This article is going to explain what I would consider to be one of the most basic fundamentals of a bodybuilder's diet, and how ten simple guidelines can help make you into the powerful monster you always wanted to be.
If you are training hard in the gym, tearing your muscles to shreds, using intensity techniques and bringing your sets beyond failure, then you're at about the halfway point of your journey for ripped, rock hard mass. All your hard work and dedication will never shine through and allow you to blow your competition out of the water unless you supply your body with enough of the building blocks it needs to repair and build new muscle tissue.
Protein! It's that simple... The more protein you ingest, the more you'll grow. Yeah, you might say that it's a 'no-brainer', but you'd be surprised at how many 'no-brainers' are actually out there not eating enough protein.
I'll even go so far as to say that eating enough protein is more important than a hardcore workout! And coming from me, you can guarantee that protein is, and should not be taken lightly.
Protein molecules are made up of smaller units called amino acids. Once a protein molecule is broken down into its individual units, amino acids, they are transported to muscle cells via the bloodstream to be used as the building blocks for muscle tissue.
There are twenty amino acids commonly found in animal-based proteins and eight of these are considered to be essential since the body cannot produce them on its own. These essential amino acids must be obtained through the diet or supplementation. The other twelve amino acids are capable of being produced by the body, but again, should also be obtained through your diet and supplementation.
As you may have already guessed, protein is a key element in building your physique to its maximum potential, and when used properly will put a positive twist on your bodybuilding career. By applying these ten simple guidelines, you will be able to get the most from the protein you ingest, and will be well on your way to getting huge and ripped.
Ten Simple Protein Guidelines
- The correct ratio of total protein and caloric intake will determine whether or not anabolism within the bodies cells occurs. Anabolism is the condition inside a muscle cell which will allow for growth. If your goal is to gain mass, make sure you are eating enough protein to complement the calories from carbs and fats. Try to get 40 - 45% of your daily calories from protein.
Anabolism is a metabolic process that is characterized by molecular growth, such as the increase of muscle mass.
- In order to support the extreme demand your body places on protein, you must meet your daily minimum protein requirements. Daily protein requirements vary from person to person, depending on your body type and level of physical activity. You must consume at least one gram (g) of protein per pound of bodyweight daily if you are following a proper bodybuilding routine. A 200 pound bodybuilder needs a minimum of 200g of protein per day.
Protein Requirements Formula:
- .5 - no sports or training
- .6 - jogger or light fitness training
- .7 - moderate training, 3x per week
- .8 - moderate daily weight training or aerobics
- .9 - heavy weight training
- 1.0 - heavy weight training daily
- 1.5 - heavy weight training daily, plus cardio 3x per week
Lean Body Weight (in pounds) x Body Demand Factor
Choose one of the following body demand factors to plug into the formula.
- Contrary to popular belief, I do not believe there is a such thing as a maximum protein intake. If you are training to the very limits in the gym, and are using several muscle shock techniques, you can never get too much protein. The harder you train, the more protein you require to repair the damage.
- Carbs are essential to a bodybuilder who is looking to put on mass. Carbs are a main fuel source for the body and also provides a protein sparing effect. Consuming a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein each day will ensure you get maximum efficiency from the protein that you ingest by allowing the carbs to be digested and processed as a fuel, while using a higher percentage of protein for repair and growth.
- When it comes time to get ripped, whether it be for a competition or for the beach, you have to reduce your fat and carb intake. This forces the body to burn your valuable protein for fuel and if there isn't enough free protein in your system, the body will begin to cannibalize itself for energy. This is why many bodybuilders are unable to do well at competitions.
They lose their mass for the sake of becoming ripped. Dieting bodybuilders should increase their protein intake to two grams per pound of bodyweight or even higher in some cases. Better safe than sorry!
- When calculating your total daily protein intake, only include sources such as meat, fish and eggs. Do not count your protein from sources like rice, juice and bread. This is another technique to ensure you are getting massive amounts of protein.
- Ignore the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for protein. They are inapplicable to hardcore bodybuilders since their studies are performed using recreational bodybuilders. There's no way that these so called recreational bodybuilders have the same protein demand as a true full-blown bodybuilder.
RDAs Incorporated Into DRIs.
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), established in 1941 and updated regularly, are the intake levels of essential nutrients deemed adequate by the U.S. Government to meet the dietary needs of healthy persons.
In 1995, however, the traditional RDAs were replaced and expanded into Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). DRIs have four parts:
- RDA - nutrient intake levels for most healthy persons.
- Adequate Intake (AI) - intake levels for nutrients when an RDA cannot be determined.
- Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) - nutrient ceiling for normal, healthy persons.
- Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) - nutrient intake levels that meet the needs of only half of healthy persons.
- I recommend using a whey protein powder, which is naturally packed with branched chain amino acids (BCAA). These powders will ensure quick absorption and it's a less filling method of bumping up your protein intake. Try to get as much as 50% of your daily protein intake from powders since they absorb extremely quickly into muscle tissue.
One word of caution though. If you are relying on whey protein shakes especially, drink one at least every two hours after training since they are digested and used up so quickly.
- Biological value (BV) is a term used to measure the amount of nitrogen absorbed by the body from protein. Whey protein has the highest BV, egg protein is second best, milk protein is third, while soy has one of the lowest BV's because it comes from beans. It's pretty much a no-brainer about which ones are the best to use.
Biological Value (BV)
A protein's Biological Value (BV) is a number that measures how well the body absorbs and uses it. The higher the number, the more nitrogen your body can absorb, retain, and utilize. As a result, proteins with higher BVs promote more lean muscle gain.
- Don't let all the names and fancy marketing schemes fool you into paying too much for a shitty product. I suggest investing in a cheap, good quality protein powder from a respectable company such as SportPharma, Prolab or Optimum Nutrition... All available from your one spot hook-up, Bodybuilding.com.
Now, obviously a bodybuilder's diet isn't just about protein intake, so don't go e-mailing me and telling me all about how you think I'm wrong. This article is to simply increase the efficiency of the protein you do ingest. There will be more articles to come explaining the rest of the wide spectrum when it comes to nutrition.
Every time you stay out late, every time you miss a workout,
you make it that much easier for me to beat you. Peace!