Muscle nutrition is a vital aspect of bodybuilding, but it can be hard to sort the facts from the myths. Here we explore the hard information you need to know to max out those muscles.
Don't Believe Everything You Read
Ernie Taylor, a professional bodybuilder said, “Sell yourself short on nutrition and you’re selling yourself short on maximizing your physique development.”
You know that proper nutrition is important in your muscle building goals, and if you have studied the copious amounts of information on nutrition and muscle building, you also know that there is a lot of controversy concerning what you should and should not eat.
This article will discuss the facts and the myths that surround muscle nutrition for maximum growth.
Bodybuilders need to eat protein, fats, and carbohydrates in certain ratios. In order to get the correct ratio for yourself, you’ll need to take a few things into consideration.
You must determine if you are cutting, bulking or maintaining. Depending on which phase you are in, your macronutrient ratios will change, with more being allotted to protein or carbohydrates, but the basic formula remains the same.
You need to take your body weight and then multiply that by the percentage of protein, fat or carbohydrate you need on a daily basis.
Facts: Protein Intake
As a bodybuilder, you need more protein than a sedentary person. The recommended daily allowance of protein for sedentary adults is .36 grams per pound of body weight. But, as a bodybuilding athlete, you are anything but sedentary.
You are constantly putting your muscles under stress in an effort to make them grow. Bodybuilders should strive to consume 1- 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Studies have shown that this amount of protein is the perfect amount for the highest amount of protein synthesis in the body. Less than 1 gram of protein and you won’t be able to maximize your lean mass gains. If you consume more than 1.5 grams of protein daily, the excess protein is likely to be stored as fat.
Fats are getting a bad reputation these days. If you take a stroll through your supermarket, you will see lots of foods labeled as low-fat. The problem isn’t that fats are bad. The problem is that certain highly- processed foods containing fat are bad.
Dietary fat is essential to the proper functioning of the body. Cell membranes are composed of fats and you need to consume healthy fats daily to help them regulate which substances can and cannot enter those cells. Fat also protects your organs from damage and they act as insulation to help keep your body warm.
Bodybuilders should consume .35 to .45 grams of fat per pound of body weight. These fats can come from oils (olive oil, coconut oil), avocados and nuts.
If you are consuming 1 gram of protein and .35 grams of fat per pound of body weight, the remainder of your calories should come from carbohydrates.
You should include a variety of carbohydrates into your diet from foods like sweet potatoes, oats, brown rice, vegetables, and fruit. Fruit and vegetables can be consumed copiously since they are low in calories and high in nutrition. Other forms of carbohydrates should be consumed moderately.
Facts: Water Intake
Your muscles are around 75% water, so if you want to keep them healthy and keep them growing, you should consume water every day. The recommended daily allowance is 64 ounces every day (2 liters).
But, if you drink coffee or take supplements, you should consume up to a gallon (4 liters) of water every day. As in all things, let your body be your guide. If you feel thirsty, drink more. If you are feeling water-logged, you can drink less water.
The facts listed above will help you gain muscle, and clarifying the myths surrounding muscle nutrition will help you gain even more.
Myth: No Cheat Meals – Ever
Some bodybuilding gurus ascribe to the notion that you have to eat clean 24 hours a day, seven days a week – forever. This is an interesting theory, but the reality of it sucks.
You'll go insane if you have to eat the same foods all the time for the rest of your life. Another point to consider is that your body doesn’t recognize good food and bad food, it recognizes nutrients.
So if you have a Big Mac, pizza or a slice of cheesecake occasionally, your body won’t take that food and immediately store it as fat. It tries to find the nutrients and use them to your advantage. You only gain weight when the calories you take in are more than you burn, on a consistent basis.
Myth : Eat Every 2-3 Hours
While eating smaller meals throughout the day is a good idea to help you stave off hunger pangs, you don’t need to eat so often. Eating a meal every two or three hours has been touted to help you raise your metabolism and prevent catabolism (muscle breakdown).
The reality is that eating more frequently doesn’t greatly raise your metabolism and the notion that your body runs out of nutrition within 2 to 3 hours is ridiculous as well. The digestion process occurs over a period from 5-7 hours. So, if you eat breakfast at 9 am, you won’t be finished digesting that breakfast until 4pm or 5pm.
Another problem with eating frequently is that you may have a tendency to eat too much. If you aren’t meticulous about the number of calories you are eating and just consume food because you are afraid your muscles are going to dwindle to nothing, you are running the risk of overeating. That will make you gain weight.
Myth: No Carbs at Night
‘Eating carbs at night will make you gain fat.’ You've probably read this often. It’s like your body has a watch and it knows exactly what time it is and if you eat after that time it automatically stores certain food as fat.
It’s never going to work that way. When you eat, your body takes in food and breaks it down. It uses what it needs and stores the rest. Food only gets stored as fat when you are eating more than your body can use. If you need to eat 2,000 per day to stay at a certain weight, and you eat 1,000 of your 2,000 calories at night, you’ll stay the same weight.
Beware of the Myths
Gaining muscle is easy when you know the facts and debunk the myths. You must consume protein, fats and carbohydrates in the correct ratio for your body type and goals, and you have to keep yourself hydrated.
You can also have cheat meals, you can spread out your meals at intervals longer than 2 or 3 hours, and you can eat carbs at night. By following this method of eating, not only will you gain the maximum amount of muscle and achieve a male body transformation, you’ll do it with your sanity intact.