1. They eat cereal every morning for breakfast.
Breakfast cereals are one of the worst foods you can eat. They are highly refined grains with no nutritive value and tons of empty carbohydrates and sugar. Milk isn’t much better either. Starting your day with hundreds of empty calories and tons of sugar that sets up a blood sugar CRASH = BAD IDEA!!
2. They eat “healthy energy bars”.
These are another “But the label says its good for me” product. Of course they tell you that, they want you to buy it!! More sugar, refined carbohydrates and mystery ingredients. Do yourself a favor and examine the ingredient list on one of these bad boys. You might be surprised at some of the things you see. I call them “frankenfoods” because they’ve been brought to life in a lab like Frankenstein! This may be a little extreme, but when I see an ingredient on the list that I can’t pronounce, I say “cancer”.
3. They don’t plan ahead.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” If you don’t know what you next meal is going to be, where you’re going to get it, or when…you’re screwed. You’re going to get so hungry you will eat the nearest item that passes for “food”. And the odds that it’s the right choice are not in your favor. Start thinking ahead and plan your meals in advance. I NEVER leave home without a meal or two (or five). Sure it can be a pain in the ass, but so is being normal, fat slow, and weak…YOUR CHOICE.
4. They drink too many calories.
Milk, sodas, fruit “juices”, and sports drinks are some the biggest contributors to your ever-expanding waistline. Unless you need to gain serious weight in a hurry, STOP drinking your calories. Instead of 500 calories from that 32oz gas station soda, you could have a 6oz steak, a baked sweet potato, broccoli, and some olive oil with a few calories to spare. Which one do you think makes for stronger, leaner, more explosive athlete??
5. They think “whole grain” labels are green lights.
If one person tells me spaghetti or bagels are “OK” because “they’re wheat noodles” I’m going to punch them in the teeth. I’m going to let you in on a little secret…ALL breads, noodles, waffles, and flour derived products come from WHEAT!! They are all processed, refined grains that have ZERO nutritive value. You want fiber, eat some raspberries or flax seeds. And don’t give me that crap about vitamins in whole wheat breads…they’re FORTIFIED…which means the manufacturers added powdered vitamins and mineral into the mixture before baking your “bread”. If you must eat grains, check out Food For Life’s Ezekial line. They make noodles, breads, and cereals from sprouted grains and are minimally processed.
6. They don’t train properly.
In my years in the gym I’ve seen many STUPID things. But I can overlook temporary lapses in judgement. If you get a wild hair and want to try something crazy once every 6 months, that’s OK – as long as nobody gets injured. But the thing I can’t forgive or forget is the lack of direction, progression and overall goal in one’s training. The people who stroll into the gym and “do whatever” are the ones that look the same year after year. I’ve seen it OVER and OVER. Stop program jumping, stop looking for the “perfect program” (there isn’t one – mine included). Choose a well designed program that suits your needs and goals and GO TO WORK! Train hard, train smart, but most importantly TRAIN! That means seeing the big picture and enduring some sessions you may not enjoy. If you only do the things you’re good at and the things you enjoy, then you’re just “working out” – and you’re never going to get better.
7. They aren’t consistent.
Jim Wendler once said “If you want to look like you’ve squatted and run hills for 10 years, go squat and run hills for 10 years.” No better advice can be given on consistency. No matter how much we try, results are not seen overnight. The results are NEVER quick enough. But some progress is better than none, and the goal is to a little bit better tomorrow than you are today. String those together for a period of time and you will start to see the return on your investment.
8. They eat for pleasure, not purpose.
At some point, athletes must realize they eat to give their body what IT NEEDS. That is not always what the mind or taste buds want. Be a disciplined, mature athlete; have a sense of responsibility and stop listening to every commercial on TV. You know your body is NOT craving pizza rolls after a great training session. This is the same concept as “training vs. working out”. See the bigger picture here and realize that each meal, each day, each training session, are simply bricks in a wall. Sure you can skip a meal or have a cheat meal. But that is one less brick laid…and for every brick you fail to lay, your competition is gaining on you.
9. They do the wrong “cardio”.
Entire articles and books have been written on this subject. In as few words as possible, cardio for fat loss is different than cardio for conditioning or sport performance. When fat loss is the primary goal, nutrition prior to the activity must support the objective of this “cardio”, which is to reduce body fat stores. This is done by starving the body of energy nutrients (fats and carbs) so the body is forced to tap into stored body fat for fuel. This is usually done by bodybuilders and physique athletes in a fasted state first thing in the morning or immediately after weight training. Conditioning on the other hand has the primary goal of enhancing athletic performance. For this reason, the activity should not be performed in a nutrient deprived state. There are numerous options for nutrient delivery depending on the intensity, duration, and timing of the activity.
10. They are afraid to eat fats.
Eating fat does not make you fat. People gain fat when they eat more calories than they burn. Even if those calories came from the perfect food(s), the person would still gain fat. Fat gain and muscle loss are determined by calorie balance. That said, the source of your calories has a HUGE impact on the way your body handles them. Hormones especially, are greatly influenced and affected by the types of calories we consume. Fats help slow the digestion of meals, which delays blood sugar rises and helps regulate insulin. A diet too low in fats can lead to decreased levels of Testosterone, the hormone responsible for all things considered manly – sex drive, well-being, confidence, muscle, strength, etc. Fats also contribute to healthy hair, skin, and nails. Bottom line, don’t fear your healthy fats.