Are you an athlete or a bodybuilder who’s trying to optimize your gains and unlock new performance heights? Whether you’re just starting out or have been grappling with the process of building your dream physique, you’ll know that your diet plays an important role in the process. If you’ve spent countless hours searching for tips and nutrition plans for bodybuilding but have come up with a bunch of useless junk, you’re not alone.
We know that you work hard in the gym, spending countless hours pushing past your limits. Your unwavering dedication, and the amount of effort your lifestyle takes – we get it. Nutrition is one of the key puzzle pieces that optimizes your bodybuilding success. Yet, there are so many things to consider when optimizing your nutrition, from macronutrient ratios to meal timings. So, how do you properly nourish your body?
Protein is essential – how much do you need?
Imagine the sheen of a highly muscular body on show, seeing every curve of a flexed muscle. To get to that stage, bodybuilders need plenty of muscle mass but very little body fat. That’s where your crucial macro, protein, comes in.
To build muscle, your body needs protein, as it will supply the building blocks of your new gains. How much protein for bodybuilders? Aim to get around 1.6-2.2 grams of the macro per kg of your bodyweight1. If you’re losing weight before a competition, you can increase your protein anywhere to 3.5 g/kg/day2.
Which protein sources are the best?
Animal products are the best source of protein, especially poultry and fish. They have all amino acids and plenty of leucine – if you’re vegetarian, you’ll need to work out useful food combinations to get all the aminos3. Leucine is one of the amino keys for bodybuilders, as it kickstarts muscle protein synthesis4. Regular intake of protein is also key to maintaining synthesis5.
Looking for an easy and delicious way to get some extra protein during the day? Many bodybuilders will choose whey powder and BCAAs. Whey powder, like Maxler 100% Golden Whey Natural is a great source of aminos while being quick to digest.
BCAAs on the other hand can be an excellent option for keeping the muscle-building process going, as they contain plenty of leucine. You take them before your workout to prevent muscle breakdown. Maxler 100% Golden BCAAs are a high-quality dose of BCAAs that’s easy to take on the go and will keep your muscles in a constant state of growth.
How to optimise carb and fat intake?
Bulk, cut, or wing it? The answer will depend on where you are on your journey. If you’re a competitive bodybuilder, your off-season might be focused on building muscle, while your season may be all about cutting to become as lean as possible. That means your energy intake will change – sometimes you’ll be eating more calories, while other times you’ll be in a deficit.
Working out exactly what your calories should be is best done with a nutritionist, doctor, or coach. However, here are some guidelines on what to get those calories from:
- Fats are key for hormones like testosterone6;
- Consume moderate amounts of fat – around 0.5-1.5 g per kilo of body weight daily7;
- Sufficient carbs are key for strength training8;
- Get around 4-7 g per kg of carbs a day9;
- Before a competition, if you’ve reached target leanness, increase carb intake10.
Great ideas for healthy sources of carbs favored by bodybuilders include oatmeal – if you’re looking for inspo, try our recipe for Protein Strawberry Yoghurt and Granola, which make a great breakfast option or a snack for bodybuilders.
Why including fruit and veg matters?
Remember that your nutrition isn’t all just about the macros. Vegetables and fruit are great for bodybuilding, as they provide adequate micronutrients. Especially during cutting phases, make sure that you’re getting your daily amounts of vitamins and minerals, as many bodybuilders don’t11. They will support your metabolism, and critical nutrients like omega-3s can be a great aid in recovery, helping reduce soreness12.
How to optimise nutrition for training?
Finally, let’s talk about your workouts. If you’re trying to build muscle, you need to optimize the muscle-building response your workouts generate. How do you do that? You guessed it, nutrition!
Before your workout, make sure you fuel your body with some amino acids. 100% Citrulline Malate is an amino acid that will help you work out for longer and improve recovery.
During the workout, remain hydrated. Bodybuilding drinks of choice can be water, electrolytes, or sports drinks.
After the workout, it’s time to refuel. A mixture of carbs and protein is your best bet. For ease of use and a long-lasting effect, try Maxler Golden 7 Protein Blend. This protein supplement has slow- and fast-release proteins, ensuring your muscle-building is fuelled for a long time.
Depending on where you at in your season, you might benefit from adjusting your nutrition accordingly. Having a nutritional plan can be a great way to help you with understanding how to change your diet and what to pay attention to. In our Nutritional Plan for Bodybuilders, you can learn more about how to navigate the different stages of being a bodybuilder and how to improve performance.
The first step to your goals
Bodybuilding requires a coherent nutritional plan, as that will allow you to optimize your gains without piling on fat. Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge on how to make nutrition work for your journey, take the first step in the right direction.
If you’re unsure of how to take your fist step, don’t fret. We’ve put together a bundle of supplements that can help you boost muscle building and improve your body composition, such as the PRO Essentials Bundle. It combines a healthy protein source with creatine and BCAAs, which help fuel muscle growth and boost workout length.
Remember that your journey isn’t just about heavy weights and chicken and rice. Your quest to become a better bodybuilder requires growth, professionally, mentally, and physically. With Maxler, you’re embarking on a journey of self-growth and improvement. Become your best self – we’re excited to celebrate what you can achieve.