Diet should be a lifestyle choice.
The Mediterranean diet has been around for centuries. It’s an eating style that’s hugely undermined even though we know that it is one of the healthiest diets worldwide. In fact, a panel of expert nutritionists voted it the top, healthiest diet of 2018.
Athletes and fitness enthusiasts are constantly seeking new ways to boost their fitness performances and increase their muscle gains. They’re trying to do this whilst remaining healthy and maintaining their general well-being. I believe that the best kind of diet is one rich in ‘real,’ whole foods. Nothing processed and very rarely packaged.
The only eating plan that supports this is the Mediterranean diet. There’s close to 50 years of evidence backing its amazing benefits. Not only does the eating plan decrease your risk of diseases like heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Type II Diabetes, but it even helps you live longer.
More importantly, the diet has a sustainable, flexible and enjoyable approach to food. Despite all else, switching from one fad diet to the next, can seriously mess with your hormones and stunt your fitness goals!
Can The Mediterranean Diet Boost Your Goals?
The answer is, yes! Once you clearly understand how it works and its effect on your body, then you’ll know just how easy it is to tweak. You can personalise the principles of this diet so that it enhances and strengthens your body from the inside, out.
A Mediterranean menu is based on traditional foods and eating patterns of the countries situated along the Mediterranean sea. That is what makes it so successful. Their simplistic approach to food and eating it in a natural state makes a great deal of difference to your general well-being and performance.
Variety is everything in this diet. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, low-fat dairy, Omega-3 fatty acids, seafood, lean protein, little red meat and the occasional glass of red wine all form part of this menu. It is unique compared to Western diets and avoids highly processed and refined carbs, meats and saturated fats.
Why Does The Diet Work?
It incorporates foods that provide you with the tools to boost your cardiovascular health, muscle growth and development. Not only does it promote nutrient-dense foods, but it even encourages physical exercise on a daily basis!
There are athletes who swear by it and have felt the physical advantages of following a Mediterranean meal plan. Even Cameron Van Der Burgh, a South African Olympic swimmer and champion, was recommended by experts to follow a Mediterranean diet after he had undergone a genetic testing.
In addition, oxidative stress and inflammation are both factors which will prevent you from reaching your true fitness potential. They can even prolong your recovery time. And since the Med-lifestyle reduces both inflammation and chronic disease… You are pretty much on your way to a life full of successful and rewarding gym experiences.
Transform Your Body
You have the power to build a significant amount of muscle whilst on this diet. Not only this, but you can also boost your ability to endure high-intensity exercises. Mainly because you’re consuming nutrient-dense food that has the ability to fuel your body for growth and recovery whilst maintaining heart health.
A very misleading notion has spread amongst the industry that protein is the only way to build muscle. Popular marketing tactics might have you believe this, but too much of anything is never a good thing. Overloading on one macronutrient is definitely not going to make the changes you want, happen.
The trick lies in this diet’s limitless supply of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You can consume all the protein you want. But, without these crucial ingredients, you will never be able to achieve your best self.
How Can You Maximise Muscle Gain Without Red Meat?
If you are a strength athlete and wish to gain lean body mass or lose, do not doubt this diet, because you can do both with it. ManageYourMacros.Com explains that eating between 1.5-2.5g/kg of protein is more than enough for strength training athletes. And even though you might be sceptical because the Med-diet limits red meats, you can still get your iron and protein from other sources. So don’t just introduce a ton of red meat when tweaking your meal plan.
These sources can include the following:
- fish and seafood
- other plant-based sources.
In this way, you will fuel your body with plenty of necessary amino acids, vitamins and minerals. These are the ingredients that guarantee you a fully-functional, energetic and healthy body to reach optimal performance.
Moreover, many of the diets that are currently trending cut out major food groups, which can lead to a bunch of health problems because you’re lacking in a specific nutrient. No matter how many crunches you do, you’ll never get those washboard abs without these!
You Need To Be Mindful
Lastly, it’s highly important that you constantly pay attention to the quality of your food and how much of it you’re actually eating. The great thing about eating this way is generally you don’t need to be pedantic about your calorie intake. This is because you’re eating less refined carbs, sugars and saturated fats.
However, you do need to keep portion control in check. And although you can eat pasta on this diet, you need to be aware that it should serve as a side and not a full-on meal! We are all different, especially a strength athlete compared to a fitness newbie. Your calorie needs will differ enormously and you need to take this into account.
What makes the Med-diet superior to others though, is its ability to include every necessary and healthy food group that you need for optimal survival, physique and fitness. As opposed to others like Banting and Keto, which cut out carbs entirely and survive on fats for energy. Hardly sustainable if you’re somebody who enjoys a bit of everything.
Variety Is Everything
You can achieve your most refined self with this diet because it allows you to eat the correct amount and type of carbs, fats and proteins. Moreover, the Med-diet only encourages you to eat whole over refined grains which contribute to healthy blood sugar, cholesterol, and help regulate proper hormone levels.
In case you are not yet convinced, whole grains also help with weight loss. In the long term, they can increase your levels of satiety and improve gut microbiota. Plus, you’ll increase your insulin sensitivity which keeps blood glucose stable and stops sugar spikes.
You know that weird hungry feeling you get during a workout? Well, this diet also prevents hypoglycemic conditions like you would experience here.
The Keto and Banting diets have made it clear that fats do not make you fat. They are an essential part of having a fully functional body. However, the Med-diet is rich in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds.
If you’re looking to ignite your metabolism, then polyunsaturated fatty acids are what you need. Omegas 3 and 6 play huge roles in your metabolic health. They help reduce inflammation, normalise your heart rate and promote faster muscle recovery. Eating avocados, fish, nuts and olive oil can set your metabolism on fire!
You might feel a little lost amongst the array of diet options from low-carb to high-fat to carb cycling, to intermittent fasting. But, in reality, they all have more or less the same effects on body composition through the creation of a calorie deficit.
Therefore, stop cutting out whole food groups and struggling to maintain your restrictive meal plan. Rather include foods that make you feel your best and give your body the vital nutrients to perform optimally at the gym.
I believe it is best to use the Med-diet as a guide and then incorporate its principles into your lifestyle, so you will live longer and feel stronger.
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