You need both nutrition and strength training to build an amazing body. They work together to give you a strong, lean, muscular body.
Nutrition provides energy to fuel your training and the building blocks for muscle building. Strength training provides the correct stimulus for muscle development.
Your diet will also be the major determining factor behind your body-weight change. A quality diet with the correct nutrients and energy can make fat loss surprisingly easy.
However, the opposite is also true. It doesn’t matter how hard you work or how good your strength-training program is if you don’t know what to eat, how much to eat, and how to use what you know in the real world.
Nutrition is a huge topic that people spend years studying, and there always seems to be a new discovery or a random study that proves the best way to diet. You have people who swear by one diet, those who claim that diet didn’t work for them, and yet another group of people who say no diet works for them.
The truth is that nutrition for losing fat quickly, gaining the perfect amount of muscle, and being healthy requires only a few guidelines based on what works in the real world, with real people, and is backed by high-quality, proven science.
A high-quality diet should be adjusted to work for you and not the other way around. It should be about including healthy and satiating foods instead of excluding foods that are deemed unhealthy.
Your meal plan should prioritize weight change and building muscle through flexibility and proper nutrition programming.
The Reason Diet Is a Four-Letter Word
The best meal plans and nutrition programs don’t feel like diets. Instead, they become enjoyable routines that are easy to follow yet flexible when life happens.
The process can be easy and enjoyable when you know what you’re doing and what is proven to work. Why, then, do so many people struggle with the nutrition side of building their dream bodies? With two out of three people in the United States considered overweight and one in three considered obese, there is clearly a problem with the quantity and quality of foods being consumed.1 The skinny person who never seems to get hungry says, “You just need to become more mentally strong.”
The supplement company says you don’t need to change; you just need to buy their fat-burner and it will shed fat without any changes to your diet or exercise.
The overweight trainer tells you to eat a lot to fuel your training and to bulk up muscles, yet he never cuts back down to show off those muscles. The roided-out bodybuilder who has dedicated his whole life to packing on muscle yet has never taken a nutrition course says to just eat chicken, broccoli, and rice and toughen up.
Eventually, after years of trying different strategies leading to your weight yo-yoing up and down, you will give up and think, This whole diet thing isn’t for me—that you’re just not meant to be lean and fit.
This is why diet has become a four-letter word that can send shivers down spines. Any mention of the word seems to immediately make people either hungry or anxious that breathing in too much air will break their progress.
How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m going on a diet,” only to repeatedly break their diet as soon as it’s snack time? It’s the lack of knowledge and know-how that makes getting lean and strong difficult and often even unhealthy when it should be increasingly healthy.
Dieting is as much a psychological process as it is physiological. Many research studies have shown that a lot of the problems associated with going on a diet are attributable to the placebo effect. The dieter believes he should be starving, feel miserable, and have little to no energy, so his body makes that happen.
In reality, dieting doesn’t affect mental energy or brain function—food restriction has actually been shown to possibly improve cognitive performance. Skipping meals or eating very few calories doesn’t cause blood sugar crashes and post-meal energy spikes—in fact, eating typically has the opposite effect and causes drowsiness.
You don’t need excess food to improve your mood, sleep well, have energy to complete tasks, or even train hard.
The real reason for most failures is that people associate dieting with restriction. Cutting back and restricting yourself leads to a game of willpower versus hunger. Unless you are a robot with the willpower to say no forever, hunger and cravings always win. This is normal.
No self-help book on mental fortitude will be able to rid you of the constant fight between the food you want now and the body you want later. The battle between willpower and hunger will lead to unhappiness and eventual self-medication through eating comfort foods. Once this happens, getting back on your strict diet becomes much more challenging. Sure, some people have more self-control than others and can stay on a strict diet or say no to their cravings for longer, but eventually, everyone breaks. Plus, this isn’t an enjoyable way to go through life. Shouldn’t your dream body make you happy, not miserable?
Instead of having to rely on willpower, we will rely on a different approach to dieting. Just imagine how much easier a diet will be if you can eat less but be just as full and satisfied while also building muscle and strength.
The Diet Trifecta: Structure, Balance, and Flexibility
Throughout the nutrition sections of Physique Secrets, we’ll discuss how to create a flexible meal plan that gets results but doesn’t feel like a “diet.” Flexible dieting helps you rid yourself of the black-or-white thinking associated with diet culture.
Foods aren’t only healthy or unhealthy. There aren’t strict times you need to eat. You don’t have to choose between happiness and an amazing body. It’s not a diet failure; it’s a learning experience. The goal of flexible dieting is to eat for weight change, muscle gain, and satiety (feeling sufficiently full). Everything else is a drop in the bucket or often leads to diet failure.
The goal is to change from restriction and giving up foods to forming a healthy lifestyle that completely avoids the need for willpower. By switching from cutting out foods to adding foods that make you feel better, improve your body, and reduce your hunger, you will be more likely to stick with your nutrition program while enjoying the process.
You aren’t avoiding any foods, like that ex-lover who you know is bad for you but is always available late at night when you’re bored—you’re increasing the foods that you know you will enjoy and that will put every other craving out of your mind.
Eating healthy, or at least certain foods, becomes part of your lifestyle, not a burden. You know that eating specific foods isn’t mandatory but will fill you up and improve your life.
You can eat the other foods that you like, but you simply don’t crave them as much when you know they aren’t forbidden fruit. If you make strength training and exercise part of your healthy lifestyle, you won’t feel like a slave to your training program. Going to the gym won’t be a time-consuming activity that takes forever to produce results.
Everything together will be enjoyable activity that helps you improve your health, energy levels, mental well-being, and more, with the added benefits of fat loss, and muscle and strength gains. A high-quality nutrition program shouldn’t feel like a diet. It should be flexible, balanced, and structured—not restrictive, monotonous, and uncontrolled.
It should be structured so you don’t need to do calculations or guess at every meal. Instead, you have a routine that allows you to run on autopilot.
This structured approach doesn’t cut out foods but is balanced with a variety of foods, offers multiple meal options, and is not overly restrictive. Still, you can be flexible and make adjustments on the fly should life get in the way or your plans change.
You’re able to be flexible and jump right back into your diet afterward. It’s the flexibility to make adjustments and allow yourself to “fail” without feeling like a failure and without stepping onto the slippery slope of repeated diet failures.
This is how you will really succeed with dieting. You will be happier and healthier, with an amazing body to boot. Plus, it’s not difficult to do.
Diet adherence does not need to be a constant struggle. Through structured, balanced, and flexible eating, you will see that you can still enjoy the food you eat, feel good, and see results. In the upcoming sections, we will get into the science behind fat loss and how to apply different nutrition variables based on their order of importance. This will help you truly understand the minimal number of things you actually need to concentrate on to reel in the majority of the results you want.
By the end of Physique Secrets, you’ll have the tools and knowledge necessary to stick to basic and proven eating methods while creating a diet that doesn’t feel like a diet.