If we had to give advice to the beginning bodybuilder when it comes to proper nutrition, it would be: don't rethink it. Keep it simple. You can go ahead and drive yourself crazy by trying to calculate every nutrient ratio at every meal and every day of the week, and yet have little to show for your efforts. You better focus on the basics. That's why we've reduced your introduction to bodybuilding to 10 simple guidelines.
Follow these rules habitually until they become second nature. Everything else will fit together. You will undoubtedly learn more about nutrition in the coming months and years, but these basics will be more than enough to help you build serious muscle from the start.
1 in 10
10,000 hours / Getty
1 It is a numbers game
Beginners often make the mistake of either following diet plans that target advanced bodybuilders or bodybuilders preparing for a competition. These nutrition plans and practices simply don't apply to you.
One thing you should make clear is that the body needs more energy (calories) to build muscle than it burns every day. Saving carbohydrates and even small amounts of dietary fat would be a big mistake. That said, you also need to understand that no one – not even Mr. Olympia – adds muscle and no fat. Manage your expectation that you will gain some body fat.
But as long as you build more muscle than fat, you're going in the right direction.
2 out of 10
Dmitry Lobanov / Shutterstock
2nd Put your protein brand
The protein requirement is higher for bodybuilders than for the average Joe, since protein molecules repair damaged muscle fibers in the body and support hormones in the body.
If you want to build serious muscle mass, you need to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily. For a 180 pound person, this means 180 grams a day is the bottom, but this number can go up depending on several factors.
If you are not growing at 1 gram per pound or are sore for more than a few days after training, increase this to 1.3 grams – 234 grams of protein per day for the 180 pounder.
Most of it should come from whole food sources (see # 6), but it's also a good idea to supplement it with two or three protein shakes a day.
3 out of 10
ArtOfPhotos / Shutterstock
3rd Spread out your protein intake
Eating six meals a day (as opposed to two or three) is a requirement.
The more you distribute your protein intake every day, the easier it is to digest. You can't expect to reach the protein mark (1-1.3 grams per pound of body weight a day) and gain significant amounts of mass if you neglect how much protein you actually get in your muscles.
Consistent protein intake from meals every 2½ to 3 hours also helps keep cortisol levels (a muscle wasting hormone) at bay, which can help maintain adequate testosterone levels, the powerful hormone that affects muscle repair.
4 out of 10
Hero Images / Getty
4th Put your carb mark
Not to be overlooked, especially in a world where low carb is an important pillar for the loss of body fat, are carbohydrates. If you want to gain weight, you need carbohydrates – and many of them – to grow your body. Carbohydrates promote your workout and allow you to move harder and longer. They trigger a hormonal mechanism in the body that drives amino acids from the protein into the muscle tissue to help repair and recovery.
If you are on a low-carb diet, you may not be able to exercise as hard as you need to stimulate hypertrophy, your energy levels will decrease (see # 1), and you will not be able to use the carbohydrates & # 39; ability to get protein into your muscles to force. Start eating 2 g of carbohydrates per pound of body weight per day (360 g for the 180 pound man) and increase to 3-3.3 grams per pound (almost 600 grams for the 180 pound man) ). Most of your carbohydrates should be complex and come from sources such as potatoes, whole grain bread and pasta, and oatmeal.
5 out of 10
Kevin Horton / M + F magazine
5 Keep the meal "quick" after training.
Do not consume 20 to 30 grams of quickly digestible protein more than 30 minutes after training. Here, whey-based powders predominate, which can easily be mixed with water in a shaker cup. Also eat 50-60 grams of quickly digestible carbohydrates such as fat-free cookies, muffins, fruit, Gatorade or other carbohydrate drinks.
The quickly digestible combination of whey and simple carbohydrates almost instantly reverses the muscle breakdown that results from intense exercise. It can also affect the hormonal state of your body from a state in which muscles are attacked to a state that supports the recovery process.
6 out of 10
Via Bernal / M + F Magazin
6 Make meat a staple
Talk to a diet bodybuilder and he will tell you how difficult it can be to maintain muscle mass if red meat is completely removed from the menu. Red meat like steak and lean ground beef tend to build muscle better than white meat like chicken or turkey.
Some say it's higher in vitamins and minerals, while others suggest that red meat is rich in creatine (which increases gym strength) and carnitine (which helps increase testosterone levels). Or it could be that a diet that is rich in red meat tends to provide sufficient dietary fat, which also supports testosterone production in the body.
A long-term low-fat diet – even if it is high in protein, carbohydrates and total calories – may not support testosterone levels to the extent necessary for growth.
7 out of 10
Breakwater / Shutterstock
7 Eat a lot before training
Conventional wisdom says you shouldn't exercise on a full stomach. But to be honest, if you eat a bigger meal an hour before your workout, you can train harder and provide your body with plenty of carbohydrates and protein before workout that prevent muscle breakdown.
Such a meal can make the beginner feel bloated, but over time your body will adjust by excreting the digestive juices required for the heavy flow of food.
Start by eating a medium-sized chicken breast and a medium-sized baked potato about two hours before training. They protect your muscles from catabolism and experience an energy boost that should enable you to train harder and longer.
8 out of 10
Kevin Horton / M + F magazine
8th Take a break
Every bodybuilder has experienced this before: your schedule is so tight that you miss a few workouts in a row. To your great surprise, they don't shrink, they seem to grow. Why? Restoration.
The days off together with an adequate diet enable the body to overcompensate itself from the last training sessions and to recover better. The same applies to the food.
It's a good idea to have a "cheat day" every 10 to 14 days and, in addition to what you normally do, eat a few things that are not part of the typical bodybuilding menu: ice cream, cakes, fatty steak, pizza , fried food.
Should you overdo it? Absolutely not.
But taking a single day and switching to a thicker piece of steak, eating a few buns of white bread for dinner, and ice cream for dessert doesn't hurt. A fraudulent day actually helps muscle growth. Of course, you have to eat cleaner the next day.
9 out of 10
GoodLifeStudio / Getty
9 Don't add too much
Dietary supplements improve your diet. What you eat is the foundation. Many beginners get it wrong and believe that supplements are the basis of their diet.
They never see the results they hope for because they lack the ideal diet plan to get them from point A to point B, from thin to bulky.
Aside from protein powders, beginners should stick to the basics: a multivitamin / mineral, creatine (3-5 g before and after training) and branched chain amino acids (5-10 g before and after training) to help keep the body in place anabolic.
10 out of 10
Nesterov / Shutterstock
10th Put everything together for yourself
The information left by professional bodybuilders is helpful, but should not be copied word for word.
When it comes to building mass, it's best to build your own diet considering your protein brand (1-1.3 grams of protein per pound of body weight), your carbohydrate brand (2-3.3 grams of carbohydrates per), pound of body weight ) daily, divided into six meals, with a larger meal before training and a whey shake with fast-acting carbohydrates after your routine.
Adding bulk is a process that takes time and consistency. Your best bet is to keep a close eye on your own diet, weigh yourself every day, and keep track of that weight to make sure you gain about 1 pound every 5-10 days.