Jerry Brainum breaks down the straight facts for the top 10 most common nutrition mistakes in bodybuilding, fitness, and strength sports.

STRAIGHT FACTS WITH JERRY BRAINUM – is an in depth exploration of the more complicated elements behind bodybuilding training, nutrition, and supplements. Hosted by legendary and longtime industry expert, Jerry Brainum, Straight Facts answers user questions so no one is left in the dark.

Last week, Jerry Brainum did an entire Straight Facts episode breaking down the biggest training mistakes that individuals usually make in bodybuilding. This week, Brainum is following up on this topic but focusing on the nutrition side of bodybuilding. What are the biggest nutrition mistakes in bodybuilding and fitness? Jerry Brainum breaks it down – let’s jump into it.

Mistake #1: Eating Too Few Calories

The most basic aspect of nutrition and dieting is understanding calories. We all have a resting metabolic rate – this is the bare minimum of calories we burn just being alive each day. In order to lose weight – less calories must be consumed under your resting metabolic rate.

Sounds simple. But you can actually eat too few calories hurting your ability to lose weight. This is why some bodybuilders and even regular folks with new fitness goals eventually plateau on cutting pounds. If you eat too few calories, your body will go into “starvation mode” this lowers your metabolism in order to save as much energy as possible during this “starved” state.  Suddenly, your not losing weight anymore.

It’s frustrating – but the key here is to actually try not to loose weight too fast (another item on this list later) by cutting massive calories. Aim for one or two pounds per week. Allow yourself a cheat day (so long as it’s not too over-indulgent). This helps keep your body out of starvation mode.

Mistake #2: Eating Too Many Calories

This one is much more simple. Of course, if you eat too many calories per day or per week – you’ll slowly gain weight. This is great for bodybuilders looking to bulk. But for those trying to get lean it can be frustrating to get stuck while trying to lose points.

While most people know not to eat too many calories – it’s easier said than done. Typically, the biggest mistake here is that individuals are actually bad at counting calories. They under-judge what a cheat meal actually adds. Or they snack periodically throuhgout the day not realizing how many calories they are really adding into their deit.

The result? An individual thinks they are eating 800 calories per day (for example) but are really eating 1200 without knowing it.

Mistake #3: Trying To Lose Too Much Weight Too Fast

Trying to loose too much weight too fast will lead to struggles with weight loss. Either because you crash not being able to keep up with a challenging diet or you accidentally push so hard that you start losing muscle instead of fat.

If you lose muscle, not only will you lose your definition and your physique but you will also lower your resting metabolic weight. That creates a viscous cycle where you now need to cut even more calories to lose weight. This can make your dieting see-saw between periods of weight loss and weight gain.

Ultimately, the human body can really only lose up to three pounds of fat per week. Anything more is either losing water weight or muscle. Don’t be fooled by your desire to lose weight into actually making the entire process more of a struggle.

Mistake #4: Avoiding Dietary Fat

This one is simple. Dietary fat is not the enemy. While it sounds obvious that you should cut fat out of your diet in order to keep off fat… it’s not exactly how that works. A zero fat diet is actually worse for you than a healthy balanced diet. It hurts not only your overall health but can also affect your bodybuilding goals to improving your physique as well.

Mistake #5: Eliminating Fruit and Vegetables From Your Diet

There are some vitamins and nutrients that you can only obtain from fruits and vegetables. So while it might be tempting to remove them from your diet to save on some calories – it’s not the best option.

Missing out on these key nutrients will not only make you less healthy, it will make you more sluggish. It will make it harder to be motivated to train hard in the gym or keep up with your diet. Not only that – but certain nutrients in fruits and vegetables can help suppress your hunger. Thus making it easier to stay on point with the rest of your diet.

On top of that, fruit and vegetables can be a great source of fiber, which brings us to…

Mistake #6: Not Eating Enough Fiber

Fiber is essentially the food for your intestinal health. It’s what makes your bowel movements easier to pass. And beyond that helps keep your gut healthy. While it may seem small, it would be foolish for a bodybuilder to skip out on getting the correct balance of fiber into their diet. Maintaining a healthy stomach and intestines helps your body operate and consume the rest of your diet at it’s best.

Mistake #7: Eating Too Fast

The mind takes about 20 minutes to start acknowledging that the food you are eating is making you full. So if you eat too fast, it’s common to actually accidentally eat too much and suddenly feel extremely full 20 minutes later. We’ve all been there on big days like Thanksgiving at the very least. You suddenly regret every mouthfull of food you’ve swallowed and now feel like you’re about to explode.

That’s an extreme example but in general it’s important to eat slow. This is a small but powerful psychological tactic to eat less per meal. Great for those looking to lose weight or who typically overeat throwing off their physique.

Mistake #8: Not Eating Enough Protein

This is less of a problem in bodybuilding – but a warning for those who are focusing on losing weight. While reconfiguring your diet to cut down on calories, you may accidentally cut too much protein out of your diet. Less protein means less muscle growth. At it’s worst, this kind of protein cut can lead to diminished muscle.

As we stated earlier, the more diminished your muscles are, the lower your resting metabolic rate will be. This can then throw off your entire diet as you keep trying to cut more food out.

On top of this, if you are looking to lose weight and get shredded with a nice physique – missing out on protein is a basic but big mistake.

Mistake #9: Eating Too Many Carbohydrates

On the flip side, eating too many carbohydrates can be a big mistake for bodybuilders. There is occasionally spread advice for bodybuilders to consume mass amounts of carbs. It’s claimed that this helps build muscle and is vital for serious bodybuilders.

However, carbohydrates are less important compared to glucose. This is the key element bodybuilders need from carbs. There are other methods to obtain this. Carbs, on the other hand, can often make it harder to trim down for shredding. So instead of turning to carbs – follow Jerry Brainum’s advice for alternative methods of obtaining glucose into the body.

Mistake #10: Not Drinking Enough Water

Another simple one but sadly one that is far too often overlooked. The average person drinks far less water than they need in a given day. While this is not a super tip – it’s one that helps create a foundation for all other bodybuilding and fitness tasks. Better hydration means better energy in the gym.

It means you will sleep better as well. It means you will recover more significantly too. Recovery is key for building a physique. So ensure that you are hydrated at all times.

Wrap Up

Jerry Brainum breaks down these misconceptions and nutrition mistakes in more specific detail than we cover here. That’s why you should make sure to check out the latest episode of Straight Facts for the full breakdown. Make sure to swing by each Wednesday for new episodes!

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.