In my opinion, diet is the single most powerful element of training to affect body composition. You won’t get “fit” from eating a specific diet and yes you need to move and lift in order to build strength and cardiovascular conditioning but diet is the key to reach your body composition goals.
Most of my students train 3x/week. Some less. Some more. But think about it, that’s only 2 to 6 hours a WEEK that I am directly impacting their lives. There are 168 hours in a week. Subtract 8 hours a night for sleep and you’re down to 112. Minus another 40 hours for work and you’re down to 72. This means that you have 66 to 70 hours a week to really make a mess of things. And the easiest way to make a mess is to eat crap. Compound that with the fact that food is often a thing people go to when depressed or tired. And I don’t know about you but when I’m in either of those states, I don’t make good choices.
There are a lot of diets out there. Vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, carnivore, primal, macrobiotic, Adkins, pescatarian, Mediterranean, and I’m sure many more. Some are plant based, others blend plant and animal sources, others are pure animal. This post has “Paleo” in the title but really a good diet is one that helps you reach your goals and is sustainable. Period. I’m not here really to convince you to eat Paleo, but I will admit that in over 10 years as a strength coach, Paleo has proven to be the easiest to explain to students and the easiest for them to sustain.
Simple to understand and simple to follow are two additional keys to success.
Anyway, I’m really not here to convince you to eat Paleo. What I am trying to do is convince you of how important a good diet is to your performance goals and overall health. Body composition is the thing that gets people to do things. If it will make them look better on the beach, chances are they’ll do it. A good diet will definitely do that. One of the reasons I’m (mostly) Paleo is because in addition to making staying lean easy, I just feel better. I sleep better and I very very very very very rarely get sick. Those are reason enough for me.
At its core, Paleo is a great diet for those reducing inflammation and that leads to the things I just listed. Plus it’s easy!
Anyway, enough about my thoughts on diet. Here’s a terrific debate from Rogan’s podcast between a vegan cardiologist named Joel Kahn and one of the best researchers out there, Chris Kresser. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULtqCBimr6U. They both argue their points well and thankfully it never degrades into a yelling match, which is common when “discussing” diet. Check it out and see what you think.
A final suggestion: once you decide on a diet to try, do yourself a favor and stick to it for 90 days to see what happens. Use your gut and your head and your goals to help you decide which one you want to try. But once you decide. Do it. In the words of Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
Stay strong, my friends.