Food for Bodybuilders People often ask what are some of the best supplements you need to have in order to grow? While supplements are certainly one piece of the puzzle, food is also very important as is good quality sleep and plenty of water for hydration.
BODYBUILDING FOODS THAT BUILD
You can’t build muscle without protein. Protein is the basic building block of muscle cells and is required for muscle mass. Protein is also not stored in the body, so you need to keep a constant supply coming in order to continue to build muscle cells during the day. Most foods don’t have good quality protein or don’t have the right kind of protein for maximum growth.
Animal Protein is a major source and can include lean beef, chicken, turkey, pork or fish. Animal protein is usually pure protein that contains a lot of essential amino acids fit for muscles, because you are eating the “muscle” of the animal in most cases. Thus, the cleanest way to get optimal protein is to eat lots of “dead animals”.
Dairy protein is very good for muscle building and can come from milk, lean cheese or protein shakes. Dairy protein in the form of a shake can come from either casein or whey. These two constituents of milk are very different forms of protein and have different biological values.
Whey protein can come in a concentrate or isolate and is by far the best mass building protein available. It is rich in essential amino acids and the highest in L-Leucine, which is an amino acid critical for muscle mass. Casein is a slower digesting protein that can also build muscle and is better for people who have long intervals between meals.
Eggs also are very anabolic and have a good nutrient value. Egg protein is high in biological value and while not as anabolic as Whey, is often easier to digest. Egg protein is complete with all of the proper amino acids for mass growth and is an easy and convenient way to get protein.
Plant proteins are usually not as good as animal proteins, but some of them can be very competitive. Pea protein is one of the few complete proteins from a plant and usually tastes pretty good. Soy protein is not complete, but is still a decent replacement for animal proteins. Soy is lower in Leucine and also has estrogenic flavones, which make it less popular for bodybuilders. Rice protein is also incomplete but doesn’t have the flavones like soy. It typically doesn’t taste as good as pea or soy though, which makes it hard to drink.
BODYBUILDING FOODS THAT BURN
Many foods help burn fat or at least give the appearance of a leaner body. Obviously any and all vegetables are good for bodybuilders and people in general to snack on. Certain foods like celery, broccoli and asparagus have become staples in a bodybuilders diet. These foods help clean out your bowels and also are calorie low foods, which require more to burn than they give in energy, thus making them foods that will fill you up and also help you burn fat. Salad with light dressing is also good for this purpose. One of my favorite ways to have salad is a small amount of olive oil, lots of vinegar and salt/pepper on my salad. It is very low calorie and also tastes great!
Fruits should be used sparingly, but berries are always a good choice. Berries are high in anti-oxidants and may also help improve sleep quality (cherries) and burn fat (raspberries). Apples are also very good to consume as a snack, since they help the body process fat into muscle.
BODYBUILDING FOODS THAT ENERGIZE
Carbohydrates fill the muscle with glycogen, which is the muscle’s energy source. Glycogen rich foods come from many sources, but some of the favorites for many bodybuilders include, sweet potatoes, steel cut oats, brown rice and whole grains that aren’t processed. You typically want to eat your carb rich foods 1-2 hours before a heavy workout to make sure that you have enough carbohydrates to really push yourself. Carbohydrates can make you fat, so be careful on how many you consume per day!
Fats are usually divided into good fats and bad fats for simplistic sake. Some fats are exceptionally good for you like olive oil and others are not such as refined canola oil, soybean oil or just plain “vegetable oil”. Fats like coconut oil can be used in place of carbs to help give instant energy, while other fats like olive oil are just generally healthy for you. Fats in general can be easily stored, so go sparingly on the fats unless you are using olive oil or coconut oil for health.
Many bodybuilders use flaxseed oil to help with their joints and to feel good. Flax oil doesn’t taste the best and isn’t good for cooking, but it does seem to help achy joints at 2-4 tablespoons per day!
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