Simple Guide to Bodybuilding: Nutrition and Diet | The Locker Room Simple Guide to Bodybuilding: Nutrition and Diet – The Locker Room
Nutrition & Lifestyle

Simple Guide to Bodybuilding: Nutrition and Diet

Calories are the key!

I’ve tried to get round this using what I had hoped where exceptions to the rule over the years. With how different macros have different impacts on the body, nutrient timing & partitioning etc, but it has been working with Paul Scarborough this past year has cemented it for me: There is NO way around kcals in vs kcals out!

You want to grow? Increase kcals in

You want to diet down and drop fat? Increase kcals out

Simple as.

Throw as many studies as you want, this is fact.


Counting calories… and macros while we’re at it…

Tracking calories is vital. Macros make up calories. 4 calories per gram of protein, 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate, 8 or 9 calories per gram fat (depending on fat types). Tracking your calories is important because you need to know what you’re taking in, as a by-product of tracking calories you’ll also be tracking macronutrients.

Like many people I use MyFitnessPal to track what I’m doing. It’s a free app/website which you pretty much NEED in my opinion. There may well be alternatives which I don’t know about, but whatever works for you. Even if you want to jot it down in a book do it so you have a log, it’s would be time consuming and daft when there are free apps around but do what you need to too keep track. Your base calories and macros…

Calories: To find your base, start with your bodyweight in pounds (lbs), then multiply this by 12. So, if you’re 200lbs, multiply that by 12, which is 2400, i.e. your “base” (2400kcals). Get as close to this (either over or under by 0-50kcals per day) and if after a couple of week this has the opposite desired effect (i.e. wanting to gain weight and you end up losing it or visa-versa), increase them or decrease them by 200kcals per day.

All this means is that with your base calories and daily activity for you and your genetics – you are either not in a deficit or not in a surplus… if you’re trying to grow and gain weight but end up losing weight or staying the same, and you’re on your feet all day as a brick-layer, that amount is not enough calories. Protein: The ONLY nutrient that really matters to us physique athletes as we require it for muscle repair and growth. General rule of thumb is that protein should be at 1g per lb of bodyweight. So if 200lbs – 200g protein per day. Count protein from all sources. I put my protein foods into MyFitnessPal first thing, and I leave about 50g shy of my desired total in order to allow for secondary protein sources (i.e. rice) to fill the rest and then “top up” protein amounts by increasing the protein source quantities at the end after I’ve added carbs/fats to hit the required protein amounts. Fats/Carbs: Makes absolutely no difference. IDGAF what anyone says, just go for what you prefer, what digests best, what gives you the best performance and what makes you feel best. Some days I just want eggs and salmon all day. Other days I want rice and bread. It makes no difference for fat loss. Performance in the gym is another matter (potentially) but you can figure that for yourself. A calorie is a calorie. Nothing more nothing less.

Meal frequency

Contrary to folk law, you don’t NEED to eat every 2-3 hours. This is typically what ends up happening though due to the rate in which an athlete metabolises calories, the body will feel hungry in roughly that time period.

However, if you aren’t able to consume your good ol’ chicken and rice due to work meetings or driving or whatever – don’t stress! Just eat when you can. What matters is consuming calories on a daily basis and then a weekly basis. This is how “carb cycling” works… it’s not some magic way that “keeps the body guessing”, carb cycling works by gradual decreases in weekly caloric intake… think about how “high days” turn to “medium days” and sometimes “low day numbers get increased” – it’s caloric deficit.

The whole “anabolic window” post-workout is also a complete myth. Sure, we need protein but no more than we needed training (carbs post workout are arguable… although I tend to believe carbs aren’t necessary post-workout) but force feeding when you still feel stimmed-up from your pre-workout drink or sick from training legs isn’t good!!! Eat when you feel ready to, or preferably consume a whey-based shake which is light on the stomach. CNP has a HUGE range of whey and “post-workout” supplements to choose from.

Pro Recover

Pro Peptide

Pro Isolate

Pro Whey

Be smart about food choices

Use quality protein sources. Chicken breast, lean beef, eggs, whey, tuna, salmon, turkey blah blah blah you know the rest. Go for protein source which contain all the necessary amino acids. Carbs and fats: Basically, whatever you function on and digest! When calories get lower you want foods which keep you fuller (i.e. rice, potato etc) but in the real world as long as you don’t go over your calories – it makes zero difference. If you’re on 2400kcals at 200lbs, 200g of protein is going to be 800kcals (4kcals per gram) so you have 1600kcals to do whatever you want with (essentially). If you blow that on a pizza, sure you’ll lose weight, but you’re gonna feel hungry and perform poorly in the gym. You’ll soon stop doing that! Be smart… If you’re dieting and taking in an intra-workout shake of say 350kcals and feeling starving, why not stop that and use those 350kcals on some rice or potato which will keep you satiated?

I’ve seen coaches keep intra-workout in until the end of a diet but have their guys on zero carbs for the rest of the day… why?!?!?! Because they read some study that it improves recovery? If you have no energy because you have practically no carbs/fats coming in at all for the rest of the day, what are you going be recovering from when you training is down the toilet?

Eat smart… Supplement smart.