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Get Ripped to Shreds, Without Ripping your Health to Shreds

In this new weekly series I will breakdown different dieting strategies, the pros and cons behind these diets, who they are best suited for, and practical applications for use in your own diet.  I will also give out a few different (very easy and simple) recipes to try that relate to the dietary technique being discussed. 

Many of us live in a way of linear absolutes; get from point A to point B in the fastest way possible.  Throw all caution to the wind, put your head down, grind to that end goal, and address the consequences of these actions as they may arise. 

This can directly be associated with a lot of what we do in our lives, especially bodybuilders and those that are building their physique.  It’s almost a badge of honor to take things to the extreme and be as hardcore as imaginable.  Get as big as possible, as shredded as possible, as hard as possible and worry about the rest later.

Let’s reevaluate this notion: we want to get into shape first and then worry about health later?  Instead, we should think about improving our health as we get into shape. 

When bodybuilding began it was to improve health.  Somewhere along the lines that idea went to the wayside and vanity has reigned supreme since (not that there is anything wrong with being vane, as this is bodybuilding we are talking about).  This idea of health focused bodybuilding has made a bit of a comeback with many of the top coaches and gurus preaching health and making better food source choices.

We need to evaluate our food, and specifically the sources of those foods.  Much of what we consume today, especially meat and dairy, is pumped full of antibiotics and hormones.  These hormones lead to meat that is larger than what nature intended it to be.  Hormones and antibiotics can also be carried from food to the consumer.

We also tend to forget how important lipid profile and cholesterol is to overall health.  Carbohydrates and blood sugar weighs so heavily on our minds that we forget about fats as well. 

Let’s look at a diet that has health AND goals prioritized.  This particular diet has been making waves with many of the top prep coaches believing in monitoring health markers that ultimately attribute to overall well-being and a lean muscular physique. The diet is based not just on macronutrients, but also micronutrients. 

There are a few key principles that go into this particular type of dieting philosophy:

  • Correct Ratio of Fats: Bodybuilding diets usually have a major emphasis on fats….leave them alone.  This is especially the case for saturated fats.  Saturated fats help with omega 3s in the body.  Immune system function relies heavily on saturated fats to run efficiently. 
  • Animals and Animal Byproducts that are Fed Their Natural Diets:  Pretty self-explanatory when you think about it.  Animals that are fed what nature intended that they eat are much healthier, leaner, and safer.  Hormone free meat is also much better for our bodies as we ingest much of what the animals ingests. 
  • Fat Soluble Vitamins: Low fat diets may get you ripped, but they are hard on that body; specifically the endocrine system.  Long term this will wreak havoc on your ability to gain and maintain muscle mass.
  • Liver Health: Liver health is obviously very important to overall health in the body.  However, it’s also very important to performance in the gym and overall fat burning ability.  An unhealthy liver tends to make the body hold excess water by the inability to breakdown aldosterone. 
  • Glucose Disposal:  Glucose disposal aids, like Redcon1 RPG, helps with nutrient partitioning by ensuring that glucose is stored as muscle glycogen as opposed to body fat tissue. 

There are certain foods and types of foods that are recommended when following this type of diet:

  • Grass fed beef.
  • Free range eggs.
  • Wild caught salmon.
  • Raw grass fed dairy, such as butter.
  • Virgin Coconut oil.

Obviously there are other foods within the diet, but these are the staples.  These are more of substitutions for items found on a typical bodybuilder’s diet like non free range eggs and beef with added hormones and antibiotics. 

Pros

  • Health, first and foremost.  This diet is extremely health focused, making it different from any other diet in the fitness world.  It’s unique in that aspect, especially when you consider that goals are also important to this dieting tactic. 
  • Fats kept in a diet that is lower in calories will help with overall energy and mood.  Higher fats also help with joint health and inflammation.  This bodes well for those training in a caloric deficit, but with heavier weights. 
  • Glucose disposal helps to ensure that muscle glycogen is being replenished as opposed to being stored as body fat.  This helps with pumps in the gym as well as overall body composition.  Glucose disposal agents also help with lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol.  A healthy and in range lipid profile is paramount to overall health.  GDAs also help with comprehensive feelings of well-being by eliminating blood sugar fluctuations too dramatically.   
  • Fats are needed to assimilate vitamins and minerals, digestive health, joint health, and most importantly heart health.

Cons

Hard to find many cons for a diet that is health conscious and focused.

  • It is expensive to eat grass fed beef, butter, wild caught salmon, and free range eggs.  Ever heard that it’s cheaper to eat a burger than a salad from a fast food place?  Same principles apply here, as high quality food is very expensive.  As unfortunate as that is, it’s the reality of the situation.
  • Unlike some diets, this diet does not have everything laid out as far as macronutrients are concerned.  This is up to the individual to figure out. 
  • For the majority of competitive bodybuilders eventually fats will need to be lower to get stage ready lean. 

Conclusion

This is a fantastic way for many to diet.  It seems silly of me to even suggest otherwise when health is at the forefront of any diet.  Macros will need to be figured out by the individual based on their specific goals.  This diet tactic however is very flexible in application, as either those looking to gain or cut could find benefit in this.  Give this type of diet a try if you want to get lean, bulk up, or improve overall health!

Weekly Recipe

This recipe contains items that are organic or grass fed, but it also has some other items not found on this type of diet. 

Spaghetti Squash Beef Bowls. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound 92/8 all natural grass fed ground beef.
  • 1 whole spaghetti squash.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • 1 cup organic cheddar cheese.
  • 1 can diced tomatoes.
  • Seasoning of choice for ground beef.
  • Spray butter or olive oil (obviously this will add extra calories.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Halve the spaghetti squash and place on glass baking dish with flesh side up.
  3. Spray the flesh with butter and season with salt and pepper.  Flip the squash over and spray the underside.
  4. Put ½ cup water in the baking dish to ensure the squash stays hydrated during baking. 
  5. Bake the squash flesh down for 40 minutes.
  6. Brown ground beef, season, and add can of diced tomatoes.
  7. Take squash out of the oven and flip over.  Shred the insides of the squash to create spaghetti.
  8. Add beef and tomatoes to squash and top with cheese.
  9. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  10. Serve using the outer portion of the squash as a bowl.
  11. Enjoy!

Approx. Macros Per Half with 4 Ounces Ground Beef

Protein: 44 g
Carbohydrates: 5 g 
Fat: 22 g

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