Do you want to bulk up your biceps and have a strong physique? Do you want to squat 320 pounds without shivering like a nervous chihuahua? No matter what your objective is, nutrition will play a key role in achieving it.
Continue reading for some helpful hints and our opinions on a healthy muscle-building diet.
Goals of Bodybuilding vs. Weightlifting
Before we get into a healthy muscle-building diet, it’s important to understand the difference between bodybuilding and weightlifting. While the average gym-goer may not view themselves in either group, it’s crucial to know what goals someone who is just getting started could be interested in.
Bodybuilders are athletes who compete in competitions based on their strong physique. A bodybuilder’s goal is to get massive muscles while decreasing their BMI (Body Mass Index). They are really interested in being ‘lean.’
Weightlifters and Olympians are on the other side of the squat rack. A weightlifter’s success is purely determined by their ability to lift or throw a certain amount of weight. A ‘lean’ body is not as important as it is for bodybuilders.
We’re laying out these two courses because they represent two competing fitness outcomes, each with its own dietary recommendations and tactics.
While there is some overlap, a bodybuilder must be significantly more conscious of their calorie consumption than a weightlifter.
You should create specific goals for yourself before starting your fitness adventure. Most essential, are you aiming for a slim beach body with washboard abs? Or are you more interested in achieving performance-related goals, such as benching 250 pounds?
You may start eating for success once you have a clear objective in mind.
Resistance Training’s Health Advantages
Resistance and strength training have various advantages, the most important of which is increased physical strength.
Other advantages of resistance exercise, aside from the obvious, include denser muscle growth, lower blood glucose, weight maintenance, greater bone strength, increased joint movement, and even a more balanced and pleasant mental state.
When it comes to performance nutrition recommendations, macronutrients are deservedly at the top of the list.
What is the reason behind this? Macronutrients are the body’s major source of energy as well as the foundations of strength, speed, and endurance.
The most nutritional influence on your individual goals will come from a focused focus on the energy entering (or not entering) your body. It doesn’t matter if they’re aesthetic or performance-related.
Carbohydrates are a kind of sugar.
Your main source of energy is carbohydrates. While most people identify carbs with endurance sports like swimming, cycling, and running, this energy source is equally important for weightlifters and bodybuilders.
When your body is stressed and wants to draw on its energy reserves, blood glucose is the first place it will go. Should Carbs Be Included in Your Diet? explains why. Carbs are turned into blood glucose, a quick-acting energy source, during digestion.
If your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to make blood glucose, it will resort to protein and muscle fiber as a source of energy, eroding all of the gains you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Including a greater carbohydrate ratio in your diet may result in improved lifting performance depending on your genetic composition. Others may find that a high-protein diet is sufficient. A DNA nutrition test is the best approach to find out how your body will react to these specific macronutrients.
We can extract your genetic code and determine which macros and micros you should consume more of by sending us a non-intrusive mouth swab.
To put it another way, your nutritional DNA study will show you which fuel combinations your body responds to best for peak performance.
Proteins are the building blocks of life.
Protein is more closely linked to muscle building than any other nutrient. Proteins are the building blocks of your body, and for good reason. They mend muscles, arteries, and bones that have been injured. They’re also the main triggers for new muscle development, with the amino acid leucine (found in whey) being particularly important in this regard.
Protein may be utilized as a fuel source in addition to creating and mending your body.
If your body is short on blood glucose due to a shortage of carbs in your diet, it will rely on protein and muscle reserves (called glycogen) to make up the difference.
Protein is plainly necessary for muscular growth in a diet. However, there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding how much protein the average strength trainer needs to see benefits.
Big supplement manufacturers and sports firms have spent millions in the past spreading false information about how much protein the human body needs to recover from a decent pump. With that much protein, no one could possible consume it without the help of high-priced protein drinks, bars, and balls, among other things.
According to one research on athletes’ perceptions of protein consumption, two-thirds of strength-training athletes didn’t know how much protein they needed, and those who felt they did, consumed significantly more than the maximum recommended protein intakes.
To be clear, the average healthy adult only needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (g/kg/d), whereas a strength-focused athlete only needs 2.0 g/kg/d. In layman’s words, a single 8oz chicken breast provides adequate protein for the ordinary individual, whereas an exceptional athlete would require around two chicken breasts.
