We all know that food is the source of our strength and one of the things that is essential for life itself. This is even more of a focus for those people who are bodybuilding, focused on fitness, need to gain muscle mass/bodyweight or those who need to work out in general. Understanding how to incorporate the bodybuilding diet and muscle building exercise into our routine to gain lean muscle and maximize fat burning is key to getting great results.

You may think that your workout routines alone can maximize this for you, but the food is in fact equally if not more important when it comes to your fitness goals.

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No more junk food if you want to see fast progress.
Food is power and energy, select your diet wisely if you want to get the best results. Photo Source: Unsplash

Why Should You Eat After  A Bodybuilding Workout?

Working out is essential to staying healthy and achieving the bodies that we dream off. Whether you are a novice or a bodybuilder, we all take steps when starting a workout program to realise something. Either aesthetic reasons and/or health reasons, without a fitness goal our motivation would be severely lacking. Despite our intentions, the one thing that we all have in common is that if we don’t eat well and workout regularly we will not have the body that we have dreamed of.

When we first start working out and even while regularly practising, our body can have some reactions. This is what can be affectionately be known as the ‘workout burn’. The feeling that you get after working out, that lets us know that our bodies have truly been worked.

While this may feel awful while it is happening, it is just a message to let you know that the muscle fitness will adapt and improve if it receives what it needs (fuel) to regenerate. Each time your muscle renews itself, it is replaced with stronger and more efficient muscles. Which will be able to serve the purpose that you are training them for.

How To Build Muscle Eat After A Weight Training Session?

If you have eaten a pre workout meal, then the timing for the post workout meal becomes less urgent. If however, you have not eaten a pre-workout meal then the urgency for the eating your post workout meal is elevated. All high protein foods are perfect for your post workout meal. Try to find a sustainable protein source like grass-fed animals or animal products.

If you are hoping to lose weight or to lose fat and increase muscle mass effectively, you should make sure to include a pre and post workout meal into your bodybuilding routine. This will make sure you maximise muscle gain and train the physiology of your muscles to respond well to your fitness method.

The anabolic window is a period of time after working out that your body is either eating itself (catabolic state i.e. fat loss/weight loss) or building itself (an anabolic state). Within this window which is said to be between 30 minutes and 1 hour after working out. On the bodybuilding diet, you should consume protein-rich foods and carbohydrate-rich meals to refuel your body enough to build your muscle.

The digestion time of a piece of chicken is on average 4 hours and protein shakes are digested quickly much faster. Perfect for the fast inject of protein, essential amino acid and carb.

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Eggs are easy to use for protein diets
Eggs contain vitamins and minerals plus a highly digestible source of protein. Photo Source: Unsplash

What Are The Best Foods To Incorporate Into Your Body Building Diet Plans?

What you eat matters as all food is not created equal. For building muscle, it is well known that increasing your protein intake is essential. As well as eating a balanced diet. But when you are weight training and working out to build muscle, you also need to up your nutritious calorie intake.

To eat your best diet, we need to include healthy diet foods from all of the food groups.

  1. Carbohydrates provide energy, which can be found in pasta, bread, and rice.
  2. Proteins to provide the essential growth and repair of the body, which can be found in meat, fish, and eggs.
  3. Lipids (Fats and oils) to provide us with insulation within the body, which can be found in Butter, oil, nuts, and seeds.
  4. Whole wheat dietary fiber to provide roughage to keep food moving through the gut, which can be found in vegetables, brown rice, oatmeal, and bran.
  5. Vitamins and minerals to provide maintenance for the health, which can be found in dairy, fruit, and vegetables. Including essential amino acids.
  6. Water to provide the much-needed help to the cells and make fluids in the body, which can be found in pure form, in juice, some foods or milk.

Once you have built up a stable foundation of nutrition which works for you, then you can begin to tweak your diet plan based on your fitness goals. For example, the nutritional plans for someone who wants to burn fat but not build muscle, raise their metabolism but maintain their weight or build muscle and lose fat. Would likely be eating very different meals throughout the day.

As an example, if you wanted to build muscle and lose fat, you could incorporate low calorific content and high protein diets into your day. A popular measure for this is to add roughly 2 grams of protein per kg of lean body mass or 1 gram per pound of body weight.

