Bodybuilding is no joke. It’s energy draining and is never intended for the faint-hearted.
You need commitment (and motivation) to start, and endurance and stamina to keep up with the heavy (weight) demand from the activity.
So aside from that ‘willpower‘ inside of you, you need excellent nutrition, which you could only get from food. But while it may sound very complicated for some, a bodybuilding diet isn’t actually simple.
Why Eat For Bodybuilding
The raw materials that healthy food could provide your body with are what it requires for muscle growth. This fact need not be stressed more, don’t you think? Proper nutrition, hydration, and supplementation matters because your RESULTS (whether you will gain muscle or not) depend on them.
To begin with, your body needs three macronutrients—protein, carbohydrates and fat—for muscle building (or weightlifting).
It is the broad term for the different types of amino acids, which are the essential components of tissues that work to build, maintain and repair muscles. They are important because you always have to keep up with the heavy, intense lifting during sessions.
But while the human body produces 12 of 20 amino acids, the rest (eight of them) can only be derived from food sources. Thus, you need to ensure you’re supplying your body with these foods for consistent and even improved bodybuilding performance.
- Eggs: If you’re looking for a convenient and fast source of protein for bodybuilders, then there’s no need to look further but eggs. Just fry or boil them in one of your pots or pans for glass top stove, and you’re done! Eat it for protein supply. Alternatively, buy its powder form if you’re not a fan of its taste.
- Meat: It contains creatine, which produces and supplies energy to the muscles, and sources include chicken, beef, and tuna.
- Milk: It is a combination of whey, a fast-acting protein, and casein, a slowly developing protein. It’s a perfect match, especially when drunken before bedtime.
- Whey: It is the best source of protein for it is quickly absorbed by the body, supplying it with much-needed protein for optimum weightlifting performance.
As a bodybuilder, you need a readily available source of energy and carbohydrates can give you just that. It fuels muscle building while your body is sparing the protein you’re consuming, allowing muscle to grow.
Consume a gram of protein for every two grams of carbohydrates, coming from simple and complex sources.
[Simple carbohydrates act fast, giving you instant energy, and it includes sugar, fruit juices, and fruits. Then there are complex carbohydrates that supply your body with long-term energy, and some of these are oatmeal, whole grains and pasta.]
For the best results, opt for carb sources, such as milk, vegetables, fresh fruits, potatoes, wheat, barley, corn, and oats.
A note on carbs : Stay away from too much fruit sugar and high-fructose corn syrup because they are easily converted to fat. Choose sources with low to medium glycemic index so that you can ensure of gradual glucose release into your bloodstream.
Do not overdo on carbs. Otherwise, the unused carbs will be stored as body fat, so just have enough of it to keep your body out of ketonic state in which your body is using muscle tissue for energy.
They help your body function properly during muscle building and act as stored energy. It also insulates your body and protects your internal organs. First is saturated fat from beef and other sources. Second is the unsaturated fat that you need for bodybuilding. It’s stored for energy to improve your performance.
A few great sources are seeds, oily fish (e.g. sardines, tuna, salmon and mackerel) and vegetable oils (flaxseed oil, coconut oil, olive oil). Vegetable oils, such as flaxseed oil, are high in omega-3 fatty acids that do not only help in bodybuilding but assist in reducing risk to heart disease and fighting free radicals.
*Limit your saturated fat intake, or skip it whenever possible.
Proper nutrition equals great performance
By providing your body with the right level of nutrients it requires, you can get more out of bodybuilding—more muscle, higher energy, and faster muscle recovery.
- Carbohydrates prevent muscle fatigue by regulating glycogen level in the muscles and blood sugar.
- Fat supplies your body with essential fatty acids (EFAs) for an energy source, especially if you workout for more than an hour.
- Protein is also used for energy and tissue building. And if you’re involved in resistance training more often, you need more of it.
Proper nutrition enhances your athletic performance. It helps you lift heavy weights, stay longer and perform better. Your diet isn’t the same diet like that of a healthy person, though. Thus, consuming the right food from each group mentioned above is important, but it depends on several factors, including the amount of training and the amount of time you spend on it.
Also Read: When Should You Workout To Put On More Muscle Mass?
- Don’t exercise on an empty stomach. Determine when to eat before working out and how much food to eat is. Every bodybuilder is different. Ask your trainer or nutritionist about it.
- Eat carbohydrates before a workout if you’d exercise for at least an hour. Suggestions include a cup of yogurt or a glass of fruit juice. Now if you’d do more than an hour of heavy cardio exercise, you also need carbohydrates during the workout. A suggestion is drinking 10 ounces of sports drink every 20 minutes. And to rebuild the muscle’s energy stores, eat carbs after a workout.
- Avoid eating too much protein because any excess will only be stored as body fat, increase dehydration, add burden on the kidneys and lead to calcium loss.
- Take in more fluids, water included, to maintain proper cellular temperature and keep your body hydrated. Drink more fluids with every meal, two cups before exercise and more during and after training. Additionally, drink water even if you’re not feeling thirsty.
Achieving optimal bodybuilding performance starts with healthy and proper eating. Take note of these pointers, nutrient groups and sources that you need to enhance your performance and meet your training goals. But before considering improving your body weight to improve bodybuilding performance, consult a healthcare provider for the proper diet plan to avoid suffering from detrimental health effects, especially if you prevent weight gain, keep your body weight low or lose weight fast.