#7. Sack Sugar
When President George Bush appointed me to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports some 25 years ago, the average American’s diet was fair, but since then it has taken a turn for the worse. Skyrocketing obesity rates—not to mention people who are simply overweight—have contributed to a host of problems and diseases. There are many causes, but two of the biggest culprits are a lack of exercise and excessive sugar intake.
If I could encourage individuals to make just one dietary change, it would be to eliminate sugary foods—including corn starch, high-fructose corn sweetener, maltodextrin, and others—from their diet. Sadly, companies load aisles in the supermarket with foods that may be fine when consumed in moderation, but can quickly add extra empty calories to your diet and leave you wanting more, leading to weight gain and swinging energy levels.
#8. Pick Your Foods Carefully
In the gym, some exercises are better than others. It’s the same in the kitchen: Some foods are better choices than others. Eating clean, healthy foods will go further toward building your physique than if you rely on processed meals, fast foods, and other landmines that dot the typical American diet.
Today, you hear a number of fitness pros and bodybuilders say you can’t out-train a bad diet, and that’s absolutely correct. Why spend an hour or more in the gym training hard, only to compromise your results by eating the wrong kinds of foods?
#9. Make Your Post-workout Meal Count
I liked to eat a meal shortly after lifting in my competitive days, but even then I believed a protein shake with added carbs right after training was the best thing to help me recover. The simplicity of downing a shake the moment I left the gym was far easier than trying to prepare a complete meal right away. If you’re training twice a day like I often did, it’s especially important to get quick nutrients into your system after a workout.
#10. Eat More For Mass
If your training is on point and your diet is clean but you’re still struggling to gain weight, consider adding an extra snack worth 350-500 calories to your daily meal plan.
Drinking these calories in the form of a shake is both easy and convenient, and because a shake digests faster than whole foods, you’ll still be ready to eat a whole-food meal on your regular schedule.
Don’t add too many calories beyond this amount, however, or you could end up gaining the wrong kind of weight.
#11. Ditch Dessert
I like to eat out, and you’d be right if you guessed dishes from my native Austria like schnitzel, goulash, and sauerkraut and dumplings are high on my list. But when competing, I favored lean cuts of protein-rich foods, especially steak.
I was known around town in Santa Monica for liking very large portions, but you have to eat the right foods. Big steaks are great during a mass-building phase for the boatload of calories, especially protein, and even the natural creatine they provide. But massive portions of dessert won’t really help you reach your goals.
Eat big, but eat smart. Filling up on protein-rich foods is better than feeling hungry after a meal and opting for a sugar-rich dessert because your stomach is still growling for more.
#12. Eyeball Your Portions
Competitive bodybuilders write down everything they eat so they can account for every last calorie, but few recreational lifters want to invest that kind of energy into measuring food. One of the biggest mistakes a bodybuilder can make is never learning how to eyeball a given amount of food. What does an 8-ounce chicken breast look like? Does it have 12, 24, or 48 grams of protein? Should I put one or two breasts on the grill?
Getting a handle on basic portion sizes for your go-to whole protein foods, as well as key complex carbohydrates, gives you a great advantage when it comes to choosing and preparing meals. You don’t need to memorize every food, just the basic ones that make up the core of your bodybuilding diet.
Author: Arnold Schwarzenegger With Bill Geiger
References: bodybuilding.com & schwarzenegger.com