Muscle is the lynchpin of bodybuilding, and hypertrophy is the process of building muscle. You cannot get by in bodybuilding without doing what it says on the tin: building your body. To do this- to elicit muscle growth through hypertrophy- two things will be required:
- Resistance training (usually weightlifting)
- Sound nutrition
Bodybuilding is often referred to as a lifestyle. This is because you will generally see most of the results coming from what you do in the kitchen, rather than on the gym floor. Of course, hard training is needed. But to recover and build muscle requires you to get your nutrition on point.
What does this mean?
This means that a massive lifestyle change will be required for most newcomers as they gear every minute of their day towards maximising their results. You will need to make sure you are eating everything possible to get the most out of your training.
Today, I’ll lay out five of the best foods you can be including in your diet in order to be the best bodybuilder you can be.
Four foods that you should be including in your diet
You will want to make the most of meat, poultry and fish if you can. Steak, ground beef, lean pork, chicken breast, game, cod and, of course, salmon are top of this list. However, for many, salmon is the winner.
It’s rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, is a fantastic source of muscle-building protein, is high in B Vitamins, Potassium and Selenium, contains plenty of antioxidants and may even reduce the risk of heart disease.
Many- if not all- vegetables should feature in your diet. Peas, salad leaves, cucumbers, asparagus, peppers, mushrooms, garlic and onion are all must-haves. However, there has to be a winner. For me, this is leafy greens like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
They are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre. However, they are very low in calories, so you can eat plenty without worrying about your energy intake going over.
Health benefits to be had from including leafy greens in your diet can include a reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and mental decline.
Seeds and nuts should be common in your diet. Peanuts are a great source of fat and protein, whilst the oily fats and fibre from seeds will do your gut and digestive health the world of good. Flax and chia seeds in particular will keep you regular!
Walnuts are the king of nuts, though. They are expensive as a rule, but you don’t need too many of them.
They are a great source of healthy fat and protein. In addition, a diet rich in walnuts can bring about many health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants and are a fantastic source of plant-based omega-3, making them great for reducing inflammation. Walnuts also promote gut health, may help to manage type II diabetes and blood pressure, and have been linked to a decreased risk from certain cancers.
Beans and legumes should also be common in your diet. They provide excellent plant-based protein, alongside a great deal of dietary fibre. Try beans on toast or a breakfast burrito in the morning to set yourself up for the day ahead.
Of all beans and legumes, however, lentils are my favourite. They are humble, cheap and versatile. Cook them up into an Indian dal or use them to create veggie burger patties.