Bodybuilding is nothing but building one’s body through weightlifting and nutrition and is centered around the body’s muscles. Bodybuilding requires spending time both outside and inside the gym. Therefore, it is considered to be a lifestyle – recreational or competitive. Focusing on the diet is the key to maximizing results while working out from the gym. Eating wrong foods can demotivate bodybuilding goals. Therefore, it is required to follow a proper meal plan for bodybuilding.
Why is a nutrient intake of food and supplement important?
The muscles get the nutrients they need to recuperate from workouts and become bigger and stronger by eating the proper nutrient-dense foods in the right amounts. Consuming the wrong unhealthy meals at the wrong times, or not enough of the appropriate ones with the necessary supplements, on the other hand, may have an impact on the goals.
We need a variety of nutrients to provide the energy to complete a workout. Some of them are:
The main source of glucose in the body is carbohydrates. These are stored in the muscles and liver as glycogens. The muscles look good and feel full when they are filled with glycogen. The energy to the brain and blood in the body is provided by glucose. It is made up of protein. If the body does not consume a good amount of carbohydrates, then it will break down the muscle tissue for glucose. The amount of daily calorie intake depends on the bulk of carbohydrates a person consumes after starting a bodybuilding program. Unprocessed complex carbs like sweet potatoes, potatoes, whole-grain bread, oatmeal and brown rice are usually recommended.
The number of carbs consumed by men is multiplied by their body weight by three. This number is considered to be the number of grams of carbohydrates that has to be consumed daily. For women, their body weight is multiplied by two to know their number of grams of carbohydrates.
Consuming fiber along with carbs is also important in the diet. Fiber helps to make the tissues more responsive to anabolism. It helps to improve the sugar and amino acid uptake. The fiber content in muscle also helps in the formation of muscle glycogen and its growth. The two best sources of fiber are beans and oatmeal.
The next important protein needed by every bodybuilder is protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Amino acids build up proteins like how glucose molecules build up carbohydrates. Protein is the body involved in growing, repairing and replacing the tissues. Many diet plans do not allow the person to have enough fat and carbohydrate intake. This allows the body to burn more protein. Burning more protein for fuel can put the muscle tissue at risk. Therefore, it is required to consume more protein.
Fats are considered to be the main source of energy in the body. To break down the protein, the fat combines with glucose to produce more energy. Therefore, protein can do its function of building muscle. The key point of staying away from bad fats is it consumes good fats. There are two types of fats – saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fat is considered to be bad as they are the cause of heart diseases and cholesterol.
Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to aid in the treatment of depression, weariness, joint discomfort, and Type 2 diabetes. They are beneficial to bodybuilders because they reduce inflammation in the body and assist stimulate muscle recovery, which is vital in the bodybuilding process.
When an individual begins a bodybuilding program, he needs to pay attention to the foods he is consuming. This includes alcoholic beverages. Many people enjoy a glass or two, if not three, to unwind and relax. It contains empty calories with no nutritional value and high caloric content. Though drinking increases caloric intake, it tends to slow the metabolism and hinders the ability of the body to process foods. It can also hurt muscle growth.
Water is the key factor that takes part in all metabolic processes of the body. Depending on the intensity of workouts, bodybuilders require at least half a gallon or a gallon of water. Water helps to push out toxins and metabolic wastes from the body. Individuals following a high-protein diet consider water as the most important part of their meal plan. Water also helps to remove the excess nitrogen, urea and ketones from the body.
Kidneys do not function properly if there is not enough water. When the water consumption is less, a part of the kidneys work is transferred to the liver reducing the amount of fat burn. It also tends to reduce the feeling of hunger.
Bodybuilding Meal Plan: What are some of the foods to avoid while bodybuilding?
There is a large variety of foods to be included in the diet. But some should be limited or avoided while bodybuilding. They are:
- Alcohol – Alcohol affects the ability of the body muscle to build and lose fat if consumed in excess.
- Added sugars – Sugar contains calories but less nutrients. Candies, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream are foods that contain added sugars.
- Deep-fried foods – Deep-fried foods raise inflammation in the body when it is consumed in excess. Examples of deep-fried foods are French fries, fried fish, onion rings and chicken strips.
Other foods need to be avoided before starting to go to the gym. It is because it may result in slow digestion and an upset stomach. These include:
- High-fat foods – Buttery foods and heavy sauces
- High-fiber foods – Beans and vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower
- Carbonated beverages – Diet soda and sparkling water.
How many calories do you need?
How many calories should you eat a day is determined by weighing oneself three times a week and recording it in a calorie tracker. If the weight of the individual stays the same, then the number of calories is maintained. In other words, the individual is neither gaining nor losing weight, but maintaining it.
It is recommended that to boost the calorie intake by 10% during your bulking period. For example, if the maintenance calories are 3,000 per day, we should consume 3,300 calories per day during the bulking phase (3,000 x 0.10 = 300). The transition from bulk to cutting phase requires a decrease in calories by 10%, i.e., we should eat 2700 calories per day instead of 3300.
We need to adjust the calorie intake at least monthly as we gain weight in bulking phase or lose weight in cutting phase to account for variations in the weight. For continuous improvement, increase the calories as weight is gained in the bulking phase and lower the calories as the weight is lost in the reducing phase.
It’s better not to lose or gain more than 0.5–1% of the bodyweight per week throughout. This prevents from losing too much muscle mass while cutting or gaining too much body fat while bulking.
What are the key takeaways of the bodybuilding meal plan?
Bodybuilders are rated based on their muscularity and leanness rather than their athletic ability. Regular workouts and attention to food are required to achieve the desired bodybuilder look. Dieting for bodybuilding is usually separated into two phases: bulking and cutting, during which the calorie intake will fluctuate but the macronutrient ratio remains constant.
It is better to eat only nutrient-dense foods and get 20–30 grams of protein with each meal and snack and avoid alcohol and foods that are deep-fried or heavy in sugar. This guarantees that all essential nutrients are obtained by the body that is required for muscle growth and overall wellness.