Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of getting in shape. Although training, exercise, recovery and certain lifestyle factors are also vital, your diet will determine your goal and the speed at which you can achieve it.
It is also an area that people approach in a variety of ways. There are plenty of diets out there that aim to encourage weight and fat loss through certain methods. However, these methods are not always necessary to apply when trying to get in shape. They can also do more harm to your body than good.
So, what nutritional myths are out there that you need to avoid? And why is it important that you do so?
Eliminate Certain Food Groups
A very common mistake people make is immediately eliminating certain food groups from their diet. Not only is this unsustainable and not enjoyable, but it is also unnecessary. A key part of reaching your goal is consistency over a long period of time, but this does not happen if you over restrict and take away your favourite foods.
Instilling control will be crucial to your success and although most of your nutrition should come from nutrient dense and effective sources, it is important to balance that with ones you enjoy. Just make sure you track what you consume and have things in moderation.
Carbs Are The Enemy
Many people are afraid of carbohydrates when they are trying to get in shape due to the constant myth of it ‘making you fat’. As a result, they completely remove carbs from the diet and end up with a miserable, unsatisfying diet that quickly fails.
So, it is important to understand that carbs does not make you fat, consuming too many calories does, and they are essential for your diet as the primary source of energy. Carbs also play a key role in the recovery of muscles and provide vital nutrients for the body. Make sure they feature prominently in your nutrition plan and you will find the process much more enjoyable and sustainable.
Meal Timings Matter
Many people are unsure about the best times to consume their meals and if they matter when it comes to progress. The answer is, they don’t. Meal timings are dependent on the individual and as long as you hit the required calorie intake each day and week, you will be giving yourself the best chance of progress. However, it is advisable to have smaller, more consistent meals throughout the day so that your energy levels remain stable, and you are productive with your work. You should also have food inside you before you train, so that your sessions are intense and your performance levels do not take a hit.
The Less You Eat, The More Fat You Lose
To lose body fat, the most important thing is that you are consistently in a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you are consuming) for a sustained period of time. However, people often misunderstand how big that deficit has to be and end up dropping their calorie intake by a huge amount. Consuming too few calories will drastically slow down your metabolism (the range of biochemical processes that occur within your body to break down food into energy) and soon put a halt to the fat-burning process. Therefore, all your hard work in the gym and supposed ‘discipline’ with your nutrition will be for nothing.
The second issue is that it is not sustainable. Under-eating will not only lower your energy levels and negatively affect the quality of your workouts, but it will also make your quality of life less enjoyable and often lead to you giving up altogether. So much of nutrition is about sustainability and if you are not enjoying your diet, you are less likely to stick to it in the long run. As well as it being ineffective for your fat loss, starving yourself will affect your overall mood, which can then have a bad impact on your relationships with people and other areas of your life.
Certain Foods and Supplements Help You Burn Fat Quicker
Another myth you may have come across is that certain foods and supplements increase your rate of fat loss. Ultimately, this is purely a marketing ploy that many companies use to encourage people to buy their products. No specific food or supplement helps you burn fat at a faster rate, it is purely down to a consistent, moderate calorie deficit of 300-500 for a long period of time. So, make sure that you eat good, nutrient-dense foods, track what you consume and be patient with your progress.
So, if you want to succeed with your goal of fat loss and changing your body shape, you must be aware of nutritional myths that could throw your progress off track. These myths include eliminating certain food groups, seeing carbs as the enemy, meal timings being important, restricting food severely and certain foods and supplements increasing your rate of fat loss.
Be consistent with the correct nutrition for you, combine that with progressive training, good sleep and recovery, and an active lifestyle and you will make progress towards your goal(s).
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