What do you need to put into a bodybuilding diet?
Training to bulk up or gain muscle requires the knowledge and know-how to fuel your body with the right way – and when planning a bodybuilding diet, there are a few points you need to take into consideration.
Take a look at our tips for planning out a healthy and achievable diet to see real results.
Know the right foods
A bodybuilding diet isn’t just about sticking to clean eating – it will all depend on your current physique, and whether you’re looking to bulk, lose weight or shred. If you’re looking to get lean or lose excess body fat, sweet potatoes, chicken breast and egg whites are all green lights however if you’re looking to gain weight, you need the extra calories.
Yes, in the bodybuilding diet, fat is your friend. While carbs and protein contain only four calories per gram, a gram of fat provides nine calories per gram. This helps you pack in extra calories without stuffing yourself. If you need to up your calorie intake quickly, opt for a few spoonfuls of peanut butter, spread some toast with avocado or butter up your potatoes.
Your body needs dietary fat to burn fat, so make sure you’re keeping your diet full of fish, fish oil, nuts, avocado and olive oil.
Fuel up frequently
Eating every 2-3 hours ensures your blood sugar remains stable and that your muscles get well fed. In this manner, your cravings are also minimised, with your energy levels and metabolism working at maximum capacity.
Your protein intake will depend on your age, size and activity level. As a rule of thumb, you should be consuming 2.2 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight (again, not a one size fits all solution). Ensure your protein sources are coming from lean meats (chicken, turkey and white fish) and out of your six meals a day, make sure no more than three include protein shakes.
As you get leaner, keep your protein intake high. If it drops too low, you will accelerate your strength and muscle loss.
Hydration can affect everything from your metabolic rate through to your energy levels, so it’s essential that you drink enough water. Additionally, proper hydration will enable you to keep your hunger levels controlled, which helps when you’re cutting back your calories.
Decrease your calories slowly
After your bulking phase, you need to ensure you’re cutting back on your calories to allow your muscles to take shape. Going from 2,500 calories to 1,500 in one day will leave you feeling hungry, frustrated and fatigued, so decrease your calorie intake slowly (by around 200 calories a week) as you slowly increase your activity and intensity levels. This will ensure you see ongoing results, while maintaining steady energy levels.
Keep on track
Finally, make sure you’re keeping your diet and exercise regimen logged. This will help you to stay motivated, track your progress and set goals.
If you want the know-how to plan balanced, healthy meals, qualifications like a Diploma of Nutrition (Non-Clinical Advisor) provide you with an advanced knowledge of the right foods to fuel your body with, depending on the outcome you want.
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