The discipline of bodybuilding can benefit anybody, even those who are not hoping to compete in bodybuilding competitions one day. But that discipline is about a lot more than just lifting weights and pumping up. The diet of a bodybuilder is crucial to his or her success in sculpting that perfect shape.
It is important to understand what a bodybuilding diet is doing to help you accomplish your goals. The difference between fat loss and weight loss may seem like a small distinction. But it is quite important. A well balanced bodybuilder’s diet puts a much greater emphasis on fat loss and less on weight loss. There are some very good reasons for that.
Despite the big emphasis in the culture about the trials and tribulations of weight loss, anybody with a little discipline can do it. The formula is simply to use up more calories every day than you take in through your diet. So if you need 3000 calories a day for your basic daily activity, you simply craft your diet to eat fewer than that and you will lose weight. The tricky part is making sure that the calories you do eat are balanced with all of the nutrition and energy supply so your body doesn’t begin to burn up muscle instead of fat.
A diet that would be a disaster for a bodybuilder’s development goals would be one that as high in sugar but low in nutrition. Even if that diet was carefully measured so that the dieter was eating fewer calories than he or she would burn up based on lifestyle and body weight, that weight loss would be detrimental to the goals of building muscle. Because the body would require more calories than is in the diet but it was not being provided with sufficient nutrition, the weight loss will come from muscle rather than from fat loss as is desired. You will get smaller but your body to fat ratio will not change or it will get worse.
Another mistake bodybuilders sometimes make is to work out very aggressively but not compensate for that additional use of calories in diet. By keeping their diet low based on an activity level that was measured before aggressive training took place, the bodybuilder would not be replacing valuable nutrition that the body needs fast enough.
For a couple weeks, this kind of strategy would seem to work well because you would lose weight very quickly. But the stress you will put on your metabolism would kick the body into an emergency mode and you will stop losing fat. Instead, the body will start to consume muscle because it would think it was starving and it needed that muscle for energy to keep the organism alive. Not only is this inefficient in terms of your bodybuilding goals, it can be dangerous over time.
Of course, none of us can hit the ideal bodybuilding diet but it helps to know what it looks like. The goal is to assure a smooth transition of your body that works well with your level of working out each week. Instead of dropping the calorie level severely, try for a moderate reduction of calories. So if you calculate that you would ordinarily need 3000 calories a day, shoot for 2700 or so which creates a deficit from diet but not a severe one. But be sure that diet is well balanced so you hit all of your nutrition needs and goals despite the reduce calorie quality of your meals.
You will naturally lose more calories from your workouts each week. But because the natural calorie depletion is not caused by an extreme diet, you will not experience loss of muscle or bone tissue because of the lower calorie intake. The body does not go into extreme metabolic shutdown so it burns fat for the extra energy it needs, which is the goal.
While these guidelines are good to understand so you are an intelligent guide of your own health and development, it is always good to get help form your trainer or from reading or good bodybuilding websites (like this one). The more educated you are, the better you will do at developing and staying on a bodybuilder diet and exercise plan that will lead to your ultimate success.