The Basics of Bodybuilding Nutrition

  • Muscle Building FoodThe number one mistake of beginner bodybuilders is neglecting the massive role that diet and nutrition play. You can be working out consistently with excellent intensity and still make little or no gains. You see, in order to gain muscle it is absolutely imperative that you eat right!

    Eating “right” depends on your goals. If you’re trying to ‘bulk’, and gain as much muscular mass as possible, consume practically everything in sight. You’ll need to eat 5-7 meals a day (at least!) and you’ll probably always feel full. Eat almost anything you can get your hands on: cereal, chicken, ice cream, pasta, vegetables, fruits, oatmeal, eggs, burgers, etc, etc.

  • Basically the only things you should avoid are traditional “junk foods” such as chips, pop, and chocolate/candy. If you’re looking to gain the most amount of muscle in the least amount of time, you have to accept the fact that you’ll also gain a bit of fat.

  • Most bodybuilders go through phases of “bulking” and “cutting” – in your bulking phase, you gain as much weight and muscle as possible by eating anything and everything. In your cutting phase, you cut out all fats, pump up the protein, and do some serious cardio. The goal of the cutting phase is to maintain as much muscle as possible while losing a good portion of your body fat.

  • Both bulking and cutting require that you consume a large amount of protein. Try to eat about 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight – in a 150 pound person, this means consuming anywhere from 150 to 225 grams of protein. Huge amounts of protein can be harmful, but 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight has found to be an acceptable amount while also being excellent for muscle building (remember, your muscles are made out of proteins!).

  • Carbohydrates and fats are both essential parts of your diet. If possible, stick to carbs that are low in the glycemic index (GI) such as a apples or oatmeal. Fats are not healthy for you in large doses, but you can’t overanalyze – the simple fact of the matter is that you need to eat, eat, and eat some more! I can’t stress how much you need to eat in order to be successful.

  • On several occasions I have eaten so much I vomited (this is neither enjoyable nor desirable, but may be an occasional side effect). If you’re already into the “cutting” stage, diet becomes much more complicated. You still don’t need to count calories, but you certainly need to be much more scientific about your food intake.

  • For cutting and fat loss resources, I highly recommend Tom Venuto’s program “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. Tom is an absolute genius when it comes to fat loss, and his books reads easily and includes lots of extras like meal plans and diet calculators.

    In short, when it comes to diet stick to the basics: eat, eat, and eat some more. Focus on protein, and stay away from the junk food. Also, don’t underestimate the amount of water you need – at least 8 cups per day, probably more (especially if you’re supplementing with creatine).

    Don’t overanalyze. Just eat well, train hard, and the muscle & bodyweight will come.