to log every day. Iíll often use my log to plan out my days ahead of time so that I know with complete certainty that I will meet my goals for the day. All you have to do is eat the food on your plan around the time you planned to eat it.

ďBut what if I plan things out and Iím not hungry when Iím supposed to eat/hungry when Iím not supposed to eat?Ē If you planned to have a big lunch and you arenít hungry, then just wait to eat until later. If this isnít possible, just follow your plan then use the knowledge you build about yourself and your hunger patterns to refine your plan.

Youíll also be happy to know that the days of holding a label with nutrition facts in one hand and a calculator in the other are in the past. There are a number of websites that have simplified the calorie counting/food logging game to the point where anyone can do it successfully. Many of these sites even help you calculate how many calories you will need to reach your goals, which gives you a great starting point to experiment with.

TAKE-HOME POINTS
1. If you arenít sure if youíre getting enough water, you arenít.
2. Getting enough protein is essential to dieting success. Youíre already not giving your body enough calories, donít keep it from getting enough protein as well.
3. Even if itís for a short time, log your food and keep track of your calories. You have to know what youíre eating before youíll know whatís working and what isnít!

We all know that you still have your parachute pants in your closet. I donít know if theyíll ever come back into style, but I DO know that when it comes to dieting, these fundamentals will always work. Pay attention to these basics and I think youíll be pleasantly surprised by the results!
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Old 10-04-2013, 12:14 PM   #2
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Good article Soldier.
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Old 10-04-2013, 12:44 PM   #3
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Thanks!
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Old 10-04-2013, 06:32 PM   #4
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Excellent article. Sound, simple advice. Thanks, Soldier.
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:32 AM   #5
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great article! i like the first take home point...almost everyone in this world prob doesnt drink enough water. I know people that go days without drinking water just drink pop 24 7 idk how they do it
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:42 PM   #6
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Not following these guidelines, I believe have been my greatest failing so far in my muscle building. Great article!
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Old 10-07-2013, 02:42 PM   #7
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I realise the point is covered in the article, but this is just an interesting addition for those that have not heard it; the recommended daily water/fluid amounts that we all base our intake on were not only rounded up but also included liquid from any fruits and vegetables consumed as well.

For people eating a decent amount of veg and fruit and particularly for those eating the higher water content varieties, they are consuming a reasonable amount of liquid via their veg and fruit alone.



Additional, may be of interest, while I remember to post it:

There was also a test conducted on one group of twins, short duration, a week (may have been a month but pretty certain it was one week)...initially they both only ever drank 500ml water, no other drinks, that was their normal intake.

They ate the same foods over the duration of the test but one drank 500ml of water and the other had to drink the recommended 2 litres a day. At the start of the test/study, hydration levels (skin, hair etc) and other items were checked; at the end of the test, the interesting thing was that the twin that drank the 2 litres of water had no increased hydration levels in her skin etc, they had both remained the same, for the twin that drank only 500ml and for the twin that drank the 2 litres.

This isn't exercise related; it's just for interest purposes.
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