If you go into any gym in the world and randomly ask 100 people to pinpoint the most important thing for achieving success in bodybuilding and fitness, you'd probably get just as many different answers. Most replies, however, would involve various training programs or styles.
As important as training is, nutrition plays an equally large role — your diet is almost always responsible for either success or failure in bodybuilding and virtually any fitness program. Here I'll present a basic nutrition program that includes some key tips on nutritional timing, metabolic enhancement and preferred food and supplement choices. This program can teach you how to determine your daily protein, carbohydrate, fat and caloric needs. So get your calculators and notebooks ready; back-to-basics Nutrition 101 is about to begin.
DAILY CALORIC INTAKE
Before we examine the various macronutrients, let's look at the common denominator that links all types of foods: calories. This is a topic that has been used and abused a lot over the past several years. At one point, high-calorie diets were in, then low-calorie diets came back in fashion. The same holds true for protein, carbohydrate and fat. Opinions seem to change all the time.
The following formula, on the other hand, is tried and true. If you follow it and make adjustments as needed, you can't help but achieve nutritional nirvana. Unlike many of the complex formulas for figuring daily caloric needs that have been introduced, my formula is a simple, effective method.
If your goal is to add muscle while not adding bodyfat, or even slowly eliminating bodyfat, multiply your weight (in pounds) by 13, 14 or 15 — 13 if you have a slow metabolism, 14 for a moderate metabolism and 15 for a fast metabolism. For hardgainers or those who simply want to gain weight, multiply your weight by 16, 17 or 18 according to the same metabolic progression. If your aim is to lose fat, multiply your current bodyweight by 10, 11 or 12 — again, 10 if you have a slow metabolism, 11 for a moderate metabolism and 12 for a fast metabolism
Use this as a starting point; you may need to adjust your caloric intake by 50--100 calories per day if you plateau and have trouble achieving your desired goals. This formula also works nicely as a starting point for bodybuilders who want to calculate their varying caloric needs over the course of a year. Precontest bodybuilders would multiply their desired bodyweight by 10, 11 or 12, according to their metabolism. Off-season bodybuilders would multiply their current or desired weight by any number from 13 to 18, depending on how fast their metabolism is and how lean they want to stay in the off-season. This formula works equally well for both men and women.
THE MACRONUTRIENT MIX
After figuring your daily caloric needs, you'll want to figure out how many grams of protein, carbohydrate and fat you should take in per day. Roughly 30%--35% of your calories...