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Natural Bodybuilding Nutrition
By Tom Faller

Wrong nutrition will hinder you from growing as much as wrong training. If you got the basic rules in proper eating this will not only help reach your training goals easier but also improve your health and overall wellness.

Generally you need all that is referred to as 'healthy' nutrition. If beer, cakes, soft-drinks, sweets (chocolate), mayo, salad dressings are part of your everyday food, you should rethink it. The following elements are needed to make your training successful, to build and recover your body:

Proteins

Everybody knows that muscles are made of proteins. Proteins are made of amino acids in different proportions (e.g. glutamate, aspartate, alanine, serine, valine, leucine). Not all proteins are as well absorbing as others because of their chemical structure. Take cow milk for example of which you will probably not get all proteins in your blood stream because of their complex structure. How much protein are needed for a bodybuilder was always subject to controverse discussions. In the end it seams that the following guidelines are true: There is a minimal intake level to make sure your body can grow that is around 1 to 2 grams per kilogram of your body weight. There is an upper level (more than 4 grams per kilogram?) over which protein is just torn down by your liver. Some good natural protein sources are turkey, chicken, fish (white), lean red meat, egg whites.

Do you need protein supplements?

Protein supplements are not needed and are no magic key to boost up your body, but they are healthy so far. As a natural bodybuilder there is a reasons to take them: If you can't or don't want to always prepare good food on a regular basis. A protein drink at the right time can make life easier. L-Glutamine, the most important amino acid for muscles, is another good example for supplementing: When dieting or doing much cardio it can help to prevent your muscle tissue to be torn off.

Carbohydrates

The faster the local energy stores in the muscles are filled after a heavy workout the faster protein synthesis can start and make you grow. Its urgent to have lots of carbs ready during a workout and also after it.

To differ carbs by complex and simple carbohydrates was a pretty good approach but today there is a better: Stick to carbs with a low glycemic index because they don't let your blood sugar peak. Its is better to have a constant carb intake the whole day which ensures that protein synthesis can go on without interrupt and its less probable to save excess energy in form of fat.

Vitamins

They are urgent in catching free radicals which are the destruction products of weight training, some are directly involved in the synthesis of muscle buildup (B complex vitamins). They can also help to support your immune system which could be 'overloaded' by excessive training.

Minerals

Minerals are used in making bones, tendons and joints stronger, which is an nice side effect of weight training (if you don't take steroids).

Fats

There are essential fatty acids that can't be built by the body and must therefor come from your nutrition, say a tea spoon of them a day. But for the rest its a must to have a low fat diet for every trainee. More and more people are realizing that excess bulking up and dieting down just makes them stand still in a long time perspective. There's normally no reason to have a high fat diet.

How to lose fat?

Sometimes people ask why I am always in shape. I think in a long time perspective when it comes to fat. When I'm missing some weight (e.g. after holidays or after being sick) I concentrate on eating a bit more than normally but still quality food and have my weight back in 3 to 4 months. When I have too much fat I concentrate on eating better food (but not necessarily less) the next half year or so to reach my goal towards the following summer. I don't calculate calories, I steer by starting from the current intake and adjusting towards my goals. Of course this needs some experience with your body.

How much eating?

In the army I learned to eat a lot and I gained 8 pounds of pure muscles without much training (only on weekends). Thats when I realized that for me its important to eat enough to grow. Now I eat enough when the 'engine is burning', meaning hours and days after workouts. On real off days I don't overeat because this would be stored as body fat anyway.

My main advice is: Eat healthy and eat a lot!

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