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Bodybuilding Diet Information

By: anonymous
Your diet is very important when it comes to bodybuilding and usually means success or failure. I believe the most important thing diet does for your goals (whether your a bodybuilder, or simply someone who wants to lose weight) is that diet controls your metabolism, your food intake is one of the factors that determines your metabolic rate, and this will determine whether or not you will get ripped and shred every drop of fat you have on your body.

How does food increase your metabolic rate?

The human body's metabolism is controlled by one main factor, your thyroid gland, which is determined on how much you eat and how often you eat.

The human body (and most mammals for that manner) work very much the same way. We still work the same way as our ancestors 100,000 years ago, where we would hunt for food and live on that food for weeks. When food was scares and we only ate around 1,000 calories a day, our metabolism would slow down so slow that we would do whatever we can to store fat and preserve fat for starvation periods, our bodies are made for survival. But when there's time when there is a lot of food, and we ate like 3,000+ calories a day, our thyroid gland would speed up your metabolism and burn more calories quicker. We would then metabolize food more quickly and store less food as body fat. Our bodies adapt to our environment. The human body is programmed very efficiently when it comes to metabolizing food.

So as you can see from this, the more food you eat, and the more often you eat, the more your metabolism will increase. You must show your body that the fat on your body is pretty much useless because of how well your feeding yourself from outside foods, once you have a continuous supply of nutrients your doing your body a world of favors, this puts you in a very good anabolic state for both building muscle and keeping fat off as best as possible. If you want to get ripped and have lots of muscle mass with very little body fat, this very important element is extremely vital to these goals. Please read on, to further understand how to eat properly to gain muscle and lose fat.

The 3 macronutrients
(protein carbs and fat) and what they do for you

Carbs

Carbs has 4 calories per gram and comes in either complex or simple (sugars) carbohydrates. Carbs are basic fuel for the body, it supplies the muscles with a continuous supply of energy, carbs can be stored inside your muscles and used later when it needs it through what is called "glycogen". Eating carbs raises the hormone insulin which is an important hormone which pushes nutrients into your body where it needs it (such as muscle or fat). Without carbs it is hard to increase your metabolism and gain plenty of muscle mass. Complex carbs and simple carbs both have their uses in bodybuilding, but most of the time you should focus on eating plenty of complex carbohydrates, as this creates a nice steady flow of insulin and is what your muscles take in for fuel.

Fat

NEVER believe that eating fat will result in you getting fat, this has been the biggest myth in the 90s, but people are finally starting to realize the opposite, yes, fat can actually make you lose body fat faster! Fat is important for normal hormonal production. Eating plenty of fat in your diet is vital to increasing the hormone testosterone (which is the hormone that builds muscle and keeps body fat away). Eating plenty of healthy fats in your diet such as extra virgin olive oil is a very good way to staying healthy and getting in better shape. Fat is also a very good source of fuel, your body can utilize fat for fuel in very low aerobic states (resting) even better than carbohydrates.

Protein

Now you might be surprised to read some very intriguing information here about protein and what it's most important role in fat lose or bodybuilding is. Most information you read about protein is that it's the king of macronutrients when it comes to gaining huge amounts of muscle mass or maintaining muscle mass on low calorie diets, well guess what, for the most part this is false information.

Why is this false info? The macronutrient that is going to help you gain muscle or maintain muscle is carbs, NOT protein. You can tell if your maintaining or losing your muscles by when your lifting weights, if your reps constantly stay the same, you know your maintaining muscle, if your reps go down, your losing muscle. Using the mirror as a guide to let you know if your losing muscle is a bad indicator, because muscle glycogen (stored water and glucose) in your muscles will fluctuate from time to time making your muscles appear to either be bigger or smaller (deflated). Also if your experienced enough, you can actually feel if your losing muscle at any time by feeling a sensation in your muscles that feels like your muscles are kind of starving, and needs energy now! And that energy is not necessarily protein, or fat that you need, but mainly it's carbohydrates! Yes, carbs actually helps to maintain muscle more than even protein. As long as your getting at least some protein in your diet, it's basically up to your carb intake to help maintain your muscle. Glycogen will help to preserve muscle more than a steady supply of amino acids (from protein). Because your body has a better chance of taking stored sugar (glycogen or glucose) out of your muscles instead of actual muscle tissue to be converted to glucose to be used for energy by certain body functions (such as the central nervous system). But don't get me wrong here, protein is also a VERY important macronutrient.

