Don't be scared. If you do a diet correctly, you'll often feel like you're force feeding yourself, even when you're on a cut.
Bad diets are any fad diet. No carb, low carb, no fat, low fat, Atkins, Mediterranean, Paleo, Cabbage Soup, grapefruit and everything else are all bullshit.
Same goes for cleanses. You have a liver for a reason. It doesn't need lemon juice, cayenne pepper or maple syrup.
On top of this, the weight loss stories associated with these are only partial truths. Of course the body will lose weight when it's forced to eat fewer calories. What they don't tell you is that they put the weight back on again because, low and behold, they're eating a diet that is not healthy and not sustainable.
When you want to put on muscle while lowering your body percentage, you have to eat enough and you have to eat enough of the right stuff.
That is what the diet should be.
A Good Diet
You need a healthy balance of what are known as macronutrients. These are:
Now, your body needs all three of these things to stay healthy. Protein builds muscle, fat keeps cells healthy and maintains hormones, and carbohydrates provide your body with fuel.
It's how you divide these across your daily calorie count that determines what your body will look like.
Cuts typically look like this:
Bulks typically look like this:
The caloric measurement is actually a measurement of energy. It measures just how much energy you need to expend on order to work off the energy the food just provided your body. Check here for a detailed explanation.
Everyone is different, so what works for someone else may not work for you. While this can mean a lot of nitpicking as you get closer to your goal, there is a general rule you can follow to get started.
When you try to decide how many daily calories you should aim for, look up men or women of your height. 6'4 Hugh Jackman requires a much different diet than 5'7 Tom Cruise. You can also look to calorie calculators, however I've found these tend to overestimate.
To then tweak this, track everything and experiment. At the moment, I use MyFitnessPal. The food list is extensive, and it does the math for you when you have different servings of various foods. Because this is probably new to you, don't scare yourself by doing too much at once. All you need to do now is start tracking what you eat every day.
Once you can successfully mark everything, you can start messing around with your daily calorie total to find a number that works for you.
Co-host of HeroesForge, founder of Battle to Be Better, gamer, singer and all around happy person.