Diet Mistake #1: Thinking It’s All About “Clean Eating”
Let’s talk fat loss first. Losing fat over time requires feeding your body less energy (via food) than it burns every day. We measure both the energy burned and eaten in calories or kilocalories.
When you do this, you are keeping your body in a state known as a “calorie deficit,” because it’s short on energy (you’re putting greater energy demands on it than you’re giving it fuel for).
“Clean eating” guarantees nothing in the way of weight loss. Feed your body too much of the absolute “cleanest” foods every day and you simply won’t lose weight. Period.
And what about when you’re focusing on building muscle? Many people are surprised to learn that total calorie intake affects your body’s ability to build muscle just as much as its ability to reduce body fat percentage.
This biological factor known as “energy balance” is the key. Think of energy balance like your body’s energy checking account. A negative balance is a situation where your body is burning more energy than you’re feeding it (it’s in the red as far as energy goes). A positive balance, on the other hand, is a situation where your body is burning less energy than you’re feeding it (it’s in the black).
Now, as you already know, when a negative energy balance is sustained over time, total fat mass decreases. But this comes at a price: it also impairs the body’s ability to synthesize muscle proteins.
What is means is when you’re dieting to lose fat, your body simply can’t build muscle efficiently. This is why it’s commonly accepted that you can’t build muscle and lose fat, which is generally true but not always the case.
So, what this means is that when you want to maximize muscle growth, you must ensure you’re not in a calorie deficit. Instead, you must ensure that your body is in a slight calorie surplus, or a positive energy balance. CONTINUE READING