What is a "good diet"?

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    What is a "good diet"?


    You see it all the time. It is asked "what's your diet like?" and the reply is "don't worry about that, the diet is good, my problem is somewhere else..." OK, fine. Sure, we all eat somewhat regularly and try to get a good amount of protein. But is that enough to call what you are doing a "good diet"? Not by a mile.

    Here's a few things that help knowing where you stand with your diet:

    1. Know how many calories you need for maintenance on both active days and rest days.

    2. Know how many calories you are taking in each day. This means keeping a food journal. Unless you have kept food journals for a LONG time, then you can't really know where you stand with regards to your nutrition. A good place to keep a food journal is at FitDay, which also calculates how many calories you need. It's free, too. Here's the link: http://www.fitday.com

    3. Know how much protein you need and how much you are taking in. Protein is the single most important nutrient to watch, at least in the early stages of discovering your best diet. 1g/lb of bodyweight is a good base, which means that under no circumstances should you go under that. 1.5g/lb of bodyweight is good and some people do even better at 2g/lb.

    4.
    Know that there is protein in many things. "protein" doesn't mean "powder". Fish, chicken, meat and dairy are all high in protein.

    5.
    You need to know which nutrient ratios you do better with. If 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat works for you, you HAVE TO KNOW THAT. If 50/40/10 is better, then fine. And so on. Some people do very well on 40/05/55 for 5-6 days, followed by 40/50/10 for 1-2 days. That's called a CKD.

    6.
    To discover these things, you will need to experiment. Start with a good 40/40/20 and see how you feel. Adjust and see the results. Then again. Then again. You'll eventually find what works best when cutting, when bulking and when maintaining.

    7.
    You need to eat REGULARLY. That doesn't mean "every single day". It means every set number of hours. For example, say you're up 16 hours per day, and sleep for 8 hours, then you can eat approximately every 4 hours. You can schedule things like this:

    06AM: Breakfast
    09AM: Snack
    12PM: Lunch
    03PM: Pre-workout Snack
    06PM: Post-workout shake
    0730: Dinner
    1000: Bedtime snack

    Yes, this way you eat 7 times a day. This is pretty ideal. Too much work? No time? Too much trouble? Then either hire someone to do it for you if you have the money or get it out of your head that you will ever have anything more than a "nice" body. Being in GREAT SHAPE is a lot of work! If it were that easy, you'd see legions of 235lb men with shredded 6-packs. THAT is why there aren't that many. Yes you can get away with eating 4 times a day, but 5 to 7 are better.

    8. Know what you're doing with what kinds of carbs, fats and proteins you're taking. Know what low glycemic index carbs are, what high-GI carbs are and which do what for you. Know what essential fatty acids are, what saturated and unsaturated fats are, which foods they come from, what they do for you. Know what complete protein is and what isn't and make sure you have complete protein on as many snacks and meals as doable.

    9.
    Once you've been at training and dieting for long enough that you have experimented with enough variations of all these factors and finally figured out what works best for gaining, leaning, or maintaining/recomping, and have disciplined yourself enough to apply all this knowledge no matter what, day in, day out, THEN you can say you have a "good diet". Not before.

    Remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This is true of bodybuilding also. If you think of Training, Diet, Supplementation, Rest, Hydration, Hormones and Genetics as the links of the chain that ties you to your bodybuilding goals, then you have a pretty good mental picture of how things work. In this author's 15 years of bodybuilding experimentation and 11 years of internet discussion of bodybuilding, DIET comes on top as the most often weakest link in someone's approach to bodybuilding. No matter how much stronger you make the other links, if diet is not as good as it can be, all your efforts to make those links stronger will come to naught because your diet breaks your tie to the "building" part of bodybuilding.

