You may have heard the term.. 'You cannot out train a bad diet'.......or maybe not. It is a bold statement and a lot of you may shout back 'I train in the gym THREE times a week, I can eat whatever I like!!' Of course you can. but will you see real, progressive and lasting results with this outlook? Maybe initially by chance, but in the long run, the answer is no.
So you say to yourself, what actually is a bad diet? And that's a very good question, and a question with no straightforward, simple answer.
And the reason? Because we are all different. Different sizes, different shapes, different genes, different environments, different training goals................The list goes on and on. A bad diet for me could be a good diet for you. So, for example, a 40 year old lady that would like to lose some bodyfat and a few inches off their waist, will not see results if they follow the same diet plan as Eddie Hall, the current World's Strongest Man. And the same applies the other way around. This is an extreme example, but one that we can relate to.
There are loads of different situations that come into play. All you have to do is take a snapshot of a crossfit class with 10-12 people in it. Each person will have different targets in that class. Yes, they will all be doing the same workout but each person will be working towards something different. Someone will be working towards getting their first pull-up. Someone will be trying to lose a little bodyfat. Someone will be trying to improve their movement mechanics. The list of goals is endless. Pull-up guy (or girl!!) will not have the same nutrition plan as fat loss guy. Squat guy might not have a nutrition plan at all. The point I'm trying to make, is that each athlete requires a slightly different diet and lifestyle to prosper. And just because a diet is 'bad' for someone, doesn't mean it's bad for everyone.
So now that we have established that no single diet or nutrition plan will work for everyone, lets take a closer look at what actually constitutes as a 'bad diet', and what effect, if any, that will have on achieving our fitness goals. Back to the original question then - What is a bad diet? The simple answer - A diet that does not support your training goals. Across the board, this just about covers it. When you flip the question around and ask - What is a GOOD diet? - you will find a question that can be answered much easier and in greater detail, with more benefit to the individual.
An excellent start for most people trying to work towards some kind of athletic goal, will be to consume as many whole foods as possible, eat a sustainable amount of protein from varied sources, consume as much green veg as possible and eat a supportive amount of starchy carbohydrate and fat, whilst minimising the amount of processed foods, poor quality meats, and foods high in sugar. That is the ideal template to base the foundations of your diet on. If you can get this right, then you can set to work on fixing the smaller details, such as specific food groups, macronutrient breakdown and ratios, training days and non-training days, and meal times. Again, the emphasis is on the individual's own goals. If the main goal is fat loss, then a great starting point is to simply just eat a bit less. If you are attempting to make the crossfit games you will need to go into much greater detail than that! Above all else, a good diet must be sustainable. It has to fit into your lifestyle. You must embrace it, enjoy it, look forward to your dinner!! If not, guess what? Its a bad diet.
So actually, as an athlete, you are better focussing on creating a GOOD diet for yourself as opposed to focussing on the negativity of trying to stay away from eating a so called 'bad diet'. The big positive here, is that your 'good diet' may contain some aspects of said 'bad diet' without causing you or your goals any harm whatsoever! As previously said, a good diet for you is a diet that can support your health and fitness goals. If you refer to the foundations above, your starting point may simply be to cut back on something like a sugary dessert after dinner, or maybe add in a little protein to your breakfast. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was Coach MT, so you just have to be patient, make the small, consistent changes towards developing a diet that is good for you. If your diet and lifestyle are not good for you, you will not get the fitness and health results you long for. You cannot out train a bad diet.