In the recent past, a lot of people approach me to make their diet plan. And most of them want their diet to be made up with considerations to factors like cost, time to prepare and availability. Before discussing about the diet in detail I want to make few points clear.

Here they are,

You cannot add even a drop of muscle without providing extra calories to your body.

Professional bodybuilders spend loads of money on fancy supplements and other stuffs. But you know what? We shell out the money from our pocket and they don’t. They have sponsors to take care of it. So we need to plan it wise. I am a competitive bodybuilder and even I do not take supplements all year round.

I hear many people saying that bodybuilding diet is tough, but for many bodybuilders it is a lifestyle. I never find my diet hard cos I love it.

I will consider the person reading this would train hard and sensible enough to induce growth. Training and diet are twins which put your body on the anabolic environment. If you fall short in any one of these, you will not progress.

Having said that, I will outline few factors influencing your diet. I will also give you a sample diet which you can have as a guide and make necessary adjustments to it to suit your needs.

Quality calories = Quality muscle

If you do not fuel your body, you will never grow. Protein, carbs and fats are sources to build your body and if you do not provide enough calories from quality food, you will never grow. I stress on the words quality calories because the goal of a bodybuilder here is to add as much muscle mass as possible without adding much fat. So the source of calories really does matter. For example a person providing the extra calories from lean protein sources like chicken, egg whites etc has the probability of gaining more muscle than a person adding a couple of extra pizzas to his diet.

In general, Add 10-15% more calories to your general requirement. Hard-gainers can add up to 20% extra calories, and Mesomorph can also add up to 15% extra calories to their diet. But endomorphs like me should strive with minimal excess calories. I add no more than 500 calories per day while bulking up. And I try to give all the extra calories from protein. Bu this I do not mean that one should cut out the carb sources like yams, potatoes, oats etc. Carbs are also highly essential, but by adding the extra calories from protein we can be sure that we will add lean muscle mass and minimum fat.

The Meal frequency

I have said this earlier and I will say this again and again, shoot your meal frequency. Eat at least 5-6 meals a day. In general you need at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. A 180 lbs person consuming 3 meals of 60g protein each has very less probability of adding quality muscle compared to a person eating 6 meals of 30g protein each.

Why is it so?

By eating frequent meals we increase our metabolism and hence we minimize the chances of adding excess fats.

By eating small frequent meals we increase the absorption of food into the blood stream.

By eating frequent meals we keep the nitrogen balance high. So our body is in high anabolic environment constantly.

By eating large meals with less frequency , the blood insulin levels spike up and the food is transported immediately and the amino acid levels in the blood drops down quickly and hence the growth process slows down. As a bodybuilder this would be the least desirable thing that you would prefer.

Meal guidelines

Most of the people who discuss with me about diet are students and can’t spend much money on fancy supplements. So I always prefer suggesting easily available protein and complex carb sources. The meal should contain lean protein sources like egg whites, lean cuts of meat, nuts etc

While planning a meal one has to consider about all food elements to make food a balanced one.

Protein

Carbs

Fats

Fiber

As a general rule of the thumb, each meal can contain lean protein source of the size of your open palm. Carb source to the size of closed fist. And remember, fats are always hidden in our food sources. And adding a table spoon of olive oil or fish oil for cooking food would take care of the fat sources. Add any seasonal fruit in a meal or two to supply extra vitamins and add green veggies in any number of meals as you like and there are no limits to the amount of green veggies that you can consume, as long as you can eat them.

Bodybuilding Lifestyle Sample Diet chart ( Diet without supplements )

Meal 1: 1 cup boiled oats with an apple and 4 egg whites and 2 whole eggs

Meal 2: A hand full of nuts (peanuts or almonds) with lemon juice.

Meal 3: 1 cup rice, 200 grams of fish (or) Chicken and a vegetable salad.

Meal4: Post workout meal – a protein shake or 2 glasses of milk.

Meal5: 200 grams of red meat, one boiled potato and spinach

Meal6: A glass of milk with few assorted nuts.

(note – The diet is exampled out for a person weighting 180 lbs and training 3-4 days a week and moderate metabolism guy)

Quick tips:

Fast food – In the real world it is not possible to have prepared meals always in hand, so at times we have to eat outside.Order sensibly for foods which have high ratios of protein compared to carbs and fats. Instead of having fried rice with fried meat, I would order some variety of bread with which ever meat could be availed with minimal oil in the dish. Avoid excess sauces and other things to keep your diet in a healthy limit. Bodybuilding is a lifestyle and you cannot screw it up.

Cheating – Cheating is not a bad thing at all. Cheating is good if we do it properly. For example I would eat an extra cheese pizza once a month to provide me some extra calories and boost up my metabolism. But if you eat a high cheese pizza with a bottle of coke twice a week it will not be cheating for growth but screwing up your muscle gain and you would have gained a lot of fats before you could realize.

Water – Water is considered the elixir of life. So always try to keep yourself hydrated and carry a bottle of water with you. You will never drink more than what you can. Do not worry and always carry a bottle of water along.

So these are some of the most important guidelines that I follow while making my diet. And you will also be getting some amazing results following these guidelines.

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