Good nutrition is a vitally important aspect of bodybuilding. Discover how to make the right food choices so you can maximize your results.
There are three vital components to bodybuilding success. Those components are training, rest, and diet. The most complicated component out of the three is diet. Training is easy, you just need to work out. Rest is easy, you need to do that every day anyway.
A proper diet is a bit tricky. It gets even trickier when you consider that bodybuilders can be in any one of three phases (bulking, cutting, maintaining) at any given time. But, you don’t have to worry. Here are some bodybuilding diet tips, techniques and tactics that will help you regardless of which phase you are in.
Techniques and Tactics – Bulking Phase
If you are bulking, you are in the easiest phase of the three. You are eating a surplus of calories and you don’t have to worry about hunger pangs. You can even cheat on your diet here and there and you won’t have to suffer any bad effects. But, if you are going to successfully bulk, you still have to eat clean most of the time.
Clean eating involves making sure your diet is mostly comprised of lean protein, carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, and healthy fats. Lean proteins include cuts of beef that don’t contain lots of fat like sirloin tip, poultry (without skin), all kinds of fish and egg whites or cottage cheese.
Oats, sweet potatoes, rice and all types of vegetables will form the bulk of your carbohydrate intake. Healthy fats from olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, avocados, and nuts should also be part of your diet.
If you really want to get the best out of your bulking phase, a little math is required. You will need to take your current bodyweight in pounds and multiply that by 17. This will give you the number of calories that you should be consuming daily.
It’s easy to find out the caloric content of most foods either by looking on the package or by doing a quick internet search to find out how many calories contained in each food.
Tips, Techniques and Tactics: Cutting Phase
This phase is probably the most difficult of all the phases. You’ll still follow the same diet, but the amounts that you consume will be different. When you are cutting you need to reduce your daily caloric intake by 500.
If you do this, by the end of the week you will have lost one pound. If you want another way to determine your daily caloric intake, you can multiply your current weight in pounds by 13.
There are certain tactics that you can employ while cutting that will help make this phase less painful. One tactic is carb cycling. Carb cycling involves eating more carbohydrates on days that you are training heavy and reducing carb intake on rest days.
For example, if you train hard on Monday then your carbs would take up 50% of your daily calories with the rest divided between protein and fat.
On Wednesday, you will rest and your carbs intake would go down to 20% or 25% of your daily calories. This method helps you cut fat while preserving muscle because you still get the energy you need to complete your workout.
Another technique to help you get through the cutting phase comes through the use of dietary supplements. There are supplements that can help you increase your energy while suppressing your appetite.
Since hunger and energy levels will be the main problem during the cutting phase, these dietary supplements have the potential to help you get through this phase with ease.
During this phase, your main concern is not gaining or losing fat. Your diet should be mostly comprised of the clean foods listed above (lean proteins, low glycemic carbs and healthy fats).
The formula for maintaining is to multiply your current body weight in pounds by 15. Once you have this number, this is the number of calories you need to take in every day to stay at that weight.
In both the bulking and maintaining phases, cheat days are allowed and welcomed. The only thing to consider is to make sure it’s a cheat day and not cheat week or cheat month. That’s where you will run into problems with gaining body fat.
No More Worries
Now that you know the types of foods you should be eating and what to do during each phase, there should be no more worries. If you are bulking you need to eat more calories to help your body produce more muscle. You may gain a little body fat, but you’ll know how to get rid of it during your cutting phase.
The cutting phase can easily be done by carb cycling and taking dietary supplements to help suppress your appetite and give you more energy. When you have reached your bodybuilding goals, then you will just maintain your weight.
You’ll cheat every now and then for variety and sanity’s sake, but you won’t have to worry about gaining too much fat.