People might be getting confused as to why eating more protein creates bigger muscles (and yes in a way this is true, but not in a way most people think). First off everybody knows that having less body fat really makes the muscles come out and shine big time! A lot of bodybuilders may not actually know what their 200-500 grams of protein a day are actually doing to them. Most will think that it will build more muscle, well guess what? What this is actually doing for them is a HUGE INCREASE OF METABOLIC RATE!!! Yep, all this protein is not necessarily building more muscle, instead it's melting the fat that's covering all the muscles, so that your body shows nothing but muscle rather than fat. And THIS is the main thing that extra protein does in the diet.

The right amount of protein needed to maintain or build muscle is actually pretty close to the daily recommendations for normal people, which is around .5 - .8 grams per pound of body weight per day. Anything more than this will basically do nothing but increase your metabolism, which is still VERY important to the overall bodybuilding puzzle. So yeah consuming more protein is very important for anyone who wishes to lose fat faster. And actually (like common knowledge) the more you eat of it the better! Because the more you eat the faster a metabolism you create for yourself. And no, not all calories are created equal, calories from protein will most likely will NOT be turned into fat, as long as your body is pumping out the right kinds of hormones, all calories from protein will do nothing but help you lose fat FASTER. So how much protein you should eat really depends on how much you can handle. But generally you should always build your protein intake up slowly to reduce any problems you may encounter.

How does protein increase your metabolism more than other macronutrients?

Remember above what I said about carbs, that carbs creates insulin which pushes nutrients into the body? Eating too many carbs can make you gain excess body fat (if your hormones allow it), but this can be controlled by eating protein, because protein releases very little insulin and helps to keep insulin stabilized. Protein is also the hardest of the three macronutrients to digest and get into your system, so your body has to work harder to digest the food, this in turn increases your metabolism.

Bodybuilding is all about controlling your metabolism to lose fat so that nothing but muscles show, protein is one of the best ways to do this.

Which proteins increase your metabolism faster?

The more chewy the protein foods are, the more it will increase your metabolism. So foods such as steak and pork are very good sources of protein, chicken and tuna are pretty much right up there too. Easily digestible protein, such as protein shakes and egg whites, are NOT the best source of metabolism increasing protein. Don't get me wrong egg whites and protein shakes can keep you in a good nitrogen state to build muscle and get lean, but they can never be substituted for the kings of protein, which are the ones that are the most chewy to eat, because they take longer for your body to digest them, this in turn increases all kinds of processes in the body to increase your metabolism.

FUN FACT:  Want to know what the best source of protein is?

I felt for some reason I had to say this, you can take this information lightly, but as a fact it is a nice piece of knowledge to know, obviously you don't have to go out and do it all the time :)

The best source of protein is actually fresh uncooked meat taken from alive wild animals (not a farm animal) from an environment that is non-polluted or diseased.  That the animal is either alive or just died (that has NOT been dead for awhile) Now don't panic, I know this may seem strange but this is indeed the healthiest form of protein you can possibly eat, you will get more nutrients such as more potassium, less sodium, more vitamins and minerals, less saturated fat, and more essential fats!  This kind of protein will increase your metabolism even greater than if the meat was cooked, preserved, freezed, then cooked again later to eat.

This is actually the kind of diet man ate way back in cave man days.  But guess what, their diet was generally more healthier than the typical diets man eats today!  I actually have never done this, but from my education this is the truth.  I do not know anybody personally that is into this, but it is certainly something that should not be overlooked. I could go more in-depth with this, but I thought I'd share this little piece of knowledge with you. 

So protein shakes and egg whites should be avoided?

