When we want to gain muscle, we know that we need to eat more so some of us think about it as a way to fit more unhealthy foods into their diet but is this a good option?
If we think only about calories then we can make those extra calories come from unhealthy foods but from a macronutrient ratio this can change, we know that our body needs nutrients to function properly and to sustain our fitness goals, our body need nutrients to recover and grow, we give our muscle the stimulus to grow in the gym and then we give it the nutrients it needs which are proteins and fats and carbohydrates if we follow a balanced diet.
We all know that we need to avoid unhealthy foods for health reasons so the best option would be to stick to whole, fresh foods and just eat more of them now, do we need to avoid unhealthy foods for muscle growth? it all depends of you and your body, some of us are able to eat a good amount of processed, junk and fast food while building muscle but most of us will find it difficult and the reason why is this, unhealthy foods are calorically dense and lack nutrition, this means that one single unhealthy food is high in calories and very low in nutrition, from a calories standpoint we´ll need to eat small portions of those foods but we´ll have cravings, we won´t have enough energy for our workouts, we´ll feel tired and our body won´t have nutrients to function, recover and grow.
So even when we can eat more we still need to focus on whole healthy foods, but we can add more “cheat meals” (I don´t like the term cheat meals, I´ll tell you in other post why) when our goal is fat loss we can have one cheat meal every week or maybe one every two weeks, when our goal is muscle growth we can have one cheat a week or some of us can have two, it all depends of our body and how we feel.
Some people consider cheat meals a good way to replenish glycogen, increase calorie intake one day and keep cravings low, even when this works I still recommend to stick to whole, fresh foods there are so many different snacks and foods we can have which are healthy.
There are some special occasions that I would eat unhealthy meals which are birthdays and Holidays, in my case we have 3 birthdays we celebrate per year and 3 Holidays which those Holidays go from December 24 to January 10.
The reason why I don´t recommend following restrictive diets is so that we have the freedom to enjoy so many different meals from any country, the only rule is that those meals are cooked and prepared with whole, fresh ingredients, if we follow this guide we can have dessert once or twice a week without calling it cheat meal. And the reason why I recommend avoiding unhealthy processed foods like sweets, junk and fast foods is because they are high in sugars, unhealthy fats oils and chemicals that our body doesn´t need.
If we follow those rules it´s easier for us to develop the habit of eating healthy which makes it easier for us to achieve any fitness goal because we know that we just eat a little less to lose fat and a little more to gain muscle.
As we´ve mentioned before fitness it´s not only about achieving the physique we want that´s only part of our goal, we use fitness as a tool to maintain optimal health so that we can live the life we deserve by living to our full potential, we can adjust all fitness tools to help us achieve the physique we want while making sure that we´re maintaining optimal health and weight and we also want our physique to be useful not only to look great. This is why I recommend whole fresh foods, we know that highly processed and refined foods are unhealthy, there are some foods that I prefer to avoid as much as possible it doesn´t matter which fitness goal I´m working on.
We all know that food is a big part of our lives but we can make it work for us, food brings people together and traditional meals help us learn from each country, cooking also brings people together and brings joy to our lives. Learning how to cook is an amazing skill that we can all benefit from and we don´t need to be master chefs.
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