In this part of the article, we focused on the importance of controlled weight loss and diet for bodybuilders.

Weight Loss and Control

Those who are overweight may lose weight more easily at first because as body mass decreases, energy expenditure also decreases. For example, men who were not overweight reduced their baseline energy expenditure by 40% when fed 50% of the daily calories they needed to maintain their current weight for 24 weeks. Of this 40% reduction, 25% was due to weight loss, with the remaining 15% due to metabolic adaptation. Therefore, a person’s calorie needs should also be reconsidered with weight loss. The calorie requirement when starting a diet or exercise will not remain the same after months of continuing that process.

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It should also be remembered here that rapid weight loss is not the ultimate goal and that, after a point, rapid weight loss may do more harm than good. For example, in a study of participants who lost 0.5 kilograms and 1 kilogram per week, those who lost weight faster had a 5% lower bench press strength and a 30% lower testosterone level. Beware of! In people who worked to lose 1.4% and 0.7% of their body weight each week, fat mass decreased by 21% in the faster weight loss group and by 31% in the slower weight loss group after 4–11 weeks.

In addition, long-term diets seem more advantageous instead of short-term diets. For example, bodybuilders who followed a weight loss diet for 12 weeks lost much more weight in the second half of the program and experienced the highest weight loss in the last 3 weeks. Moreover, as a person’s non-fat mass increases (ie, as their adipose/fat mass decreases), so does the risk of losing muscle mass during weight loss.

How Should Muscle Builders Eat?

If your goal is to build muscle, you should choose foods high in fiber, with plenty of vitamins and minerals, without disturbing your nutritional balance. These are nutrients that are beneficial for both muscle development and health. The general recommendation is for muscle-builders who meet or exceed their energy needs to get 1.2–2.2 grams of protein per mass per day. In other words, it is recommended that a man weighing 80 kilograms and trying to build muscle should take 96–176 grams of protein per day, therefore about 30–40 grams of protein at each meal. This amount is different for a 115 kilogram man or a 60 kilogram woman. In addition, as a person’s cardio and resistance training increases and calorie restriction continue, thus reaching a leaner body, protein needs will also change. We strongly recommend that you consult a specialist to determine these.

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It is also not necessary to limit yourself to 2 or 3 meals a day. The important thing is to be able to meet your body’s daily nutritional needs without getting too hungry. There is no harm in eating 4–5 meals a day (of course, there should be smaller meals than 3 meals). When you feel hungry between these meals, you can eat foods containing branched-chain amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine or valine. In addition, as long as you eat adequately and properly, changing the frequency of meals does not seem to have any benefit in the short term.

A tasty&healthy dishAs a protein source, your best choice, other than meat, would be milk and dairy products. However, it is recommended that dairy products have a high fat content, so skim or low-fat dairy products should be preferred. The sugar in milk is lactose sugar, and not everyone can digest this sugar. Whey protein, also known as whey, is obtained by isolating the protein in dairy products and is a nutritional source that many bodybuilders refer to. Other than that, fish, especially omega-3-rich fish like salmon, are great sources of protein.

What kind of diet you should follow for energy sources such as sugars (carbohydrates) and fats depends on how intensely you work. The energy needs of someone who trains 3 times a day and someone who trains 2 times a week will not be the same, so their diets should be adjusted accordingly. In general, the more you exercise, the higher your energy needs will be. Therefore, as a general recommendation, it is recommended not to exceed a sugar level of 4–7 grams per kilogram per day; however, of course, this amount may need to be adjusted depending on the training phase and your body characteristics. In addition, since reducing the protein content while increasing the sugar content will result in a decrease in your lean mass, it is necessary to adjust what and how much is consumed in a diet that will provide a feeling of satiety.

The biggest problem with sugary foods is that while they’re extremely sweet and appealing, they’re very little filling. In general, the lower the sugar content of a diet, especially the higher the protein/sugar ratio, the higher the feeling of fullness and fat loss from that diet. For this reason, they can be seen as “empty calories” by some, as energy sources that keep you full for a short time without any notable contribution; however, diets containing sugar are not as “monsters” as some sources say. So, this doesn’t mean you should avoid sugary foods altogether.

The key word here is medium or low glycemic carbohydrates: Sugar sources like oatmeal or potatoes, for example, are extremely healthy and recommended for muscle workers as a source of energy. However, high glycemic foods will quickly put you in the so-called “sugar crush” state and make you feel hungry again. In addition, it will be very difficult for you to focus on the exercise you do during this process.

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Another detail you can follow here is the sugar/fiber ratio. In general, we can recommend that you consume foods with a sugar/fiber ratio of 5:1 and lower. For example, if there are 20 grams of carbohydrates in a bread you will eat, you should make sure that it has at least 4 grams of fiber. If a bread containing 20 grams of sugar has only 2 grams of fiber (the ratio is 10:1), it is a very high glycemic index food and it is recommended to stay away from it. Of course, after a very intense workout, you can consume more high-sugar foods to meet your body’s energy needs; because your body will be much less likely to store them as fat. It’s just important that you’re generally conscious of these details.

Finally, although the issue of fat is often put in the background, studies showing the effect of fat on anabolic hormone concentrations indicate that people who want to increase their lean mass should not keep their fat consumption less than necessary. For example, participants who reduced their dietary fat from 40% to 20% had a statistically significant decrease in testosterone, even if only slightly. Of course, it should also be remembered that there is no causality between a decrease in testosterone and a decrease in lean mass. In addition, it is very difficult to analyze this hormonal effect according to factors such as calorie intake and the different effects of saturated and unsaturated fats. However, studies suggest that people who go under calorie restriction consume enough saturated fat to prevent hormone depletion. In order to achieve this, it can be suggested that 15–30% of the energy level taken every day comes from fats.

This article is an excerpt from by Karl Liebermann | Coinmonks | Jun, 2022 | Medium