For optimum fitness, a mixture of eating right and working efficiently is essential. In the world of body building, however, striking a balance is particularly important. That’s why people pursuing heavy duty fitness activities don’t just choose what they should eat and drink; they think carefully about what not to eat and drink. (By the way, this is discussed at length at www.AnabolicCooking.com.) The following foods can throw a good plan out the window.
Baked goods are tempting, but they tend to lack nutritional value. Refined foods such as items made from flour have already been broken down to the point where the body can’t absorb much from them and will treat the calories therein as sugar. Sugar causes an insulin response which can lead to sharply rising and falling energy that is sure to crush a fitness enthusiast before he gets very far. Foods such as these should be viewed as treats. Examples include white bread, muffins, cakes, and cookies. Replace these with homemade treats we’ll talk about in a minute.
It’s pretty much the same story as above. Labels on candy like licorice often promote it as “fat-free.” Sugar will be stored as fat, though, when it’s not used up.
These are like baked items in a sense because they are usually composed of mostly refined grains and sugar. Although they might contain some bran or a modicum of whole grains, sugar levels tell a depressing story. Many breakfast cereals are at least 1/3 sugar if not 40% or more. If a cereal tastes like chocolate, what more do you expect? Body builders prefer oatmeal or quinoa at breakfast and sweeten the dish with fruit.
The average packaged granola bar is high in sugar, usually high-fructose corn syrup. This has been proven to cause more problems with energy and insulin resistance than pure honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup. But even these alternatives are bad news in high enough quantities.
The goodness has been taken out of corn syrup, but at least honey or maple syrup is high in antioxidants and other healing properties. Essentially, though you want sweetness to come from food, not sugar, and you need more protein than a regular bar provides. Granola bars aren’t bad if you are desperate, but body builders come prepared.
Don’t even think about hydrating with soda as opposed to water. This contains either too much sugar or, in most cases, a chemical sweetener. You won’t feel hydrated but gassy and bloated, potentially sick, and unable to continue your workout.
Choosing Better Snacks
Here’s an idea for making healthy food taste better. Prepare your own bars by soaking protein-rich dates then breaking them down to pulp in a food processor. Add raw cocoa, peanut butter for potassium and fiber, chopped nuts for crunch, protein powder, and date water or vanilla if it’s dry. Blend everything into a solid mass (not sticky or wet) and press it into a wax-lined square tin. Cover and freeze, then remove the bars to the refrigerator before cutting. For a different texture, add oats, and change the flavor with cinnamon or chopped dried fruit.
Drop some slices of fruit into your water to add a hint of flavor and aroma. Lemon, lime, watermelon, and orange are excellent additions which add no calories; just visual appeal.