Diabetic Bodybuilding 101
When it comes to building a better body what grabs your attention most?
- The newest supplement?
- A professional athlete’s latest diet and training plan?
- Or, some fancy training footwear that’s been proven to increase performance by 10% (well so the studies say)
The problem with fitness nowadays is too many people focus their time, money and effort on the wrong stuff.
The Boring Stuff Matters Most
Calorie balance, progressively lifting heavier from session to session, good hydration, adequate rest and sleep.
^ If these aren’t in place, your muscle building, and fat loss efforts are going nowhere.
While new and exciting approaches flood our news feeds on a daily basis. It’s important to realise that 99.9% are spin-offs of the fundamentals, just packaged and marketed smartly.
For example, take the newest pedometer. Besides taking calls and coming in pink, black and beige.
What’s its primary function?
To track steps.
In other words – encourage you to move more and increase energy expenditure.
Sound familiar? Yeah, it should. It’s the basic fundamentals of fat loss.
What Are The Key Essentials?
Having worked in the industry over 10 years now, I’ve identified what I feel are the 5 most important factors to consider before paying attention to the mass of minutia.
While reading this.
Ask yourself honestly, have you mastered the 5 factors I talk about.
If you haven’t, you may as well wave goodbye to your hard earned gains, cash and happiness!
The psychological aspect of getting in shape is often overlooked but is crucial in determining your overall success.
Your level of motivation may not resemble that of a professional sportsperson who’s career and livelihood depends on how they look and perform. Respect the fact, their mindset, priorities and access to resources are different to yours.
Don’t compare yourself, especially with what you see on social media.
Your diet must be affordable, accessible and account for your personal food likes and dislikes (you won’t stick to a diet you don’t like – one sure way to encourage binge eating). It also helps if you can cook (and store) what’s on the meal plan!
Your training regime must suit your current level of strength and fitness. It must also be tailored to the equipment you have available.
Worried you’re not making enough progress?
I’ve never heard of anyone complain they’re progressing too fast.
We all know the odd person who looks incredible no matter how dumb or lazy their approach.
The fact of the matter it isn’t you, nor me, so get over it!
Everyone is subject to a plateau no matter how genetically gifted they are.
It just happens at different times for all of us. Your body can and will adapt to everything you throw at it, both from a nutritional and training perspective.
Accept the fact you will never progress in a linear fashion.
Be patient, identify plateaus and work with them.
Like I say to all my personal training clients – It’s those that train the smartest last the longest.
3. Goal Focused Nutrition.
Here’s a breakdown of the key factors I take into account when helping my clients focus on their long-term dietary success.
- Appropriate calorific intake (the major determinant of weight loss and muscle gain)
- Essential Nutrients (fats, protein and micronutrients)
- Metabolic abnormalities and medical conditions like diabetes etc
- Flexibility and diet breaks – Realise, you won’t be able to stick to your program 100% day in day out. There will be times when things will slip. There is nothing wrong with this, such is life. Having the right plan in place that allows you to compensate and get on with things effortlessly is crucial.
4. Respect Your Ability To Move.
I’ve seen too many people neglect the extremely fundamental yet essential aspect of mobility. Good mobility translates into quality movement; quality movement translates into getting more from your exercises.
As a result, you can expect to load your exercise more safely and achieve a fuller more productive range of motion. This equates to increased muscle fibre activation and stimulation, which is essential for maximising your muscle gain and fat loss efforts.
Healthy mobility also reduces your chance of injury as poor mobility can result in the body finding compensatory movement patterns, which equate to strain on certain areas of musculature that shouldn’t come into play in the first place.
Factors that contribute to poor mobility:
- Posture – Think sitting hunched over all day
- Injury/Pain – Think of that old knee injury
- Shitty technique – Sacrificing technique for load
- Prolonged muscle soreness (under recovery) – Inadequate rest, hydration and nutrition are to blame.
- Poorly controlled diabetes.
Factors I’ve found help improve mobility:
- Strengthening the glutes and core which function as key stabilisers
- Foam rolling, static stretching, Ice Baths – To help calm neural reflexes and hypertonicity (tightness) associated with overworked tissue.
- Being ‘postural aware’ – taking regular breaks from sitting etc.
- Perfect practice makes perfect – focusing on quality movement not just shifting a load from A-B
- Utilising different training techniques and exercises to work around injury and pain
- Adequate, rest, nutrition and hydration (recovery)
5. Don’t Rely On The Scales.
The scales should never be considered your sole indicator of fat loss progress, especially in individuals that are already lean. While weight loss is an important and expected side effect of fat loss. There will be times when the figure on the scales won’t budge in your favour.
Don’t stress, there a number of reasons why your scales weight will go up, despite being in a calorie deficit.
Prime reasons include:
- Fluid retention from medications, supplements (creatine), illness or recent hydration. Try weighing yourself after drinking 2 litres of water.
- Carb cycling (increasing carbohydrate intake will increase body weight)
- Sodium manipulation (sodium increases water retention) – combine sodium with more carbs and there is greater potential for weight gain.
- Bowel content – influenced by diet.
- Faulty scales (it happens)
- Increases in muscle mass.
What’s my strategy for dealing with unexpected weight gain?
Before weighing always stop and ask yourself,
Q. ‘Am I looking leaner?’
Q. ‘Has anyone else noticed?’
If you answered yes and yes – you’re winning!
Visual assessment always trumps a set of stats especially when improving body image is the main goal. As the saying goes the mirror is your best friend.
In order to provide a more accurate evaluation of your body composition progress, you can also correlate changes in body weight with other key measures including:
- Visual assessment,
- Tightness/looseness of clothing,
- Waist circumference,
- Umbilical skin fold measure (easy to obtain)
Build your house on solid time-tested foundations, not quicksand. Don’t be fooled by the latest accessories, get your priorities right!
Like What You’ve Read?
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