Would you like to indulge during Valentine’s Day but wouldn’t want to break your macros? It is doable. Unlike weight training, where you need to lift weights to achieve lean muscle mass and improve your general health, bodybuilding focuses on massive muscle growth with more emphasis on appearance than performance.
Thus, you need to eat right within your macros to achieve your dream. But eating doesn’t need to be boring. Here is a comprehensive guide on the best bodybuilding foods you can eat during valentine’s that are both healthy and delicious.
Understanding Bodybuilding Nutrition
There isn’t a specific bodybuilding nutrition plan that fits everyone. Nonetheless, as a bodybuilder, your nutrition program should include calorie-counting and watching your macros.
Calorie counting needs you to track the calories you intake to see how much you eat daily. Macronutrients, abbreviated as macros, help ensure that from the calories you consume, you eat from the three groups of macronutrients- protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
The number of macros you need to take will depend on your body. However, you need to intake high carbs, moderate protein, and low and moderate fat.
How to Determine Your Macro Goals
As a bodybuilder, your main goal is to increase muscle mass. Therefore, you need to watch what you eat and remain within your macros. But how do you determine how many macros your body needs?
- Identify Your Daily Energy Expenditure: To determine how many calories and macros you need, you need to identify your daily energy expenditure. Your energy expenditure refers to the calories you burn. It will depend on personal factors like activity level, height, age, and weight. Fortunately, there are online calorie calculators to help determine your energy expenditure. Alternatively, you can use a calorie tracking app.
- Define Your Goal: As a bodybuilder, your main goal is to gain muscle. The two primary goals are bulking and cutting. You can either aim to bulk, build muscle, or cut, which involves losing fat and weight. When looking to gain muscle, you need to eat more calories.
- Determine Your Macros: Identifying your macros includes identifying the specific serving of proteins, carbs, and fats you need. Your macros will depend on the calories you burn each day. There are online macro calculators that you can use to determine your needs. The recommended ratio is; Protein (30-35%), Carbs (55-60%) and fat (15-20%).
What is The Anabolic Diet, and How Does It Work?
If you have heard of the anabolic diet, you know it is a diet that aims to turn your body into a full fat-burning machine. But how does it work, and are the claims practical, or is it too good to be true?
The anabolic diet includes carbohydrate cycling, where you alternate low and high carbs. DiPasquale, a competitive powerlifter and physician, developed the diet to help people gain muscle mass while keeping their body fat stores at a minimum.
According to DiPasquale, your body can burn more fat and use it as fuel by alternating carbohydrate intake. Thus, you can preserve a lot of muscle mass. The main benefit of the anabolic diet is it doesn’t restrict calories. When looking to maintain muscle mass, your body will need calories. Therefore, a diet that limits or decreases calorie intake could result in lean body tissue.
Phases of the Anabolic Diet
The anabolic diet has three phases. They include:
- The Induction Phase: It is the first phase and is suggested for at least between a week and four weeks, during which your calorie intake level should be 18 times your body weight (in pounds). This phase aims to make your body accustomed to low-carb intake. Thus, it is also referred to as the maintenance phase.
- Bulk Phase: It is the second phase that follows induction. The bulk phase aims to help you achieve your desired bulk weight. Thus, there isn’t a specific timeline. You remain in this phase until you reach your desired weight gain.
- Cutting Phase: This is the last phase and should continue until you reach your preferred body fat percentage. Always aim for a less than 10% body fat percentage. The cutting phase includes low-carb plans aimed to cut between 500 and 1000 calories from the calories you consumed during the maintenance phase.
List of Anabolic Foods
Foods that fit well in the anabolic diet include;
- Diary- whey, eggs, cheese, etc.
- Red meat- ham, beef, lamb, pork, bacon, etc.
- Fats- olive oil, fish oil, butter, etc.
- Poultry- turkey, chicken, etc.
- Vegetables-spinach, celery, spinach, green beans, peppers, asparagus, avocado
- Shellfish- lobster, prawns, crab, etc.
Tasty Bodybuilding Treats You Can Indulge Over Valentines
You can let your valentines be delicious and healthy as you spoil your loved one. Some treats you should consider are hardcore valentine chicken and protein-loaded chocolate truffles.
Other macro-friendly foods include steak, roasted garlic barley risotto, and strawberry coconut pudding.
