If you want to get in shape and truly live your best life, you're going to need to do a couple of things: focus on your nutrition and amp up your exercise. If you've been consistent with your workout routine, but you still aren't satisfied with your results, it's time you examine your dietary habits. Whenever I take on a client, one of the first things we discuss is what they're fueling their bodies with and how they can improve upon what they're currently doing. My nutritional programs don't tend to be super strict, but these are the five things you absolutely must cut out if you want to see major improvements in your physique.
1. Refined Sugar
The first thing I always tell my clients to eliminate from their diet is refined sugars. They're sneaky and hiding in a lot of your favorite foods, and they're holding you back from your health goals. By cutting them out you'll learn to enjoy the taste of natural sugars, you won't feel lethargic, and you'll be one step closer to your goals. If you find yourself craving sugars, I suggest eating fruits or using natural sweeteners such as honey in moderation.
Another item I always ask clients to cut out is soda, both regular and diet. Soda is one of the largest culprits when it comes to weight gain, fluctuating mood, and it can even be the reason behind your breakouts. It's full of chemicals, sugars, and it can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. If you currently drink a liter of soda a week, try to cut back to one can a day, and continue to decrease your soda intake until you've weaned yourself off of it.
You had to know this was coming. What you choose to consume is completely up to you, but if you're going to train with me I'm going to ask you to give up drinking for a period of time. By eliminating alcohol, you'll find that you recover better, you'll lean up quicker, and you probably won't want it as much. In the words of one of the best track coaches I ever had, "Don't ask if it's going to hurt you, ask if it's going to help you."
4. Protein Bars
I know what you're thinking. Why on earth would protein bars be on this list? It's because a lot of them contain ingredients you can't pronounce, sugar, and a bunch of artificial ingredients. Instead, invest in a clean protein powder that you can add to milk, water, or a smoothie.
5. White Bread
White bread is just one of those things that does absolutely nothing for you. I don't believe people need to cut out carbs to experience weight loss or any other goal they're after, but the quality of the carb is extremely important. If you absolutely love bread, try a whole-grain option like Ezekiel bread.