We all know our diets play a HUGE role in how we perform. If you follow anything, you should consume quality lean meats, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds with occasional starchy veggies. You should limit your intake of sugars and many processed foods. This is mostly common sense that we know and should practice. However, even if you are eating healthy whole foods, you still may fall victim to another nutritional roadblock which is not eating enough. While eating poorly is always the primary issue that needs correcting, not eating enough can cause athletes to lose muscle mass, lack energy and place them in a state of high stress.
Have you hit a plateau? Are you constantly stressed, tired and feel like your running in circles? If so, ready, follow and change your diet to see improved results.
#1- Stress is a problem we all face. Stress from life, work, relationships and then you add in exercise/ training. The stress we face can become chronic in nature which puts your body in a highly stressed state often without the chance to recover. This creates high cortisol levels that creates negative health conditions on our bodies.
#2- Stress and muscle mass are not friends. If you are not eating enough, your body is stressed. If your life is crazy hectic, your body is stressed. When you are in a high state of stress, your body will turn to muscle instead of fat for fuel. WHY? Survival. Your body will eliminate what it doesn't need to survive. Your body needs fat so it will spare muscle. The complete opposite of what you want to see happen.if you’re consistently under-eating, you could start to experience a loss of muscle mass. This will only be compounded if you’re not eating enough AND you’re working out. Why? Because your body needs carbohydrates and fats to use as energy in a workout. But if the body doesn’t have an adequate source of those nutrients, it will look to get the energy elsewhere, usually from the existing fat stores in your body, or by burning your muscle mass for energy.
#3- Eat less, weight less? Nope sorry to break it to you but many people who think eating less is beneficial ( myself included) are fallen into the "skinny" diet trap. If you’re not supplying the body with fuel from proper nutrition, it will hold on to your stored fat and start burning muscle tissue for energy. Increased stress caused by a lack of eating enough calories can lead to a rise in cortisol levels. This increases the storage of visceral fat cells in areas like your stomach.
#4- Hypertrophy work "should" make a difference. You know all the accessory movements to your lifts? They should be increasing your lean muscle mass ONLY if you are properly fueling your body for the increased work on those muscles. If you want to build muscle, you need to lift heavy weights. If you want to be able to lift weights that progressively get heavier, you need to be eating more so that your muscles have the strength and energy to move that weight.
#5- Lack of energy and constant fatigue. This is a HUGE sign that your body needs more. More food, more sleep, more recovery. To increase the amount of food you eat without stuffing your face in a few monster meals, look to eat 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day, spaced evenly apart. Doing so will help to regulate your blood glucose levels, not to mention providing you a gradual energy release.
The case in point here is to EAT MORE not less. Fuel your body. Fuel your workouts and start taking care of the hard earned muscle your body is working for !