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Article explains the general nutritional differences in eating between bodybuilders and others!

Bodybuilding Nutrition: all top physique men and women around the world often claim that sound bodybuilding nutrition is responsible for at least 80-90 percent of their success. If so, then diet is doubly important for the rest of us, who do not have the genetic potential the bodybuilding stars are blessed with. In fact, combining sound dietary principals with other aspects of bodybuilding is the only way to guarantee progress towards a successful physique transformation. In addition, proper diet will provide you with other benefits such as better health, improved longevity, and better mental attitude.

In the last couple of decades there has been a considerable change in the way bodybuilders eat. Research on sports nutrition shows that the consumption of protein, minerals, and vitamins is steadily climbing, while athletes consumed smaller amounts of carbohydrates and fats. Both research and popular magazines stress the dangers of too many empty calories and saturated fats, which are directly responsible for obesity and indirectly for a multitude of diseases. They also note that the lack of fiber and essential nutrients plays a significant role in the health status of our population. This article explains the general differences in diet between the bodybuilder and all others. It describes the type of diet suitable for regular training, and outlines the specific nutritional needs of bodybuilders before, during and after competition.

1. Bodybuilding Nutrition

Eat Like A Bodybuilder

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The nutritional needs of bodybuilders are different from those of physically hard-working individuals. Specifically, you, the bodybuilder, require faster metabolic action and higher oxygen consumption for a shorter periods of time. The hard worker divides his or her optimal output into the 8-hour working day, while you have to give your maximum in 1½-2 hours. Therefore, your body needs to consume an specific nutritional substances that regulate and activate the biochemical reactions necessary for “efficient metabolism”. The quality of food you eat also determines how you get through your daily workouts, how fast your body recuperates between workouts, and how quickly you start adding high-quality muscle mass.

You not only need to intake more protein, minerals, and vitamins, but you also need to intake these nutrients more often. Our guidelines have always been eating every 2½-4 hours depending on what your objectives are. You also have to adjust the intake of fats & carbs to balance the overall caloric intake in order not to gain weight and-or, adipose tissue. Our typical American diet of too many sweets and saturated fats, too many unnecessary condiments and useless taste enhancers, and too little variety of foods can have detrimental effects not only on metabolic rate, but also on the overall bodily appearance of an otherwise serious and hard-working bodybuilder. Improper bodybuilding nutrition is unquestionably the single most important reason why most bodybuilders are dissatisfied with their progress.

Three basic food categories are the staple of every successful bodybuilder. The first category includes eggs, lean meats, poultry, and fish; the majority of your high-quality protein should come from here. The second category includes milk and milk products such as whey protein and whey isolates. Milk is one of the best sources of protein as well as one of the cheapest and most easily digested foods. European researchers found that the lack of milk in athletic diets caused significant calcium, vitamin A, and B2 deficiencies in less than 5 weeks. The third category includes fresh, raw vegetables of every type. Vegetable such as Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower and such provide very important soluble fiber and a vast array of nutrients that maintain optimal health. To obtain adequate vitamin and mineral amounts, you should eat at least two large servings of vegetables every day. There is plenty of research evidence that vitamins and minerals obtained in this way may be preferable to those available in pill form.

Research also shows that the timing of meals is essential to consider for bodybuilding success. It is more beneficial to eat every 2-3 hours (about 4-6 times each day) than to eat only 2-3 times per day. This is especially important if you are concerned about gaining quality weight. Some successful bodybuilders, as well as other athletes, prefer to eat 6-7 meals each day. This is probably the best way to assure that the stomach does not stretch and the abdominal wall stays flat. Huge breakfasts, irregular meals, and overeating while celebrating or not training are the worst possible dietary behaviors for bodybuilders. Even if you desire to pile on weight quickly, it is not a good idea to do that by overeating fats and starches. There are time when you deserve a cheat meal but those come after weeks of strict eating and training, so be sure you deserve that high calorie feast before you actually dig in.

2. Training Cycle Nutrition

Eating in the Off Season

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During the off-season, you should test your nutrition by carefully checking your bodyweight every week. At the beginning of this phase you may be coming off a contest season or layoff so there is usually an initial decrease of weight due to the fact that the fat reserves are being used for energy purposes faster than the muscle mass can grow. The body needs a while to catch up to this training phase so give it time to adjust. This may amount to about 5-7 pounds in the first two weeks. This period will be followed by a slow but steady gain in weight and a corresponding increase in the muscle mass.

