If you put 10 fitness professionals, or any 10 people for that matter, in a room you will get 10 different ideas of what is the optimal way to diet.  This weekend I had the opportunity to get together with some very intelligent professionals from various areas in the field for a friend’s birthday.  JC Deen (the birthday boy) , RogLaw (one word), Dick Talens (Fitocracy creator), Jon Fernandes, Andrew Griffin, Juliette “Hey Joob” to name a few.  

There were human front squats, an elephant sound competition (Rog has length, I have strength!), talk of ancient video games, Turkish food, cake and random awesomeness fueled by two pitchers of mojitos.  And this was just the first 5 minutes of the night!  

Of all the topics we covered (even Noob Saibot), diet was among the most diverse.  It was interesting to hear everyone’s differing nutrition strategies.  Everyone was strong, fit and lean despite their differing diets and training programs.  We talked bodybuilding, fat loss, mass gainers and a combination of intermittent fasting, nutrient timing and carb backloading.  It got me thinking.

When it comes to diet and nutrition in regards to body composition and even sports performance there is a seemingly endless grey area of what is the “best” approach.  Should you eat low-carb?  Paleo?  Which is better, Atkins or South Beach?  Are you supposed to eat 6 small meals a day or fast intermittently?  Does carb cycling even work?  Carb backloading?  Nutrient timing?  Do you count your calories or macros and aim for the Zone or tally up your points for Weight Watchers?

Before I can help you answer any of these questions let me first ask why are you regulating your diet in the first place?  Do you even know?

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing my own insight on diet and providing you with an easy step-by-step approach to take control of your own diet goals.

Disclaimer: I am neither a nutritionist nor a registered dietitian, just a guy who loves to lift heavy things and eat copious amounts of dead animals, vegetables (all of them) and icecream.  There is actually very little “food” I won’t eat (sea urchin being one of them *blepch*).  I have tried and/or researched most fad diets which has given me sound principles which is what I hope to share with you all.

As I have mentioned before, the first step towards achieving any kind of success no matter what the endeavor is to have a goal in mind.  The goal is yours so you can make it whatever you want, well, as long as it is realistic.  If you want to lose fat, get stronger, gain muscle, perform better or just feel better in general you can do that.

Now this is the important part because if you set your goal outside of what is possible then you are going to fail before you even begin.  For instance if you are starting at 250lbs and 30%bf at 6′ tall and want to look like Brad Pitt in Fightclub I think it is safe to say it ain’t gon’ happen.  What happens don’t see the results you have mapped out in your head?  Most people will get extremely discouraged, lose focus and stop trying.  The sad truth is that sometimes this will happen before you even get started.

Now, in the film, Brad weighs in at about 150lbs at 6′ tall.  How realistic does it sound now?  

Hollywood provides you with what they want you to believe the ‘ideal’ body type is.  Hey, no one can deny that sex sells but what most view as “ideal” isn’t always healthy.  

The fact is that many of these celebrities have to rapidly gain or lose weight, good or bad, to be able to fill a movie roll.  Besides being paid millions, they have the time to commit to some serious training as well as the resources to have their entire diet planned for them.  They also don’t have many of the same stresses of daily commuting, finances and family.

An extreme example of this is Christian Bale portraying a skeleton in the Mechanist followed by a beefy caped crusader in The Dark Knight Trilogy.

Magazines do it too.  How many times have you looked at the cover of a magazine and said “I want to look like him/her”?  Honestly.

If your like me then it has probably happened more than once.  I wish I had abz like that!  Dude is jacked, I want to be jacked like that!  She has a nice butt, if I bust my ass in the gym she will date me.  Well, probably not but I’m still gonna get swole!

I can’t tell you how many times I have had clients and prospective clients bring me pictures of models and celebrities from magazines that they want to look like.  *Forehead Slap*  Before I tell you how I feel about this, check out these photos from

Take a good look at each of the pictures and put some thought to these questions:

Which one looks better?  

Which one is real?  

Does the original look fit?  

Does your physique rival the original or is it something you could attain?

Is your current goal realistic?

Just some food for thought (no pun intended…..yet) to get you started in the right direction from the start of your journey.  I will be continuing this series next week with a post on how to assess your current diet to start making some choices that will make you a nutritional beast and a goddamn sexual tyrannosaurus!

Written by Steve