Bodybuilding consists of several elements, and not all of them are directly related to pumping iron in the gym. There’s a great importance in the food you eat and the way you eat it as well – a proper diet is one of the most basic prerequisites for successfully building a strong body, and you simply cannot expect to make any progress that’s worth your time, unless you get your eating habits in order first. It’s not that scary, and all of those percentages and calorie counts seem a lot easier and meaningful if you just know the basics behind them – anyone can learn how to do it right, the only ones that can’t are the ones telling themselves that!
First things first – you need something to base your diet on. Sure, some people have enough experience to develop their own diets from scratch, and even make them varied enough that they can switch between several ones – but becoming that good takes time and a lot of experimentation. So, instead of banging your head against the wall trying to put down the first line in your diet list, just take a popular diet and start tweaking it here and there until you like what you see. No pre-made diet will be perfect for you, there will always be this and that food that you don’t like or can’t eat. So simply take out everything you aren’t fine with – keeping track of the respective calorie count for each item – and then go through a list of healthy foods to find appropriate substitutes.
Regardless of what you choose though, there are several things which will set you back severely in your progress, and will make it really difficult for you to be effective in your bodybuilding efforts. The first and major offender here are saturated fats – these simply have to go. And if you’re used to a lifestyle of eating lots of unhealthy foods, you may find that this includes a large portion of your diet! Fried foods fall in this category as well – especially the deep-fried stuff. It’s okay to have the occasional fried eggs, but things like french fries and fast food will destroy your progress very quickly.
Alcohol is also something you should do your best to avoid – it’s a bit trickier here, since the substance has its social aspect and getting rid of it is not a simple option for some people – but if you find it hard to explain your abstinence at parties, just make up an excuse that sounds plausible and takes some heat off you – for example, say that you’ve got a medical condition that prevents you from drinking. And hey, it’s not like this particular one will be very far from the truth!
Building muscles and burning fat will usually require different diets – you’ll find that out as you progress. Sooner or later you should have a few separate diets that you’re using for specific purposes – this is normal and a standard practice for advanced bodybuilders.