Bodybuilding Nutrition

Just working out will not get you to the body you want.

Regardless of how “perfect” your diet may be, your diet and nutrition are extremely important, as is enough rest and recovery time between workouts. Bodybuilding nutrition is complex, in part because there are so many diets that will work, if you can stick too them.

Many bodybuilding diets will work, if you can stick to them.

Notice the “stick to them” part! Too many nutritional plans are based on relatively bland food, and not enough variety, so you get bored quickly. This makes it more likely that you will cheat, and cheat a lot.

What sounds better, egg whites, chicken breast, and steamed broccoli, or a pepperoni pizza and a six pack of beer? Well, I know which one I will get bored of quickly!

Any nutrition plan, unless you have nearly superhuman self control and resolve, needs a lot of variety. Fortunately there are muscle building cookbooks that can simply and easily provide you with lots of different healthy meal choices.

In looking at nutrition, you need to consider your goals.

What are you trying to optimize (or maybe what do you need to optimize)? Currently, I need to lose fat. I have slipped a bit with extensive business travel, and although I have a lot of muscle on my frame, it is obscured by more fat than I like. Back to this in a minute.

Looking at macronutrients, that is carbs, fats, and proteins, the most common breakdown is 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fats. Lower fats used to be more common, but fats are important for building muscle.

Low carb diets are also popular, and  50% protein, 10% carb, and 40% fats is common. Sometimes carbs are restricted much more as well.

Everyone’s body responds differently, but low carb diets work extremely well for me for fat loss.

Also realize that not all proteins, carbs, and fats are the same.

Try to ensure you are getting high quality protein sources. This is pretty easy for all but vegetarian bodybuilders who need to plan a bit more.

As a rule, slow carbs are better for you than fast carbs. Slow carbs are ones that are metabolized by the body slower then fast ones. What do you think is better for your body, 500 calories of sugar or 500 calories of carbs from beans? In general, it is absolutely beans, although sugar may be better at times, for example during the final stages of running a marathon. Most of us reading this however are body builders, not endurance athletes (admittedly, I do a bit of both).

Some fats are healthy, for example olive oil. They still pack a lot of calories however! Other, far less healthy, for example bacon fat! I’m not saying always avoid bacon and bacon fat, just be aware of what and how much you are eating.

There are customized nutrition plans available that have daily meal plans with all the details, but at a minimum, keep track of what you eat. You’ll be surprised if not shocked.

For a week, simply write down everything you eat, or maybe snap a picture with your cell. You will be shocked.

Knowledge of what you are consuming in the first step in improving your nutrition!

5 thoughts on “Bodybuilding Nutrition”

  1. Nutrition is a lot more than just getting plenty of protein and not eating lots of junkfood! I forget this sometimes

  2. Nutrition is my down fall. I’m pretty good most days all day, but fall apart at night and often start eating junk.

    I’ve noticed you have a couple of new recipes up – going to try them. I don’t cook but they seem so easy, tasty, and far better than what I usually have at night!

    1. Freddie,

      Make sure you are not being “too good” during the day and then rebounding with a starving body at night – used to be my problem!

      Also, learning to make just a few simple dishes can do wonders for your nutrition, as opposed to eating or ordering out all the time. Your body WILL show the difference!

  3. It has taken me forever, years and years, to realize the importance of proper nutrition. I always thought I could exercise enough to make up for bad nutrition – NO WAY!

    Great and motivating article. And now a healthy breakfast and off to the gym soon before work!

    1. Robbie,

      It’s a stereotype: we men think we can out exercise poor nutrition 🙂
      Obviously NOT true!


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