Bodybuilding is one of the underappreciated sports we have today. The very name itself conjures the image of a crowd that is dedicated to improving the strength and size characteristics of their physiques. If you know anything about bodybuilding, then you understand that it doesn’t necessarily have to be done at a professional level. It is for anyone who cares about fitness because the benefits that it conveys are innumerable.
Good Nutrition and Bodybuilding
Good nutrition is inseparable from bodybuilding. All the lifting work that muscles are exposed to means little if a proper diet is not observed. While protein and carbohydrates are the most avidly discussed nutrients, they aren’t the only ones. Fiber is just as vital, but its importance has been grossly undersold.
What Is Dietary Fiber?
Fiber is basically the indigestible part of ingested food. Derived from natural sources, mostly plants, this component resists human digestion and absorption, and thus forms the bulk of the food. It is akin to a vehicle that helps the food move through the digestive tract in the most efficient way.
The Two Types of Fiber:
- Soluble fiber – It dissolves in water, is viscous, and slows the passage of food through the digestive tract.
- Insoluble fiber – It does not dissolve, but it does absorb water as it passes through the tract. It accelerates the movement of food, and thus promotes stool regularity.
Both these types are critical, and should be an intrinsic part of the diet, more so for someone with raised metabolic needs, such as a bodybuilder.
The benefits of fiber have been hinted thus far, but they are not limited to easing digestive movements.
Fiber improves nutrient absorption, lowers LDL to boost cardiovascular health, regulates blood sugar to prevent diabetes, stimulates fermentation in the colon to protect from colorectal cancers, and eases constipation. By facilitating regular gastric emptying, meal times can be more frequent. This is important for a bodybuilder who needs a constant supply of nutrients to aid in muscle recovery and growth.
It also helps increase food volume without increasing calorie numbers. It’s an important characteristic for anyone seeking weight loss.
By increasing the duration of digestion, it helps lower the entry of glucose into the blood. This slow delivery provides a constant fuel that can improve training intensity or duration.
Clearly the role of fiber cannot be overemphasized. It’s a component of food that needs to make its way to your plate as often as possible.
Sources of Fiber
Fiber is all around us, if you care to look around. Vegetables and fruits abound with it.
Generally speaking, all plants have fiber, but the concentrations in each kind differ. It follows logic that you seek those that have it in abundance. The top ten sources include:
- This is a staple in many bodybuilders’ meal plan and for good reason. It is spared of the milling processes that remove the germ and bran to end up with white rice. This more common white type may cook faster, but is far too starchy to lend any true benefits. Brown rice is more ideal, not only because it contains lots of dietary fiber, but because it is also rich in Vitamins B1 and B2 and magnesium.
- Your diet will never be short on fiber if vegetables are a regular part of your meals. The crunchier they are the better. Spinach, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, artichoke and cabbage all belong here.
- Natural oils are essential, and nuts provide them in some abundance. Some, such as almonds and walnuts not only contain all the essential amino acids, but are also rich in fiber and Omega 3 and other essential fatty acids. A handful of these is all you need to acquire their nutritional benefits. They make a pretty good snack too and are very filling.
- When they say an apple a day keeps the doc away, they really mean it. Apples are an excellent source of fiber. It is much better to reach for an apple than a banana, though we cannot downplay the potassium richness of the latter. Remember, it is in the skin of an apple where most of the goodness is hidden.
- All your wheat based purchases should emanate from whole grain because of its fiber goodness. That goes for the bread and pasta among others, if they belong in your macros.
- Like apples, these fruits are full of fiber goodness. They alternate nicely with apples because besides being crunchy and sweet, they have a richer source of Vitamin C. They are also more abundant in fiber and phytonutrients, which are essential in promoting general physical health. They also fight inflammation, which helps you feel more comfort during your recovery days when your muscles are slightly sore.
- The entire legume family provides healthy doses of soluble fiber. But beans are honorary members that deserve individual mention. The type of bean doesn’t really matter, because the benefits are derived from each one. They are also an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, and plant protein. They are very convenient to make because once they are prepared, you can freeze them for later use. You can alternate beans with peas, which share a similar macronutrient profile.
- This edible pulse is rich in dietary fiber, folate, Vitamin B1 and iron. That they are also rich in protein makes them an ideal choice for a bodybuilder who isn’t particularly fond of beans.
- Root tubers abound with fiber. Among these are sweet potatoes, which are an excellent breakfast option. If you want to forego the oatmeal, these tubers are an excellent trade. They are very satiating, and provide a steady supply of glucose for an intense workout. Regular potatoes are a good fiber source if the skin remains intact.
- Adding these to your morning bran cereal can help you get more from your breakfast. They have an abundance of essential fatty acids. Their mild nutty flavor is enticing.
The above mentioned sources are a bodybuilder’s best bet for dietary fiber. By making these sources part in your daily diet, you will find your physique goals much easier to reach. So build your body with the help of fiber!
Check out these Fiber supplements.
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