What to Eat and Foods to Avoid
As a bodybuilder, your success depends on your diet as it does on training. You need to ensure you eat the right foods in the correct amounts to supply your muscles with the necessary nutrients to grow big, strong, and recover from workouts. Consuming the wrong foods or the right foods in small amounts might slow your results.
You should eat meat, fish, poultry, dairy, starchy vegetables, and fruits. Our anabolic foods list above contains more details into foods you can eat in each category.
It is encouraged to include different foods in your diet. However, you should limit foods like alcohol. Alcohol could not only slow your ability to build muscle, but it can also negatively affect your ability to lose fat, especially when consumed excessively.
You should also avoid consuming added sugars. Sugar contains a lot of calories and very few nutrients. Foods like doughnuts, candy, cakes, and sweetened beverages like soda are not the best pick.
Stay away from deep-fried foods like french fries, fried fish, chicken strips, and onion rings. Deep-fried foods promote inflammation and could result in diseases if consumed in excess.
If you want to take supplements, you can opt for whey protein since it is an easy, effective and convenient way to boost your protein intake. Alternatively, you can opt for supplements with caffeine as it decreases fatigue, increasing your energy to work out harder.
How to Create a Bodybuilding Meal Plan
You want to build muscles and get huge, so you have to find a personal trainer and join a gym, right? Wrong. Sadly, most beginners focus on cranking reps and hitting gym targets while ignoring nutrition.
Nutrition plays a huge role in general muscle growth, recovery, and overall body fitness. Without a proper bodybuilding meal plan, your body won’t have any lean muscle mass. Therefore, you need to develop a meal plan to achieve the muscular physique you are yearning for.
To come up with a meal plan, you need to start by identifying your nutritional needs. Remember, you will need to frequently adjust your bodybuilding diet depending on the change in muscle mass and difficulty in workouts. If you have been increasing your muscle mass over the period you have been training or increased the time you spend weight training, you need to adjust your meals accordingly and eat more.
On the other hand, if the scale shows you have maintained your weight or have lost a few pounds. You will need to adjust your diet and incorporate healthy meals. So, before coming up with a meal plan, you need to determine your body needs at the moment. Remember to track your progress and adjust your diet appropriately.
Add Cheat Days and Cheat Meals
You are only human, and sometimes, cravings could get the better part of you. Besides, holidays and special occasions can be tempting. So, don’t be shy to set aside a day once a week or every two weeks to indulge in a cheat meal. When eating a cheat meal, you don’t need to track calories or feel any shame. However, you shouldn’t overdo your cheat meal.
As you set aside a cheat day, ensure it falls on a training day so that you can put those calories to good use. Since the training is demanding, you can make your leg day a cheat day. Ensure you stick to one cheat meal on your cheating day to avoid breaking your consistency.
Pillars of BodyBuilding Nutrition to Keep in Mind
It is important to understand your body needs and give your muscles the fuel they need to support your workout goals. Here are the pillars of bodybuilding to guide you during your journey:
- Eat When You Need to: It is possible to grow muscles when eating three big meals during the day. However, you should listen to your body and eat when you want to. You can eat multiple small meals or incorporate healthy snacks during the day.
- Hydrate: instead of drinking sweetened beverages, hydrate by drinking water to keep your body energetic. Avoid carbonated drinks that are high in sugar as they can sabotage your body.
- Eat More Lean Protein: to maximize muscle growth and stimulate fat-burning hormones, try to eat protein often. You can use protein powder supplements like whey to increase your protein intake.
- Limit Your Consumption of Processed Foods: always focus on eating healthy and eliminating high-calorie processed foods. Nutrient-poor foods are high in carbs and less satisfying. They increase your cravings and could leave you feeling lethargic.
- Monitor Your Carb Intake: there are two main types of carbs. They can be starchy or non-starchy. Starchy carbs are fast-option meals like pasta and bread, which raise blood sugar. Non-starchy carbs are whole grain options like vegetables and fruits. Focus on incorporating more non-starchy carbs in your meals to maintain your lean muscular body.
As Valentine’s day approaches, we always focus on the best restaurant to dine in and the best place to buy gifts for your spouse. However, this routine is getting old and monotonous. You can show creativity and support by coming up with physique-friendly meals within your macros to meet your spouse’s bodybuilding goals. Our article above contains how to determine your bodybuilding nutrition needs and how to come up with a meal plan.