Nutrition Basics for Beginning Bodybuilders

By: Kelle T. Bates


Every successful bodybuilder understands that nutrition is a key component of any training program. Following correct nutritional practices will provide you with a stable amount of energy needed for daily activities and for each training session. Having an excellent nutrition base and enough rest are vital for ongoing bodybuilding success. Not following a sound nutritional plan will just limit your potential muscle gains and may put to waste all your effort and time invested on training.
According to Catherine Ratzin Jackson, author of the book "Nutrition for the Recreational Athlete", the eating habits of bodybuilders aren't always based on sound nutritional advice. She explains that many bodybuilders base their diet strategies on tips they've read in bodybuilding magazines or from -experts' at nutrition stores. Unfortunately, much of this advice is usually one-sided and does not provide the complete picture of the essentials of calorie intake, protein requirements and specific types of food to eat for weight loss. If you're just getting started with bodybuilding, here are some essential rules of nutrition used by professional bodybuilders:
1. Avoid sudden weight loss. Do not be impatient about losing weight as sudden weight loss destroys lean body tissues in the process thereby constraining muscular development. Starving yourself with a low-calorie diet to lose weight quickly deprives your body of essential nutrients and electrolytes needed for proper bodily functions. Moreover, you will not achieve your desired body weight by having a low-fat and high-protein diet.
2. Calculate your protein requirement and track your protein intake daily. Our bodies use protein for building and repairing muscles. You won't see any results if you consume too little or overload your body with protein. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) gives us a measure of how much protein we need to take. RDA is different for every individual but it is usually set at 0.8 g/kg for physical inactive individuals and 1.0-1.5 g/kg for athletes. Check the nutrition facts of every food product you consume to keep track of your protein consumption.
3. Get used to eating organic. The best foods we can eat are still unprocessed, natural foods. Eating foods from plant and animal sources that are loaded with nutrients is the often-neglected key to bodybuilding success. Our bodies cannot efficiently digest meal replacements and supplements. Better stick to real food so that your body will get all the nutrients it needs to develop.
4. Select your supplements wisely. Using supplements is a widespread practice among bodybuilders and athletes; taking supplements that give you energy, encourage muscle gains or provide you with essential vitamins and minerals can help in some cases, but they can also have adverse side effects. Use supplements with caution, and avoid using them as a replacement for a sound nutrition program or consistent exercise regimen. Large doses of protein powders and other performance-boosting supplements can have adverse side effects.
5. Watch what you eat before and after a workout. Muscle builds up significantly before and after you exercise. What you eat at this time will surely influence this process either positively or negatively. Always monitor what you eat at this time by keeping a written record.

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