Diet is the most important aspect of bodybuilding, and it always amazes me to find that people somehow think they can ‘cheat’ their body into growth without having to put the work in with the fork. Believe me, you can’t – I tried when I first started.
You need to fuel your body in order to grow. The secret is to have a diet which keeps your body repairing and building muscle like a well oiled machine. Consistency is the key – without it your efforts won’t be half as good as they could have been, or, poor.
What you’ve got to do is keep your body in what is known as an anabolic state. What this means is, a growth state. The body only likes to do 1 thing at a time – either build mass (in the form of muscle and/or fat) or lose mass (in the form of muscle and/or fat). And, just like you and I as people, it functions best when it knows what it should be doing. It doesn’t like trying to do both at once, as the body takes time to adapt. You need momentum, and you do this by constantly feeding your body nutrients with which to grow muscle.
Say for instance, you ate 6 hours ago and it was a whopping meal which nearly burst your stomach open and left you feeling nauseous. You may think you’ve done good for your muscle building efforts – and you may well have, to an extent – but the fact is, small but regular meals are far better. Not only are they digested more easily – meaning they get used by the muscles for better growth, but, you are ‘reminding’ your body that you want it to grow. Going 3 hours between small meals gives you adequate time to digest and use those meals, but, not so long that your body starts to break down muscle tissue for fear that another meal isn’t coming. Believe it or not – your body doesn’t know and can’t think for itself, you’ve got to do the thinking for it.
Another major key which is often overlooked is protein. True, you can grow muscle without eating a ton of protein, but, what is deemed a ton of protein varies greatly between opinions. A regular and abundant supply of protein (say 30-40g per meal) helps to keep your body in an anabolic state which leads to enhanced muscle growth. This is proven in many studies, so if you want maximum growth, don’t skimp on the protein.
I always recommend people try to get around 1-2g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Without doubt the best proteins for the job are: whey, egg, milk, fish, beef and chicken.