I believe the name of our good sport says it all – it’s ‘body building’, and it pretty much leaves nothing open to interpretation. The aim of the game is to build as much muscle mass (in proportion, of course) as we can.
While a lot of people make big training mistakes which hinder their progress, without doubt the biggest mistake people make who begin bodybuilding is the diet. People simply don’t know how to eat to build muscle.
It’s all well and good people telling you to eat more, but what if you are the type of person who only eats a pot noodle for dinner and a sandwich or light salad for tea? Your idea of eating more may well be adding a small potato once a day. And you results will be, well, small potatoes!
You need to establish how much you are eating in calories to maintain the same weight you currently are, and then, consistently eat more. Maybe 200 – 500 calories more a day, to gain around 1lb of weight a week, and avoiding fat gains.
The idea of eating more does not give you a license to eat crap, though, just to get your calories up. Some junk food (in moderation) will not do you any harm, and will all contribute something good towards calorie intake (however small), but the bulk of your diet should always be whole foods. You can’t go wrong with whole foods.
By whole foods, I mean things such as eggs, cheese, fish, milk, beef, chicken, potato, pasta, rice. These types of food are the best of the best – they contain the purest macronutrients you need to build muscle, and don’t contain and empty calories or poor quality calories. It’s all good.
Our bodies need a balanced diet, and for muscle growth we need just that, as each nutrient plays an important role. Successful bodybuilders normally have a set diet, or at the very least, have some kind of ratio where their overall calories will be made up of. Maybe 50% protein, 25% carbohydrates and 25% fats. Or maybe 50%, 30%, 20%. It’s really up to the individual, how they feel and what results they get. Test it for yourself to find out what works best for you and what you can live with.
One thing successful bodybuilders never miss out on is protein. A bodybuilding diet will always include a lot of protein – usually between 1 – 2g per lb of bodyweight. Eating this much protein helps to keep the body in a positive nitrogen balance which is important for optimum and constant muscle growth.
In addition to that, you need to eat every 3 hours, and each meal should always include protein. Make them small meals which are easily eaten, and quickly digested. There is nothing worse than eating a huge meal and feeling bloated for hours and when it comes time to eat again, you just don’t want to.
Eating is over 90% of bodybuilding, because it’s what we spend over 90% of our time doing – so get it right!