Rewards of eating a clean diet
By Valentina Chepiga - 2000 Ms. Olympia
For years now, I watch in agony, women gorging on anything they can get their hands on to shove in their mouths after a contest. What confuses me is after all the time and energy they have put into making their bodies so clean and beautiful, how can they sabotage all that they have struggled so hard to accomplish over many months, in a matter of days. So I try to understand.
A day does not go by in my gym, without hearing women talk about ice cream or cookies, or something sweet and tasty, as they are chatting away while doing their cardio for one hour. I think to myself, "They will go eat this after sweating so hard?"
"We all have addictions of some sort. Eating is simply overlooked."
When I am asked how I stay in such great shape, I tell them the simple truth. I eat clean food. Then I am always asked, "What is clean food". Fresh vegetables, chicken, eggs, fish, meats, rice. Food that is prepared and cooked in my own kitchen is what I consider clean food.
Going to a fast food restaurant and purchasing a chicken Caesar salad is not clean food. Do you really think they cut the vegetables up fresh when you order that salad? It is prepared hours or days in advance and laced with preservatives so the greens stay crispy.
Take The Time
If you take the time to read the exact ingredients on a box of processed food, you will see many items that you cannot even pronounce. That should be a warning sign right away. But always overlooked. It seems the most logical reason is denial. You do not want to know the truth because it is too difficult to accept.
Bodybuilding has been in the forefront for enough years now that there are thousands of "Perfect Contest Diets". The perfect contest diet is the one that you yourself can formulate through trial and error on your own body. We are all different. Metabolism, hormones, age (a HUGE factor), and training programs are all unique for each individual. A contest diet does not start eight to twelve weeks out.
A bodybuilder must be consistent off-season as well, for that is when they have the chance to add muscle size and change the shape of their body. How can you see what is changing if there is extra padding around the product?
Consistency & Knowledge
It takes consistency, and knowledge of what foods make you perform the best. There are so many books out there with nutritional information in any bookstore you can find. Buy a book that has info on all the food categories and start from there.
I believe that what you put into your body for fuel is the most important secret of bodybuilding. Of course you need to lift weights and be consistent with your cardio. But if you don't put the right ingredients into your body, the whole package is not capable of working in harmony.