Because humans are visual creatures, we can often mistake the appearance of the outside of something to bely the appearance of that thing on the inside. Thus, we might think that because a person looks like Pierre van den Steen and has abs that seemingly could crush rocks, that the guts those abs are protecting are as incredibly healthy as he looks. Sadly, however, that is not the case- many lifters are like a Suburu BRZ in that they look fast, but they’re just garbage if you look under the hood.
Bodybuilders also tend to think that they’re healthy because they’re eating “clean,” though eating to maximize one’s health involves a lot more than simply ingesting as much protein as humanly possible without adding additional bodyfat. We tend to forget about micronutrients, fiber, and the fermented foods that contribute to good gut health, and this can lead to serious problems down the line, like metabolic syndrome, “leaky gut” syndrome, in addition to less serious but nevertheless aggravating issues like hyper-sensitivity to certain foods, runny noses, joint pain, frequent illness, bloating, and congestion, all of which can wreck workouts, make you miserable, and derail the gainz train.
Diet is the most frequent and insidious contributor in deteriorating gut health, and even clean diets can net you a nasty gut. The primary things to avoid, however, are:
- A diet too low in fiber
- Too many wheat-based products
- Use of seed oils (like canola) for cooking
- Frequent consumption of sugar and/or refined carbohydrates
Avoid those things to keep your gut healthy, because a failure to do so could mean the difference between first and last on the podium, or simply crapping your pants in front of that gym hottie at the water fountain. Don’t be that person- take care of your guts.