What do think is the most common mistake bodybuilders make with their nutrition?

June 16th, 2011
By Paul Cribb Ph.D. CSCS.
Filed Under: Questions & Answers

I believe that bodybuilders (and most athletes in general) don’t match the quality of their nutrition to the incredible physical demands they place on their bodies. Most, athletes do not eat well enough to even support general health during intense exercise. Ever notice what seems like a high number of pro athletes seem to get sick a lot? There's a definite connection even at the elite level.

According to many nutrition studies, most Americans eat less than 20 different foods in their lifetime. Bodybuilders restrict their choices even further. Often bodybuilders only eat 5 or 6 foods in total; chicken, rice, oatmeal, egg whites, protein supplements and maybe some green beans! That’s the staple diet of most bodybuilders.

However, restricting food selection really does handicap a person’s ability to achieve optimum health. The typical bodybuilders approach to eating is a very narrow-minded, lazy approach to nutrition that not only does very little to support general health during intense training, it probably retards the physiological adaptations desired from training.

The most effective way to optimize health (and therefore ensure much better results from training), is to increased the variety of foods consumed each day.

There is a simple rule you can follow that will increase the variety of foods you consume each day. The rule is simply, add color into your diet!

When purchasing foods at the market go for bright colors (and I’m not talking about the design on the cereal box either!) For example, when choosing vegetables and fruits, (yes, fruit should be a staple of every bodybuilders diet), instead of the usual bananas and box of raisins, chose blueberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit, cantaloupe and other melons.

Research shows that brightly colored vegetables contain more nutrients. Therefore, peppers, pumpkin, squash and greens such as broccoli, kale and spinach should be an athlete’s first choices in the produce section.

If you follow this simple advice, I can virtually guarantee the improvements you’ll achieve from training in the next three months will be double what you’ve experienced in the previous three months.

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