By Steven Stiefel
1. Not Having Proper Bodybuilding Foods Available
When you don’t have the right foods on hand, it’s easier to make bad choices that’ll quickly derail your gains. Take a look at the “Micromanage Your Macros” guide below and make sure your fridge and pantry are stocked with healthy sources of protein, carbs and fats. Make a point of restocking your fridge at the beginning of the week so as to ensure that you always have the basics right there when you need them.
2. Skipping Meals
Even one missed meal can negatively impact your progress, and you really can’t catch up later. If you undereat at one meal and then overeat at the next in an attempt to make up for it, you’re actually encouraging bodyfat storage over muscle building. Stick to your 5–6 meals spaced 2–3 hours apart for best results.
3. Eating Junk Food
Not all calories are created equal. A majority of items you’ll find on fast-food menus are loaded with extra calories and not quality calories, and they provide very little in the way of nutritional value. Many fast-food items are also high in unhealthy fats, leading to excess bodyfat while undermining muscle tissue growth.
4. Boozing Up
Studies indicate that small amounts of alcohol, especially red wine, can be beneficial for your heart. But other choices such as beer and mixed drinks, in excess amounts, aren’t good for your physique or your health. To put it in perspective, there are about 3,500 calories in 1 pound of fat; one beer contains roughly 150 calories; mixed drinks often contain 300 calories or more per 1 ounce of liquor plus mixer. Liquor hits your bloodstream quickly and, besides giving you a buzz, it also leads to bodyfat storage. A night out drinking will also likely make you feel sluggish the next day, negatively impacting your efforts in the gym.
Micromanage Your Macros
Here are MMI’s top tips for each of the three macronutrients:
>> Take in 1 gram per pound of bodyweight each day.
>> Consume a dose of protein before and after workouts.
>> Split your protein consumption relatively equally over the day.
>> Crucial for energy, take in slow-digesting carbs such as oatmeal, fruit and whole grains first thing in the morning.
>> Consume sugar (fast-digesting) before and after workouts, but avoid it at other times of day.
>> Avoid carbs late in the day, as they’ll more likely end up being stored as bodyfat.
>> Seek a balance between unsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fats, as all promote muscle building (with more emphasis on healthy fats, however).
>> For hardgainers, use fats to boost calorie consumption; for larger guys (endomorph body type), keep fat intake on the lower end (should represent approximate 10–15% of daily caloric intake).
>> Opt for healthy fat sources such as avocados, nuts, deep-sea (fatty) fish, and olive or canola oil.
>> Take in moderate amounts of saturated fats from eggs, dairy and meat.