Diet is an important part of your bodybuilding journey.
Sure, you can spend countless hours at the gym. But you will never pack on pure, unadulterated muscle if you don’t couple your workout with the right diet.
You need to have ample amounts of nutrients in order to gain muscle. These nutrients can be found in foods and supplements.
This comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need to know on how to create a diet tailored for bodybuilders.
1. Set Your Daily Calories
The first step towards gaining mass starts with keeping in tab of your daily calories intake. You would need a food journal to list down every single calorie that you consumed. This way, you will have a clear picture of where you are and how far are you from your daily caloric needs.
So what’s the approximate daily caloric needs?
Use a traditional benchmark such as bodyweight x 17 to make a quick estimate. So if you’re weighing 185 pounds, you would need 3145 calories daily to maintain your bodyweight.
If you’re way too far from your daily caloric needs, you have to start eating that much immediately. But if you’re consuming more, there’s no better time to cut down than now. It would be hard to burn fat and turn them into muscles if you’re consuming way many calories than needed.
2. Increase Your Calorie Intake
If you’re aiming to add mass, you would need to increase your daily calorie intake to achieve this goal.
Rather than having a sudden increase in caloric intake, take the process gradually. Start by adding 500 calories on top of your daily caloric needs.
So say your 185 pounds and required to have 3145 calories daily. Up your target to 3645 calories a day.
Keep this daily caloric intake for two weeks. Then, check if you are making progress and start modifying if you aren’t. Consume 200 more calories daily if you’re a hard-gainer and having some challenges putting on weight. Pare that number down by 200 calories if you have excess body fat.
Take an evaluation of your numbers every two weeks.
The traditional three-meals-a-day is no longer applicable to increasing your calorie intake. You should eat more often, with post-workout shakes and additional meals to keep you going.
3. Take The Right Fuels
Sure, you need more calories now if you want to bulk up.
Though you should now live by eating more often, you should also know that you have to eat smart. You need to have the right fuels that will promote muscle growth. You can only get this right fuels if you choose the right type of foods that you put in your body.
Below are the critical fuels that you should not live without.
Protein – at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight
Protein is one of the most important factors for muscle growth and repair.
You should make protein as your highest food priority. Good sources of protein include low-fat dairy, whey or casein protein, fish, whole eggs and egg whites, turkey, skinless chicken and lean cuts of beef.
Boost your workout performance by having this refreshing pre-workout shake.
Carbs – 2.5 grams per pound of bodyweight
One of the biggest mistake bodybuilders make is staying away from carbohydrates.
Carbs are critical if your goal is to pack on muscle. They fuel your energy so you can carry on during high-intensity activity like resistance workouts. Next to protein, carbs should make up around 50 percent of your calories.
Invest more on slow carbs as they can keep you feel fuller longer. They help stabilize your blood-sugar level and keep you energized the whole day. Whole-grain breads, quinoa, yams and brown rice are excellent source of slow carbs.
Check out this mouth-watering yet healthy quinoa recipes here.
Fats – 1 gram per 1.5 pounds of bodyweight
Your daily caloric intake should have 30 percent of fat. Half of this should be unsaturated fats such as fatty fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil. The other half should be unsaturated fats such as eggs, dairy and meat.
Have your fill of Grilled Salmon & Zucchini with Red Pepper Sauce to fuel you up.
4. Pre- and Post-Workout Meals
The food that you eat before and after your workout are important. They serve as your fuel to keep you energized during long and high-intensity trainings. They also aid in muscle recovery.
Pre-workout Foods – Oats, bananas, Grilled Chicken, Broccoli, And Sweet Potato, Whole Grain Bread , dried fruit and Fruit And Greek Yogurt .
Post workout food – Protein pancakes, Beef and Squash with Marinara, Tuna and Crackers, High-Protein Oats On-the-Go, Egg Scramble and Chicken and Sweet Potato Hash
5. Meal Frequency
There is no such as thing the perfect amount of meals that you must have in a day. As long as you meet your daily caloric intake and have all the macro requirements needed, then you are good. Coupled them with the proper workout nutrition and you are on the right path.
It’s ideal to squeeze your 3500 calories into 3-5 larger meals everyday. You would need more than 6+ smaller meals if you’re aiming for 5000+ calories.
Aside from the frequency of your meals, you should also pay attention to the type of foods that you are consuming. In order to satisfy your macronutrient and calorie requirement, you must get most of your food from healthy food sources.
Don’t be too harsh on yourself though. While it’s needed that you must pack on healthy food, you’re allowed to have guilty pleasures like few slices of pizza or cheeseburger.
6. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is one of the most common field overlooked by bodybuilders.
You must drink more water, especially if you’re aiming for weight loss. Here are some of the hydration tips that you must always remember:
- Replenish more on training days. Drink pre, during and post workout.
- Don’t wait to be thirsty to drink water. Thirst is already a sign that your body is dehydrated. Make it a habit to sip on water constantly.
- Pay attention to the color of your urine. You must aim for clear or slightly yellow as it’s a sign that you are well-hydrated. Up your water intake if your urine is yellow.
Nutrition plays a huge role in your life. By consuming healthy foods and meeting your daily caloric intake, you’re eating your way to a bulky and muscled body.
8 Muscle-Building Diet Essentials!. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/8-muscle-building-diet-essentials.html
Alex. (2016). Create A Bulking Or Cutting Bodybuilding Diet Plan In 10 Easy Steps. Retrieved from https://www.kingofthegym.com/bodybuilding-diet/
Geiger, B. (2014). The ABCs Of A Muscle-Building Diet. Retrieved from https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/the-abcs-of-a-muscle-building-diet.html
Van De Walle, G. (2018). Bodybuilding Meal Plan: What to Eat, What to Avoid. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bodybuilding-meal-plan