No, not avoided completely, protein powder shakes are an excellent way to obtain your protein and fill in all the "protein" gaps you need in for the day.  The bulk of the protein you eat in a day should come from chewy protein sources. Ideal times for liquid protein comes in handy is first thing in the morning and right before bed. Having a quick nitrogen boost right in the morning from egg whites for example is a good idea to jumpstart your metabolism for the day and halt any form of catabolic hormones you have created from 6+ hours of not eating. Having a slow digesting protein shake right before going to sleep for the day is a wise thing to do too, a good protein source for this would be 20+ grams of caseinate protein. The best place I recommend getting your protein powder from is from Netrition's Protein Selection, they have been in business for over 10 years now and they have the highest quality proteins available anywhere.

How frequently should I eat through out the day?

The more the better! There are so many reasons why eating smaller more frequent meals are so much superior than eating the common 3 meals a day. For one your giving yourself a nice continuous supply of nutrients to feed your muscles for growth and repair. Your showing your body that your giving yourself a nice continuous supply of energy, so that body fat is pointless for you. You are increasing your metabolism GREATLY which is the key to bodybuilding.

I say eat according to how well your motivation and schedule is. If you are highly motivated and have plenty of time to prepare food every day, then I say eat a small balanced meal every 2 to 2.5 hours, if your more of a busy person with less time, then you can increase the duration, like every 3 hours. I would however not go without eating for 4 hours (not including when your sleeping), as this is not good for gaining a fast metabolism.

What is the right ratio of macronutrients?

There is none! You must take into account how much you need of each macronutrient for your goals. You basically need just enough carbs to supply you with enough energy for your daily activities, and maybe a little more for a metabolism boost, same goes with fat, make sure you eat plenty of healthy fats throughout the day. And protein, like I said above, generally the more you can handle the better.

If you want some kind of a guideline though, I would say eat around .5-3 grams of carbs per pound of lean body weight (your weight minus your fat weight) per day, .5 - 1 grams of fat per pound of lean body weight per day, and 1 or more grams of protein per pound of lean body weight per day.

Should I cycle calories or macronutrient ratios?

Do you want to get ripped? Do you want to gain muscle? Do you want to lose fat? THEN YES! Almost EVERY bodybuilder cycles their calories in some way, the most common way of doing it is with an "off season" and an "on season", basically what this means is that they spend 4-9 months or so building muscle by maintaining a relatively higher amount of calories to gain muscle (sometimes called a bulking up phase), they do very little cardio during this time, then they go through several months of slowly lowering their caloric intake to lose fat (while also GREATLY increasing their cardiovascular exercise), this is sometimes called the cutting phase.  Take a look at this typical example of how bodybuilders cycle their calories and cardio throughout the year.

Typical Bodybuilding Calorie and Cardio Cycling
According to this chart the end of the month of May is the start of the cutting phase, as you can see you start off actually eating MORE calories along with the start of doing a lot of cardio.  This is the traditional way that most bodybuilders cycle their calories, but I actually know an even more efficient way to do it, please go to this page near the middle-bottom of the article to learn a better calorie cycling method. Now the whole point of these two weeks is to really crank up your metabolism by eating a heck of a lot more protein and eating more often than usual (like if you normally eat every 3 hours, start eating every 2.5 hours), then once those two weeks are over, switch back to eating your normal frequency (i.e. every 3 hours instead of 2.5) and gradually decrease your calories over time to lose fat.  Many people skip the part in the middle about increasing their calories for a week or so, they instead just start lowering their calories on a continuous basis, which is fine, except from my personal experiences, I have done both, and the one in the chart works better, I have got ripped more effectively using that method.  I like to call this the "Crank up the metabolism phase"  I outline the typical diet plan during that time below.

