Many aspiring bodybuilders devote all their time and energy to the gym, assuming that the key to strengthening and enlarging muscles is rigorous strength training. Although exercise constitutes a part of the equation, don’t forget about your diet. Without the right fuel, your body can’t turn into the muscle-building machine you’ve been dreaming of. So instead of spending all your time in the gym, head to the grocery store. Then, use our diet tips for bodybuilding to start crafting your meals.
Diet Tips for Bodybuilding
Calculate your calories.
You can’t know where you’re going without knowing where you are. So before you conduct any sort of diet overhaul, take a look at the number of calories you currently consume on a day-to-day basis. Apps like MyFitnessPal make this exceedingly easy to do. Your daily caloric intake might surprise you! And once you know how many calories you devour each day, figure out how many calories you ought to be consuming using the Mifflin St. Jeor equation.
Many aspiring bodybuilders find that they need to increase their calorie intake to increase their body mass. Assuming you’re training hard, you may need to add a mini meal somewhere in your day. Or, you could increase both the frequency and quantity of your meals, eating more meals more often. To hold yourself accountable, keep a log of your meals and count your calories. Especially at the start, this can help you figure out what your new normal should look like.
Consume more protein.
Proteins are comprised of amino acids, i.e., the body’s building blocks. These tiny, simple organic compounds enter your muscle cells, repairing them after difficult workouts and helping them expand. The more active you are, the more protein you need.
Of all our diet tips for bodybuilding, consuming more protein is amongst the most important. Use a variety of protein sources to obtain your daily recommended amount, focusing on whole foods like poultry, dairy, eggs, fish, and lean meat. Unfortunately, greasy hamburgers and fattier cuts of meat like prime rib don’t count. To supplement your meals, use a quick and convenient protein powder. You can add it into your breakfast, bake it into granola bars, or perhaps prepare a post-workout shake.
Try CHiKPRO®, a nutritious chicken protein isolate powder. Versatile and easy to use, this protein supplement should not cause water retention or bloating, making it perfect for those critical two weeks before a big competition. It contains a natural, beneficial balance of sodium and potassium. In addition, it is non-allergenic, dairy-free, and gluten-free. Visit our website to purchase products powered by CHiKPRO®.
Choose complex carbs and healthy fats.
Unlike simple carbohydrates, complex carbs can sustain your energy level throughout the day. They contain longer chains of sugar molecules, which take more time to digest and absorb. So be sure to fit complex carbs like brown rice, whole grains, quinoa, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes into your diet.
In addition, work on incorporating healthy foods with essential fatty acids into your meals. Though the word fat can scare away aspiring bodybuilders, remember that obtaining a certain amount of essential fatty acids can actually benefit your body and help you build muscle. Just as essential amino acids aid our bodies with growth and good health, our bodies require us to consume two primary essential fatty acids in our diets: linolenic acid and linoleic acid. So as you prepare your diet, consider which foods are a good source of these essential fatty acids. For example, chicken fat contains more linoleic acid (about 20%) and lenolenic acid (0.8%) than beef.
Prepare your food in a healthy way.
These diet tips for bodybuilding can be misleading if you forget about the importance of preparing your meals in a nutritious way. Although we’ve urged you to eat healthy foods like chicken, eggs, and oatmeal, we don’t recommend that you dine on fried chicken, Scotch eggs, or oatmeal covered in brown sugar. Instead, try to grill, bake, or steam your foods. Avoid large amounts of oil and butter, and steer clear of fried foods and sugary add-ons.
Avoid sweets and alcohol.
Your sweet tooth can completely derail your diet if you aren’t careful. In addition to avoiding obvious sweets like candy, cake, and cookies, remember to watch out for excess sugars in processed foods. For example, you might be surprised how much sugar is in some yogurts, pasta sauces, and cereals. Don’t forget to bypass soda and sugary cocktails and coffee drinks as well. In place of these sweets, as a dessert after your meal, try eating some fruit or a small piece of dark chocolate.
In addition, with the Super Bowl coming up and barbecue season on the horizon, we know how tempted you might be to kick back with a cold beer. Though you don’t have to refrain altogether (perhaps you could work alcohol into your “cheat meal”), try your best to avoid alcohol and choose low-calorie options when you do indulge.
Especially at the start, be realistic with your goals. Avoid extreme diets that severely limit your options, recognizing that these plans are rarely sustainable in the long term. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up from time to time, and be sure to schedule cheat meals into your diet (taking care not to let them stretch out into cheat days or weekends). In addition, instead of avoiding restaurants entirely, go and learn to seek out healthy options. Many restaurants can prepare healthier versions of their menu items when asked. For example, you could request plain grilled chicken or fish, a hefty serving of vegetables, and a side salad.