Evidence based information on Macronutrients & Bodybuilding 

Bodybuilding and fitness are up and coming industries, however evidence based studies are lacking.

The following study reviewed the effects of nutrition on bodybuilding. Results indicated that caloric intake should be set to losses of body weight 0.5%- 1% per week to maximize muscle retention. In this caloric intake it was evident bodybuilders will respond best to consuming 2.3-3.1g/kg of lean body mass per day of protein, 15-30% of calories from fat, and the rest from carbohydrates.

In regards to nutrient timing or frequency,  there was little to no difference in fat loss or lean muscle mass retention in individuals who ate every 3 hours or any in other order. 

Protein

Who doesn’t want to retain lean body mass?

Sufficient amounts of protein is required in athletes wishing to retain lean body mass. Individuals participating in heavy activity and strength applicable training benefit from higher amounts of protein in their diets to support lean muscle mass. Even more so, when they undergo severe caloric restrictions. It is also evident that more protein is required for athletes who contain a lower body fat percentage rather than higher. So, don’t go eating all the protein in your kitchens! 

For bodybuilding, Helms et. al suggested that 2.3g-3.1g/kg of protein is an optimal amount to be injected everyday for resistance training athletes, or bodybuilders. Other authors also suggested that the lower a person’s body fat percentage, the more protein is required to retain lean body mass. 

Carbohydrates

How many of you believe that high carbohydrate diets are ideal for high-performance athletes? Well…you’re wrong. Just like proteins, carbohydrates need to be tailored to the individuals needs. Inadequate carbohydrate consumption can result in inefficient strength training. Contrarily, adequate carbohydrate consumption can repair glycogen depletion and result in enhanced performance. The authors of a recent study suggested that 4-7g/kg of carbohydrates may be an optimal range for resistance training athletes. However, bodybuilders training for competition with adequate fat and protein consumption may not require carbohydrates at the higher end of this range.

Conclusively, once a competitor has reached an adequate body fat percentage, it may be useful to reduce caloric deficits by carbohydrate consumption.

Fat

Have you ever heard the saying, “Eating fat, will make you fat?” Well, whoever told you that is an idiot, no offence. 

The consumption of dietary fats is often overlooked. Recent studies have suggested that optimal daily fat intake can influence anabolic hormone concentrations, which may be of interest to anyone in fitness trying to build muscle. 

Reductions of fat consumption from 40-20% have shown significant differences in testosterone levels. Tongkat Ali and and the right amount of fat consumption go great together! 

“While cogent arguments for fat intakes between 20 to 30% of calories have been made to optimize testosterone levels in strength athletes [59], in some cases this intake may be unrealistic in the context of caloric restriction without compromising sufficient protein or carbohydrate intakes. While dieting, low carbohydrate diets may de- grade performance [32] and lead to lower insulin and IGF-1 which appear to be more closely correlated to LBM preservation than testosterone [6]. Thus, a lower end fat intake between 15-20% of calories, which has been previously recommended for bodybuilders [5], can be deemed appropriate if higher percentages would reduce carbohydrate or protein below ideal ranges.” (Helms et al, 2014)

There you have it, a little science behind the consumption of your foods. The best way to take in bodybuilding or any industry for that matter is the evidence based approach. It never lies. The conclusions above are the best recommendations for normal settings. Other factors will be needed to be taken into consideration for individuals and their goals. The results are in the most general ranges to get you all started on your fitness journeys. For optimal results, individuals must create customized plans.