In order to maximize your results with bodybuilding, it’s vital that you begin with a solid foundation and that means really dialing in your diet and nutrition. If you don’t, then your dietary mistakes could easily sabotage all the gains you make in the gym and prevent you from ever reaching your training and fitness goals. That’s why it’s so important to master the basics and develop a healthy and nutritious diet that suits your needs and unique metabolism.
Before You Begin
In order to effectively map out your nutritional needs, it’s important to first analyze where you are and what your goals are. If you are an amateur bodybuilder or “weekend warrior” then you probably don’t need to monitor your meals as closely as a professional, especially those that are preparing for a competition. It’s also important to consider your lifestyle because time constraints can also play a role in how you go about meeting your nutritional needs. For example, students with busy schedules may find that they need to supplement their diet with convenient yet high quality sources of nutrition, like protein bars or meal replacement shakes.
Basics of a Healthy and Nutritious Diet
The most important step in developing your diet is to determine how many calories you need to reach your goals. For example, if you are trying to gain weight, then you need to plan on taking in at least 250 to 500 more calories than what your maintenance level is. Your maintenance level is simply the amount of calories at which you neither gain nor lose weight. On the other hand if you’re trying to cut weight, then you need to reduce your intake by 250 to 500 calories. Once you figure out how many calories you should be consuming, you’ll want to divide the total across five to seven meals throughout the day.
What to Eat
If you’re serious about bodybuilding then you should focus on eating healthy fats, low glycemic carbohydrates and lean proteins. For example, a typical meal might include a lean chicken breast (George Foreman grills are perfect for cooking these!), a cup of brown (not white) rice, fresh broccoli and a tablespoon of olive oil.
Common Food Myths
If you’re new to bodybuilding, you might think that you need to avoid carbohydrates and fats. These are actually vital to your success, because carbohydrates help to fuel muscle growth by replenishing glycogen stores that are depleted during workouts. Without carbohydrates, your body simply wouldn’t have the energy to rebuild your muscles. Likewise, healthy fats are just as important because they help to maintain hormone levels, increase metabolism and boost energy.
Benefits of a Healthy and Nutritious Diet
If you stick to a solid bodybuilding diet, you’ll enjoy many benefits. For one, you will stay energized all day long thanks to having smaller meals every few hours throughout the day. You’ll also experience fewer cravings and your body fat levels will drop, which helps to significantly reduce your risk of many deadly conditions such heart disease, cancer and diabetes.