So you wanna be a bodybuilder? Of course you know how to diet, train and what supplements to take. You're on your way. The way I see it, you're probably on your way back to the drawing board.
Maybe you're one of those people who makes everything technical: Well if I up my carbohydrate meals by 20%, I should be able to gain about 20 pounds of muscle in the off-season or on the other hand, maybe if I only eat one or two meal(s) less, I can decrease my body fat by 5% and be ready for a show within the next three months.
Some of these approaches are so full of sh*t, I can smell it. Go ahead, spend all your time on the computer looking at those bodybuilding chat rooms where guys argue, what is leaner, chicken or tuna? Everyone thinks they know it all, but putting it into perspective, they often don't know sh*t. The reality is priceless - everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but few want to lift heavy weights or eat the sh*t that they should be eating.
I am here today to make you well aware of what you should be doing and not what you're doing. We will dissect the word bodybuilding and draw three conclusions: What is good, bad, and necessary when it comes to dieting.
Eat D@mn It!
Taking into consideration that you are in your mid 20s, about 5' 8", and weighing a sleek 170, your off-season (as beginners like to call it) is not about upping your calories by a whopping 500 clean calories to promote tremendous growth. Your potential is being limited by so many of these empty theories.
I am going to let you in on a little secret that has only been around for about 40 years or so: If you wanna grow then you need to eat red meat, eggs, potatoes, pancakes, pasta, rice (don't listen to anyone - it does not matter whether it is white or brown), chicken, and believe it or not... bread.
These are some of your friends. These are the friends you should be hanging out with anywhere between 6-8 times a day. Go out, have a beer and relax. Try to get laid - it is a good de-stressor.
What If I Get.... Fat?
I know what you're thinking:
and fats make me look bloated, smooth, and quite possibly
(don't say it, please don't say it)... fat?
Who f*ckin cares! Do you think all the top competitors were never fat at one point in their career?
You think that Mr. Olympia got to be 296 pounds on stage by monitoring his caloric intake in the off-season? He also realizes that eating even when you're not hungry is and always will be an evil necessity to this sport.
No one I know ever grew by eating chicken in a salad with a tablespoon of oil and balsamic vinegar. Waiting for some of these guys to make gains is like watching grass grow. A 2,000-2,500 calorie diet should not even be a thought. Remember, it is okay to get big; it is part of the sport.
Feed Your Muscles!
Here's another secret that you may have not heard in the past 20 years: Lifting weights does not make you grow. Lifting actually breaks down muscle until you feed it. So when you feed, feed well.
If you want to grow, put down the 4 ounces of chicken and broccoli and opt for Burger King (Wendy's is my favorite) now and then, or about a pound of steak and some baked potatoes.
And yes, throw in a lean protein shake for sh*ts and giggles. Again let's go back to the word bodybuilding - forming a body with the correct symmetry, hardness, muscle density, vascularity, and leanness (the kind of physique) that causes everyone to look at you and say, damn, who's that?! However, in order to do this, you must first build a base. This is not done by dieting, but by getting thick.
Carve Out A Specimen
Now let's move on to what novices like to call dieting or pre-contest. By now, after a good year or two, you should weigh 210, solidly built, strong as an ox and be banging any girl who even seems remotely interested (don't be misled, girls still dig big guys). Now let's diet.
What do I mean? Let's carve out a specimen. How do we do that you ask?
Are you out of your f*cking mind? Brother, listen to me, by the time you go onstage, weeds would have more thickness than you, but you will be shredded.
This is neither what you want nor what the judges want to see; they get paid for critiquing a physique, not thrashing another body onstage.
Same Principles, Different Context
The same principles apply to dieting as they do to getting big, but in a different context. Calories are kept high; feed your body to maintain muscle and possibly gain, do your cardio consistently and keep the training the same (don't do more reps with a lighter weight, it is a waste of your time and energy; get a pump doing 10-12 reps and go home, period).
- Peanut butter
- Flaxseed oil
- Baked potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Green vegetables
Although the same principles apply, calories must be cleaner and meals should be more frequent. If you are doing everything correctly, you should be eating every two hours. Do the math: Start at 6:00 am and end at 10:00pm (don't ask me if it is okay to eat that late, because I will beat you like a red-headed stepchild).
That is about 9-10 meals a day. What kind of meals you ask? Not cheesecake or French fries, but a cleaner consumption of food:
Lean Meats Such As
Good Fats Such As
Good Sources Of Carbohydrates such as
In other words, almost the total opposite of what you were eating before.
Remember, your body needs to burn off some source of energy from fat or carbs before it hits protein. You do not want to burn protein because then, my friend, you're burning all that muscle you have worked so hard for. Some guys diet using fat and protein. Other guys diet using carbs and protein.
There is no secret to this either. Use whatever your body adapts to better. True, tuna and asparagus will cut fat, but it will put you right back to step 1, which is recognizing that something ain't right.
A pre-contest diet sucks. I mean let's face it, going from eating everything that tastes good to everything that is dry and hard to swallow (make sure you drink plenty of water to wash down that dry chicken or can of tuna) is not exactly an easy transition. But remember, it is all part of this necessary evil that I talk about in this sport.
Now since I have shed some light on the subject of bodybuilding and have shown you both sides of the coin, you should be sick and tired of food, but more knowledgeable. You will not know everything, this is just a base for you to start with.
Don't get me wrong, some of you will cheat on your diet, probably not eat enough in the off-season and do the exact opposite of everything I just talked about. But the few who have comprehended and absorbed the information will be in a good position when they compete first.