Eating is definitely not cheating
You read the title right: eat your way to a summer body. Many people believe that the only way to achieve aesthetics fit for a Grecian hero or an Amazonian gymnast is through rigorous exercise. But, spending hours and hours on the treadmill may actually end up doing more harm than good. Reports indicate that diet is increasingly being heralded as more important than exercise when it comes to achieving fitness goals.
While exercise is incredibly important for any fitness routine, and most goals cannot be achieved without it – you won’t end up looking like Arnie if you don’t get lifting those weights – diet is actually the factor that makes it or breaks it for a lot of people.
Food as Fuel for the Gym
Exercise increases the appetite. So doing endless hours on the elliptical will only leave you hungrier. Those cravings won’t go away, and most people give in to them and derail their fitness mantra.
Food is fuel and when it comes to toning and conditioning exercises for that shaped body – or even just tailored training for a specific sport – the food allows us to complete the exercise. Both diesel and jet fuel can make motors run, but if you gave your hatchback a dose of jet fuel, it probably wouldn’t get very far. The right kind of food is crucial for whatever goals you have in mind. All the crunches in the world won’t be able to combat daily gorges on pizza and cake.
Can you manage these athletes’ diets?
Anthony Joshua is one of the world’s most successful heavyweight boxers, and it’s not just the hours in the gym training for his fights that give him the physique he has. According to his trainer – and the source of his diet plans – Mark Ellison, it’s the near-5000 calories he ingests that make the real difference. Ellison told Betway that for every kilogram of his 113kg body weight, Joshua needs 6-8 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat. Or in layman’s terms, his 4500 calories come in the form of the intense diet plan detailed in the infographic below. Joshua is able to consume the correct amount of calories in the ‘right’ way, through fat-rich fish, lean chicken, and vegetables – that’s when he’s not hanging out with Will Smith of course!
Joshua isn’t the only athlete who focuses their strength on their diet. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is renowned for eating a large amount of ‘clean’ food. For his goals of being a bodybuilder and amassing mass, his diet differs from Joshua’s, as this Muscle and Fitness diet plan shows. Most men eat around 2700 calories a day (athletes reportedly need around 3000), while Johnson consumes around 1000 calories a day in cod alone! He matches his 10lb of food a day with a rigorous training regime that really puts the calories to good use.
Diet is equally important at the other end of the spectrum, too. Gymnasts need to keep lithe and nimble in order to glide through the air. One of the most decorated US gymnasts, and one of the chosen athletes of the Beats by Dre wireless headphones advert, Simone Biles – the first African-American woman to win the all-round world title for the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships – is a perfect example of this. Biles’s diet needs to reflect the training goals she undertakes in order to retain her title. As Spoon University shows, Simone’s diet plan is filled with a lot more food than you’d expect a trim gymnast to eat. Spending six hours in the gym uses a lot of calories, and the body needs fuel for the workout. But most gymnasts are expected to consume around 2000 calories, with emphasis placed on protein and complex carbohydrates.
The science of eating and training
The more you eat, the quicker your metabolism works – that’s what they say, right? Half-true. The more you eat, and the more you train, the better your body deals with the food you give it. So you need to make sure that you match your training caloric deficit with the caloric input from the good-quality food you ingest. You can eat more cod than you can hamburgers, and the body has less fat to store for later, forcing your metabolism to work on what you already have. With these goals in mind, you’ll be able to eat your way to a summer body before you’re ready to hit the beach.