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There are so many diets out there now its hard to decipher which one works and which one will bring you the best results. The easy answer is, the diet you can stay on the longest and stick to is the one that works best. Now there are a few principals that should be applied to all diets that will make them more optimal and as long as you can master those things you can make any diet match your gals. So popular diets like Paleo, IIFYM, Low Carb Diets, Carb Backloading, etc… they can all work if it’s what you enjoy and you follow the guidelines below to make them fit your goals. The key is knowing how to implement them and understand why these things are important for success. So with this article I will discuss some of the downfalls I see in all the top diets out there and how you can slightly adjust them to help you reach your goals.
First up is the Paleo diet, this is the biggest diet in the crossfit community and for good reason. It promotes eating whole foods, nothing really processed. Puts a strong emphasis on food quality like grass fed beef, veggies, and NOT pop tarts. This diet was brought along more so to help combat certain diseases that pop up with high amount of processed carbohydrates and other things like roots, tubers, and legumes. Some of these foods will cause severe issues and carbohydrates in and of themselves are highly inflammatory. Although this diet is adopted by crossfitters, mind you not a lot of high level crossfit athletes follow this diet, it was originally created so to speak for people who have diseases that flare up from certain foods. High performance doesn’t always if ever equate to health.
The biggest downfall I see is the zealots who take the whole Paleo word to the extreme and cut out all carbs. Remember carbs give you energy to perform exercise, not only that but when you do things like metcons and high volume workouts it depletes muscle glycogen and carbs help fill them back up. This will lead to a leaner and better recovered physique. If you recover better and get leaner you will be able to exercise more and the bodyweight movements become easier and easier.
The next downfall I see is people for some reason feel as though if you eat paleo you can have as much and whatever you want as long as its fats and proteins. So they cook up 8 whole eggs, 10 slices of bacon and some avocado and think that it some how doesn’t matter the quantity. That meal is probably around 900 calories. 3-4 more of those meals you are looking at upwards of 3000-4000 calories a day. At the end of the day any weight loss diet will come down to calories in versus calories out. In order for you to now how many you are taking in and how to make proper adjustments you have to track them.
So Paleo can be extremely effective as long as you eat carbs pre, during, and post workout. Be sure you still count your calories by weighing out and measuring your food and keeping track of what you eat. This will lead to a good amount of progress in both performance and body composition.
IIFYM is next on the docket, this is a great approach for the average person looking to still eat some foods that don’t quite fit into “clean” eating diet foods. You get to enjoy foods like cereal, ice cream, pop tarts, and dessert all while losing weight. It also allows you to have a social life around food which we know how much people socialize over food.
A few downfalls to this approach is that a lot of IIFYM people don’t account for nutrient timing. I see a lot of people say things like I missed all my meals today just so I can have this huge ice cream sundae and then the next days training suffers and the previous days training suffers with lack of energy and lack of recovery. The smart IIFYM people are the ones who still eat 4-6 meals a day based on good quality foods, sporadically mixed throughout the week with some snack food. The goal is always performance and physique and if you don’t plan your food out that way your results will always lack.
The next mistake IIFYM people make is to much junk and not enough good quality food. Yeah you see your favorite IGers posting all kinds of goodies but in all reality thats a small part of their meal plan and honestly a lot of times people post pics of shit they don’t actually eat, I know shocking right but they are trying to make money and people want to believe they can eat crap and get shredded. The old saying you can’t outwork a bad diet is so true, if you are eating crap even in a calorie deficit, you will lose weight but if you don’t provide your body with good food and the right protein your muscle will deteriorate as well leaving you with weight lost but with a higher body fat percent.
Universal Diet Principles
I won’t get into the other diets as I don’t think many people still do them as vigorously as they use to. But I will say this don’t always believe what you see on social media, do your research. People have an agenda and a business to promote so they say and post shit that they don’t necessarily do or that they don’t actually believe in but it sells so they sell out for it. If you just follow a simple plan and pay close attention to the details it will work. A few things to always remember to help you out with dieting.
- Food Quality Does Matter
- Calories In vs. Calories Out Matter
- Timing of Nutrients Matter
The more you can dial in these three things with any diet the better the results. With that being said it all boils down to your individual goals, if you are just trying to drop a few pounds you really just need to worry about calories in versus calories out. If you wan to perform at an extremely high level, you leave no stone unturned and you give it everything you have. Big goals require great sacrifices so be prepared to go down that path when you are ready. If you really focus on those 3 things any diet will be a success.