I got to talking over tequila drinks a few weeks ago to a chef who specializes in food preparation for bodybuilders as they train for competitions. The spring is apparently bodybuilding competition season, so she was especially busy preparing meals for the athletes.
As an outsider, I was and still am fascinated by bodybuilding preparation, particularly the diet and nutrition. While there is a plethora of information about bodybuilding dieting available, here is the breakdown of key strategies bodybuilders use to eat healthy and tone before competitions.
Preparation and research will make or break a bodybuilder’s diet. Bodybuilders must plan out meal and workout times; select the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats; prepare the food to maximize nutritional value; and cut the fat — while putting it all together into the right portions. That means preparation, preparation, preparation!
Likewise, balance is key when it comes to a bodybuilding diet. That means instead of focusing on breakfast as the most important and largest meal of the day, bodybuilders eat six to seven times evenly throughout the day. Balance also means having meals with more protein than carbohydrates and more carbohydrates than fats.
Finally, don’t starve yourself. Training for a bodybuilding competition is tricky because it requires cutting body fat and toning muscles while maintaining enough energy to train intensely. So the key is to eat foods that are low in fat and will provide lots of energy. Carbohydrates provide much needed endurance during training and should be eaten before and after workouts. Protein helps maintain muscle, if consumed after a workout. Likewise, fats provide a metabolic boost if consumed before a workout.