Shopping to Get in Shape - or The Big U


Mmm. Steak.
Mmm. Steak.
As anyone will tell you, preparing your own food is the most crucial step in order to get a lean physique. It all starts with cooking, but even before that, there is food shopping. Since you will always eat what you have at home, it is a must to buy the right things.
Unfortunately, the layout of the modern supermarkets makes it easier for you to run (and buy) the prepackaged foods that are high in sugar, fats, and salt. The way to avoid the supermarket trap is to make your pick in the outer aisles only, thus following a big U. (Please note that I wrote this article from a US perspective, in other countries the layout might be different. But the general idea still applies.)

If you shop in the exterior aisles only, you will find produce, vegetables, meat, dairy, eggs and such. These are the items that should make up 90% of your diet. Lean meats, fish, eggs and dairy for protein and fat, vegetables for their fiber and vitamin content, followed by potatoes, oats, and rice for complex carbohydrates. Throw in some nuts or nut butters for unsaturated fatty acids and you have a winning formula.

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Try your best to avoid the middle aisles that primarily display prepackaged and processed foods such as cookies, breads, sweets and frozen meals. Eating those items regularly will derail any attempt to get leaner or more muscular.

Another very simple rule is the one ingredient rule: if you look at a label and you find 24-letter words, chances are that the item is full of chemicals that you shouldn't be eating in the first place. You should not need a degree in chemistry to understand what you are eating. Stick to foods that simply say: oats, chicken, salmon.

And lastly, never shop hungry! You are bound to crave, overbuy, and reach for junk foods.

'Til next time!

Maik Wiedenbach

Maik Wiedenbach is an Olympic athlete, personal trainer, and nutritionist. He shares his training wisdom in the 101 Fitness Myths and 30 Secrets for Bigger Arms! ebooks, and the Desk Athlete DVD. Superb.

When not in the gym, he may be found training clients over at Adler Training; and also on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Swing on by.

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