TOP 5 SECRETS TO SUCCESS IN NATURAL BODYBUILDING
Let’s face it: When it comes to natural bodybuilding, training is the part that everyone looks forward to. Understanding how to train a specific muscle group properly with the correct intensity, volume, and other acute variables looks easy in comparison to perfecting your meal planner or supplementation guide. This comprehensive list covers the top 5 secrets to success when your goal is to build natural muscle. Use it as a quick reference to keep yourself on track!
NATURAL BODYBUILDING NUTRITION
1. EAT PLENTY OF PROTEIN
Quality proteins are the building blocks of muscle. While individual protein needs will vary from person to person, there is a general guideline for the amount of protein you should be consuming day-to-day. It is recommended, if your goal is growth, to consume at least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day. For the “hardgainer” and more advanced bodybuilder, it may be necessary to ingest up to 2 grams per pound.
In terms of selecting the highest quality proteins, you aren’t going to find anything better than the classic staples: eggs (whites), whey, and meat. Eggs are the perfect bodybuilding food: High in protein and zinc. Eggs are also convenient, inexpensive, and highly bioavailable. They can be prepared in a number of different ways and also offer healthy fats from the yolk.
Whey protein powder is another great way to get a fast serving of quality protein. It’s important to use a high quality whey that isn’t full of artificial chemicals or carbs. It’s also important to make sure that the whey protein isn’t amino-spiked. Jacked Factory will soon be releasing a delicious Whey Isolate Protein, naturally sweetened, gluten free, and free of any artificial chemicals or flavors. Stay tuned!
Another option is classic dairy products such as protein from milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Milk is a relatively inexpensive way to get in protein, calcium, and vitamin D. However, be aware that milk also contains fat and lactose, which may be a potential downside for some people. For hard-gainers or those that need a high amount of calories to gain weight, it may be a perfect option. Cottage cheese is actually the slow digesting casein portion of milk so it’s no surprise that it is a solid protein source. Yogurt, aside from containing plentiful protein, can also be an excellent source of immune boosting, gut healthy probiotics. Yogurt can also contain sugar and fat depending on the brand, so keep an eye on that!
Finally, meat! While meat in general is great for bodybuilding, it is recommended to stick to the cleaner cuts. Local poultry, grass-fed beef and lean pork are examples of excellent clean complete proteins that can provide your body with all of the essential amino acids it needs.
As a general rule of thumb, try to get in an animal protein with each meal.
2. DON’T NEGLECT CARBS
The body’s preferred source of fuel is carbohydrates. You are able to use protein and fats for energy, but this involves a more complex process within your body.
For the most part, when consuming carbohydrates you will want to focus on complex carbs that are slow digesting. Carbohydrates that are low on the Glycemic Index (foods such as: whole-grain rice, pasta, bread, and oatmeal) are your best options. Simple carbohydrates such as white breads and white potatoes are essentially fast digesting simple sugars. These types of carbs will typically spike your insulin and result in a crash.
Complex carbohydrates digest at a slower rate, which results in a steady rate of nutrients being released into the bloodstream. Most importantly, complex carbohydrates are efficiently utilized.
The general guideline to carbohydrate intake is between two to three grams per pound of bodyweight per day. The exception is during a cutting phase where you would reduce your carbohydrate intake consumption to one gram per pound of bodyweight per day. This of course may vary greatly depending on the individual, however this is a guideline.
3. HEALTHY FATS
The last thing you want to do if you want to gain serious size is neglect an entire macronutrient. Despite what you may hear, healthy fats do exist! Foods that are high in healthy fats, particularly monounsaturated fat, are the ideal source for bodybuilders. They play a crucial role in muscle repair and protection. The only fat you should be avoiding is Trans-fat. Even saturated fats play an important role in your bodybuilding goals.
The king of the healthy fats, Omega-3 fatty acids, can be found in fish such as salmon; oils such as flaxseed oil; and seeds such as pumpkin seeds. Here are more examples of fats that you want to include in your diet:
4. DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR VEGETABLES
When it comes to a bodybuilding diet, the focus is always on animal products and rarely does fresh produce get a moment in the spotlight. Just because you are trying to build muscle doesn’t mean you should skimp on the six to nine servings of vegetables per day.
Vegetables are extremely important as they provide your body with powerful nutrients that will only play a positive role in your results. Fiber, for instance, will ensure proper digestion and nutrient utilization. High protein diets can result in a number of ailments including kidney stones if fiber intake is too low.
Men should aim to get in 35 to 40 grams of fiber per day and women should aim for 25 to 30 grams. Ideally, you will reach this number through whole foods but a fiber supplement may be needed.
5. WATER… YES! IT’S THAT IMPORTANT
The importance of water can never be overstated. It is the essential element for overall health and it plays an important role in helping you grow. Proper hydration ensures a number of amazing benefits including efficient protein synthesis, proper digestion, and removal of waste products. Think of water as a transporter. It helps nutrients enter the bloodstream and into the muscle while moving harmful byproducts out of the body. For those taking supplements, which you more than likely are, water is especially needed. Many fitness supplements like creatine use up a good deal of water and can quickly lead to dehydration. A good rule of thumb for any serious bodybuilder is to drink at least one gallon per day.