Nowadays with the advancement of social media, many people are following professional bodybuilders and want to acquire the same toned body and rippling muscles. This has led to the common misconception that bodybuilding is all about picking up the biggest dumbbell you can find and lifting it until you feel like your arms are going to fall off. Doing this will not only injure you but will also eat away your motivation as you will constantly feel tired and might give up lifting weights altogether.
The secret to gaining great muscles safely is the right nutrition alongside a workout plan that suits you. If you are looking for ideas to work out at home then take a look at what we have to say about gymless fitness. The best way to build yourself up safely is to eat natural foods and not to rely only on protein powders of which the ingredients can be dubious, after all, you aren’t going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger by just overdosing on protein shakes.
This article focuses on regular, natural bodybuilding and it's not about bulking up to the same level as massive bodybuilding competitors; we are just covering the right foods to eat in order to get a naturally toned, muscular body. So this leaves us with a question; what is the best food to eat while bodybuilding?
Food that is high in protein is essential for gaining muscle, as well as a balanced quantity of carbohydrates and healthy fats to keep your energy levels up for the necessary physical activity which goes hand in hand with good nutrition while bodybuilding.
Whenever you ask someone about bulking up they talk about protein, but what exactly is protein and why do we need it?
Protein is a macro-nutrient that the body consumes large amounts of, and in doing so it brings many benefits to the body. Alongside fighting disease and transporting oxygen through the bloodstream, protein helps will repairing and building tissue; it is this benefit that you need to exploit as you will be working out a lot.
Here are some natural foods to eat alongside the bodybuilding program that will allow you to gain great muscles, some of the food and drink at the end of our list are more of an aid to your workout, rather than a food that will make you bulk up specifically.
Eggs: Probably the best natural protein source you can find and every bodybuilder includes eggs in their diets. It is an all too common misconception that only egg whites should be consumed as they contain most of the protein and the yolk contains fat and cholesterol. Scientific studies show that egg yolks contain many vital vitamins that are needed in the body and consuming whole eggs does not have a negative effect on the body. As long as you burn off excess fat, whole eggs should be part of your breakfast.
A typical large egg contains:
7 grams of protein,
5 grams of fat,
1.6 grams of saturated fat,
as well as many other beneficial nutrients such as choline and B vitamins.
Chicken Breast: After eggs, lean meats are the best foods to eat when bodybuilding, and chicken breast is one the best. Chicken breasts are perfect to eat while bodybuilding due to the high protein content and low carbohydrates. Packed with niacin and vitamin B6, it is also important for maintaining an active lifestyle. However, chicken has a high-calorie count, so make sure to do enough exercise to burn it off and remove the skin as it contains extra fat and calories. The great thing about chicken is that it’s so versatile so you will never run out of recipes for it, making it one food you simply can’t get bored of. To save money, purchase chicken breasts in large amounts when they are on offer and freeze them. This sort of advance preparation will also help you stick to your meal plan.
Turkey Breast: Another lean meat eaten by bodybuilders, turkey breast is an excellent source of protein and, like chicken, is more beneficial with the skin removed as this lowers the calorie count. Although turkey breast contains slightly less protein than chicken breast, turkey also has a lot fewer calories making it essential for your meal planning. Grilling turkey breasts is the healthiest option as turkey can contain a higher amount of fat in comparison to chicken. Price-wise, turkey can sometimes cost much more than chicken, so it’s up to personal preference if you wish to spend that little bit more for this awesome source of low in fat but high in protein food.
Fish: Fish is low in fat and calories but high in protein making this an ideal supplement in addition to any other protein you’re consuming. Salmon and tuna are excellent choices as they are rich in B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids which are imperative for optimal muscle health and gain.
Lentils: So far all the protein-rich foods that have been mentioned are meat/fish options but don’t despair if you are a vegetarian or vegan, it is surprising how many foods there are which contain lots of protein but are suitable for vegans. Lentils contain huge amounts of protein so make sure you pack as many as you can into your diet, they are so many varieties of lentils and beans available too.
Quinoa: Eat this grain as your fuel as carbohydrates help provide energy, furthermore it contains high amounts of protein and magnesium, which aids the function of your nerves and muscle contraction. Quinoa is another excellent option for vegans and vegetarians, as well as a superb side to your protein-rich meat and fish dishes too.
Ginger: Not really a source of protein but Ginger is a pungent-smelling root and consuming it improves blood flow to the muscles. That's why ginger is a vital aid to bodybuilding.
Cheese: This is an option for vegetarians but not for vegans, cheese is really tasty and the amount of protein it contains can bring a tear to any nutritionist’s eye! Cheeses like cottage cheese contain high amounts of great quality protein and go well with so many dishes. Cheese also adds flavour to food so try combining it with chicken for a double protein punch. The wonderful thing about cheese is that it’s not the main dish in itself so you can always eat something like grilled chicken with some pieces of feta cheese in a salad for example.
Coffee: It doesn’t directly help you bulk up but coffee helps increase your blood pressure and heart rate enabling you to improve your workout performance. Drink coffee without sugar though as sugar is a bodybuilder’s worst nightmare and on the top of the list of foods that bodybuilders should avoid.
Fruit: It can’t be stressed enough how good for you fruit actually is. Listing the health benefits of fruit is another story altogether but in short, eating fruits such as bananas in the morning will give you much-needed energy throughout the day, as well as other fruits that provide essential vitamins for your body too. Incorporating fruit as well as vegetables into your diet is an absolute must.
Nuts: While bodybuilding, you can go nuts about nuts! Peanuts are high in protein, unsaturated fats, and carbs. Peanut butter and cashew butter are extremely tasty. Try blending a scoop of peanut butter with a banana and milk for an energy-boosting breakfast shake. Almonds are also amazing in a milkshake. As with all nuts, they should be consumed in moderation.
These aren’t all the foods you need to eat while bodybuilding but they are some of the essentials. We hope the information above will give you a head start and some basic necessities for your diet plan. It's a great idea to research even further and learn more about the food you consume and the benefits it has on your body.