YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
You’ve heard the cliché a thousand times before, but it’s an accurate one nonetheless. The way we look, the way we feel, and the way we function as people is mainly down to the foods we consume.
The diet of a middle-aged couch potato looks a lot different to the diet of a toddler. Likewise, the meals of a bodybuilder will look nothing like those of a ballet dancer.
Food quantities vary too. Librarians don’t eat the same huge portions as lumberjacks. See, food is fuel for the mind and body. How you eat depends largely on who you are, and how you want to be.
There’s a wise old French proverb that goes something like this:
“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you what you are.”
Proper Food and Quantities
Wanting a stronger physique and knowing how to build muscle are two different things. The late American bodybuilder—Vince Gironda—once said that bodybuilding is 80% nutrition. Was he right?
You will never build muscles without training, but nor will training alone cut it if you eat the wrong types of food. Some guys slipup by eating the right foods but in the wrong portions.
In terms of bodybuilding, you need to embrace three macronutrients:
- Quality protein
- Good carbohydrates
- Healthy fats and oils
My articles explain all there is to know about these macronutrients and why they’re so important. The more knowledge you have, the more interesting your journey becomes.
So getting the diet right is fundamental to your success. My diet and nutrition category looks at quality food and proper nutrition. We also look at quantities and meal planning in some detail.
I think a focus on nutrition is more important in the early days. Training tends to take precedence more at the maintenance stages of bodybuilding. Both are always essential, but priorities may change.
Nothing Replaces Proper Nutrition
To sculpt that perfect body you have to be deadly serious about nutrition. Burger and fries, or a bucket of deep fried chicken with ketchup, will do nothing to help. Full commitment is the only way forward.
My category on food & nutrition teaches you everything you need to know about muscle building diets. From these articles you’ll be able to tailor meal plans that match your specific bodybuilding needs.
You might miss certain foods to begin with, especially junk meals, but these cravings soon pass. You certainly won’t go hungry, and you won’t have to worry about a lack of variety either.
Forbidden and Allowed Foods for Bodybuilders
Food is so important for successful bodybuilding that you have to remember three vital things:
- What you can eat
- What you can’t eat
- What you can eat but in strict moderation
It sounds like a lot to take in, but it won’t be long before you’re an expert, not if you’re keen.
I go into the details of various foods in my articles. For now, I just want to run over the permissible, forbidden, and sometimes OK foods on a typical weight training diet.
The list below highlights permissible foods for bodybuilding, though there are many more:
- Steak (top or bottom round)
- Ground beef (95% lean)
- Chicken breast (boneless & skinless)
- Turkey breast
- Tuna and other types of fish including high-protein seafood
- Eggs: free range duck eggs if you can find them
- Fat free cottage cheese
- Some high-protein canned foods, deli, and snacks
- Greek yogurt
- Brown rice
Some of the most known forbidden foods for bodybuilders include:
- Drink booze you loose
- Fruit juice and non-diet sodas
- High fat/high carb foods
- Flavored oatmeal
- White bread, rice cakes, bagels
- Most breakfast cereals
- Soy protein
The third list looks at foods permissible in moderation or as occasional treats:
- Nuts (including peanut butter)
- Potatoes, rice, pasta, yams, whole grain bread
- Certain sauces and spices
There will be others but we don’t want to zoom in on any of these food types just yet.
Meal planning for bodybuilders is one area that a lot of newbies overcomplicate. I can promise you it’s a lot easier than it sounds. My articles on meal planning along with meal suggestions will prove this.
Remember, you’re not going to eat like normal people. Whether you’re eating to bulk up, lose body fat, or maintain your physique, your meal plans will always be very goal-specific.
I have templates that make the job of meal planning so much easier whatever your goal. Each of these templates comes with general guidelines to help you track those all-important elements in grams:
- Total calories
- Total carbs
- Total protein
- Total fat
In my food & diet category you’ll find everything you need to know about the bodybuilder’s diet. This includes eating for specific purposes too, like pre and post workouts.
It won’t take long before you know what to add to your shopping list and what to leave out. With the right foods and the proper training, you’re going to change the way you look and feel forever.