By Team FLEX
No matter your genetics or the goals you've set for yourself, you need to follow the rules of bodybuilding nutrition if your hard training is going to pay off. Here's the second part in our 7-part series.
11 MEAT MAKES MUSCLE
All forms of protein are good for bodybuilders seeking to add muscle mass, but lean forms of meat are among the best. Turkey, chicken, beef and other meats have complete proteins, meaning they contain all the amino acids that your body needs - other forms of protein, especially vegetable sources, are incomplete and thus less-concentrated sources of protein. For best results, FLEX recommends that bodybuilders strive to take in some form of animal protein at least once if not two or more times a day. Among the best meat choices are chicken and turkey breast, as well as lean cuts of red meat.
12 EAT BOTH FATTY AND LOW-FAT FISH
Fish, an excellent source of protein, should be consumed regularly by bodybuilders. Varying in fat content, some types of fish are high in healthy fats,. others are low in fat altogether. Unlike other tissue proteins, though, fatty fish provide a host of benefits to bodybuilders. Salmon and sardines, for example, are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which support the immune system and assist with muscle recovery and growth, in addition to many other benefits. Fish that are lower in fat, such as tuna, also make an excellent source of protein. All bodybuilders, regardless of their phase of diet or training goals, should strive to take in eight ounces of fatty fish at least twice a week.
13 EGGS ARE AN EXCELLENT SOURCE OF PROTEIN
Eggs are a versatile, easy-to-cook and easy-to-consume protein source. They're also relatively inexpensive. Eat just the egg whites if you're seeking a low-calorie protein source. Use the yolks when you want the benefits of various fats, lecithin and other nutrients. Eggs can be boiled in bulk, they're easily transported, and they make fine between-meal fare.
14 DAIRY IS VERSATILE
As do eggs, dairy products provide many dietary options. First and foremost, milk proteins -- casein and whey -- have innumerable nutritional benefits. Nonfat milk is an excellent cheap and readily available source of protein, calcium and other nutrients. Cottage cheese is the casein fraction of milk and an outstanding bodybuilding protein -- you can find low- or nonfat varieties that are relatively inexpensive. Unsweetened yogurt is also a good protein source, and it contains beneficial bacteria to help support the immune system and improve digestive efficiency.
15 USE GRAINS AND STARCHES AS APPROPRIATE
Some bodybuilders shy away from grains such as white rice and wheat because they are mostly carbohydrates. Others include liberal portions of pasta, cereal and bread in their diets. In general, you should include grains, but pay attention to how they affect your physique. Some bodybuilders can eat them every day with little consequence. Others need to carefully monitor the quantity they take in. Regardless, all bodybuilders should opt for whole-grain varieties over processed grains.
16 EAT VEGETABLES EVERY DAY
Vegetables are one of the most overlooked components of bodybuilding nutrition. Many bodybuilders are rigorous about their protein and complex carbohydrate consumption, but lax about eating a sufficient quantity and variety of vegetables. Bodybuilders should strive to take in five or six servings every day. To meet your needs, include more than one serving at a meal. Not only do vegetables provide nutrients that other bodybuilding foods may lack, but they also provide bulk and fiber, helping your body more efficiently process a high-protein diet.
17 FRUIT PROVIDES NUTRIENTS AND FIBER
Many bodybuilders skimp on fruit, just as they do with vegetables. Fruit is an excellent source of fiber, carbs, antioxidants and numerous other nutrients. Fruit also supplies nutrients that are hard to come by from other bodybuilding food sources. Eat a range of fruits, taking in two or more pieces or servings a day.
18 FATTY FOODS PROVIDE MANY BODYBUILDING BENEFITS
Low-fat diets have gone out of vogue in the world of bodybuilding. Bodybuilders have learned instead to cut harmful saturated and trans fats while boosting healthy unsaturated fats, especially omega-3s. Foods such as olives, avocados, nuts and seeds, and olive, flaxseed and canola oils are all high in healthy fats, and they should be a part of a bodybuilder's daily diet. Healthy fats are essential for optimizing growth, recovery, mood and even fat loss.
19 USE SUPPLEMENTS INTELLIGENTLY
Supplements are a tool to help you achieve your goals. They are not magic pills and potions that will grant your physique wishes. You must use supplements intelligently, with reasonable expectations of what they can do for you. You still have to train and rigorously follow your diet. If you do the hard work and use supplements as they're designed, then you'll get the benefits that you seek from them.
20 USE PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS
Take a protein supplement at least once a day. If you choose a product from a good manufacturer, this practice can give you an extra 40-50 g of protein per day, and it will help bring you into compliance with FLEX's standard protein recommendation (at least 1 g of protein per pound of bodyweight daily). It's often enough to cause acceleration in muscle growth, usually noticeable within four months. It's especially important to follow this formula when dieting. Higher protein needs and restricted caloric intake make a protein supplement essential.