Building muscle is, for a great deal, all about your workout program. You have to make sure that you do the right amount of workouts, for the right length of time and with the right resistance. However, you cannot forget the importance of your diet as well. You have to eat the right foods, in the right amount and at the right time in order to really build those muscles. There are four things to think about. These are your carbohydrates, your protein, your fats and your water. Water is essential to keep your body hydrated and to enable it to absorb your nutrients, as well as sustain your body during a heavy workout.
First of all, you need carbohydrates to give you the energy you need in order to actually sustain yourself during a workout.
“Carbohydrate is the predominant energy source during a strength training workout. Stored as glycogen in the muscles, it is the fuel used to supply energy for short, intense bursts of power. The harder and longer you work out, the more glycogen your muscles require.”
As such, you have to determine just how many carbohydrates you need in order to sustain yourself during the workout. This can be a complicated calculation and one that is often hit and miss. This is also due to the fact that as you become stronger, your needs will change, meaning you need to adapt your carbohydrate intake as you go along.
Protein is truly the foundation of building muscle. Where carbohydrate gives you the energy, protein actually gives you the materials. The two cannot do without each other (compare it to construction materials and a construction crew, only when the two are present is it possible to build a home). Protein is full of amino acids, and these are what build your muscle.
“Protein digestion depends on a number of factors including the protein source, how the protein source was prepared, whether or not you are on any drugs that affect the GI tract, and probably a host of other factors.”
So, once again, understanding which proteins you need and when is something that you will have to work out for yourself. Do, however, always choose lean protein because you don’t want to build fat. Unfortunately, it is often a real balancing act.
Fat is also absolutely essential in the body, whether you are a bodybuilder or not. However, you do have to make sure that you get the right kind of fat. The fat you should be looking for is unsaturated.
“Unsaturated fats, especially olive oil, are essential. They help all kinds of functions in the body that affect growth. Plus, they’re a dense source of calories, which is an important factor in adding weight.”
Good sources of unsaturated fat can also be found in fish. Additionally, fish contains a lot of protein, which you need as well. Getting the fat balance right, however, is probably the hardest thing of all, since too much means your work will become undone.