Extreme Diet Plans: An Extreme Problem
Jul 22nd, 2012
Extreme diet plans are being used by droves of impatient men and women today who want results, but don’t want to wait for them.
I understand the desire to get results. I mean who wouldn’t want to get the same results in half the time – even if it meant some extra dedication and sacrifice?
I know I would!
What most people don’t understand, however, is that it’s impossible to get the same results in half the time, because the act of employing any extreme dieting strategy will have side effects that go along with it.
This applies to using extreme diet plans for both fat loss and muscle building.
Some will ultimately consider any side effects associated with their extreme diet worth enabling them to expedite their results.
That is obviously their choice, but most men and women using extreme diets have little understanding of the physiological ramifications involved with choosing to follow a diet plan that’s geared toward extreme results.
Defining What an Extreme Diet Plan Is
Before I get ahead of myself, I want to define what I consider to be extreme dieting…
For the sake of this article, I’m defining extreme dieting to entail eating a difference of more than 500 calories per day from what your body needs to maintain its current composition.
For instance, if you had been eating 2,200 calories per day, and maintaining your weight, and then decreased your daily caloric allowance to 1,500 calories per day in an effort to cut fat, this is an example of an extreme diet implementation.
Conversely, if you increased your daily calories to 3,000 per day to build muscle, this would be considered an extreme diet plan for muscle gains.
Neither of these nutritional modifications will lead to the most desirable end result, as I hope to convince you throughout the remainder of this article…
Extreme Diet Plans for Fat Loss
Extreme fat loss diets are rampant today. People will use almost any number of excuses for needing to lose fat as fast as humanly possible:
- A high school reunion coming up in a few weeks that they want to look impressive for
- An occasion where they’ll be donning their swimsuit
As I said before, I fully understand wanting to get results as fast as possible. But you need to know the effects extreme caloric deprivation is going to have on your body.
When burning fat is the priority, a caloric deficit is always a requirement. But there’s a difference between the way the body reacts to minor caloric deficits of a couple hundred calories per day and the way it will react to a deficit of 500+ calories.
Of particular interest is the fact that extreme caloric deficits will prohibit your body from being able to build new muscle tissue and can even lead to muscle atrophy.
I have yet to meet someone that wanted to lose muscle mass, so this is obviously a situation you want to avoid.
Using a more moderate caloric deficit will allow you to shed fat without the risk of losing muscle mass. Also, most beginners and intermediate lifters can still gain muscle mass under slight caloric deficits.
This scenario of building muscle while burning fat is the ideal result for anyone working towards transforming the composition of their body.
But, this ideal scenario isn’t possible when the body is getting such little nutrition that it has to dedicate all of it to other more vital functions and can’t use it for the building of new muscle tissue.
Extreme Diet Plans for Muscle Building
Just as there are negative impacts to be considered with extreme caloric deficits, we have to also be careful not to get too overzealous and start using extreme diet plans for the purposes of building muscle mass as well.
The ideal nutritional allotment for your body when building muscle without fat should consist of just enough calories for your body to build muscle, but should be limited beyond that.
Building lean muscle mass comes down to more than just calories, as there are other factors to be considered regarding the timing and amounts of macro-nutrients being consumed, but that is beyond the scope of this article.
The point I want to make here is that the body doesn’t need thousands of surplus calories for maximal muscle growth.
In fact, any calories you feed your body above and beyond what it needs to function and maximally grow lean mass will only make you fat.
Far too many people implement some form of “see food diet” when they decide it’s time to start bulking up. These individuals gain considerable size in a matter of a few months, but a high percentage of it is fat.
As a general rule, any weight that is gained beyond 2 or 3 pounds per month is most likely in the form of fat. It just isn’t physiologically possible for the steroid-free lifter to add 10 pounds of muscle in a month or two.
This is actually a good thing, because if muscle gains did occur at such rapid rates, your muscles would quickly over-match your tendons and ligaments, which would lead to muscle tears and other injuries that would keep you out of the weight room for an extended period of time.
If you don’t mind getting fat, then by all means, go ahead and pound back the calories by eating whatever you want whenever you want.
For the other 99.9% of people who would rather build muscle while gaining little or no fat in the process… You will want to be using slight nutritional modifications – not extreme diet plans for bulking.
Extreme caloric surplus diets used for the purpose of building muscle as fast as possible will not enable you to gain muscle faster. They will cause you to get fat!
The Never-Ending Extreme Diet Cycle
I have witnessed far too many well-intentioned people over the years going back and forth between extreme fat loss and muscle building cycles.
They eat too many calories, put on muscle, and get fat after a few months. Then they switch their focus to fat loss only to lose all of their hard-earned muscle mass while following an extreme fat loss diet and depriving their body of nutrition.
After many months of training hard, and strictly following their extreme diet plans, these individuals wind up with zero net difference to show for all of their efforts.
Don’t let this be you! Don’t let your impatience cause you to turn to extreme diet plans in an attempt to hasten your results.
As I’ve hopefully convinced you, extreme diet plans will only hinder your progress and keep you from developing and maintaining the ideal lean and/or muscular physique you desire.
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