Like any athlete, bodybuilders need to undergo intense training and diet planning. Because bodybuilding competitions are judged based on your leanness and muscularity instead of athletic performance, bodybuilders’ recommended diet includes nutrient-dense foods.
Proper nutrition ensures that bodybuilders get all the essential nutrients the body needs to build muscles and improve overall health. In this article, you’ll learn the important reasons why nutrition is important for bodybuilders, giving a more in-depth and scientific explanation for your reference.
1. Build Muscles for Weightlifting
For bodybuilders to build and shape muscles, they need key nutrients to increase their strength in weightlifting. Protein is a macronutrient required for bodybuilding. Bodybuilders aim to attain their leanest body fat requirements for protein, between 2.3–3.1 grams per kilogram of weight.
Along with protein, many bodybuilders expedite building muscles using supplements. You can buy prohormone supplements in health and wellness stores near you or online.
But what are the other nutrients you need if you want to be a successful bodybuilder? They are as follows:
- Calcium: This mineral is vital in muscle contraction, mostly found in dairy products. Also, this nutrient is crucial in energy metabolism and calcitriol inhibition, responsible in fat storage.
- Biotin: It plays an essential role in fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism. The best sources of biotin are peanut butter, egg yolks, almonds, hazelnuts, and oats.
- Iron: This micronutrient forms the oxygen-carrying blood cell, hemoglobin, from the lungs to the body, including the muscles. The best food sources of iron recommended for bodybuilders include dried apricots, venison, and bran cereals.
- Vitamin C: It’s a powerful antioxidant that helps metabolize carbohydrates for energy and strengthen the immune system. Broccoli, citrus fruits, blackcurrants, and green pepper are rich in vitamin C.
- Selenium: The best selenium sources are sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, whole meal, and fresh tuna. It’s a trace mineral that helps prevent heart disease, boost immunity, maintain a good mood, and prevent free radical damage from intense weight training.
- Omega 3: This fatty acid is found in salmon, walnuts, and mackerel, suppressing hunger and weight loss.
- Others: The other nutrients bodybuilders need include vitamin D, vitamin B12, copper, magnesium, riboflavin, and zinc.
2. Reduces Fatigue and Pain
It’s extremely exhausting to train for competition, predisposing bodybuilders to pain and fatigue. Bodybuilders need to reduce perceived exertion to handle weightlifting and fully benefit from the exercise.
Caffeine, a common supplement ingredient for bodybuilders, helps in achieving this goal. Because caffeine is considered a stimulant, it may cause sleep problems. So, it’s advisable to take caffeine-containing food supplements earlier in the day.
Check these advantages of reducing fatigue and pain when bodybuilding:
- More time for training
- Increase endurance and strength over time
- Sustain difficult weightlifting training regimen
- Aid in faster muscle recovery
3. Boost Overall Energy
Personalized nutrition uses nutrigenomics, or nutritional DNA testing, in diet planning, which is highly recommended to boost overall energy and improve bodybuilders’ health. It’s like studying your nutrient needs under a microscope to know what your body needs. In this way, you’ll have a personalized diet plan that meets your nutrient requirements.
You would need to increase your overall energy to:
- Do more reps in your training
- Perform at your maximum capacity during weightlifting
- Stay in the training mood
4. Reduces Body Fat
The hardest aspect of bodybuilding training is the cutting phase, which involves trying to shed fat by eating less while maintaining muscle mass. The cutting phase can be a stressful experience, but these tips will help you go through the cutting phase smoothly:
- Drink More Water: You probably think that this suggestion will make you look and feel bloated. However, drinking water can help you succeed during this part of your training. Have a few glasses with a meal to starve off hunger without suffering pangs due to fewer calories. Avoid soft drinks because they only add empty calories, which defeats the purpose of a restricted-calorie diet.
- Cook Your Meals: It’s a good way to get rid of excess sugar and salt in ready meals that may hinder weight loss.
- Reduce Using Cooking Oil: Cooking oil is high in trans fats, leading to your calorie intake. As much as possible, boil eggs rather than frying them to keep your calories low.
- Maintain Fiber Intake: Eat raw vegetables to snack without adding too many calories to your body.
- Be Patient: During the cutting phase, you’ll feel hungry, which will test your endurance and patience.
5. Stay Prepared and in Shape for the Competition
The most awaited time in your career as a bodybuilder is the competition. But how do you keep yourself ready for the big day?
A study shows that bodybuilding contest preparation must focus on proper nutrition, cardiovascular training, resistance training, and supplementation. The findings and recommendations of the researchers include the following:
- Maximize Muscle Retention: You can attain this goal by setting your caloric intake at a level at which you lose bodyweight, about 0.5–1% every week.
- Follow Recommended Dietary Requirements: Consume 2.3–3.1 grams per kilogram of lean body mass of protein every day, 15–30% of calories from fat and carbohydrates.
- Take Small Frequent Meals: Eat three to six meals daily with 0.4–0.5 grams per kilogram bodyweight before resistance training, maximizing nutrient frequency and timing benefits.
- Popular Food Supplements: The popular food supplements for bodybuilders include creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, and caffeine. Never attempt to manipulate electrolytes and hydration.
- Seek Help: Competitors must be aware of the risk of developing eating disorders in this aesthetic sport, affecting body image. Bodybuilders also need regular mental health assessments under qualified professionals.
Now you understand why bodybuilders like you need to ensure proper nutrition. You need the right combination of vitamins, minerals, macronutrients, and micronutrients to help build stronger muscles and boost your overall energy to perform at your best during weightlifting.
With a proper diet, bodybuilders can reduce fat, pain, and fatigue. Most importantly, proper nutrition is critical in preparing bodybuilding competition, keeping your body in the best form and shape possible.