As stated in previous blogs, diet plays a huge role in bodybuilding in addition to weight training and the use of muscle building supplements. However, many people tend to slack off when it comes to their bodybuilding diet due to a variety of different reasons. For instance, many feel that they can eat whatever they want all of the time because they can just work it off at the gym. Whatever the excuse might be, the fact is that the body needs to consistently consume the right foods in order to be able to perform and reach its fitness goals. Read on to learn how to get the most out of any bodybuilding diet plan.
How to Eat to Gain Muscle and Strength
If you want to get big, you have to eat big, but you’ll need to know exactly when to eat and what supplements to use to take advantage of every opportunity you have to pack on mass and strength. First and foremost is protein. You will have to supply your body with the proper amount of amino acids (which are found in protein) to build muscle. These aminos should come from both food sources (chicken, steak, eggs, etc.) and supplements, including all forms of whey protein and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). Without an adequate amount of these aminos your muscles will not grow. Aim for about 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.
Carbs are not the enemy. They are your body’s main energy source and transport nutrients to your muscles. The more carbohydrates you consume the faster you will grow. Be patient though. Too many carbs in to short a period will be stored as fat. The most important factor in determining which kind of carbohydrates to have in your diet, is the glycemic index. High- glycemic carbs enter the bloodstream very quickly, flooding your body with blood glucose. Unless your body can use these carbs (like after a workout or endurance activity to replenish your muscle and liver glycogen stores) they are stored by your body as fat. You are soon left hungry.
Low-glycemic sources of carbohydrates enter the bloodstream slowly, supplying your body with a steady but not overwhelming source of energy. These are the best sources to be eaten as part of a regular meal. In the quest for weight gain, low glycemic carbs are ideal but high glycemic sources should be consumed by individuals who have a difficult time gaining weight. Generally whole foods, such as yams or oatmeal, rank low on the glycemic index. Refined sources of carbohydrates such as sugar or white flour rank high. You can find the glycemic rating of your favorite foods at www.glycemicindex.com. 3 to 4 grams of carbs per pound of body weight per day is sufficient.
Using supplements like vanadyl sulphate and alpha lipoic acid (ALA) will help to shuttle those carbs directly into your muscles where they’ll be used to fuel your workouts. An easy way to get extra carbs is to use a creatine supplement with added dextrose, either premixed or added separately. This carb surge, particularly pre and post workout, will take advantage of the hormone insulin which is your body’s anabolic hormone. For those with a hectic schedule, who find it difficult to get enough calories from food sources, using a mass gaining supplement can make it easy to get in enough carbs and protein to pack on mass and supply you with 600 – 800 extra calories. Weight gainers with a 3:1 carb to protein ratio will add on mass the quickest. Individuals concerned about gaining too much body fat should use a weight gainer containing a carb to protein ratio of 1.5:1. In sum, body mass will come from ingesting more quality calories.
Dietary fat should not be avoided. However, it’s important to know the difference between the healthy and unhealthy types of fat. Here are the four different types:
- Monounsaturated fats should amount to the majority of fats eaten. Examples include almonds, peanut/peanut butter, most nuts, olive oil, and avocados
- Polyunsaturated fats consist of Omega 3′s, 6′s and 9′s. Omega 6′s and 9′s are very common in foods. Omega 3 fats are very scarce in our diets and are essential to weight loss. The best source of Omega 3′s is flax oil. Fish fats are also good and provide other health benefits. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) like those found in Flax Seed Oil and Fish Oil help control blood sugar levels, leaving you more satisfied from your meals. They also maintain your joints and ligaments, and keeps your skin healthy and looking younger.
- Saturated Fats should be avoided. They occur naturally in foods so it’s impossible to eliminate them from your diet altogether. Small changes, like removing skin from chicken and eating leaner meats can go a long way to reduce your saturated fat intake.
- Trans Fats are the most evil of all fats. Stay away from fried foods and hydrogenated oils. By law, trans fats do not have to be labeled on food but this does not mean you can’t calculate them for yourself. Add up the Mono, poly and saturated fats on the nutrition label of a food. Subtract that number from the total amount of fat and what’s left over is the amount of evil trans fat.
Eat 0.5 – 1 gram of fat per pound of body weight per day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you want to eat 75-150 grams of fat per day. Note that the amounts stated above are intended for males. Females should consume only about 60% of the those amounts.
