A good, balanced diet is essential for anyone, whether they are working out or not, but bodybuilders need to be particularly aware of their nutritional needs because of the strenuous workouts involved in a bodybuilding routine. While the nutrients that you need to maintain a healthy body are the same whether you work out or not, the daily amount of these nutrients changes depending on your level of activity. Along with water, there are five main nutrients that every person needs and if you are involved in a fitness or bodybuilding regimen it is especially important to get the proper amount of them each day.
When building muscle, protein is one of the most important additions to your diet. While the numbers vary on exactly how much protein is needed daily, the general consensus is that someone who engages in strenuous activity on a regular basis requires nearly twice the daily amount of protein as someone who lives a very sedentary lifestyle; and for those involved in strength training, the numbers can be even higher. While protein supplements are very popular because they are convenient, eating plenty of foods such as eggs, milk, fish, nuts, meats, and beans will add protein to your diet as well and have many added benefits.
Carbohydrates have gotten a lot of bad publicity (mostly as a result of many fad diets that cut them out completely), but they are your body’s main energy source. This energy is especially important when your body is undergoing regular, vigorous workouts. Superior carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains not only provide your body with the necessary energy to maintain your workouts, but they are packed full of vitamins and minerals. Avoid carbs that are refined or processed because they generally contain not only added sugar, but saturated fats.
Fats are another item on the list that have gotten a bad reputation. While you should limit your fat intake, a certain amount of fats are necessary to many of your body’s functions. All fats are not the same however. Cut out trans fats and saturated fats wherever you can and concentrate on unsaturated fats such as those found in fish, olive oil, and nuts.
Your body needs a certain amount of vitamins for the regulation of its many processes. Some vitamins can be stored in your body (fat soluble) and others must be replenished daily (water soluble). Among the water soluble vitamins that are essential to bodybuilders are B-complex vitamins that help to convert food into much needed energy.
Like vitamins, minerals play an important part in your every- day nutritional needs. Minerals play an important role in the body’s natural processes and each has a specific part to play. One important mineral for bodybuilders, as well as everyone else, is iron, which aids the red blood cells in carrying oxygen throughout the body.
When it comes to bodybuilding and nutrition, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Each person has his or her specific needs in order to maximize their particular training regimen. Consulting with a healthcare professional or a personal trainer is always the best way to analyze your training schedule and determine your specific needs.