Most of the time when you start a new diet, you have one goal in mind: to lose weight. “Dieting” and “losing weight” have almost become synonyms.
But dieters – men especially – can benefit from looking closely at what we will call the “bodybuilder's diet.” It is less concerned about losing weight – in fact, it's not much concerned about it at all – but rather focused on losing fat.
For many us, the difference between losing weight and losing fat may appear to be merely semantics. But from the perspective of the bodybuilder, they are very, very different disciplines.
A bodybuilder cares where the weight he is losing is coming from, and you should too. If you simply eat fewer calories than you burn (and let's face it, no matter how the latest pop nutritionists dress them up, that's how all weight loss diets boil down), then you risk losing muscle mass along with that fat.
The bodybuilder is keenly aware of this. He is not just counting calories, but he is striving to ensure that the calories he does consume are looping back into his nutrition and energy supply so that he does not shed muscle instead of fat. This is why bodybuilders shun carbs and crave protein; they are constantly protecting the muscle mass they worked so diligently to build up – as should you.
A mistake that a new dieter will often make that experienced bodybuilders know to avoid is to train extra hard (if exercise is good, more is better, right?) without compensating for the additional calories burned in what they are eating. Sure, the weight drops off quickly in the first few weeks, but your metabolism (which really does not cope well with change-up pitches) will shortly guess that something is awry. When that happens, it shunts over to “survival mode,” and will start to consume muscle. Your body actually believes it is starving and behaves accordingly.
The bodybuilder, in it for the long haul and not just looking to drop that holiday weight, plans for a gradual transition to avoid stressing his metabolism. He schedules a controlled reduction in calories, slowly building a calorie consumption/burn deficit. All the while he stays focused upon properly crafting a balanced diet.
By following the “bodybuilder's diet,” you will not only NOT plateau three weeks into your new regimen, but you can be sure the weight you lose is the useless fat and not the muscle you want to cultivate.