Jeromy Bryk – @Bryk_Squuaadd
Of the learning curves I experienced when I started to take fitness seriously, figuring out my nutrition would have to be number one on the list as I struggled mightily with overthinking. I have seen others struggle with this issue as well, since in the fitness industry as there are so many ways to skin the cat, as they say. There are a lot of different diet methods out there that work and personally I have tried several of them, including Flexible Dieting (IIFYM), Carb Cycling, Low Carb/Keto, Carb Backloading, and intermittent fasting. While I have been able to achieve at least some level of success with each of these diets, one thing that always bothered me was the lack of sustainability that came with them. I realized over time that I didn’t want to always weigh my foods and obsess over my macros; I wanted balance.
Nowadays, I follow a very simplistic approach to nutrition. As a result I have added balance to my life while still being able to gain muscle and get stronger, plus have a physique I am proud of. Here are some rules I follow to make my diet as simple and sustainable as possible:
- Always Eat According to My Goals:
First things first, I focus on eating according to my goals. This should be the focus of every diet plan no matter what it is. My diet strategy changes depending on my goals of course, as it would be different when training for a powerlifting meet as opposed to if I decided to train for a bodybuilding show. When making a food choice, I make it a point to think about if it helps me reach my goals at that time, or at the very least, make sure that it doesn’t derail them.
- Eat for Performance:
This one is a no brainer if you participate in a sport. You can’t expect your body to perform at the highest level without proper fuel. I make sure I am eating as much quality food as possible making sure I am getting the nutrients my body needs to be at its best. I focus on making sure each meal has a form of lean protein, a carbohydrate and healthy fats as well as a serving of vegetables. I do pay attention to nutrient timing (i.e pre workout and post workout meals), but that is an article for another day.
As a bonus, focusing on eating the best foods that you can for performance, results in great aesthetic results as well as your body is equipped with the tools to build lean muscle and burn fat on top of performing well!
- Count Calories/Macros Sparingly
There was a time I used to be very religious about weighing my food and counting my calories and macros for each meal. But I don’t like the idea of using MyFitnessPal as a crutch, as I feel it led me to have an unhealthy obsession with food at one point. For that reason I only count calories and macros during transitions from one diet phase to the next to establish a baseline meal plan for myself and at random times throughout a diet phase to make sure I am staying on track. Other times I eat instinctively, staying within my guidelines and eating until I am comfortably full. I often encourage others to use apps like MyFitnessPal sparingly from time to time to track their meals prior to beginning a diet phase to see where they are at currently, and then use it as a tool to plan what they need to eat for their goals.
- Eat Foods I Like
Dieting and eating healthy really isn’t that bad if you eat foods you like. A lot of people have an all or nothing mentality when it comes to food, or think that to be shredded you must eat chicken, rice and broccoli all day. This simply is not the case and having that mentality can lead to a disordered relationship with eating. I like to allow myself to be creative and enjoy my meals, and this flexibility leads to me not feeling deprived and feeling like I need to binge eat pizza randomly on a Tuesday night.
- Allow for Some Freedom
Nothing has helped me create a better balance with my diet than taking the pressure off of myself and allowing for some freedom. For the better part of the year I follow the 80/20 rule, eating 80% “clean” foods and the other 20% of the time is cheat food. In other words, 4/5 meals a day are strict while I allow more freedom on the fifth meal if I want it. This obviously can change depending on my goals. If I am trying to make weight for a meet I will cut back on my cheat food since I am not afforded as many calories in a day, or if I am trying to put on some weight I might allow myself more flexibility.
I still drink beer on the weekend and eat the occasional donut before I go and hit heavy squats. These are things I enjoy so I make sure that they find their place in my overall plan!
In closing, these are some of the things that keep me on track. In my case, I find that I have a much easier time keeping to a healthy lifestyle when I approach it with a sense of simplicity and flexibility. When in doubt, I like to keep it simple. However, all of us are different and I encourage you to take the time and experiment to see what works best for you!
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