Eat To Win - Diet & Nutrition for Bodybuilders and Fitness Competitors
Nov. 13, 2013
While the physical work of training gets all the glory, diet and nutrition play a huge role in meeting your goals. In fact, some experts say that mastering nutrition is 70% of the overall contest-preparation challenge.
And the first step is figuring out how much you should eat a day to reach your goals.
Total Caloric Intake
It really is simple to determine what you need:
To lose weight, take your current weight and multiply it by 12 to lose up to 2 pounds per week. So for example if your weight is 200– multiply that by 2 pounds per week for a total of 2400 calories. This is your daily total caloric intake.
To maintain weight, multiply your current weight by 15 (in our example: if your current weight is 200 pounds, multiplied by 15 it would be 3,000 calories).
To gain weight, multiply your current weight by 20 (in our example, the result is 4,000 calories to gain 2 pounds per week).
Your Carb-Protein-Fat Ratio
Once you know your target total caloric intake, the question is: what is the proportion of carbohydrates proteins and fat you should have?
Generally, we like to have proteins equal 50%, carbohydrates equal 20% and fat equal 30% of total calories. So, if your total caloric intake is 2,400 calories, you need to have 1,200 calories in protein, 480 calories in carbohydrates and 720 in fat calories.
It’s pretty easy to determine the number of calories in each category. However, most food labels have the information in grams. Unfortunately, this means we have to do little more math to figure out the calories from the food label.
For proteins: 4 calories = 1 gram
For carbohydrates: 4 calories = 1 gram
For fat: 9 calories = 1 gram
Once you have this information, be sure you carefully watch your portion sizes for each of the 3 main components. Finally, you should always eat with your goal in mind. But at 10 weeks out from the competition, you should start become very diligent and exacting about your diet.
A Simple Rule for Finding Good Foods
Fitness expert Darin Steen says to look for foods with ingredients you can pronounce, “The more chemicals, ingredients, or words listed that you can’t pronounce, the worse it is for you.”
Even if you can pronounce the crazy ingredients, avoid things like trans fats—usually indicated by words like “partially hydrogenated,” “fractionated” or “hydrogenated.” Also, steer clear of high fructose corn syrup and monosodium glutamate.
Instead, get the “good” fats—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. For example, use virgin olive oil in food preparation and choose fatty fish.
Many seeds, nuts, dark leafy greens and flaxseed oils are good polyunsaturated fats. They are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids which lower blood pressure, beat back bad cholesterol (LDL), and help the brain and nervous system to run nice and healthy.
Also focus on good carbs—whole grain breads, fibrous fruits, and veggie like squash, apples, and sweet potatoes. Get enough protein from beans, whey, chicken and fish. Kick processed sugars and white bread to the curb—they will spike your blood sugar and be stored as fat.
Don’t limit fats so much that it makes you want to overindulge. Also, schedule a “cheat day” where you get to eat a favorite food like pizza or a cheeseburger. After all, you have to some fun!