Nutrition is often hailed as the most important aspect of bodybuilding, in our recent interview with 8 times Mr Olympia, Ronnie Coleman his very words were ‘’nutrition is everything’’ which really does say it all! Whilst this may be painting over old paint so to speak, it never hurts to be reminded why nutrition really is the king. Here are 3 top tips for your nutrition!
One of the biggest tips you could ever listen to in relation to nutrition is never to miss a meal! As a rule of thumb a bodybuilder should be feeding their muscles every 3 hours as a bare minimum, again Mr Coleman agreed with this! Why is the question though? When you eat a balanced athlete’s meal the protein feeds the muscle amino acids which can potentially stay in the blood for up to the 3 hours. After this period your muscles need topping up otherwise there is the risk of becoming catabolic. In relation to those who use carbohydrates in their diet, it is much the same with muscle glycogen replenishment. After around the 3 hour period your muscles can become depleted therefore you need to feed the muscles with low glycemic complex carbohydrates. With that said, if you miss a meal and don’t eat for say 5-6 hours you can see why this can be very counterproductive. It will also have a negative effect on your insulin sensitivity which is one of the most anabolic hormones in the body.
Whilst this is a very individual question, there are some basic rules which beginners can follow to immediate effect. Protein is the kingpin of muscle growth with that said for muscle growth you really want to be eating 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight! This will give your body an adequate level of amino acids to promote effective muscle recovery and growth!
Complex carbohydrates are a little harder to advise on, but for beginners looking for lean muscle mass 2g per pound of body weight is a great place to start and for the ectomorphs amongst us (very skinny, low body fat) don’t be afraid to shoot for 3g per pound of body weight.
Healthy fats are also essential for muscle growth because they support cell membrane production and they also help optimise your anabolic hormone levels. For beginners in a quest to gain muscle aim for 0.5-0.75 g of healthy fats per pound of body weight!
One of the things which I personally believe is essential in relation to nutrition is eating a variety of foods. This means eating several sources of protein, carbs and fats through the day. Don’t be a ‘’chicken and rice’’ bodybuilder, because this limits your amino acid profiles immensely. By eating a cross-section of foods from the relevant food groups you will get a better range of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids as well as other trace elements.
There are three of the ‘’must do’’ things in relation to nutrition for all beginners wanting to gain muscle. Enjoy the growth spurt!