Overconsumption of protein, according to a BBC report published in May 2020, will not hurt a person in the long run. However, exceeding the maximum recommended intake amount is pointless, as the majority of the nutrients will be lost the next time you excuse yourself to go to the bathroom. Not to mention the cash spent on those high-priced protein drinks.
Deficiencies in fats
Fats are one of the most misunderstood macronutrients for athletes, but they play a crucial role in energy production, nutrition absorption, and even injury prevention.
Some monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are necessary for a person who engages in high-resistance training. In general, fat should account for 15–30% of total calorie consumption, however this may vary based on your genetic makeup. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may be found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and oils, as explained in Demystifying Fat: Should Fat Be Part of Your Diet?
Weightlifters need a lot of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well. These fats are easily found in fish and shellfish, and they aid with blood flow and appetite suppression (all of which are beneficial if you’re attempting to lose weight).
No matter what your fitness objectives are, it’s critical to keep an eye on your saturated and trans fat intake. Increased levels of these “bad” fats raise LDL cholesterol, clog arteries, and raise the risk of heart disease and stroke. Chips, chocolate bars, baked products, and butter all include saturated and trans fats.
While all micronutrients are vital for overall health, strength-focused athletes may be particularly interested in a few.
- Calcium is an essential component for the formation and maintenance of dense bones. The equivalent of a brick structure with rusted and aged fundamental beams is a strong physique with weak bones. Injury would be more likely, and an athlete’s ability to lift and hold more weight would be limited.
- Biotin is yet another vitamin. This ubiquitous vitamin found in nuts performs a little but critical function in converting macronutrients into the energy you expend during a workout.
- Iron is a mineral that is present in animal proteins, as well as various cereals and vegetables. It aids in the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the muscles. Fatigue may be accelerated if you have a low iron level.
- Vitamin C is a critical micronutrient for weightlifters, even though most people have little trouble getting enough of it (a single orange supplies virtually your full daily need). Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron and aids in the metabolization of carbohydrates for fuel, both of which have an indirect impact on performance.
Important Muscle-Growth Nutrition Strategies
Cut & Bulk
Bulking and reducing is a popular bodybuilding diet approach.
This method essentially entails two cyclical eating habits. A season of bulking (eating too many calories) is followed by a season of reducing (eating minimal calories).
In principle, a bodybuilder consumes an excessive amount of calories during the off-season to increase overall size. They maximize their energy output by consuming as many calories as possible. They will have reached their peak performance capacity as well as their highest BMI at this point.
The athlete will then drastically reduce their calorie intake in the months or weeks leading up to competition, resulting in a caloric input to energy output deficit. The goal is to lower the BMI while maintaining the muscular growth that occurred during the bulking period.
The outcomes of this dietary regimen might be contradictory. The reason for this is because while the body enjoys burning fat, it also enjoys burning muscle. As a result, considerable gains are frequently lost during the trimming stage.
Supplements are another typical bodybuilder nutrition technique for meeting daily micronutrient requirements.
While most strength-focused athletes have minimal trouble getting to their maximal healthy protein consumption, getting a balanced micronutrient intake is a different matter.
Your diet will have a significant impact on your fitness goals.
Carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids are the most important macronutrients for strength training. Weightlifters should consume complete and complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in particular.
The amount of each macro you consume will be determined by your intended outcome as well as your unique genetic code. You can better understand how much to eat for best performance results by defining your strength and resistance goals as well as doing a DNA nutrition test.
- Health Line. November 19, 2018: Bodybuilding Meal Plan: What to Eat and Avoid. Van De Walle, Gavin
- International Society of Sports Nutrition Journal. Nutrition and supplemental evidence-based advice for natural bodybuilding contest preparation, May 12, 2014. Eric R Helms, Alan A Aragon, and Peter J Fitschen are among the authors.
- International Society of Sports Nutrition Journal An observational study of college male athletes’ perceived protein demands and measured protein consumption, June 21, 2011. Edward P Weiss, Elizabeth A Fox, Jennifer L McDaniel, Anthony P Breitbach, and Jennifer L McDaniel