Cycling calories is very effective, and is very important to gaining huge amounts of muscle mass with very little body fat. It naturally works well, you spend several months eating a relatively higher amount of calories (especially from protein), eating like this for months creates a very well solid metabolism which keeps the "fire burning" even when you lower your caloric intake, so then when you lower it, your body is still set to burn a specific number of calories and it takes it from body fat stores. But since your body is smart at conserving energy it will adapt to whatever caloric intake you give yourself and change your metabolism accordingly.  But a drop of calories from a higher calorie diet will always result in fat lose if done right. Listen to this personal story of mine to learn why I now do this "Crank up the metabolism phase" on a regular basis:

I have been through so many different kinds of calorie cycle programs, and what that I thought was very neat to experience was one I did just four years ago, basically what I was doing was eating about 560 grams of protein a day from meat type sources, and also eating plenty of carbs and fat (about 175 grams of carbs and 120 grams of fat per day), eating every 2.5 hours, which totaled about 4,000 calories per day, I did this diet along with 20-30 minutes of intense cardio every other day. This was actually the start of my cutting phase, instead of going straight to lowering my calories, I instead increased it for a week or so (as pictured in the chart above in the first half of June), and trust me it is tough to do this, consuming ALL this protein, it is not easy, but It pays off.  But as you know it's only for 1-2 weeks, you can then start eating lighter amounts after that.  Check out this outline to see what I ate every day during this time:

meal1 - 9am - 80 grams of protein, 50 grams of carbs, 20 grams of fat

meal2 - 11:30pm - 80 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbs, 20 grams of fat

meal3 - 2pm - 80 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbs, 20 grams of fat

meal4 - 4:30pm - 80 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbs, 20 grams of fat

meal5 - 7pm - 80 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbs, 20 grams of fat

meal6 - 9:30pm - 80 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbs, 20 grams of fat

meal7 - 12:00am - 80 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs, 20 grams of fat

*Most of this protein is coming from chicken, steak, and tuna.

One thing I experienced throughout this time was a HUGE increase of energy, it was like my body was giving me a HUGE energy boost I have never experienced before in my whole life. It was an AWESOME feeling, I felt so energetic, and I believe all that energy was actually coming from a combination of the protein I was eating and the intense cardio workouts. And believe me, I'm not that big of a guy, I only weigh about 175 pounds at 5 foot 11 inches tall, 560 grams of protein from steak and chicken a day was a LOT for me. My body adapted and really cranked up the "furnace" in my body, My body was at a point to where I could drop anything in it and it would just feel like it would get burnt right up, and yes I actually felt that! Now comes the shocker, after doing this diet for two weeks, I then drastically changed my diet, this was the change:

meal1 - 9am - Carb load breakfast - 240 grams of complex carbs (all the carbs for the day right here), 15 grams of fat, 40 grams of protein from egg whites.

meal2 - 12pm - 40 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs, 25 grams of fat

meal3 - 3pm - 40 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs, 25 grams of fat

meal4 - 6pm - 40 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs, 25 grams of fat

meal5 - 9pm - 40 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs, 25 grams of fat

meal6 - 12am - 40 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs, 25 grams of fat

*Please note that this particular diet is NOT part of the typical diet routine I outline in the chart above, it is just a experiment I did once.

Now maybe you can guess what happened, my metabolic rate KEPT GOING from the previous diet! Sky high metabolism! Basically all of a sudden my body literally turned into a fat burning machine. I totally dropped my calories from 4,320 to 2,880 a day.  About 3-4 hours after my first meal, insulin from the carb load totally starts going away and fat burning REALLY starts kicking in BIG TIME!  No more carbs for the rest of the day means zero insulin, and I was also maintaining my muscles because of the carb load breakfast I had every morning, all the carbs from the meal #1 quickly turns into muscle glycogen.  I lost about 15 pounds of fat (and fat only) in only one week. The sad part was is that it only lasted for about 7 days, my metabolism quickly adapted to the new diet and pretty much slowed my fat loss to a crawl. What I experienced from this was for sure that cycling calories is the key to getting ripped. I actually noticed a visual change in my physique once that one week was over, and I literally felt the fat melting off my body during that time. This was for sure the coolest experience I have ever had. I would do it again, but unfortunately, in the long run it is not as effective as eating carbs with every meal while dieting.  But as something fun to do, you can make a bet with somebody, saying:  "I bet you I can lose 15 pounds of fat in only one week while maintaining all my muscle".  If you want to win the bet, then THIS IS THE WAY TO DO IT :)

Again, I would suggest not going to the extreme of totally eliminating your carbs from most of the meals from the cutting phases like I did in the example above. I would add a moderate amount of carbs to most of the meals in the day while still eating most of them in the first meal of the day. You don't want to kill your metabolism that fast like what I did. Slowly drop your calories day to day week to week, while occasionally having some days where you bring your calories back up to maintain a fast metabolism so you can lose fat more efficiently.

