Say bye bye to pizza, burgers and milkshakes and hello to chicken, beef and protein shakes. Right?
This is how most people would approach dieting when looking to lose weight or gain muscle: Get rid of all the junk and replace it with all the good.
Making such a sudden change in your diet can often lead to greater cravings for those guilty pleasures, and before you know it you would have slid back into a world of greasy food, high calories and increased body fat.
So let's be clear about one thing: Every food is good for you, but some only in moderation.
Eating a pizza for dinner every night of the week is going to do you more harm than good, no matter how healthy your breakfasts and lunches are. But eating a pizza once a week as a reward for all your healthy eating and exercising can be a powerful tool to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Sometimes though things don't workout as planned; A work colleague brings cakes in. Your partner suggests a takeaway. You buy some popcorn and a milkshake at the cinema... Before you know it you may as well have had that pizza every night after all!
So here's 5 tips to help you stay fit and healthy when craving those sweet treats:
1. BURN IT OFF BEFORE YOU HAVE IT
If you know that you're going have a takeaway or go to the cinema and order some popcorn, then you have the perfect chance to burn off these calories calories before you put them on. Hit the gym as close to your 'treat' time as possible and perform a 30 minute HIIT workout (High Intensity Interval Training). This is the best type of workout to burn a high number of calories in a short space of time. And what's more it will ramp up your metabolism meaning that you'll still be burning calories for hours afterwards.
2. FUEL FOR YOUR LEGS
Everybody hates legs day, right? Not if you're properly fueled for it you won't! Which is why it's important to utilize those 'naughty' calories and carbohydrates to completely transform your legs workouts. Why legs? Because they are the #1 major muscle group in our bodies that require the most energy to function. The day after your 'cheat meal' hit the gym and get down and dirty with a killer leg workout. Perform barbell squats to start and then hit the leg press. Follow this with walking lunges and sprints on the treadmill. If you still have fuel in the tank after all this finish your legs off with leg extensions and leg curls.
3. FILL OUT THOSE MUSCLES
Want to look beach ready in two weeks? Reduce your carbohydrate intake each day by 100-200 grams until you are down to 500 grams a day. Push yourself in the gym and through the mental fatigue that will come with it (hey, nobody said it would be easy!) and when it comes to the day before the beach, enjoy your favourite cheat meal. The glycogen from this meal will be sucked into your muscles and will fill and harden them up, all the while keeping your waist looking trim. Your mental fatigue will vanish and you'll be ready to hit the beach looking your best.
4. SLEEP BETTER
Studies have shown that carbohydrates before bed time can help you sleep better. Better sleep means better muscle repair, and better muscle repair means better gains. But stay clear of those milkshakes! Instead reach for a bowel of hearty porridge and add a tablespoon of peanut butter, a chopped banana and a couple of squares of dark chocolate. Not only will you sleep better but you'll be full of energy in the morning (ready to hit the gym!)
5. DON'T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF
So you've slipped up. You had that pizza and that milkshake but you haven't hit the gym for a few days. So what?! Instead of feeling sorry for yourself accept it and move on. Use all those extra calories you consumed to fuel your body for an EPIC gym workout. Stay an extra 15 minutes as a good will gesture to your health. We guarantee you'll feel incredible afterwards. Cap it off with a healthy dinner and get yourself an early night. You can now consider yourself back in the game!
Giving up junk food completely might not necessarily be the answer for everybody. For some, maybe having a flexible diet that allows them to enjoy some tasty treats in moderation is the key to sustainability. And when consumed, using those extra calories in the right way can be a powerful tool to maximise your workouts and recovery time.
However you decide to approach things, rest assured that when it comes to milkshakes and protein shakes that there is room for both.
For more information on healthy eating and flexible dieting speak to one of our TribeFit Personal Trainers who will be happy to help.
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