The titles of most diet books typically talk fat: Take the “Fat Smash Diet,” … or… “From Belly Fat to Belly Flat.” Some talk numbers and figures – a lot like bodybuilding magazine features, actually. Books like “The 12-Second Sequence: Shrink Your Waist in Two Weeks” could just as easily be seen in the pages of Muscle & Fitness. Then again, there’s nothing like a good gimmicks, and a title to carry it off. We just can’t help but love: “How to Eat Like a Hot Chick,” or “Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap and Start Looking Hot.”
Yes, those last two are real books. But while most experts question whether diet books are good for the masses, we question whether they are good for bodybuilders. Today’s current crop of most popular, best-selling diet books do have value to them or they would not be as widely recommended or sold. However, can a bodybuilder take books like “The Zone,” “The South Beach Diet,” “The Mediterranean Diet,” or the “Rosedale Diet” – all current and popular books – and make them work for competition dieting? Truth is, probably so. Most bodybuilders certainly adopt rapid fat loss practices from the pages of Atkins New Diet Revolution. High protein, zero carb and moderate to high fat will get you ripped to ribbons in a hurry. Then again, some don’t like the rapid onset of weight once the diet ceases.
Most bodybuilders who have consistently dieted for 8 to 10 weeks using Atkins’ principles can regain 15 pounds in a single weekend of post-contest eating. The trick there is to take the weekend, then get back on a moderate, low-starch carb diet that eases up slightly on fat, and keeps protein high.
Lump Atkins in with “Low Carb Dieting for Dummies” and you have two of the current Top Ten of diet books. It would also be logical to lump the “South Beach Diet” in with the “Mediterranean Diet” – both of which limit carbs and put the health back into lower carb dieting.
Dr. Arthur Agatston, a cardiologist, developed South Beach to be an eating plan that would improve cholesterol levels and insulin levels in his patients with heart disease and essentially cleaned up the Atkins Diet. It’s not as high in protein, doesn’t recommend fat from just any old source (such as bacon or fatty meats) and is moderate in lower starch carbohydrates. It’s really how bodybuilders should be eating, largely, in the off season.
The Rosedale Diet is one many are not familiar with. It isn’t yet a household name like “South Beach,” “Zone,” or “Atkins.” What it is though, is a very complex, difficult to follow, high-fat, low non-fiber carbohydrate, moderate protein diet, that focuses on eating fat and allows you to eat at least 50 percent of your calories from fat. It promises to correct hormonal dysfunction and “magically control hunger and eliminate food cravings.” But the rules are specific – they include limiting saturated fats for the first three weeks, drinking lots of water, eating slowly, not eating in the three hours before bed, exercising after the last meal of the day, and never slipping up (at least not for the first three weeks).
If bodybuilders could find a way to follow it, it actually is one of the best for them. However, because of the exercise after the last meal rule, many might not be inclined to actually follow it.
The Thyroid Diet is one that can be beneficial to bodybuilders because it teaches people to manage metabolism for enduring fat loss. But is enduring fat loss something bodybuilders are committed to achieving? Not really, because it’s typically rapid fat loss and a cycle of weight gain following, that drive bodybuilders. Still, the Thyroid Diet is beneficial to those who are taking Cytomel, Armour Thyroid, or any other for rapid weight loss. Many get into a cycle of taking it too long and creating other endocrine imbalances, such as adrenal exhaustion (easy to achieve with AAS use also) and insulin resistance.
The G.I. Diet – which uses the glycemic index as a basis for all food and meal choices, is something bodybuilders have used for a long time. At least the more science-minded bodybuilders, that is. But again, it’s having to learn and understand a system of food groups and categories. Bottom line, any of these diets would be quiet effective for a competitive bodybuilder if they were used at the right time in a pre-contest or off-season cycle. For instance, if a bodybuilder was not going to compete for a year, and wanted to experiment with super moderate eating, and sustaining a kind of slow fat loss that took an entire year to achieve, then “Enter the Zone” might be a good choice.
Then again, if that person really had insulin resistance, burned out adrenals from AAS and thyroid medication, starting with something like Atkins or Rosedale, might be necessary. Using these plans in phases is likely what makes more sense for most bodybuilders because dieting takes on a different patina depending upon the individual circumstances of each person. A fitness model or competitor, just by nature of being a woman, will probably do better on an introduction of an Atkins type diet, then maintenance with a diet like South Beach or the G.I. Diet.
A heavyweight national competitor who has been at the game for a lengthy period of time would probably not take as much time off in between diets, and would do best by learning how to keep that sharp condition on a more regular basis. Using a diet like Atkins for carb-starving and quick water and fat loss for a competition, and then allowances for eating oneself into oblivion, and heading back up the scale in a matter of weeks, wouldn’t suit his quest for a shot at a pro card. Someone like that might do well to eat mostly clean all year long, with a brief hardcore zero carb stint for 6 to 8 weeks. A cleaner fat diet, like Rosedale, and then a G.I. approach might be best for keeping things fairly tight in between stage outings. “
Low Carb Dieting for Dummies” is a great one for constant tips to keep a fitness or bodybuilding competitor in shape most months of the year. All of the current crop of diets would certainly work for a bodybuilder because all are geared toward watching one thing: Carbs. But since each person is different in the number and type of carbs he or she can eat, certain books are better than others. You can pick all of these books up through places like Amazon or can read fairly lengthy excerpts before purchasing them, at Google Books. Familiarize yourself with them, make a plan based on the periods of time in the off season when you can try new techniques and diets out, and you may just find yourself leaner in the off season and sharper at contests.