Top-performing athletes know that nutrition is king when it comes to gaining an edge over their competitors. You can work out as hard as you want, practice every day, and get 8-9 hours of sleep but if your nutrition is not on point you’ll never carve out your six-pack or increase your stamina.

No matter how cliche it might seem, the age-old saying that muscles are made in the kitchen remains true and that’s the case no matter what your goal is: your success is dependent on what you put on your plate and into your mouth.

An athlete’s diet is more than just calories in and calories out—it’s fuel. The right foods increase your energy, promote muscle growth, and aid in muscle repair. While something may be low in calories, that doesn’t mean it’s right for you. You need to focus on nutrient-dense foods—that is, options that are chockfull of vitamins and minerals that’ll keep your body in tip-top shape.

The wrong foods set you back. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t indulge every now and then — we’ve preached the benefits of cheat days for years and still fully believe in them. If you’re looking to come into a competition—whether that be a pickup basketball match of a men’s physique contest—however, you should pay close attention to the nutrition labels of everything you’re putting into your body.

When it comes to chowing down, there are certain eats a serious athlete just won’t touch. Unfortunately for those athletes, it’s much easier to find the wrong foods in grocery stores than the right ones. Here are 20 commonly found food items you should leave out of your cart.


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