Creatine and glutamine provide added strength and accelerate muscle recovery. ZMA and other anabolic agents like testosterone boosting products can give you an edge in the gym and increase your body’s anabolic activity. Nitric oxide stimulators increase blood flow to your muscles and help push more protein to them, as will taking creatine and glutamine,
Vitamins and minerals are absolutely key when it comes to building muscle mass and strength, but are usually neglected. Vitamins like C and E are essential antioxidants which shield your muscles against free radicals both before and after training. All of the B vitamins play a role in protein and carbohydrate synthesis and metabolism, which is essential for growth. These vitamins alone or combined with a multi vitamin will allow your body to withstand the stress of training and the surge of calories and nutrients it needs to process daily.
Rest and recovery is very important. After training hard, your muscles have torn down and the only way for them to rebuild on a regular basis is to let them rest and recover. You can speed up this recovery time by adding glutamine to your diet at 3 strategic times – pre workout, post workout, and before bed. Make sure you get adequate rest and don’t over train. Do no more than five 60-minute workout sessions each week. Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
Work yourself up to progressively higher amounts of protein, carbs and fat based on your muscular development. Find a level where you become more muscular and defined. If you begin to gain fat, cut back on the amount you are eating. Your weight should not fluctuate very much during this time.
How to Overcome Emotional Eating to Lose Fat
These five steps will help you stop your emotional eating habits so you won’t ruin your bodybuilding diet plan:
- Know your Triggers
You have to know which moods send you to the cookie jar before you can do anything about it. Once you know your triggers, have a list of alternate things to do when the mood strikes. When you develop the “When I get tired or discouraged, I get an I don’t care attitude”, consider taking a walk outside or reading.
- Quiz Yourself
Determine if you’re really hungry or eating for other reasons. Ask yourself “Do you really need this or is it something else, like boredom?” About 80% of the time it’s not hunger.
- Call Someone
Talking about what’s bothering you can keep you from eating. Be willing to call your support people at 9 o’clock on a Friday night. This will definitely help you keep off unwanted pounds during times of crisis.
- Challenge the Power of Food
Ice cream is a poor companion if you’re lonely. If you eat the whole bag of chocolate chip cookies, are you going to be any happier? Probably not.
- Take an Emotional Inventory
Ask yourself: “What do you feel? Anger? Resentment? Fear? Regret? What are you upset about?” Then deal with it. Talk to other people or write a letter – even if you don’t send it.
Food Separation Can Help
The plain truth is that you have to learn to combine, mix, and separate your foods correctly during every meal to have an effective bodybuilding diet plan. The stomach has no means by which to separate poorly combined foods. The digestive processes of protein, carbohydrate and fatty food groups is so different that digestion cannot occur efficiently if the wrong food groups are in the stomach at the same time.
For instance, the enzymes that act upon carbohydrates are not the same ones that act upon proteins and fats. It isn’t a bucket of acid like you think it is down there. The body wasn’t designed to release all the different fluids needed to breakdown all the different types of foods at once. Come to respect digestive enzymes and their limitations. Once you do, as I have witnessed countless times before, you will achieve your muscular development in a fraction of the time and see not only food allergies almost completely disappear but your health will become restored. Why? Because you’re finally allowing yourself to receive nourishment from properly digested food.
Improperly mixed foods sit in your digestive tract and spoil. They go undigested. You receive little or none of the nutrients you need and expect to get from such foods. Not only is that a waste, but the spoiling process creates toxins and other poisons that can make you sick. That is why you should try not to let more than 2 1/2 hours go between feedings all day, every day. (Assuming it takes 1/2 hour to finish each meal, and scheduling meals 3 hours apart.) In case something doesn’t get efficiently digested, then that last meal can be pushed through your digestive tract by another incoming meal. Think of the food in your stomach as a clog in a drain. Something must be put on top of that food to shove it through by applying enough pressure behind it so that moves it down and out your drainage (digestive) system.