In this training phase, the intake of protein should amount to approximately 1½-2½ gram per each pound of body weight. Protein should preferably be derived from lean meats, eggs and fish sources. About 75-80% of the protein you consume should be of these types. Generally speaking, the off-season diet is higher in fats than the diet during any precontest or prep phase; however, the diet still has to be balanced. Bodybuilding supplements should be used to augment your nutritional intake and not to replace good eating habits. Protein powders and other supplements should be used to fill in the gaps where sitting down to a regular meal is not possible but food should always be the preferred source of nutrition. When you reach your strength peak, or if you decide to taper off your training at the end of a training cycle, your protein intake should decrease to about 1.25 grams per body pound. This is maintenance level maintain your progress but to also allow you to heal and recovery for the next training phase to come.

Also during this phase, there is a need to increase consumption of vitamins B, C, and E. This should be accomplished by increasing the intake of fruits, natural fruit juices, raw vegetable salads (little to no dressing), legumes, oatmeal, and whole-wheat breads. It you must have supplements, this is the time to use them. However, over doing supplements such as protein, vitamin & mineral or other substances will not increase performance or the way you look and feel without proper nutrition.

3. Eating For Competition:

A different kind of bodybuilding nutrition.

Evlution Nutrition Trans4orm

The average bodybuilder starts dieting about 2-3 months(8-12 Weeks) before a contest, depending on how much body fat he or she needs to lose. The rule of thumb is to slowly eliminate undesirable foods and to decrease the amount of calories consumed. Progressive tapering off is preferable to strict dieting or starvation a few days before the competition. Two weeks before the contest, fat is virtually eliminated from the diet; daily caloric intake amounts to around 2,500-3,500 calories depending on bodyweight. In the last week, you should avoid foods high in sodium content and foods that make you bloated, such as legumes, pears, cabbage, and pickles or anything salted brined or pickled. You should also avoid coffee, high-caloric fruits and vegetables, and all sweeteners. NO SUGARS! Natural refined or otherwise! Do not reduce your caloric intake below 2,000 calories per day. This goes for even you ladies out there, you body will think its in a starvation circumstance and your prep will be lost at that point. If you need to lose more fat, spend more time doing aerobic activities.

What you eat at the day of the competition depends mainly on the time when it starts. Your body needs to have enough carbohydrates and vitamin C to withstand the additional energy demands of the competition. You should have a small, high-carbohydrate meal (about 300-400 cal) no less than two hours before the contest. Some people like to snack on choclate covered rasins but keep lite. Keep protein intake to a minimum to prevent acidosis. Some bodybuilders prefer protein drinks to regular meals; however, these usually contain certain amounts of fat and protein to give a feeling of satiety and relieve hunger. Be very careful with these as they can cause water rentention. These formulas were not designed for those competing in bodybuilding contests.

Do not eat or drink anything during the contest, unless it is significantly longer than three hours. If it lasts longer, you may want to resort to liquids and glucose. Sip on tea with lemon and glucose and if you sweat a lot, add a very small pinch of salt. Since your muscles can store limited quantities of water, you may want to sip on cold, clear water every 30-45 minutes if your body craves it.

When you finish the competition you need to replenish the nutrients lost during the maximal effort on stage. Immediately after the contest you should have only a carbohydrate pick-up drink to give you back some of the energy you just expended and replish some glcogen stores. Orange juice or any other cold, natural drink will also do just fine. In a few minutes you may want to have a small piece of fruit or some more fruit juice. No meal should be eaten until at least an hour after the contest, because it takes that long for the blood from the active skeletal muscles to return to stomach and for the digestive juices to become fully available for digestion. The last meal of the day should be eaten no less than two hours before bedtime to assure you of sound sleep. You may want to relax your strict eating habits for the next week or two because you deserve it! However, your diet still has to be nutritionally balanced to keep you healthy and your spirits up.

Remember that the development of effective clean eating nutritional habits is almost a guarantee of ultimate success if all the other areas of your development are taken care of. You need persistence as well as knowledge to succeed and sound bodybuilding nutrition is a big part of that knowledge. The road to achieving your goals is not easy, but once you are on your way, the journey is certainly worth it. Good luck and stick with it!

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