It is said that working out makes a contribution of 30% towards muscle growth. Good nutrition and rest, account for the other 70%. These figures are not based on dedicated studies or muscle science. But whether imagined or not, they help capture a very important truth- that good nutrition lays the foundation for bodybuilding success.
A bodybuilder’s diet has to first comprise of the three major food groups- carbohydrates, proteins and fats. These macronutrients are directly responsible for either building or maintaining muscles. Vegetables are important too- they provide essential minerals and vitamins. They also help add bulk to the food, leading not only to a feeling of satiation but also speeds up stomach emptying, and encourages stool regularity. This makes more frequent feeding possible.
As vegetables and fruits can be taken in abundance due to their low calorific value, they are not considered when drawing up percentage rations.
The intake of macronutrients should be determined by your end goals.
When your goal is to gain as much size as you can, your intake of carbs, proteins and fats should be 50:30:20. This increased carbohydrate intake supplies the needed energy to sustain intensive sessions in the weight room. It also helps your muscles take up more protein.
When you want to reduce your body fat percentage, you should reduce your carbohydrate intake in a 40:40:20 fashion. Increasing your protein intake will help you maintain muscle mass, while taking fewer carbohydrates will prevent any fat gain.
Noticeably, the amount of fats consumed remains constant. As they are not as directly involved in muscle building, the quantities taken can remain constant. The fats discussed herein are the healthy unsaturated kind- the ones derived from fruits and nuts.
Carbohydrate intake should not be shunned. This macronutrient is the fuel that keeps our systems going. They provide glucose to our muscles, and replenish their glycogen stores. To ensure that your body utilizes them in the best way, they should be complex. Think whole grains, as these have the added benefit of being fiber rich.
The importance of protein need not be reiterated. Lean sources of protein are recommended. As animal protein has a complete amino acid profile, they should be consumed daily. Chicken, fish, turkey, lean beef, eggs and low fat dairy products are some examples. Plant proteins should be consumed too, in spite of their inadequacies.
Determining Your Macros
The figures stipulated above are simply a map. They do not specify the quantities, or the frequency of intake. Thus you should take it upon yourself to determine your ideal macros.
Our bodies are very different, and they react differently to exercise. Only be experimenting can your really understand how your physique responds.
The scale does not ideally represent how much mass you put on. Fat loss and muscle gain are simultaneous processes, and a weighing scale is incapable of reflecting this. Instead, focus on how you feel, and how you look. By studying your own reflection, you can be able to see if there is progress or not. Lifting heavier weights will also be a demonstration of gains in strength too.
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