Bodybuilders often go to extremes with everything they do. They obsess over measuring grams of protein, inches on their arm, or number of pounds they can move in a given exercise. When it comes to nutritional breakdowns, they often go to extremes as well. When it’s time to gain muscle, they often eat all the protein they can find. When it comes to dieting, they often remove all fats from their diet. Both ideas are counterproductive to bodybuilding success, and overall health goals as well.
There are three macronutrients – protein, carbohydrates, and fat. All three are essential for bodybuilding success, as well as everyday bodily function. Bodybuilders need to ensure they consume an appropriate percentage of their total daily calories from each of these three sources.
Carbohydrates – 50%
Fifty perfect of daily calories should come from carbohydrates. Despite the popularity of low-carb diets and the long-believed theory that carbs make people fat, carbs are actually the fuel which allows bodybuilders to build muscle. Carbs should be divided into near-equal portions, with a slightly higher percentage being consumed before and after daily training sessions.
Protein – 30%
Only thirty percent of daily calories should come from protein sources. In a 3500-calorie diet, that’s still nearly 200 grams of protein per day. Protein should be present in the bloodstream as frequently as possible, broken down into at least 6 daily servings of at least 30 grams.
Fat – 20%
This number may surprise some people, as fats carry a stigma of being “bad for you”. The truth is actually the opposite – fats contain vital building blocks for not only building muscle, but also healthy organ function. Without any fats, a bodybuilder would shortly be going tombstone shopping. Fats keep you alive. Twenty percent of daily caloric intake should come from fats – the healthy kind found in oil, meat, and nuts.
Breaking down the numbers…
For your calculation reference, each gram of protein contains 4 calories. Each gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories as well. Fat contains 9 calories per gram. Find your baseline daily caloric requirements, multiply by the % above, and then divide by the number of calories per gram. This will give you the daily estimation of grams of each macronutrient required. Find a healthy balance between the three macronutrients, and you will find long-term bodybuilding, and health, success.