Psychology behind the way we eat

Something which most people will go through at some stage during there time training towards a particular goal is the constant back and forth battle that you have with your mind. Training consistently and eating a certain way week in week out can not just put a strain on your body but also your mind.


Speaking from personal experience there have been times when I have chosen to “Bulk up” to try and improve size and strength in a weaker area, by increasing my calories to give me a bit more fuel to train harder during those “off season” months. But during this time I start to see my abs gradually fade away, body fat increases and you start to ask yourself whether your actually putting any muscle on or simply just getting fat. Other days I would feel fantastic and be grateful of the extra calories and a bit more flexibility with my food.


On the other scale “Cutting” or following a “Lean” Plan can be just as challenging mentally. Going from filling out your favourite string vest to feeling skinny and scrawny and wanting to keep yourself covered in your big baggy hoody until you’ve blasted out a few warm up rounds to give you a good pump.

The Truth:
The truth is everybody going to the gym at some point is going to have these mind games. I know I talk to people about this all the time. Unfortunately we can’t feel motivated and inspired all of the time.
The piece of advise I would give anybody feeling like this is no matter what stage your at during your training something can always change to make you feel more confident during that phase your going through.
Take a step back and reassess. What’s making you feel skinny and scrawny? Maybe your over doing the cardio? Maybe your not eating enough carbs? Maybe your not getting in enough calories for what you’re body is burning? Maybe your over training?
Or on the other hand if your Bulking maybe your adding in the wrong type of additional calories, or maybe your not pushing yourself hard enough for the calories your consuming?

Clean Bulking vs Dirty Bulking

You may have heard of the “Clean Bulk” and the Dirty Bulk. The Dirty Bulk is when you pretty much eat everything in sight without having any idea of what your calorie consumption or macro breakdown is. The Clean Bulk is the complete opposite you set yourself an amount of calories to follow and split these up amongst your Carbs, Proteins and Fats. Now when I first started out in the industry I tried the old school “Dirty Bulk”. I literally ate everything in site from cookies, pizza, and burgers, you name it I ate. I also didn’t follow a structured training plan. As you may have guessed, it was a disaster. I found myself getting fatter and fatter and actually just felt sluggish during my workouts. You see the thing is your body does need to be in a calorie surplus in order to gain muscle, however your body can only cope with so many calories before you start gaining fat. There is no denying you will definitely gain fat with both methods, however the difference is if done correctly with incremental changes to your food along the way and a structured exercise routine, you can gradually increase muscle and strength instead of just getting Fat. If you want to learn more about  clean bulk regime there is a great article from here.

Things to Remember while Cutting & Bulking

Monitor what your eating: Whether you are Cutting or Bulking, unless you have an idea of what calories and what macro nutrients you are consuming your ability to make accurate changes to your plan becomes more difficult.
I advise all of my clients that when training towards something specific to use a food monitoring app such as “my fitness pal “. My fitness pal is a great tool to teach you about what calories are in what foods and what the difference is between Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats.

Train Specific: If your goal is to gain strength and size then you must train specifically for this, if you are putting your body in a calorie surplus you have to lift harder/heavier when consuming more calories. It is that is simple. If you take on all of these extra calories and stick with the same weights and exercises you were lifting previously nothing will change apart from the size of your stomach.

Be Realistic:
Something which is always at the back of my mind which I think anybody who has got into the best shape of there life can relate to is constantly comparing yourself to your best condition. The problem with this is that your very best condition is usually unsustainable. To be “ripped” 365 days of the year takes a hell of a lot of commitment. And usually isn’t your healthiest condition. This sort of commitment usually means being quite selfish as well with regards to saying “No” to certain social events, being more fussy with your food etc which in turn can put a strain on your relationship. To stay social and eat well in Loughborough have a read of my other blogpost “Staying Healthy When Eating Out In Loughborough

Rest, Recover and Refuel:
In order to stay physically and mentally in a good place make sure you get enough down time. Listen to your body and make sure you get adequate rest. If your training hard on low calories for a long time give your body re-feed days to replenish lost muscle glycogen. If your not getting enough sleep then maybe an extra hour in bed will be better for you than getting up and doing fasted cardio.

Enjoy the process:
Often we can get stuck in a rut with our training and diet, if you stop enjoying what your doing, if it’s become more of a stress than a stress reliever something needs to change.


Whether it is size you are training towards or to get lean, both of these take time, planning and consistency. Don’t expect to see results over night and don’t get disheartened when you don’t. Persevere and most of all try and enjoy the process.

Thanks for reading,