One thing that's important to remember is that the results of your current diet depend on your previous diet (this should especially come to a concern if your trying to lose fat with your current diet). You need a fast metabolism to lose fat, and this comes from a higher calorie diet. And don't worry, you will not gain weight (more specifically fat) from a higher calorie diet if you do intense cardio during it, and also making sure a lot of those calories are coming from protein.

Dropping carbs is important for fat loss, but you have to do right in order to maintain muscle, here's how:

I want to mention this because it's important to know while dieting to lose fat.  Your body starts to take fat stores for fuel once the hormone insulin has been cleared from your body (as long as your metabolism is fast enough).  Insulin is created from eating carbohydrates then is cleared once the carbs are out of your blood stream.  So if your dieting you must strategically eat less carbs overall so you have less insulin in your body, but enough carbs to prevent muscle loss.  The best way to do this is with slight carb loading meals occasionally then eating a lower amount of carbs with most of the meals you eat in a day.  Make sure you do not totally eliminate your carbs in your meals (like with my example above, that was only an interesting test I did for myself) because that can kill your metabolism TOO fast.  The way occasional carb loading works to maintain muscle is that once carbs are pushed and stored inside your muscle as glycogen, then anytime when your body needs glucose it takes it from glycogen instead of muscle tissue.  This works really well, cause you can have muscles filled with carbs yet insulin cleared in your system at the same time!  This is a perfect formula for muscle maintenance while dieting to lose fat.  So even while dieting, it is safe to have a carb loaded meal occasionally to help maintain muscle mass, this also creates a nice little metabolism boost.  I used to never do occasional carb load meals while dieting, until about 5 years ago, and I noticed a huge difference!  My reps in my workouts (such as the bench press) always remained the same, that was telling me I was maintaining muscle, while my bodyfat gradually was going down.  Before this, WITHOUT the carb load meals, my reps on the bench press would go down slowly while dieting.  So I strongly suggest that while dieting dropping calories overall but with occasional carb load meals.  Take a look at this example of a typical dieting day with a carb load meal in it:

meal1 - 9am - 40 grams of protein, 150 grams of carbs, 15 grams of fat

meal2 - 12:00pm - 40 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbs, 15 grams of fat

meal3 - 3pm - 40 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbs, 15 grams of fat

meal4 - 6:00pm - 40 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbs, 15 grams of fat

meal5 - 9pm - 40 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbs, 15 grams of fat

meal7 - 12:00am - 40 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs, 15 grams of fat

Totals: 240 grams protein, 230 grams carbs, 90 grams fat,  2,690 calories.  The carb load meal is meal # 1.

Don't carb load every single day, maybe like every 3rd day or 4th day, the key is to just get a huge boost of carbs to increase glycogen stores.

How many carbs to eat at the carb load meal?  I say eat as much as you want, or as much as you can, it doesn't matter, as long as it is all in one sitting only.  Also make sure it is nearly ALL complex carbs (NO simple carbs), for my carb load days, I personally eat 3 cups of plain oatmeal.

It's also important to remember that carb load meals are really only necessary if your muscles need some glycogen, if they already have enough in them, there really isn't a need to carb load (knowing whether your muscles are filled with glycogen or not comes with experience), but if they are very deflated without glycogen, you should have a carb load meal.  Keep in mind your muscles can be completely filled with carbs (glycogen) yet having little to no insulin running through your system, your body will then take bodyfat for fuel, but your body will ALWAYS still need some glucose (carbs) for certain body functions, and instead of your body taking it from muscle tissue (your body can break down muscle tissue and convert it into glucose) it takes it from the stored glycogen instead, which results in fat loss and muscle maintenance. To finish this off, you still got to make sure that as time goes by while dieting your overall carb intake from most of your meals in a day is gradually decreasing, your fat intake can relatively stay the same while dieting, but your protein intake should actually decrease a little too, but only real slowly, carbs should decrease the fastest while dieting, but don't forget the occasional carb load meals, they are important for maintaining muscle!  And yeah, I do believe this is the secret for maintaining muscle while dieting (especially for natural bodybuilders).