    How many times have I met people in my gyms who complain that "gaining muscle is SO hard" and even that they are "steroid non-responders" or, the newly best-loved method of bull****ting oneself about their way of doing things, that they "have bad genetics". As a matter of fact, unless you have tried every single combination of every factor that is known to affect the bodybuilding endeavour, or have undergone a nonexistent DNA test to this effect, you cannot have any idea if you have "good genetics for bodybuilding" or not. Sure, your dad and grandad might be weaklings. Maybe their lifestyles made them that way and they just wasted great athletic genes by being potato couches or whatever. Point is, what your immediate ancestors look like doesn't mean much. Every single time I've chatted up some guy who complained of his gains or genetics or lack thereof, there is a gaping hole in his method, and most of the time, it boils down to ONE THING. DIET
    Last edited by Grunt76; 02-12-2006 at 07:02 PM.

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    WOW alot of thought effort and time put into that Grunt. Nice job.

    Can I play the devils advocate What is a good diet, if you are not getting the results you want then change it, if you are don't do a thing.

    Yours sounds ALOT more specific though lol

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    Yeh, Bobo created this new forum and I was involved in a discussion about it, so I kinda felt the need to express something here. Plus, I've got nothing to do today...
    The devil's advocate asks "what's a bad diet?" The devil answers "Mine. Look at me, I'm all scrawny and yucky-looking..."
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    Very informative post!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grunt76
    Yeh, Bobo created this new forum and I was involved in a discussion about it, so I kinda felt the need to express something here. Plus, I've got nothing to do today...
    The devil's advocate asks "what's a bad diet?" The devil answers "Mine. Look at me, I'm all scrawny and yucky-looking..."

    LOL Grunt you are a real asset to the board and good sense of humor.


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    Thanks bro.

    I'M all red now.
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    Can bobo say, sticky!
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    awesome post- glad you were bored to write it up
    "A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most." -George Bernard Shaw
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    Single most important thing in any training program is a reference point. You can use all the forumulas in the world and it will not tell you EXACTLY what you need. Every program I design starts with a general reference point (a range) and that includes training as well. Start with the most basic of principles and build off that. Once that boring reference point is established, you can spice things up with different diets and training methods but there is no point in starting an elaborate training program and diet if you don't even know how you react to the most basic of principles that the majority will have a postive reaction too. Foundation first, details second. The problem is that many people don't want to learn HOW to establish a foundation because its boring and bland (and harder to do). But once you get past that, the fun can begin...
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    I like this. Nice work Grunt.

    What about if your life makes it hard to to the seven meals a day? Our guys like me that feel like crap eating seven meals aday?

    I think we should list what we think is essential to a good diet other the "Eat alot of protein, bro"

    I'll start: Psyllium husks. A godsend to a person that eats alot of protein.
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    Eating frequency helps, but is not critical.

    I also think people go way overboard on protein. It does have a postive thermic effect when taken in high amounts but then the need for whole foods increases as well because large amounts of liquid protein tends to go right through you and not utlized. The body's digetion system is set up in a way that makes breakdown and absortion much easier when whole foods are ingested.
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    but then the need for whole foods increases as well because large amounts of liquid protein tends to go right through you and not utlized. The body's digetion system is set up in a way that makes breakdown and absortion much easier when whole foods are ingested.
    I knew there was a reason my bowls get all twisted when I used to drink huge 80+ gram shakes
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    Something I wrote got stickied!!! My hour of glory has come! Now I gotta before I go all stupid and ... again...
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    I rep'd him but forgot I had no reps. Damn.
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    I think you neg-repped me... It came across as a red dot followed by 3 grey ones.
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    I got ya bobo! reps sent!
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    Excellent thread. I also use FitDay and it is the best $20 I ever spent (it's now $30 I believe).

    Rep points for Grunt76!
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    Excellent post Grunt. The bottom line is your diet is the single most important link in the chain. Can't remember where I read this, but it is something someone else wrote, "every one has a perfect set of six pack abs, it's just under six inches of fat on most people".
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    You're using the PC version? How is it?

    I'm sort of tired of wading through all the frozen dinner selections with "chicken" somewhere in there when simply adding "chicken" to my log... Does the PC version help with that?

    Their website isn't very explicit as to what the PC version does more than the online version... They need a marketing boost if you ask me...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grunt76
    You're using the PC version? How is it?

    I'm sort of tired of wading through all the frozen dinner selections with "chicken" somewhere in there when simply adding "chicken" to my log... Does the PC version help with that?

