I am always trying to gain more muscle. I do not have any interest in physique competitions, but I do want to get stronger. I am a powerlifting enthusiast and the more muscle I gain, the stronger I am able to be. So in a roundabout way, I am a bodybuilder, although aesthetics are not my focus.
But I enjoy looking good. Who doesn't? And as anyone who has tried to lose weight and bodyfat knows, what happens in the kitchen is as important (or more so) than what happens in the gym.
I love good food, but I can't stand the effort involved in preparing it. So for me, my diet--which I have had great success with--is what I might call intermittent fasting and bodybuilding lite.
What is intermittent fasting?
Just a fancy-sounding term for something very simple: a period of fasting is followed by a period of eating, then the cycle repeats. Most of the current literature on IF recommends a 48 hour period, with one day of fasting, then one full day of eating.
Water can be consumed during the fasting portion, although everyone seems to have slightly different opinions on what constitutes a "true" fast. To me, the "best" way to do it is the one that provides the best results. This may not be the best plan to follow if it is quick weight loss that you're after, since IF can cause your body to downregulate its metabolic output on fasting days. However, if lean muscle building is your goal, it can be highly effective, particularly if you make sure to eat lots of protein on days that you eat.
What I do
I only eat one meal a day, dinner. I'm at work from 9-6, and try as I might, I am just not able to get through the entire day with nothing but water. I get cravings and part of me just likes the process of eating something as well, no matter what it is.
So I head to work with a few portions of nuts, and an enormous salad. This is a paltry amount of calories, and compared to how I ate before this experiment, I am comfortable calling it a relative intermittent fast.
Why I like it
I get good results, as I said. It is a metabolic diet I can handle. It is also highly convenient: I eat less, so I pack less food, and we spend less on food. Also, everything starts to taste better during infrequent eating periods.
I should note that when I eat at night, I eat big. I eat a big dinner and then I eat for the rest of the night as well until bedtime. I am not conscious about counting calories, carbs, or portion sizes.
I don't get too crazy with junk food, but do not obsess about it either. If I want ice cream, I eat ice cream. In the last two months, my bodyfat has gone from 13% down to 10%, and I have not seen any decreases in my strength levels.
If you're looking for something to try and you've been through the fad diets, maybe taking a crack at the intermittent fasting experiment will get you back on track.