A bodybuilding diet should ideally take several factors into consideration in order to be effective. Bodybuilders are typically advised to eat several small meals per day, rather than few large ones. Experts largely agree that an effective bodybuilding diet plan should contain the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Bodybuilders are generally counseled to eat higher concentrations of protein in order to facilitate new muscle growth. Bodybuilders are usually advised to drink plenty of water and avoid saturated fats.
A good bodybuilding diet should typically contain plenty of protein, more than the average person needs. Bodybuilders often need extra protein because the body uses protein to build new muscle tissue. Bodybuilders are generally advised to eat 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body weight. Protein should usually make up about 40 percent of the bodybuilder's diet. Good sources of protein for bodybuilders include lean meat, fish, eggs, milk, and poultry. Black beans, non-instant oatmeal and protein shakes are usually good sources of plant protein for bodybuilders, and can help supply fiber and carbohydrates as well.
Bodybuilders also usually need carbohydrates for energy. Bodybuilders are generally advised to follow a diet that is 40 percent carbohydrate. Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains and many vegetables, are often preferred. Bodybuilders may eat simple carbohydrates, such as those found in fruits, after a workout in order to keep post-workout blood sugar levels from falling.
Bodybuilders usually need to eat a diet that is about 20 percent fat. Without fat, the body may no longer be able to produce adequate amounts of the various hormones, including testosterone, that play a role in building new muscle tissue. Experts typically recommend that bodybuilders avoid saturated fats, such as those found in hydrogenated vegetable oils. These fats may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Good fats, such as the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in fish, nuts, and many vegetable oils, help to keep the body's processes functioning properly.
In addition to eating the right nutrients in the right balance, the best bodybuilding diet should allow for plenty of water consumption. Water generally helps facilitate all of the body's processes. Bodybuilders who drink plenty of water typically experience greater success than those who do not.
The best bodybuilding diet usually cycles calorie intake to keep the metabolism high. This practice is often referred to as caloric cycling. Caloric cycling techniques may vary widely, depending on the specific goals of the bodybuilding program.