10 Nutrition Tips for Beginner Bodybuilders
If we have to tell the beginner to rest for half an hour and exercise for half an hour, we would write “rest for half an hour and exercise for half an hour” and nothing else.
So, we try to keep it simple. You can go ahead and go crazy trying to figure each nutrient ratio, open the book to read the needed nutrients before every meal, every day of the week and still end up with little to show for all the efforts.
Therefore, it is better that you focus on the basics, so we have reduced your study to 10 basic nutrition tips for beginner bodybuilders.
Follow these rules and usually, you find that you will develop a new habit of eating fit by default and not needing measuring your diet every time you eat. Undoubtedly, you will be needing to learn more about diet and fitness as you progress in bodybuilding, but these basics will be more than enough to help you develop serious muscles.
The following are the 10 tips for beginner bodybuilders.
1. Positive energy gets positive results
Beginners often make the mistake of following nutrition plans aimed at incorporating more advanced bodybuilder’s diet practices that do not apply to them till they reach a more advanced level. Here's one thing that should be clear to you:
To build muscle, the body needs more energy (calories) than you burn each day. So if you skip taking carbohydrates, and even small amounts of fat in the diet, you are going in the wrong direction and making a big mistake.
That being said, you should also understand that no one, not even Mr. Olympia, adds muscles without adding some fat along with it. So, expect to gain some body fat. But whenever you are adding more muscle than fat, you are going in the right direction.
2. Protein is the basic requirement
Protein requirements are higher for all bodybuilders, including beginners, compared to the average Joe. Protein repairs important hormones that get damaged and creates muscle fibers that support growth in the body.
If you wish to accumulate a serious muscle mass, you should consume 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day.
Professional bodybuilders such as Mr. Olympia candidates take 2 to 2.5 grams of protein each day. For a 180-pound person, that means around 150 grams per day is the basic requirement, but this figure may increase depending on several factors. If you still see muscles tired and not growing or if your muscles are still sore for more than a couple of days after training, increase that to 2 grams, 200 grams of protein per day for 100 kilograms.
Most of that should come from whole food sources, but it is also a good idea to consume two to three proteins shakes in a day.
3. Assimilation competes with total protein intake
If you are a bodybuilder, you cannot wait to hit the mark of 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight and expect to gain serious muscles. If you neglect the amount of protein your diet, the body would not be capable to repair the broken muscle cells. But, the body would not digest all that proteins in one go.
That is why eating six meals a day (instead of two or three) is a requirement.
The more you distribute your protein intake each day; it will be easier to digest. A constant supply of protein from eating every 2½-3 hours helps keep levels of cortisol (a hormone that controls blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism and help reduce inflammation) under control, which can maintain adequate levels of testosterone, the powerful hormone that influences muscle repair.
4. Carbohydrates drive the process
Carbohydrates should not be overlooked, especially in a world where a low carb diet is considered a fundamental pillar to remove body fat. If your goal is to gain mass, you need carbohydrates and many of them so your body grows.
Carbohydrates fuel your workout, allowing you to strive more and more and trigger a hormonal mechanism in the body that drives amino acids from proteins to muscle tissue to aid in repair and recovery. Carbohydrates are the fuel of the body that will enable you to pull those weights and exercise for long.
If you follow a low-carb diet, chances are you cannot train as hard as needed to stimulate hypertrophy, the energy balance in your body will decrease and you would not be able to take advantage of the exercise. On the contrary, heavy exercising combined with a low card diet can have an adverse impact on your body.
To gain the ability to help muscles to break the protein. Start by consuming 2 g of carbohydrates per pound of body weight per day (360 g for the type 180 lb) and go up to 3-3.3 grams per pound (600 grams About 180 lb for the type). Bodybuilders and Mr. Olympia holders usually recommend the intake of carbohydrates to be twice the intake of the proteins for bodybuilders.
