Arnold Schwarzenegger in his bodybuilding heyday.
The bodybuilder's diet as important or perhaps even more important than their weight training. Proper nutrition is what fuels muscle growth and keeps body fat percentages low. A bodybuilder's diet requires extreme dedication and should not be taken lightly.
Mastering the balance of macronutrients is the first step. A diet that keeps body fat at a minimum and enhances muscle growth should have a ratio of protein-to-carbs-to-fat of 40%-40%-20%, respectively. These ratios keep your body properly fuelled, garnering the desired results without crashing or turning to fat. Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy, stored in the muscle or as fat. Protein is the building block of muscles tissue. Healthy fats or essential fatty acids are great antioxidants and help reduce cholesterol levels. Healthy fats in the proper amount are essential to keeping hormone production running smoothly, which in turn allows for the proper production of testosterone.
Six Smaller Meals Daily
Keep your metabolism high, body fuelled and belly satiated by breaking your regular three meals into six smaller meals. If your goal is packing on lean muscle, you must eat more than you normally would. Increase your maintenance calories by 500 to safely pack on 1 pound of muscle a week. When looking to gain weight, diet is very important. Without proper control of diet, the weight added will most likely be fat rather than lean muscle. Determine the amount of calories needed to pack on muscle and divide that number by six for your per-meal calorie requirement. Apply the ratios to each meal.
Consume a post-workout protein shake within 45 minutes of workout completion. This is when your muscles are most hungry and the majority of protein consumed within this window will directly fuel them. Consume about 25 to 45 grams of whey protein and 50 to 75 grams of dextrose in your post workout shake.
Creatine is a safe supplement scientifically proven to increase muscle mass. This supplement should be a staple in any bodybuilder's diet.
Consume a slow-digesting protein before going to bed so your muscles are fed throughout the night. The best form of a slow-digesting protein is cottage cheese.
Avoid alcohol altogether or several restrict your alcohol consumption. Alcohol reduces testosterone levels and turns to fat if not burnt off.
Plan a cheat meal once a week, but only if you have earned it. It is a good motivational factor and it keeps you from feeling completely beholden to your diet.
Keeping track of everything you have consumed keeps you accountable, honest and motivated. Keep a daily record of your food intake in a notebook or in an online nutrition log.
Here are some acceptable foods from which you may choose when devising your daily meals in the correct macronutrient ratios:
Proteins: Chicken breast Lean red meats (limit) Tuna Eggs Turkey Low-fat cottage cheese Protein powder Beef jerky
Carbohydrates: Oatmeal Sweet potatoes Brown rice Whole grain bread/wraps Steamed or grilled vegetables Wholegrain cereals (Limit)
Fats: Nuts (almonds, cashews) Flax seeds or flax seed oil Fish oil Natural peanut butter (limit) Olive oil
- Bodybuilding 101: everything you need to know to get the body you want; Robert Wolff; 1999
- International Journal of Sports Nutrition; Nutritional status of nationally ranked elite bodybuilders; Kleiner SM, Bazzarre TL, Ainsworth BE; 1994
- Journal of American Dietic Association; Nutrition and the precontest preparations of a male bodybuilder; Hickson JF Jr, Johnson TE, Lee W, Sidor RJ; 1990