It has been said many times before that in order to be successful in this sport you have to be just as tenacious at the dinner table as you are in the gym. You will never achieve the gains you desire if your nutrition is subpar at best and your idea of a good post workout meal is going through the drive-thru at your local fast food joint. Having a set diet plan constructed to meet all of your training, recovery and subsequent growth needs is of paramount importance if you want to make it anywhere in the world of bodybuilding. Take the time to sit down and map out which foods you think will work best for you, pay attention to how your body is responding to those food choices and then adjust accordingly. Having difficulty deciding which foods you should be incorporating into your bodybuilding diet?
Check out the following suggestions for each macronutrient group category, why these particular foods have been chosen and then start formulating a menu geared towards helping you reach your goals.
This is probably the most important of the three groups and one that is definitely going to bear most of the brunt when it comes to you putting on solid muscle. Without protein and the amino acids we get from these sources, growth will not occur the way you want it to. Try incorporating these sources into your diet for maximal growth:
Grass fed red meat: a natural source of red meat full of amino acids and fats that will boost natural growth hormone and testosterone levels.
Pasteurized poultry: even better than free range (the birds are never caged or housed) poultry sources, this natural source of protein is clean, relatively fat free and lighter on the gut than red meat.
Naturally caught fish: no one wants to eat a fish source that has come from a farming environment where the fish swim around eating their own feces; so instead look for naturally fished sources for a source of protein full of healthy fats, packed full of protein and also very light on the gut.
Eggs from pasteurized hens: for the same reasons as mentioned above, the eggs from these hens will be free from any outside interference from mankind, will be packed full of protein and healthy fats in the yolks and has long been a staple in any bodybuilding diet.
Hydrolyzed whey isolate protein powder: this type of protein powder has been broken down into extremely small fractions which makes absorption much faster. Look for a brand that is lactose free, gluten free, aspartame free but still has a great taste to it.
The foods that make up our choices for carbohydrates are quite plentiful but not all carbs were created equal either. You have to be just as discerning with your picks for carb sources as you are with your protein to ensure you will be able to effectively and efficiently utilize the energy which can be derived from carbs when metabolized. There are better choices for certain times of the day, but the following five picks should cover all the bases:
Jasmine rice: this rice is a relatively fast acting carb source and can really drive insulin levels up which makes it a great option as a part of your post workout meal. There’s also a nice aroma to it and it’s much easier to eat than brown rice.
Sweet potatoes: I actually really love this carb source especially when trying to keep body fat levels to a minimum. It’s considered a slow digesting carb source which means you don’t get that high insulin spike but rather a gradual increase in insulin levels which can really help when trying to keep body fat levels in check.
Brown rice pasta: this gluten free source of pasta tastes really good and is really easy on the gut. Being that it is gluten free, you don’t have to worry about the associated health concerns such as internal inflammation and swollen joints that are commonly attributed to eating gluten.
Cream of rice: oatmeal used to be my go to carb source first thing in the morning until I figured out some of the bloat I was experiencing was from eating oatmeal. So I switched to cream of rice; again it’s gluten free and much lighter in your stomach.
Training sugars: whether you use a glucose based product, dextrose or cyclic dextrin, the sugars you ingest during your peri-workout nutrition will be the best thing you’ve ever done for your training and growth needs.
I have a much deeper appreciation for healthy fats now more so than ever before. My contest dieting and offseason protocols always followed a relatively low fat model until as of late. With the change in body chemistry that occurs as we get older, new and different sources of energy may be required. After realizing my body couldn’t handle as many carbs anymore without adding unwanted body fat, I simply lowered the carbs and replaced those calories with fat sources and what do you know, the results I was looking for eventually happened.
Avocado: a great addition to any meal, avocadoes gives you plenty of healthy fats in a nice creamy way. Make sure you go organic when choosing these at the market.
Walnuts/almonds: nuts have always been a great source of healthy fats but these two picks stand above the rest. Whether you include them in a salad or alone, snacking on these all throughout the day is a great idea.
Natural Peanut butter: Yes, I know this comes from another nut and just in a different form but I had to put it here on the list because I enjoy including it in my protein shakes. Make sure when you buy it, there’s a good amount of oil floating at the top of the container.
Coconut oil: this is nuts! Yes again, coconut oil holds a tremendous amount of healthy fat sources and is an excellent source of energy. Cook with it or include it in your food; whatever you do don’t go without it.
Chia seeds: it was said that the Aztecs based their diets off of this little seed and if you know anything about the Aztecs, they were as hardcore as you could get. Full of healthy fats and high in protein, if chia seeds are good enough for a warrior, they’re good enough for me.
So there you have it my friends, my top five picks in each category for the best bodybuilding foods you can get. I’m sure there are many other foods out there that will do the same things for you and it’s up to you to find those sources. If however you are stuck on which foods will work best, my advice would be to try them all, give the sources you’ve chosen a good 3-5 weeks to actually see if they are helping or hurting your physique and then change things up if necessary.
The most important part of all of this is going to be consistency in your meals and make sure you always put as much effort into your nutrition as you do your training.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, ENDEVR Brand Ambassador, SKECHERS Brand Ambassador, Sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.
Online training: http://customtrainingpro.weebly.com
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