Nutrition for Body Builders

Bodybuilders need to fuel their body with the appropriate foods for energy as well as protein for the build up and reparation of muscle tissue. Starving yourself will NOT help and might prove more detrimental than most of you realize. By eating small, low-fat meals throughout the day incorporating a protein source with good sources of fibrous and complex carbohydrates you will be able to stabilize your insulin levels and sustain your energy levels. This will prevent your body from going into starvation mode while giving you all the building blocks you need for developing and shaping your muscles. Plus, you actually get to eat more!

Stay away from the super-high calorie diets unless you're a genetic freak, or you're woefully lean and don't mind putting on fat


 Article of the Week

Nutrition - Article of the Week

Calorie Cycling: Idle for Body Builders

May, 26 2015

Calorie cycling is a systematic method of raising and lowering daily calorie intake. The main way this diet works is the zig-zagging of the starchy carbs, where we avoid starchy carbs (like bread, pizza, pasta, potatoes, rice) during the low days and only eat them during the high days, this enables your metabolism to run smoothly all the time (even during the low days). More>


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A large proportion of calories should come from carbohydrates is so that the body has enough energy to deal with the rigors of training and recovery. Bodybuilders require complex carbohydrates as they release energy more slowly than simple sugars. This is important as simple sugars cause an insulin response which places the body in a state where it is likely to store additional calories as fat rather than muscle, furthermore frequent consumption of simple sugars can lead to Type II diabetes. However bodybuilders do ingest some simple sugars post-workout to replenish glycogen stores within the muscle.

Poor quality carbohydrates are those that contain sugar or are highly processed. These would include most breakfast cereals, breads, snack foods, candies, and even fruits and juices. Eating these foods immediately prior to bedtime will likely result in increased fat deposit and will prevent your body from maintaining a successful fat-burning mode.





It is recommended that bodybuilders receive 1 to 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight to help the body recover and build. These protein sources should be of a high biological value such as steak, chicken, fish, soy, milk or whey, and egg whites. Chicken, whey, and egg whites are often preferred due to their relatively low fat content. Some Bodybuilders prefer to get their daily protein requirement from foods first and then from supplementary protein powders.



Vitamins & Minerals

Also, adequate intake of vitamins and minerals is necessary; Bodybuilders almost universally take a multi vitamin each day. Essential fatty acids, especially omega-3s, are consumed as well.




Supplements can help muscle gain, although some are unproven and many are ineffective. Creatine however, is one which has been proven to help bodybuilders. Although creatine only helps if used in conjunction with a solid nutritional base and weight training program, this is true for all supplements.

Some bodybuilders may use drugs to gain an advantage over results due to natural hypertrophy, especially in professional competitions. Although many of these substances are illegal in many countries, in professional bodybuilding the use of anabolic steroids (a class of natural and synthetic steroid hormones that promote cell growth and division, resulting in growth of muscle tissue and sometimes bone size and strength) and precursor substances such as prohormones (a chemical compound that is a precursor to an actual hormone) are essential to competing in world-class competitions. Steroids increase levels of free testosterone and result in muscle hypertrophy (increase of the size of an organ). Significant negative side-effects accompany steroid abuse, such as liver damage as well as negative feedback leading to a decline in the body's own testosterone production and possible infertility.


More Diet tips



  • If you want to build muscle, you need to consume quality calories. How much calories? You need to consume more total calories in your weight lifting diet than your body uses each day. It is very important to understand that the human body is constantly working, using and storing energy day and night.

  • It is also very important to understand that in order to keep the machine rolling, you need to know what and how much to feed it. This is the single most important element in the muscle building process.

  • You need to feed your body a correct balance of calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat. Complete muscle building nutrition is the key. If you can find this key, I'll guarantee you that your muscle building efforts will sky rocket.

  • Complete muscle building nutrition leads to optimal nutrition. Over supplementation of certain nutrients will lead to imbalances in overall nutrition and is damaging to your weight lifting diet and health.

  • If you want to build muscle you need to prepare a well balanced weight lifting diet that is rich in quality calories. Most people who start out weight lifting usually overlook the importance of a well balanced weight lifting diet when they are trying to build muscle.

  • The sooner you understand that you need an optimal weight lifting diet, the sooner you'll achieve your goals and objectives.

  • It is very important that you understand the importance of nutrition when building muscle. Without a good weight lifting diet, your muscle gains will be non existent and at best, poor.

  • Sugars, for the most part, have no place in your diet. Sugars in dairy products are all right, as well as some simple sugars post workout (I myself enjoy some no sugar added ice cream after dinner occasionally, where the only sugar in it comes from the milk).


Meal Frequency

Serious bodybuilders should be eating 4-6 times per day, period. Three meals per day simply will not cut it for mass gains. The biggest part of this is because it's difficult to consume sufficient calories for mass gains in only three meals. As well, multiple smaller meals keeps a steadier flow of nutrients into the body. Studies have also shown positive benefits of multiple, smaller meals on cholesterol and bodyfat levels (and I'm sure other indices of health). If nothing else, multiple meals typically makes it easier to consume the kind of high-calorie diets needed to sustain mass gains.

In practice, lifters should be putting something in their mouths food-wise ever 3 hours or so.  That's about how long you'll maintain blood glucose, insulin after a meal. Most proteins take 2-3 hours to fully digest (if not longer) so I see little need to eat protein more often than that.

Beyond that, arguably the most important meals are breakfast (to halt overnight catabolism) and post-workout. Post workout nutrition is a place I see lifters making major mistakes. I've watched guys at my gym finish their workouts and hang out talking (or flirting) for another 30-60'. There is a window of opportunity where nutrients are more effectively absorbed after a workout. By the hour mark, you've already lost some of the benefit. In my opinion, you should take something with you (or buy it there) to drink right after your workout. As I'll discuss in a subsequent article, there may be some benefit to consuming nutrients before or halfway through the workout as well. Although guidelines are sparse, typical recommendations for post-workout are 1-1.5 g/kg of carbs and about 1/3rd as much protein.

A final place to consider meal frequency is right before bedtime and in the middle of the night. Between your last meal and breakfast can be a long time to go without nutrients and anabolism might be better maintained if nutrients are consumed. There is also some data that the gut needs time to 'rest' itself and that round-the-clock eating may hamper that. Another consideration is that sleep should not be compromised to get more nutrients into the body. Since I usually wake up in the middle of the night anyhow (to go to the bathroom), I'll usually have some milk or something while I'm up. If you don't usually wake up in the middle of the night, a shake before bed (containing protein, carbs, fat and fiber) will help to keep a continuous flow of nutrients into your bloodstream.