The hardest part of being a bodybuilder is probably not lifting weights but staying committed to a strict diet routine. Bodybuilding is centered around building your body’s muscles through weightlifting and nutrition. Whether recreational or competitive, bodybuilding is often referred to as a lifestyle, as it involves both the time you spend in and outside the gym. In order to maximize your results from the gym, focus on the diet is an absolute must, as eating the wrong foods can be detrimental to bodybuilding goals.
Phases of Bodybuilding
Bodybuilding differs from powerlifting or Olympic lifting, and it is judged on a competitor’s physical appearance rather than physical strength. Bodybuilders aspire to develop and maintain a well-balanced, lean, and muscular physique. In order to do this, many bodybuilders start with an off-season followed by an in-season way of eating, which is referred to as a bulking and cutting phase.
During the bulking phase, bodybuilders eat a high-calorie, protein-rich diet and lift weights intensely with the goal of building a lot of muscles.
The cutting phase is focused on losing as much fat as possible while maintaining muscle mass developed during the bulking phase. This is achieved through changes in diet and exercise.
Benefits of Bodybuilding
In order to maintain and build muscles, bodybuilders exercise frequently, and vigorously. Resistance and aerobic training methods are deemed to be the most beneficial among bodybuilders.
Resistance training increases muscle strength and size. Muscle strength is highly correlated with a lower risk of dying from cancer, heart, and kidney diseases.
Aerobic exercises improve the health of the heart and significantly lowers the risk of developing heart diseases. Following a healthy eating pattern, including nutrient-dense foods from all food groups in appropriate amounts, can significantly lower the risk of chronic diseases.
Diets Followed By Bodybuilders
While bodybuilders include a wide variety of foods in their diet, let’s first discuss the ones they should avoid. Alcohol negatively affects the body’s ability to build muscles and lose fat, especially if consumed on a regular basis. Therefore, it is one of the primary substances bodybuilders must avoid. Foods high in added sugars, candies, cookies, doughnuts, cakes, and beverages such as soda are enemies of a healthy body. Deep-fried foods are also hugely avoided by bodybuilders as they promote inflammation.
Before going to the gym, high-fat meals, buttery foods, creamy food, high-fiber foods, carbonated beverages should also be avoided as they can slow digestion and cause stomach upset during workouts.
Foods bodybuilders should prefer include meats, ground beef, chicken breast, salmon, dairy food, grain-based food, lots of fruits, starchy vegetables, broccoli, spinach, leafy salad, seeds and nuts, beans and legumes, olive oil, and avocado oil. The list goes on but the mentioned food are some of the most nutritious, and healthy for building muscle.
The Benefits of Rice, Chicken, and Broccoli
A popular combination of meals for bodybuilders is rice, chicken, and broccoli. It is indeed a very simple yet effective meal. The benefits are quite simple, it helps bulk up the body and refuel a lot of energy. The high protein of the chicken will help rebuild damaged muscle fibers while the carbohydrate content of the rice will replace muscle glycogen levels and refuel. Perfect for a post-workout meal. However, it is not a very smart decision to eat this combination for a long duration in a repetitive manner.
One of the main reasons bodybuilders eat rice and chicken is because it’s cheap, clean, and incredibly good for building muscle. This is because it gives a good mix of carbs to replenish the muscles right after a workout, with a ton of protein to start the muscle-building process as well. Rice and chicken are great for the body and they aren’t some ‘processed filler’ and filled with tons of artificial junk- they’re natural.
The number of nutrients that are available in a combination meal with rice, chicken, and broccoli will roughly include 550 calories, 65g of carbs, 9g of fat, and 43g of protein. On a cut, that’s going to be roughly 1/3rd of the daily calorie intake, and on a bulk, that will be roughly 1/5th of daily calorie intake.
Rice, chicken, and broccoli also make it easy to not gain weight on a cut, because it is quite filling.
With that being said, clean eating, in general, is a bit misleading. It’s difficult to define. A clean eating diet outlaws foods that are processed, but it’s too simplistic. Whey protein, peanut butter, and oatmeal are all good for the body, but highly processed. Eating ‘clean’ foods alone won’t get a person to become lean. it’s still possible to overeat on chicken and broccoli. If a person understands the concept of calorie intake, it is very much possible to eat flexibly, and enjoy meals and drinks out with family and friends. In summary, achieving the desired bodybuilder look requires regular exercise and special attention to diet. The diet should include nutrient-dense foods, 20–30 grams of protein with each meal and snack, restricted consumption of alcohol, and deep-fried or high-sugar foods. This ensures you get all the important nutrients your body needs for building muscle and overall health.