If you want to build serious muscle, then your diet and nutrition regime is vitally important. Get the lowdown on what you need to know to maximize your muscles in the gym.
Balancing Nutrition with Muscle Growth
Among bodybuilders, there is a saying that goes like this: abs are made in the kitchen. Well, biceps, pectorals, traps, and legs are made there too. It’s your diet that helps you to create six pack abs, powerful pectorals, and bulging biceps. In order to get the most out of your workouts, you need to know the secrets of a successful muscle-building diet.
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The best muscle-building diets focus on three macronutrients. Macro means large, and nutrients, of course, are the foods we ingest that give us the energy to go about our daily lives. As a bodybuilder, your diet will focus on protein and carbohydrates, which provide four calories per gram, and fats, which provide nine calories per gram. You’ll need to calculate how many calories you need per day and then divide those calories between these three macronutrients.
The percentage allotted for each macronutrient depends on what you are trying to accomplish in the gym. If you are in a bulking phase, carbohydrates will comprise the largest portion of your diet with the rest going to protein and fat. If you’re maintaining, then the percentages will be split fairly evenly among the three macronutrients. On a cutting phase, you will have to keep carbs and fat lower, while keeping your protein intake high.
An example of the macronutrient intake during a bulking phase would look like this: protein 25%, carbohydrates 60% and fat 15%. During a phase of maintenance, you might allot 30% for protein, 40% for carbs and 20% for fat. A cut would comprise a diet with up to 50% going towards protein, 30% going towards fat and 20% from carbohydrates.
These percentages are just a guideline and nothing is set in stone. Everyone has different needs and body types. An endomorph (someone with a propensity toward gaining fat) will have a vastly different bulking phase from an ectomorph (someone with a high metabolism who has a difficult time gaining fat). You will have to play with the macronutrient percentages until you find the one that best suits your needs.
There are certain types of protein, carbohydrates, and fat that create a successful muscle-building diet. You can’t just eat large amounts of food, or very little food and expect your efforts in the gym to come to fruit.
In order to get the most out of your body building efforts, you should stick to lean cuts of beef, chicken, turkey and fish. Some types of beef that will provide you with lots of protein and not a lot of fat are beef round, flank, and sirloin. For chicken and turkey, try to stick with breast meat, which is high in protein and low in fat. With fish, you can pretty much have a field day. Most types of fish are high in protein and low in fat. The best diet incorporates a balance beef, poultry and fish to ensure you get a variety of nutrients.
Low glycemic carbohydrates are the best option for bodybuilders. These carbohydrates are packed with nutrients and digest slowly, thus assuring that you will have the energy you need to perform your workout without getting unnecessary calories that will be stored as fat. Some examples of low glycemic carbs include whole wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, brown rice, legumes, oats, and vegetables. It’s important to add a variety of low glycemic carbs to your diet to help your body digest all the protein you need to consume.
Fats are an essential part of a bodybuilding diet. Your cell membranes are composed of fat and you need to consume it every day in order to help your body control which substances can or cannot enter those cells. Good sources of fat include nuts, olive oil, avocados, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Although it’s not part of the macronutrient profile, this substance cannot be overlooked. Your muscles are comprised of 79% water. Water is necessary for good body function and it’s especially important for athletes. If you don’t hydrate your body correctly, your energy levels will be low and your workout will suffer. The recommended daily water intake is 64 ounces of water, but as a bodybuilder you should drink up to a gallon of water per day.
Getting the Balance Right
As a bodybuilder, you work hard, really hard. You don’t want to spend hours upon hours in the gym without seeing the results of all your hard labor. By sticking to a bodybuilding diet that includes the right amount and types of protein, carbohydrates, and fat, you will properly nourish your body and your muscles so you can keep building a physique that turns heads.
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