Diet for Bodybuilding
You are what you eat is something that you have no doubt heard many times before but when you are training hard to put on muscle you simply have to eat correctly to get the results from these hard workouts. Despite what you may have heard it is not all only about the protein.
To get the maximum amount of energy during your workout to enable your high intensity workouts you need carbohydrates. Although this is a very controversial topic and will probably remain so for quite a while still there are some proven scientific facts that we can rely on.
The first of these is that you want every gram of carbohydrate you consume to be utilized as an immediate fuel source or to restore glycogen levels. You don't want it to be stored as fat. This means don't eat more carbs than you need and don't worry about spreading them evenly throughout the day. You can eat the majority of your carbs around your workout.
Your first two meals before you train should include complex carbohydrates like stone-rolled oats or sweet potatoes. Your first meal will provide a couple hours for carbs to get digested and go to work, ensuring blood sugar levels are up and glycogen levels are full before training.
It is strongly advised that you consume your second meal roughly one hour before lifting. Don't get worked up about counting the minutes and seconds, as if five minutes will be the difference between 17- and 18-inch arms. Most people can benefit from 40 grams of carbs before they train.
When it comes to protein that you eat research has indicated that users of whey protein prior to training will illicit better results than those using other protein sources (or none at all). This is most likely due to the anti-catabolic and anabolic signaling effects of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) present in whey protein, particularly leucine. Whey has a considerably higher concentration of BCAAs than other proteins.
Studies have shown that pre-workout protein intake will increase resting energy expenditure by an average of 6-6.5% for up to 48 hours. Pre-workout protein will also blunt cortisol through the day, an effect that wasn't seen in control groups that were fasted or had ingested carbs only.
Protein and amino acids also spare carbs. People often assume that when the body runs out of carbohydrate fuel, it switches to fatty acids for fuel. That process is typically too slow for high-intensity training. But research on protein has shown this is not what actually happens.
Research shows that to provide fuel more quickly, amino acids are rapidly broken down and converted to sugar in a process known as gluconeogenesis. If those amino acids aren't in the blood supply it will start a catabolic process by taking the required amino acids from your muscles.
The bottom line is that for those of us who are dieting, some extra aminos in our bloodstream may help preserve our lean mass. There are some of heavy macro-counters that have reservations about consuming protein pre-workout, especially when dieting down. If that's the case, use 10-15 grams of BCAAs instead. This should provide similar effects and elevate net protein synthesis. Pre-workout BCAAs may even help low-carb dieters burn more fat.