5. Keep your post-workout meal ready and ‘fast’
No more than 30 minutes after training, consume 20 to 30 grams of fast-digesting protein. This is where whey powders that can be easily mixed with water with a shaker are used most. Also eat 50-60 grams of fast-digesting carbohydrates, fat-free such as cookies, muffins, fruit drink, Gatorade, or any other carbohydrate-rich drink.
The combo of fast-digesting whey protein and simple carbohydrates almost immediately reverses muscle breakdown that results from intense training.
You can also tilt the hormonal status of your body one in which the muscle is under attack with one that supports the process of reconstruction.
6. Make a staple meat
Talk to a bodybuilder about diet and he will tell you how difficult it can be to maintain muscle mass when red meat is eliminated from your diet. Red meat such as the steak and ground beef lean muscle tends to develop the muscles better than white meat such as chicken or turkey.
Some say it is the highest content of vitamins and minerals, while others point out that red meat is dense in creatine (which increases strength in the gym) and carnitine (which helps elevate testosterone levels).
Or it could be that a diet rich in red meat tends to provide adequate dietary fat, which also supports the production of testosterone in the body.
Eating a low-fat diet for an extended period, even if it is rich in proteins, carbohydrates and total calories cannot support testosterone levels to the extent necessary for growth.
If you do not eat meat or red meat, you need to fill its place with cottage cheese or Paneer, which is a good source of fat and protein.
7. Come filled before training
Conventional wisdom says that you should not train with a full stomach. But truth be told, eat a larger meal an hour or so before training. It allows you to train harder and provides abundant body carbohydrates before training and gives you enough proteins that prevent muscle breakdown.
Such food can make the beginner feel bloated, but eventually, your body will adapt secreting digestive juices needed to cope with the strong entry of food. To begin, eat a chicken breast and a potato medium to the medium oven for about two hours before going to the gym.
It will protect your muscles catabolization and you will experience an energy boost, which should allow you to train for a longer period of time or with higher intensity.
8. Take a break
Every bodybuilder has experienced this at one point or another that their schedule becomes so tight that they miss a couple of workouts in a row. But they feel surprised when they see their muscles are still growing rather than shrinking. Why? It helps the recovery of the muscles.
Dorian Yates, six times Mr. Olympia used to work out only four days a week but those four days were filled with a high-intensity workout.
Taking the days off, along with proper nutrition, allow the body to compensate and fully recover from recent training sessions.
The same is true with food. It is a good thought to have a "cheat day" every 10 to 14 days and eat, in what you normally do, or add some things that are not on the typical bodybuilding menu: ice cream, cakes, fatty cuts of steak, pizza, fried food, etc.
Should you do it more often than that? Absolutely not. However, taking a single day and switching to a fattier cut of meat, eating a few white bread rolls with dinner and ice cream for dessert, having pizza or having butter chicken earlier in the day, will not hurt. Just the opposite: It will help in terms of muscle growth. Of course, the next day you will have to return to your clean diet or proper diet.
9. Do not over-supplement your body
Your diet should provide you almost all the nutrition you need. What you eat naturally is the best type of nutrition. Many beginners are wrong and believe that supplements are the foundation of their nutritional values in their diet. They never see the results they expect with that diet because they lack the right diet planning which would take them from point A to point B, from thin to bulky.
That being said, apart from protein powder, beginners should follow the basics: a multivitamin/mineral, creatine (03.05 g before and after training), and branched-chain amino acids to help (10.05 g before and after training.) the body remain anabolic.
10. Be Yourself
While the information provided by professional bodybuilders is helpful, it shouldn’t be copied. When it comes to building mass, the best thing to do is create your own diet:
2-2.5 grams of protein and 4-6.5 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per day divided into six meals, with one larger meal before training and quick-acting carbohydrate whey shake afterward. Creating your own menu and listening to your body is a process that requires time and consistency.
Your best option is to pay close attention to your own diet, and weigh yourself every two or three days and keep track of that weight to make sure it is increasing about 1 kilogram every 15-20 days. If you are a professional bodybuilder or aspire to be one, you need to follow professionals such as former Mr. Olympia winners or those who have achieved high in this field for the right guidance.