    Their website isn't very explicit as to what the PC version does more than the online version... They need a marketing boost if you ask me...
    I started out using the free online version, then after 2 or 3 months upgraded to the PC version. When you figure how much money we spend on food and supplements a year, the price of the software is very low.

    The biggest advantage I found was the reports you can run are much more advanced. For example, you can enter variables like your mood or energy levels for each day. Then, run reports to see what activities, nutrients, etc you were consuming on your lowest energy days.

    Once your current weight and typical activity level is entered (do you sit at work all day versus being on the go?), FitDay calculates your maintenance level of calories each day. If you are doing a mass gaining cycle or a fat-loss cycle, just enter the goal date, your desired ending weight, what cardio & weight-training activity you plan on doing; plus your planned calories, % carbs, fats, and protein. FitDay will tell you what you need to average in each area to achieve the desired goal. For example, if you are on a 10 week cutter and want to lose 20 pounds of bodyfat, it will obviously tell you need to average a 2 lb per week loss, but it will also tell you caloric deficit you need to average. It factors in the total calories you burn versus the total consumed. You can even enter activities like shoveling the driveway or raking leaves, in addition to 30 minutes on the stair climber!

    The other cool feature is the ability to enter custom foods. Not all food combos come preloaded, but you can enter any custom food or supplement you want.
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    excellent work Grunt!

    Bobo care to elaborate on the following point? Do you mean reference point as in a basic 40/40/20 and a basic 4-day training split that will work for most people when done correctly?
    Once that boring reference point is established, you can spice things up with different diets and training methods but there is no point in starting an elaborate training program and diet if you don't even know how you react to the most basic of principles that the majority will have a postive reaction too. Foundation first, details second. The problem is that many people don't want to learn HOW to establish a foundation because its boring and bland (and harder to do).
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    Quote Originally Posted by cable626
    excellent work Grunt!

    Bobo care to elaborate on the following point? Do you mean reference point as in a basic 40/40/20 and a basic 4-day training split that will work for most people when done correctly?
    I generally start everyone aroudn that range (maybe SLIGHT variations) and use a 5 day split to establish a decent reference point. You'd be suprised how different 2 people at the same height and weight react even though they both say they are ecto's. Then over time tailor it to what seems to work best. For the most part only the diet needs to be changed because you don't want to completely change splits 1-2 weeks into it. You try to add slight variations whether is rep range and total TUT each rep. The diet has to coincide with the training program. You can't have a diet based on a 5 day split then change your trianing workout to a 3 days split and expect the same results. Then again you can't predict anything 100%.

    So I try to be consistent to what I start people out on so we can get an accurate reference point. The problem is thats its boring and pretty damn bland. But once we get some intial results then we can spice it up....
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    excellent post Grunt. now we're talking
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    Got to spread some reps around first Grunt. I'll get ya though.
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    Grunt 7sizzle !!! great post my man, i appreciate your posts and all the advice you have given me. Its good to have a contributer, and not how many days do i need pct ??? poster!!! nuff respect and lots of reps for you !!!
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    Excellent post and well deserved sticky! Nice work! Once question though, should one not try to eat so late... lets say after 10 or is it okay to eat until you have reached the caloric intake you would like? I don't eat past 12 since that is the start of another day, but i've always wondered which is the proper way.
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    The other cool feature is the ability to enter custom foods. Not all food combos come preloaded, but you can enter any custom food or supplement you want.
    Oh that's sweet. I hate trying to find the food Im looking for in a dropdown menu. Ill be checking this one out tonight for sure.

    Awesome thread Grunt!

    BV
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    online fitday you can add your own custom food also though. I added nutritional info for things like fish oil caps, protein powder, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Achilles13
    Once question though, should one not try to eat so late... lets say after 10 or is it okay to eat until you have reached the caloric intake you would like? I don't eat past 12 since that is the start of another day, but i've always wondered which is the proper way.
    Well it all depends what you eat and what the current goal is. In general, we as bodybuilders feel the need to maximize muscle mass. There can of course be exceptions to this such as the precontest phase, where definition takes the lead as the most important thing.

