The formula for a beautiful body includes two components — strength training and proper nutrition. If a novice bodybuilder trains hard but neglects diet, he runs the risk of not getting far in terms of increasing strength and muscle mass. An organism that does not receive the necessary nutrients in sufficient quantities is not able to effectively synthesize muscle tissue, quickly replenish energy reserves and quickly eliminate the effects of stress, which, in fact, are intense strength training.
Choosing the right foods for a sports diet is only half the battle. If you use only ordinary food when doing bodybuilding, then, no matter how you make up the diet, you will not be able to fully satisfy the body’s needs for nutritional compounds. An athlete who actively builds muscle mass needs an increased influx of nutrients, but the human digestive system is able to digest and assimilate a limited amount of food. In this case, you can not do without special additives — sports nutrition products containing in a concentrated form the most important components of a bodybuilder’s nutrition.
Proteins are a key element of the diet for muscle growth
Without proteins, muscle growth is impossible. They are necessary for building new muscle fibers and regenerating old ones injured during training. Protein powders are divided into types depending on the type of raw materials used. They differ in amino acid composition and absorption rate. The most popular are whey and casein proteins. They are both recommended for use when gaining muscle mass, but they should be taken according to different schemes.
Whey protein is an animal-derived sports nutrition made from whey. It is characterized by high bioavailability and fast absorption, contains all nine essential amino acids, including BCAA. Since whey proteins are quickly digested, they are best consumed in the morning and immediately after training, that is, at those moments when it is especially important to ensure the rapid supply of amino acids to the body. After a long night’s sleep, the reserves of useful nutrients in the body are depleted. A cocktail made from 20 grams (for a body weight of 90 kg) of whey powder and a small amount of simple sugars will help fill the deficiency of amino acids. The same portion of protein is recommended to be taken before training. And at the end of the training — in the first half hour — you should drink a cocktail of 40 grams of protein and 80 grams of simple carbohydrates.
Casein protein is made from milk. In composition, it is not inferior to whey protein, but at the same time it has an exceptional property — prolonged absorption. This distinguishes it from other types of proteins. Casein nourishes muscles with amino acids longer than whey protein, so it is useful to take it just before going to bed or in the middle of the night — in this case, you will have to wake up on an alarm clock. It is also recommended to add casein protein to the post-workout shake by mixing it with whey. Use a serving of 20 grams.
Amino acids in the nutrition of a bodybuilder
There are amino acids whose role in gaining muscle mass is especially important. They should be taken additionally: not only as part of protein powders, but also as a separate supplement. Three amino acids — valine, leucine, isoleucine — are combined under the name BCAA (branched amino acids). This is one of the most popular types of sports nutrition. BCAAs are involved in processes such as muscle building, protein resynthesis, energy production (as an alternative source), suppression of catabolism. It is recommended to drink the daily norm of BCAA in three sittings: after waking up, before and after training — 5–10 grams each.
Glutamine is another amino acid that can be supplemented to improve workout performance. Glutamine helps to fill the deficiency of glycogen: it is converted into alanine, which in turn is converted into glucose. This amino acid is also involved in maintaining immunity and ensuring normal brain activity. Glutamine is synthesized in the human body, and other amino acids can be converted into it. But the need for glutamine is very high, and it increases even more with physical exertion, illness and injury. Glutamine is actively used by the cells of the intestinal mucosa. If the digestive system lacks this compound, muscle tissue begins to break down. Glutamine is drunk at a dosage of 7–10 grams in the morning, before and after training, and also at bedtime.
The amino acid arginine, taken as a sports supplement, can improve tissue nutrition. It is a precursor of nitric oxide, which has a vasodilating effect. An abundant supply of blood to the muscles contributes to their saturation with hormones, amino acids, oxygen, glucose, and creatine. Arginine improves wound healing and accelerates the synthesis of growth hormone. Taking arginine in the morning will help transport nutrients to the muscles faster. The daily dose consumed before training will provide the body with somatotropin. Useful and evening intake of arginine — 30–60 minutes before bedtime. Drink an amino acid in a dosage of 2–3 grams.
Other types of sports nutrition: creatine, testosterone booster, vitamins
Creatine is an essential element of a bodybuilder’s diet. It is involved in the creatine phosphate mechanism of ATP resynthesis, being responsible for providing the muscles with energy. In addition, it attracts water into muscle cells, creating optimal conditions for active metabolism. By consuming 3–5 grams of creatine before training, you can improve performance and increase the effectiveness of training. You can also take 3–5 grams of creatine at the end of your workout, combined with whey protein and carbohydrates.
Testosterone boosters are sports nutrition based on natural or synthetic substances that can stimulate the secretion of natural testosterone. They are drunk shortly before training at a dosage of 250–500 mg. Testosterone boosters are designed to enhance the processes of anabolism due to the impact on the body of the male anabolic hormone. They also improve the conductivity of nerve impulses, increase the strength of muscle contractions, and recharge the body with energy.
Vitamins are involved in almost all biochemical processes. They protect muscles from the action of free radicals and contribute to the flow of many biochemical reactions on which the growth of muscle tissue depends. When playing sports, an additional intake of vitamins E and C is especially necessary. These are powerful antioxidants that ensure the safety of muscle cells. It is recommended to take 50 mg of vitamin C and 200–400 IU of vitamin E after each workout, but not immediately, but during lunch — vitamins are better absorbed if consumed with food.