Bodybuilding nutrition is a very tricky topic to discuss. While working out and eating clean can make us much healthier than the average American, the excesses that are often required in order to maintain a level of weight and muscle mass (which our bodies were never designed to do) almost always involves the consumption of too much food. Top bodybuilders spend decades eating more food than they need, and as a result their body weights skyrocket. This places demands upon the heart, organs which must process what we eat, and our overall system battling toxins to keep our immune system high and our bodies free from ailments.
Are you ready to balance health and bodybuilding eating? You should start by establishing your baselines. These will include the caloric and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) that you require each day to function normally and in good health. Also determine the total amount of calories and macronutrients you will need to consume each day in order to make consistent gains in muscular weight – these numbers will be significantly higher, of course. And these higher numbers will bring with them additional health risks.
Now, it’s time to step back and evaluate these two sets of numbers. They will be very different, to say the least. There’s a good chance you could live a long, healthy life by eating 1800 calories per day, a minimum of fat and protein, and a nice pile of clean carbohydrate sources. On the other hand, the amount of food you’ll need to add muscle weight will be much higher. You will likely want to consume 3500 or more calories per day, along with much higher levels of protein and fat. The key to success is to find the numbers in between these two. You want to decide how much health benefit you are willing to trade off, in order to garner the most possible muscle gain benefit.
Deciding your ideal numbers will depend upon your life, family, and bodybuilding goals. If you are a single man in his 20s, then you may allow yourself more leeway in increasing calories (and resulting risks that arise with high fat and protein consumption). However, if you are in your late 30s, have a family, and are more concerned with how you function and feel than what you would look like on a bodybuilding stage, and then lower numbers will be ideal for you.
Bodybuilding training, nutrition and supplementation are not the goals of life. Rather, they are tools and practices we employ to live a better quality of life. There is the 1% of people who will make their health much worse through the heavy use of bodybuilding drugs. There is the other 10% that will eat tremendous amount of high fat, high protein foods in order to hold a body weight that nature never intended for them. The remainder of people work hard to find a healthy body weight that allows them to live a long life, while carrying some additional muscle – and so should you!
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