Even on cheat days, there are some things that you just can’t rationalize eating. No matter how good they look or smell, you know that all they’ll bring you is a sugar rush (and then crash), empty calories and a stomach ache. Cheat days should be about rewarding yourself for hard work and making small indulgences to keep yourself on track with your larger nutritional and fitness goals. It’s not about stuffing your face with everything you wouldn’t normally eat and then feeling like death for the rest of the day. But then again, rules are made to be broken. So we’ll put it this way instead. Here are 6 Foods Bodybuilders Should Never Eat:
Processed Meats: this may seem like a strange one since protein is a staple of most bodybuilders diets and meat is one of the best ways to get protein. However, deli meat is filled with sugar and water to make it seem fuller than it is which means the protein to calorie ratio is much lower than fresh meat. It has a lot of chemical additives that are used as preservatives that are not good for your body and high levels of consumption have even been linked to an increased risk of diabetes and cancer.
Weight Gain Products: this may seem like a good idea when you’re bulking, but just don’t go there. When you actually break down the nutritional content, these are just packages of empty calories, usually filled with cholesterol, added sugars and sodium. No wonder they make you gain so much weight. If you’re trying to bulk, lots of lean protein is the way to go. Try incorporating more chicken and fish into your diet, as well as protein shakes.
Fast food: this one should be obvious, but we’ll put it on the list anyway. Fast food is terrible for you, and you should try very hard to avoid it. That being said, some fast food is worse than others. McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell and the like are repositories for empty calories, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Steer clear. If you are going to indulge or need to find a go-to lunch spot for when you forget to meal prep, Panera Bread, Jason’s Deli and Au Bon Pain are better options with wider varieties of soups, salads and wraps and with nutritional breakdowns available on their websites.
Candy: every once in a while on a cheat day, you can get away with a little candy. But even then, it’s hard to wrap your head around all the empty calories and added sugars that are in those tiny, colorful packages. If you do need to satisfy your sweet tooth, reach for something like dark chocolate which has less sugar and has been shown to help decrease blood pressure.
Soda: soda has absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever, will make you bloat and is actually addictive, like drugs and alcohol. If it’s caffeine you’re seeking, try black coffee or green tea instead. Those two have actual health benefits for you (like anti-oxidants and are natural appetite suppressants) and are calorie, sugar and sodium free. If you like the flavor and carbonation of soda, try a carbonated water like Pellegrino or Perrier and flavor it naturally with fruit slices.
Added Sugar: just in general. Natural sugars found in fruits and dairy are good and play a role in maintaining blood sugar and general health. Added sugars are just bad for you. Period. Foods high in added sugar artificially spike your insulin levels which can make you pack on fat. Sugar does help aid recovery immediately after workouts when your muscles need glycogen, but stick to natural sugars like those found in fresh fruit.
We hope this information helps keep you happy and healthy on your way to making gains.