Eating the right food is one of the most important rudiments of any diet. The bodybuilding diet is no exception and it is imperative for you to have a clear and complete understanding about the basics of bodybuilding nutrition before you start your journey.
A big majority of gym experts rightly believe that bodybuilding nutrition is 50 percent of the “real thing” when it comes to achieving goals, training makes up for 30 percent, and anabolics constitute the remaining 20 percent.
Understanding Bodybuilding Nutrition
All foods can be classified into three categories; carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy and provide energy to the brain. A big majority of amateur and professional bodybuilders strive to get 2-3 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight when building. Carbs affect muscle glycogen, blood sugar, and insulin production.
Known as the essential building block of muscles, protein helps us grow. In the absence or lack of protein, the human body tends to lose muscle. Most bodybuilders and athletes keep protein intake at 2 grams per pound of body weight each and every day.
Like carbs, fats can either be stored as body fat or get burnt as energy. They usually burn faster than carbohydrates and are therefore more readily stored as body fat.
What Kind Of Diet Should I Be On?
If you want to reduce body fat, you are expected to consume lesser calories than the body uses.
Low carb diet: The basic idea behind the low carb diet is that you aim for reducing calories by restricting carbohydrates while allowing more dietary fats. The body will use mostly dietary fats (healthy fats only) once you have used up the small amount of calories that came from carbohydrates.
Ketogenic diet: The idea behind this diet is quite similar to the low carb diet. The only difference is that carbs are virtually and completely eliminated from the diet. Also called the Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (CKD), this diet allows the body to go into ketosis and allows the body to use mostly dietary fats as its primary source of fuel.
For cutting, a 55/35/15 carb/protein/fat ratio is recommended.
If you want to add muscle, you should take in more calories than your body can use. However, you first need to ensure that your body fat percentage should be cut down to around 12-15 percent if it is already over 20 percent. Else, you will end up looking a fat person and not a bodybuilder.
To build muscle, you should consume adequate protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, and even some sugars.
A protein/carbs/fats ratio of 35/55/15 is recommended for bulking diet.
How Many Meals A Day Should I Eat?
If you want to build muscle and lose fat, you should remember that you should avoid the habit of having 3-4 regular meals and rather opt for eating six bodybuilder-friendly and smaller meals. This is primarily because eating spread throughout the waking hours helps the body store larger amounts of carbohydrates within muscles. These reserves of fuels, known as muscle glycogen, have the potential of providing energy to muscles and give them the fuel required for recovery and healing. It is important to remember that greater glycogen enhances water retention inside muscles, which encourage growth and tissue repair.
If you are really serious about bodybuilding nutrition, you should avoid foods that are conducive to adding muscle mass. These include snack foods, fast foods, fried foods, and refined foods.
Eating clean means eating “natural” and “low-fat” food. Clean foods include eggs, lean red meat, potatoes, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, fruits, oatmeal, yams, fish, fowl, and low-fat dairy products. These food products can be described as food with dense nutrients, meaning they have lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber and they are characterized with little or no added fat.