As a beginner, weight training always comes first in one's mind. You hit the gym and train like a freak, loving every minute of it. Be it that you are looking to lose weight or gain muscle the gym is the first place you focus on. Some of you will clean up your diet, but more often than not when I hear the statement: "I am eating better." This means to me, you are just eating a little better than normal.
You really have not taken the time to research what are good foods and what are bad foods. Yes, you have cut out fast food and candy, but are you really eating high quality foods? High quality foods will help you obtain high quality results.
Soon you wonder why you're not losing more weight or increasing your muscles. You have done the same thing that 90% of all lifters do. You have put too much time and energy in the gym and not enough in the kitchen.
Below I am going to list all the foods that should be in your shopping cart and the ones that shouldn't. This doesn't mean that you can't have a cheat meal from time to time but sticking with the good foods will help you reach your goals a lot faster than the latter.
Good Sources Of Protein
- Eggs—The Grand Daddy of all foods. I like to have 1 whole egg for every 3 whites. So breakfast might include 6 egg whites and 2 whole eggs.
- Liquid Egg Whites—This is just pure egg whites. More convenient than cracking all the eggs and discarding the yolk but will cost you a little more.
- Skinless Chicken Breast or Cutlets—Lean, inexpensive, high quality protein; staple of every diet.
- Lean Ground Turkey—Lean high quality protein. Little more expensive than chicken breast.
- Top Round Steak—Lean cut of meat. Has more fat than chicken but great source of meat. Definitely something you want to have in the off-season and can be eaten while dieting in moderation.
- Filet Mignon—Tasty lean cut of meat. Expensive but worth it every once in a while.
- Buffalo—Lean red meat, very tasty but super expensive. Give it a try.
- Flounder—Inexpensive lean fish.
- Cod—Inexpensive lean fish.
- Pollock—Lean fish.
- Wild Salmon—Healthy fatty fish. I get my salmon wild because the quality is a lot better but that results in a higher cost.
- Canned Tuna—Lean inexpensive fish. If you worry about your sodium you might want to cut down on this. Make sure you get the one in water not oil.
- Turkey Bacon—Leaner than regular bacon, not something I have all the time but I am a bacon lover so adding this to my breakfast in the off-season is something I like.
- Lean Ground Beef—Make sure you get something that is at least 90% lean. This can be a great off-season source of protein.
- Cottage Cheese—Slow digesting form of protein. Great for having when you have to go a long time in-between meals and also excellent to have before bed.
- Pork Tenderloin—Inexpensive lean protein.
- Wild Sea Bass—Lean high quality protein. Expensive side.
- Wild Swordfish—Lean high quality protein. Expensive.
Protein That You Should Stay Away From
- Skinned Chicken—The skin just adds extra fat that you don't need.
- Breaded Chicken—The bread crumbs adds simple carbs that you don't need.
- Deli Meat—Made with too many chemicals. Low quality of meat.
- Bacon—Too Fatty, but so tasty. I love this food but it is not the best for you.
- Farmed Fish—Have less omega-3s than wild fish, recent studies show that the farm raised fish's fat is very unhealthy.
- Fatty Ground Beef—Any ground beef that is below 85% is too fatty for me. Yes, they make tasty burgers or meatballs but that amount of fat is just too high to have on a regular basis.
- Fatty Cuts of Red Meat—Just look at the steaks, if the outside of the steak has some fat on it but the body of the steak is all red then that is fine. All you have to do with those steaks is cut the fat off the edges. If the body of the steak is riddled with white fat you are getting a low quality highly fatty steak that might taste good but won't be good for you.
Good Sources Of Carbohydrates
- Oatmeal—I like the slow cooked version but the quick one minute is fine. I have oatmeal with my first meal every day. It is a great slow digesting carb.
- Steel Cut Oats—Similar to oatmeal. Slow digesting carb.
- Fruit—All fruits are great but some are better than others for different reasons. Blueberries are at the top of the list for antioxidants and bananas are great for post-workout carbs. The majority of them digest faster than complex carbs so they are best used in the AM or pre and post workout.
- Vegetables—Like fruit you really can't go wrong when you eat veggies. During the off-season all veggies are great to have but when you are looking to diet I stick with just the green ones as they have less calories and net carbs. Veggies are a great source of fiber. Try to have some in every meal.
- Sweet Potatoes/Yams—Tasty slow digesting carb. Add a little Splenda and you will be in heaven.
- Brown Rice—Staple of a slow digesting carb.
- White Rice—Faster digesting carb. Not a big fan as I think the brown rice is better overall option but white rice is good to have in the off season as it gives you the ability to bring in the carbs and calories need to grow.
- Whole Wheat Bread—I like to have Ezekiel bread as it is not processed and not made with white flour. Great slow digesting carb.
- Cream Of Wheat—Substitute for white rice. Faster digesting carb.
- Cream of Rice—Substitute for white rice. Faster digesting carb.
Carbohydrates That You Should Stay Away From
- Cereal—Most cereals today are loaded with sugar. Oatmeal is a better option. Add some blueberries and Splenda to it and I promise it will be as sweet as you need. On top of that you will be getting a much healthier carb source.
- Candy—Loaded with sugar.
- Chips—Loaded with simple carbs and bad fats.
- Ice Cream—Loaded with sugar.
- Soda—Diet version is fine but the regular stuff is just sugar water.
- Sugar Juice—I am not a big believer in any kind of juice even most fruit juices as they are mainly sugar water. I would rather eat the entire fruit which has all the nutrients and is better for you.
Good Sources Of Fats
- Olive Oil/Flaxseed Oil—Great source of fat. Great to add to dishes.
- Fish Oil—Staple source of healthy fats.
- Almond Butter/Cashew Butter—Derived from the nuts but a good source of fat.
- Almonds—Great source of fat and small amount of protein.
- Pecans—Great source of fat and small amount of protein.
- Walnuts—Great source of fat and small amount of protein.
- Cashews—Great source of fat and small amount of protein.
- Natural Peanut Butter—Not processed. Great source of fat and some protein. Love adding this to my shakes during the day.
- Avocados—Healthy fat source. Love it in my sushi.
Fats You Stay Away From
- Fried Anything—I know that the government is making restaurants get rid of making saturated and trans fats in fried foods but you should still just stay away from fried food.
- Butter and Margarine—Not healthy to add to the bread. Add oil instead.
- Palm Oil and Coconut Oil—Not healthy fat source.
- Vegetable Shortening—Not healthy fat source.
Now you have an idea about many of the foods that you see at the super market. I am going to give you a shopping list to help you get started. If you don't like the foods that I picked it is ok to substitute some things out.
- Chicken Breast
- Top Round Steak
- Cottage Cheese
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brown Rice
- Olive Oil
- Fish Oil—You can get the pill form if you like.
- Natural Peanut Butter
The list above is a shopping list of things that will help you get the best results possible. By no means should you only eat these things as life is no fun without the treats and goodies. I am just laying out a blue print for what should be the staples in your refrigerator.
If you have any questions about what you should buy the next time you are at the store drop me an email and I would be glad to help you out. Remember hard training needs to be supplemented with a great diet so stick to the good sources of food above and your results will be great also. Good Luck.