Common dieting tips:

  • Drink lots of water (with every meal and between every meal).  Try to drink at least a gallon of water a day.
  • Avoid consuming liquid carbs (soft drinks, juice, and milk)
  • Avoid simple sugars (sucrose and especially fructose) Fructose is used to refill liver glycogen stores, where as complex carbs (glucose) is used to refill muscle glycogen stores. Muscle glycogen does not hamper fat burning, but liver glycogen does.
  • Eat a meal every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Have chewy protein foods (such as meat), be your main source of protein, not liquid protein (such as protein shakes, or egg whites)
  • Avoid eating carbs before you sleep, mainly because this will interfere with growth hormone (GH) release while you sleep. If you do eat a meal close to when you sleep, have it be just some slow digesting protein and fat. Protein also interferes with GH release slightly, but fat does not.
  • Consume enough EFA’s (essential fatty acids), you can get them from fatty fish, nuts, or from oil supplements, such as flax seed oil.
  • Increase your consumption of monounsaturated fats and decrease your intake of saturated fats, a good source of monounsaturated fat is extra virgin olive oil.
  • If you’re a construction worker, or have a job that requires lots of physical activity (manual labor), then make sure that every day for work, have a carb-loaded breakfast. Make sure you have plenty of muscle glycogen before you do lots of physical work, other wise, if you stick to the common low carb diets, you’ll lose muscle.
  • Avoid food supplements such as protein bars or meal replacement powders, instead eat whole foods, such as chicken, steak, tuna, pork for protein, rice, pasta, bread, wheat, oatmeal, vegetables, grits for carbs, and make sure your getting enough healthy fats such as nuts and fats from fish, I also highly recommend putting extra virgin olive oil on vegetables all the time, and supplement your fat intake with some EFAs (essential fatty acids) from flax seed oil for example.


  • Do NOT cook your vegetables!  Buy them fresh and eat them fresh, this is important.  By doing this you are getting more nutrients such vitamins, minerals, potassium and antioxidants into your body, cooking them, or steaming them takes away vital nutrients from them.  Eating them fresh will also increase your metabolism more since they will be harder to digest (remember the chew factor?).  TIP: add some extra virgin olive oil over your vegetables to give them some better taste (I do this all the time).   The same thing can apply to protein foods, for example, do not leave meats in a crockpot all day, that softens them up big time and makes it REALLY easy for your body to digest them.  Only lightly cook your meat, just enough so that it is actually cooked, nothing more.  Remember the more chewy the better!

 

 

 


 

 

General Info Articles
How to Get In Shape & Gain Weight as a Bikini Competitor
Common Bodybuilding Myths
Motivational tips
How to get 6 Pack Abs
Beginner Body building Guide
How to do Natural Cutting and Bulking Phases
Common Misconceptions In Bodybuilding

Diet Advice
General Bodybuilding Diet Info
Zig-Zag Calorie Diet
Ketogenic Diet for Rapid Fat Loss
Great Tasting Bodybuilding Recipes

Workout Info and Routines
Weight Workout Routines and Info
The Importance of Deadlifts
Dumbbells vs. Barbells - Which is Better?
How to Increase Your Bench Press
Is a Military Press the same as a "behind the neck shoulder press"?
How to Build Lower Abs
Keys to Lower Abdominal Definition

Cardiovascular Info
Understanding What Cardio Does for Bodybuilders
Track workouts
Phases of Sprinting
Track Competition Race Preparation

Supplements
What Supplements are Important for Bodybuilders

Improve Bodybuilding With Health And Lifestyle
Is this site for Women?
Hormones And Bodybuilding
The Importance of Growth Hormone
Lifestyle Factors that Effect Bodybuilding

 

 

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