If you’re in the athletic world of weightlifting/bodybuilding and you are trying to reach a desired goal for your physique or physical strength, lifting weights and performing high amounts of cardio is not going to have the greatest impact on your results. As far as changing your body in a physical appearance, your diet is going to play the majority of a role in this area.
Cardio and lifting weights do help with muscle gains for providing the body with anabolic activity and as well as fat loss due to caloric expenditure. However, if you wish to physically transform the way your body looks entirely over a matter of weeks, your macros or food nutrients consumed will have the greatest impact on your results.
If you are able to get a better understanding of the nutrients in which you are consuming regularly, you will begin to make better changes in appearance and physical state of your body in a shorter amount of time when compared to people who just eat whatever sounds like a healthy option and performs cardio multiple times a week for hours on end.
What Are Calories Composed Of?
Everything we eat is composed of calories that is derived from macronutrients commonly known as proteins, fats and carbs. It’s these 3 main nutrients that bodybuilders focus so much on to help with a common 12 week body transformation. The typical diet routine will either consist of high protein, high fats and low carbs, or high protein, high carbs and low fat. This diet is followed carefully for the program or 12 week duration which helps aid in a body transformation.
During a complete 12 week program like this, many people often resort to a high protein, high fat, and low carb diet in order to lose weight. Although this diet works due to the nature of having a depletion of carbs in your body allows your body to dip into glycogen and adipose cells (fat tissue) and break down these reserves as sources for energy. This creates a loss of fat in a short duration, but is usually halted since the body adapts to it very quickly. When you remain on a low nutrient diet for so long, our body begins to hold onto whatever nutrients it has left to be able to continue functioning at a proper level instead of continuing to burn it off in the form of fat tissue.
How Do You Avoid This?
I strongly recommend altering your diet. Step away from the mindset that you have to drop your carbs to lose weight or you have to drop your fats to lose weight. Instead, when you hit this plateau of weight loss, try increasing your cardio levels as well as increasing your food intake via carbs which results in higher calories. I know this sounds crazy, that eating more will make you lose more weight. But by doing this at a plateau in your diet, you are jump-starting your metabolism to a whole new level. The higher your metabolism, the more food you will be able to eat during your day and still maintain proper weight loss.
Increase Food Slowly
Although I state to increase your food intake, this does not mean to start eating junk food all day long. Instead, if your current diet was for example, 200g protein, 200g fat, and 100g carbs for your low carb diet, try increasing your carbs each week by around 20-40g of carbs a week. Do this over a 12 week period of time, and you should be consuming anywhere between 340-600g of carbs a day. Although this number may seem high for most people, it will still aid in fat loss as well as help keep you in a healthy mental state of mind by not feeling so depleted on energy.
With this said, when you increase your macronutrients in a designated area, such as your carbs, this does not mean you are able to freely include more cupcakes and cookies into your diet, since these are the form of carbs and sugars the body has a harder time digesting since they are full of unprocessed sugars. Instead, focus on whole grains such white and brown rice, quinoa, lentils and even sweet potato, and if you still have cravings for that particular chocolate chip cookie of yours, go ahead and have one of those each day.
When you make your macros work for you, you will begin to have more freedom in your diet and food selection on a daily basis while still being able to maintain progress towards your goal, whether it may be muscle gain or fat loss, track your foods and macronutrients properly and I promise the results will come a lot faster and progress will be much greater.