Include these healthy foods in your meal plan, foods such as:

  • Lean meats such as chicken, whose protein index is quite high for the low number of calories it includes. This makes it an excellent staple for the bodybuilder. Some well-known bodybuilders like actually make chicken shakes to be able to get enough protein into their diet. They are often quoted as saying that because they have to eat so often during the day, they actually get tired of chewing so mix their meals into shakes. Turkey also makes good sources of protein. Now that is dedication.
  • Sweet potato has a low glycemic index (a low glycemic index measures the effect food has on your blood), which is excellent for post workout nutrition because it won't spike your energy levels. The sweet potato is one of Dwayne ‘the rock’ Johnsons staples and is included in his high protein diet plan as the carb portion of his food. The sweet potato while not low carb, is very starchy and delicious also it has a perfectly balanced carb to fibre ratio which means that after a workout. This is less likely to turn to fat, it keeps you fuller longer thanks to the fibre and will replenish your energy stores over a balanced period of time.
  • Green vegetables are not just right for you, but they also are full of high-quality vitamins, minerals, and water. Veggies are also low in calories and have good fibre content, keeping your energy balanced and maintaining the feeling of fullness. A good ration of green vegetables is popular in bodybuilding diets and plant-based diets. Perfect for vegetarians and vegans.
  • Egg Whites are great muscle food because the protein in egg whites are easily absorbed into the body. They are high in vitamins and minerals but low in carbs and fat, which make them a uniquely high source of protein. Many bodybuilding diets add fat-free egg whites into the protein diet in different ways including egg white shakes. Great for low carb diets, for weight loss and lean mass. Can help with losing belly fat.
  • Fish is high in fat which seems to break the rules, but the fat in fish is one of the healthy fats in the way of omega 3 fatty acids. Cold water fish like cod, salmon, and tuna are high in protein and omega 3 fatty acids which support muscle growth. Avoid saturated fats.
  • Beans/Legumes like lentils are a powerhouse of protein and fiber and great for all bodybuilders including the vegetarian and vegan bodybuilding diet. The high fiber content of beans proves that meat and fish is not the only significant source of protein. Because beans and legumes have such a high fibre content, they help to clear the bowel regularly which helps with the absorption of vitamins, minerals, supplements and nutrients in general within the body.

Bonus: Supplement

  • Whey Protein is a protein powder supplement and meal replacement, not a food source. It has the macronutrients needed be a fantastic muscle protein. It is one of the best proteins shake sources so it should be added to your list. This protein shake is easy to prepare and supports you with the amount of protein required throughout the day. This can be made 3+ time a day to ensure you are getting your full protein requirement for the day. Whey protein will support serious muscles gains and is why many bodybuilders incorporate it into their diets. If on a vegan diet or you are not eating / can not support consuming dairy, you can incorporate a protein supplement made from whole grains like soybeans. You can boost your after workout smoothies with protein sources that include a fruit vegetable base and spirulina, walnuts, almonds, peanut sources or other whole food protein alternatives. Although nuts are high in fat, again they are full of the good fats which in moderation help you in the long run.

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Animal products are not the only proteins
A vegan bodybuilders diet is plant based but very effective. Photo Source: Unsplash

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So in summary, if you are serious about gaining muscle, you must ensure that you learn about athlete and bodybuilding nutrition and how it affects your fitness goals and body weight. You can do this by yourself or with a nutritionist or dietitian who will be able to create for you the healthiest eating plan.

This will be a great option if you don’t know how much protein you need on the bodybuilding diet or how many calories to include to get the most optimal results. The nutritionist will be able to align your protein needs with your body weight to ensure that you are boosting your inclusion of muscle building foods.

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While bodybuilding supplements, high-intensity cardio and lifting weights are essential. A muscle building diet should be a nutrient-rich diet, full of foods that have high-quality protein to support your bodybuilding diet goals. Whatever your fitness goal, your eating habits will be equally important to the workouts that you do. Diet tips to shred fat and define muscle: Goodbye junk food consumption (unhealthy), Hello bodybuilding diet full of complete protein, carbs and healthy fats (healthier). On the bodybuilder's diet, you will be eating at the right times, throughout the day (including post-workout nutrition) you will consume more calories per day to avoid losing weight. Your meal will be full of the best protein that you can source, and you will exclude heavily processed foods. Your food choices matter, enjoy it!

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