At the heart of natural bodybuilding, the two main things that really count are the amount of effort that you put into your training, and nutrition.
Now, the word ‘diet’ is often used as a lot, especially by people who are trained to lose weight and associate the word with starvation and being deprived of all the things that they most enjoy eating.
While adopting a particular diet for bodybuilding purposes is not about starving or even denying yourself your favorite foodstuffs, there is a similar amount of discipline required as would be necessary if you were trying to lose weight.
Let us start by looking at the basics of nutrition for anyone who wants to start bodybuilding, or is interested in doing so more effectively.
Bodybuilding Nutrition & Diet Basics
First We Agree, That More is Better
One of the first things that you have to do if you are going to adopt a diet regime that is designed to increase muscle mass is to move away from the traditional three meals a day scenario.
Instead, you need to eat perhaps five smaller meals a day, with considerably less time in between eating times.
The reason that you do this is that under normal circumstances, your body will assume that there is no more food coming if you don’t feed it for more than three or four hours.
Consequently, in this catabolic state, your body will immediately start to feed on lean muscle (leaving your body fat untouched).
On the basis that this body fat is high in calories and therefore represents an excellent source of long-term energy if there is no more food coming for a longer period.
This is completely contrary to what you want as a bodybuilder, so you must eat several smaller meals a day, with no more than 2½ or 3 hours between each one.
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Then, Balance is Key!
When people decide that they want to become bodybuilders, they do not each do so for the same reasons. For example, some people may need to pay more attention to losing fat before starting to build real muscle mass.
While others who have already got themselves to a position where their body fat lev els are very low will be the opposite, wanting to focus on muscle building right from the very beginning.
Hence, there is an element of your diet having to be focused on whatever it is you specifically want to achieve at this time.
Healthy living As a general rule, every meal that you take should be balanced between the three micro nutrients that every bodybuilder needs, which are proteins, carbohydrates and good fats, with each being taken in the right proportions.
What you should not do is have meals where everything or almost everything you eat falls into the same micro nutrient category.
For example, a meal that is made up of little other than carbohydrates (e.g. a bowl of pasta and plain bread with a sliver of spread) is not likely to be a great help to your body building diet, because every meal should attain the balance that you need to achieve your objectives.
As a broad guideline, most body building experts recommend a diet that is 40% carbohydrate, 40% protein and 20% good fats.
But the most important thing is, try to make sure that whatever balance you are aiming for, every meal is approximately the same.
Check out the 40:30:30 rule used by Jennifer Aniston and what other celebrities do to stay in great shape.
Why The Glycemic Index is Important
The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly your blood sugar levels rise after ingesting a carbohydrate, which always happens because as soon as you take in carbohydrates, it gets turned into glucose.
In turn, glucose makes ATP, which is a natural substance that ‘drives’ everything your body does.
According to the glycemic index, every foodstuff or beverage you ingest is assigned a value, which indicates how quickly sugar is released into your blood after taking that food or drink.
Some substances would act very quickly to increase blood sugar level, if for example you drank a pure sugar drink.
Hence, this drink would have a high glycemic index near the upper limit of 100, whereas whole wheat spaghetti has a GI figure of somewhere between 35 and 40.
Given that carbohydrates generate energy for your body, you might assume that the higher the GI figure is.
For particular foodstuff, the better it will be for anyone who is trying to power their bodybuilding efforts, but you would be wrong.
This is because when any food or drink you take in is very high in sugar, it prompts a sudden surge of pancreatic activity to produce insulin.
Unfortunately, while your body is still heavily laden with insulin, it is not capable of losing fat, because the natural hormonal imbalance that has been generated triggers fat storage.
Foods and drinks that have lower GI figures are far better for anyone who is an active bodybuilder, because the release of sugar is naturally slower and therefore the surge of insulin is far more controlled as well.
This means that there are fewer ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ and that your appetite is likely to be far more controlled which minimizes the risk of suffering ‘snack attacks’.
The Complex Part
Lower glycemic index foodstuffs are extremely effective for controlling the amount of fat that you put on, while they also help bulk up your muscles and burn existing fat at the same time.
In a perfect scenario, all you would need to know about the carbohydrate you’re eating would be the glycemic index, but nothing is perfect.
There are a couple of reasons you cannot use GI as the only guide of how good particular carbohydrates are in your body building diet.
Have these two things in mind!
Firstly, if you take on board carbohydrates as well as proteins and fats in the same meal (as we have already established that you should) then both the proteins and fats will slow down the energy absorption from the carbohydrate.
Secondly, there are different types of carbohydrate and they are handled in different ways by the body.
The Complex Part
On the one hand you have complex carbohydrates such as starchy foodstuffs like oatmeal, sweet potatoes and lentils, while on the other there are fibrous carbohydrates such as asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes.
If you eat a combination of starchy and fibrous carbohydrates together, then the latter slows down the absorption of the former, thereby lowering their GI rating, which is better for building muscle and reducing fatty deposits.
Eat these compact carbohydrates in small portions at every meal, but make sure that there is a least one portion with every meal.
Whereas complex carbohydrates re lease energy into the body slowly, simple carbohydrates will do so much more quickly, so foodstuffs like apples, pears, oranges, peaches and strawberries will give you a far quicker energy boost.
So What's Next?
Creating a better diet and nutrition body building plan isn't an easy task. It's a mix and blend of everything you've seen in this article and the next one coming.
Diet & Nutrition: How to Create The Perfect Body Building Plan.
That's right. This isn't all and the second part of this article is just around the corner.
The glycemic index is a measure of the power of food to increase blood glucose levels after consumption.
The more power you take in, the more power needs to be burned off if you are going to attain the perfect shape and physique for bodybuilding purposes, whether this is for competition or purely for your own satisfaction.
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