    But generally-speaking, keeping or adding muscle mass means keeping a positive amino acid balance, whereby you ingest more protein than you use up or break down. Seeing as the night-time will provide possibly the highest levels of hGH of the whole 24-hour period, it is a smart move to keep some amino acids available in the bloodstream for any anabolic effects of hGH. Testosterone also rises during the night and this resting period is thus one of great importance in overall anabolism, admittedly much moreso for the natural athleted.

    Personally, I find that a simple protein-rich, low-fat, low-carb snack to be ideal. Some like low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese, some like caseinate or heck some might have their daily can of tuna right before bed. I feel this maximizes muscle mass while not providing factors for any fat gain at all. Of course, some foods will do you more good than others.

    The precontest athlete might have a different perspective. I am not knowledgeable in the intricacies of the last few days precontest, but in general I feel that a slow-digesting protein meal (not a whey shake) is a good option for anyone. Heck, the pros wake up at night to chug caseinate although once again their immediately precontest diet might be fairly different.

    To sum it up, I feel if you eat the right thing right before bed, and allow for its caloric value, this last snack can be very beneficial.
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    hey grunt great post, that should give allot of users some knowledge on dieting. hopefully people will read this and learn from it

    A common misconception is how you have to eat small meals often
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    thanks grunt, this is great information and exactly the stuff i enjoy learning about and trying to put to use. it's hard to gather all the required information just by reading posts though. a trip to the book store usually results a bunch of useless diet fad books. i was wondering if anyone has read a good book that puts this information together for us and is geared toward the athlete/bodybuilder?
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    The best book I have ever used was the Arnold Encyclopedia it is the freaken bible to me and my friends
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    if someone has lifted for a long time with no hormones they just might be close to their natural potential peak no?
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    you said we should know our maintainance calories but how do we figure that out, i've read that bodywieght X 12 is how many calories you need. does that sound about right? is it to low or to high? thanks
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    Basically maintenance is the amount of calories that you eat without gaining or losing weight over weeks. Of course your weight will normally fluctuate by a couple pounds over the course of a day or 2, so it is best to assess wether or not you are gaining weight on a multiple-week basis.

    Tools, such as fitday, let you enter bodyweight, lifestyle, activity levels, as well as specific activities and give a fairly accurate estimate of maintenance level. Of course, fitday also lets you log your bodyweight and all the foods you take in, so you can see how your bodyweight fluctuates over time on a graphic chart, as well as average daily calorie deficit or excess over weeks and months. This is a very valuable FREE tool that IMO no one interested in their diet and general fitness should be without.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mildain
    you said we should know our maintainance calories but how do we figure that out, i've read that bodywieght X 12 is how many calories you need. does that sound about right? is it to low or to high? thanks
    First you need to estimate your BMR. Indirect Calorimetry being the more precise method. Formulas are helpful but are really estimations (most based/compared with indirect calorimetry for accuracy) and most likely need to be adjusted.

    Next you will need to add in your activity factor. Various ways to do this also. I like using MET's personally.

    I'll start you off with a couple of BMR formulas to research, Cunningham equation, Mifflin St. Jeor equations.
    Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life. Lao Tse 6th century BC
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    Bump to a great thread.
    Recent log:http://anabolicminds.com/forum/supplement-reviews-logs/213350-lean-efx-refined.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonny21
    First you need to estimate your BMR. Indirect Calorimetry being the more precise method. Formulas are helpful but are really estimations (most based/compared with indirect calorimetry for accuracy) and most likely need to be adjusted.

    Next you will need to add in your activity factor. Various ways to do this also. I like using MET's personally.

    I'll start you off with a couple of BMR formulas to research, Cunningham equation, Mifflin St. Jeor equations.
    I use fitday, but to make it accurate I have to change my lifestyle to "bedridden" and then add my workouts... It works. You will notice that all my logs show calories expended as well as calories absorbed. It is just one more way in which I am so wonderful...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grunt76
    How many times have I met people in my gyms who complain that "gaining muscle is SO hard" and even that they are "steroid non-responders"
    Your diet has to be B.A.D. to be a "steroid non-responder". LOL.

    Great post, Grunt. "You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Grunt76 again."
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    are carbs everything that is not protein or fat?
  

  
 

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