I will use myself as an example. Before entering my first fitness competition last year, I was networking with a trainer who is based abroad. I will not reveal her name to respect her privacy. She advised me to starve myself (literally) and dehydrate myself the week before my competition. This is something many bodybuilders do before a competition to help bring out their muscle definition. However, this can be extremely dangerous with reported deaths of dehydrated bodybuilders. In addition to dehydrating myself, she told me to go and do cardio (shocking).
After that, she advised me to order a “squeem” online and use it when I workout. This is an accessory that you wear to help you shrink your waist. Last week, I came across an article describing how dangerous these accessories are to your organs. I will paste a quote from bodybuilder Layne Norton below:
“Now we get in to how much of your health are you truly willing to give up? I know a woman who wore a squeem at the direction of a well known contest prep ‘coach’ (I use that term extremely loosely for this particular ‘team’) and it caused her to have organ prolapse where her bladder and uterus basically got pushed up next to each other. She needed surgery and is STILL dealing with the ramifications of this.”
Luckily I did not listen to any of the advice from this woman, even though she is a trainer who advises and trains people daily. If it involves starving myself, dehydrating, taking weird supplements or wearing ridiculous accessories, I will not do it. Getting into shape is meant to be FUN and HEALTHY and you should never have to sacrifice your safety along the way.
Even though I have always created my own diets, I have contacted physique coach Tom Brazier from Total Body Conditioning to help prep me for my two upcoming competitions. He is extremely knowledgeable, professional and has prescribed a well-balanced nutrition plan for me to follow.
Here is how you can make sure you are not following advice that is bad for your health.
1- Stay away from low calorie diets
The American college of Sports Medicine stated that we should never eat less than 1200 calories daily. However, I follow the advice of expert Tom Venuto who quoted never to eat less than 1400 calories a day. If you are overweight, you should be eating even MORE. The more you weigh, the more you need to eat just to maintain your body. If your professional tells you to eat less than 1200 calories a day, you will be at risk of nutritional deficiency and will be starving yourself.
2- Do not cut out any major macronutrients : wholegrain carbs, healthy fats or lean protein
I will post an article covering this subject in more detail, however, your body requires food from all the major macronutrients, especially carbs. How can you expect your mind or your body to function without carbs? What about exercising or training in the gym? Carbs are the number one fuel for progress. Even the leanest and most ripped athletes in the world reach super human levels of low body fat and they never cut out carbs (or anything else) completely from their diets. This is the number one rule taught in all sports nutrition courses. If your professional puts you on a “protein” diet or tells you not to eat healthy fats, please hire someone who doesn’t prescribe fad diets.
3- Do not listen to anyone who tells you not to exercise (unless you have a medical condition)
If you want to improve your health, the first thing you should do is exercise. It not only makes your body healthier and stronger, but your mind too. If you have no medical problems, there is no reason why you should not be exercising. Machines, lotions, pills or other silly claims will not make you slimmer. Hard work and sweat will.
4- Stay away from rapid fat loss
Permanent fat loss and muscle building is a slow process. In order to be successful, it must be slow and gradual. Anyone who promises you that you will lose 15 kgs or 30 pounds in 2 weeks is a scammer. Not only is rapid fat loss dangerous, it is also never lasts. Most of what you lose will be muscle and water and will be regained once you come off your diet.
At the end of the day, use your instinct to follow your judgment. If it feels wrong or unhealthy, it most probably is. Nothing is ever worth sacrificing your health.