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Health Team

Body builder's diet goes to extremes

Posted October 29, 2009 5:33 p.m. EDT
Updated October 29, 2009 6:49 p.m. EDT

Most people would be happy with a normal body weight and good muscle tone.

Raleigh’s Kayde Puckett was driven beyond that goal to super-fitness as a world-class body builder. She earned pro status and joined Team USA in Como, Italy. She placed 7th in her class.

Competing in body building requires a tremendous level of self-discipline. Puckett does 45 minutes of cardiovascular work and 90 minutes of weight-lifting five days a week at Gold’s Gym in Raleigh.

Her routine helped her win the “tall” class at the National Fitness Championships in New York in September.

“It's one of the hardest things you'll ever do in your life,” she said.

Puckett, 28, said her success is more about what she eats than time spent at the gym. In order to meet her fitness goals, she eats seven meals a day.

“It's a very regimented lifestyle,’ she said. “You have to constantly have your food cooked and prepared and ready to go.”

She eats food like baked tilapia, fibers like dry oats and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Her goal is low body fat – much lower than the 22 to 25 percent recommended for most women – and maximum muscle definition.

“You're also trying to keep your muscles full of water, so that they're round and full-looking,” she said.

She drinks about two gallons of water a day.

“Exercise is great. It's fantastic,” she said. “You need exercise, but at least 80 percent of it is your diet.”

When not competing, Puckett allows herself two "cheat" meals -- anything she wants – each week.

“The junk food tends to be not so appealing once you've made this your lifestyle,” she said.

“I feel good when I'm fit.”

For the average person, a body-builder’s diet is not necessary for basic fitness. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid provides a basic guide for a diet low in saturated fats and high in healthy choices.