You need to be able to receive your nourishment and that is unfortunately only possible in bits and pieces that you can handle, from frequent, properly mixed meals. Properly combine your foods if for only this one last reason (not just to remain healthy, but) – to live longer and you will watch all of your needs be met at the same time. Once you determined how to fit all six feedings a day (or at least 5) into your schedule, remember to also alternate between two or three carbohydrate and three protein/fat meals. Two of your meals are actually snacks, not full meals. Try cottage cheese, or peanut butter (no sugar added) on celery as a snack or fruit and yogurt. If you can’t do three snacks and have time for only five feedings, plan either breakfast and lunch OR both snacks being the carb meals. You should never have two carbohydrate feedings in a row. That sets off a trigger response for your body to burn muscle tissue and store fat, whereas eating two fat or protein meals in a row is optimal and gets you burning fat instead.
Sounds good, but it’s confusing because you haven’t heard this before? Beats me why not. What I have taught you thus far has explained to you what works and what doesn’t. There is no need to panic.
If you have been mixing proteins, fats and carbohydrates, all you have to do to get started is place the carbs you eat in meals separate from the proteins and fats. It’s really pretty simple.
Essential Diet and Nutrition Tips Often Neglected
- Change your Overall Lifestyle
Don’t necessarily go on a weight loss program or diet for the short-term. When you start a program, it implies that it has to end at some point. If you want to lose body fat and be healthy for the rest of your life, make changes that you can could stick to indefinitely.
- Always Eat Breakfast
When you wake up, your body is starving for fuel, especially complex carbs and protein. This meal will impact your performance, your energy, and your appetite throughout the day. Eating about 30 grams of protein and 40 – 75 grams of carbs in the morning will get your day off to a good start. Protein sources can be hard to muster up for breakfast unless you have time for eggs or bacon. Try whey protein shake if you’re stuck without a whole food protein source. Juice flavored whey proteins are great for breakfast.
- Eat 5 – 6 Meals a Day
Most overweight people tend to eat 1 – 2 large meals per day. This is a huge mistake. By increasing the frequency of meals and decreasing their size, you will create an internal furnace in your body called thermogenisis, which will help you burn more calories just by the sheer act of eating.
- Take CLA and Chromium
CLA has been shown in many studies to burn body-fat and help build muscle. The results may be modest, but for those looking for a non-stimulant based fat burner, this is the supplement of choice. Chromium should also be taken daily. It works with insulin to support healthy blood glucose levels and plays an important role in the proper utilization of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Chromium helps insulin metabolize fat, turn protein into muscle and convert sugar into energy resulting in less fat storage.
- Increase Vegetable Consumption
Vegetables are packed with nutrients, and help provide a huge health value with few calories. Their fiber content also helps to make you full, with less room to fill up on unhealthier foods. If veggies are an inconvenience, a greens supplement can give you a days serving of these invaluable nutrients.
- Don’t Over-Use Fat Burners
Fat burners can be highly effective, give you some energy, and create small increase in fat burn, however they will not counteract poor eating habits. If you continue to under exercise and inconsistently eat well, these supplements will not be the answer you’re looking for.
- Follow a Strict Plan… 80% of the Time
A great body is the result of consistently exercising and eating strictly most of the time, not all the time. You can stay lean, feel great, and even improve your appearance by looking at the big picture, enjoying life, and staying motivated. In other words, it is totally fine to indulge in a “cheat” meal or snack every so often as long as it is in moderation. In fact, indulging a bit from time to time is actually beneficial because it satisfies cravings, which ultimately helps prevent binging. Basically, it shuts up those nagging thoughts about cravings.
- Be Smart when Eating Restaurant Food
To be totally honest, I recommend that you stay away from these types of places most of the time, since they can be pretty unhealthy. Instead, we suggest that you prepare your meals and snacks for yourself, since you have more control over the ingredients. However, going to these places can be inevitable at times for a variety of reasons, such as convenience or enjoyment. Hence, when you do eat out or get take out, look for the healthiest option. Again, you should generally look for foods that are low in fat and high in protein. For instance, instead of getting that burger and fries, get a grilled chicken sandwich with vegetables. However, as stated, feel free to get that burger and fries when it is time for the occasional cheat meal. Just remember that moderation is important.
- Drink Plenty of Water
It will help to transport body-fat to be burned off as energy, and it makes you feel more full resulting in less junk-food cravings. Aim to get roughly 8 glasses of it a day.
- Consider your Goals
What are you trying to achieve? For example, are you trying to cut up or bulk up? The truth is that your goals should definitely play a part in the specific details of your diet.
Keep the bodybuilding diet tips stated in mind as you move forward. They will definitely come in handy when making decisions about food. Remember that diet is just as important as supplementation and exercise!