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Bodybuilding Nutrition

Bodybuilding Nutrition & Sports Supplements for Bodybuilders

bodybuilding-nutrition-and-sports-supplements-for-bodybuildersBodybuilding is a popular sporting activity that involves athletes, known as bodybuilders using weight training, resistance exercises and nutrition to control, develop and sculpt their physical appearance with a specific focus on symmetry, muscularity and conditioning.

As anyone who’s ever been involved in the sport knows, the bodybuilding lifestyle can be very demanding, with monumental training schedules to endure and a huge number of diet myths to unravel.

Under such circumstances it can be very challenging for both novice and experienced bodybuilders alike to identify what to eat and still maintain a healthy and varied diet; while at the same time working towards their bodybuilding goals and meeting all the nutrient requirements to achieve their desired body composition.

if you are a competitive bodybuilder, you should seek to maintain a high degree of muscle mass and tone with excellent symmetrical shape, visible musculature and vascular definition

Bodybuilding nutrition

Before we start to consider nutrition and supplementation you should note that drug testing takes place within the sport of bodybuilding in an attempt to stamp-out the use and abuse of prohibited performance-enhancing substances.

Whilst the use of such performance-enhancers can have a detrimental effect on your health and wellbeing and are not recommended, they are also considered unnecessary as natural bodybuilding can be achieved successfully without any banned pharmaceutical aids being used.

In general, if you are a competitive bodybuilder, you should seek to maintain a high degree of muscle mass and tone with excellent symmetrical shape, visible musculature and vascular definition.

However, you should note that there are various bodybuilding styles and competitive events where emphasis is placed on different characteristics and specific aspects of fitness and physique, and therefore these place different demands on the body and dietary intake.

Bulking and cutting

In order to achieve your bodybuilding goals, you will have to split your competitive year into two phases – bulking and cutting.

Competitive bodybuilders will spend between eight and ten months bulking, which focuses on high-intensity resistance training to build good muscle mass and excellent symmetry.

The cutting phase usually follows two to four months before competition and involves maximising body fat losses while minimising muscle loss to enhance overall muscle definition.

During this cutting phase aerobic activity is combined with continued weight training to assist in fat loss.

During the bulking phase bodybuilders should ideally seek to consume an excess of energy in order to gain muscle mass.

During bulking you will therefore have a higher protein requirement due to your need to increase muscle mass and carbohydrate

A low-to-moderate fat intake is also required to maintain hormones such as testosterone, which are vital in muscle building, and for an adequate intake of essential fat soluble vitamins.

When it comes to cutting, the amount of food you eat should be decreased, whilst your energy use increased with extra aerobic exercise.

At the same time, however, carbohydrate and protein must be sufficient to prevent the loss of overall muscle mass.

You should be aware that it is not desirable to lose weight too rapidly, as muscle mass is also more likely to suffer, which will have a detrimental effect on your performance, form and physique.

Hydration for bodybuilders

Athlete hydration and specific fluid requirements have also to be taken into consideration when undertaking high intensity resistance and aerobic training.

It is especially important for bodybuilders to ensure that hydration and fluid levels are optimal as a higher protein diet may necessitate an increased fluid intake to flush the kidneys.

Muscle strength and control are key components in meeting the great demands of training regimens and therefore hydration is important to optimise mental focus and concentration when lifting heavy weights.

Good hydration can be achieved using water and specially formulated sports drinks during and after lifting such weights in training.

Dehydration as a cutting technique

If you are involved in competitive bodybuilding dehydration practices are common in the days leading up to an event in order to further reveal muscle size and definition.

Such dehydration techniques include the use of saunas, decreased fluid and sodium intake – and even the use of diuretics.

The use of diuretics however, can pose serious health risks, so you are advised not to go down that particular road.

Pre-competition nutrition

Prior to a bodybuilding competition or event, in order to “cut” the muscle, your diet for meals – four to seven each day – should ideally include a low fat intake and lower energy diet, therefore protein becomes more important to preserve muscle mass.

Low fat animal products, including the following, are ideal:

  • Lean beef with the excess fat removed.
  • Skinless chicken breast fillets.
  • Skimmed milk, natural yoghurt and fresh cheese.
  • Egg whites.

Nutrition during competition

Dehydration and restricted food intakes prior to bodybuilding competitions can have a detrimental effect on your overall physical performance, resulting in muscle fatigue, weakness and lack of energy, so it is important to have snacks and fluids handy during competition in order to maintain fuel levels.

This is especially important if you are competing in categories requiring fitness routines.

Handy snacks could include sports drinks, energy bars, jam on bread or fresh or dried fruit, depending on what suits an individual need.

Post-training and recovery nutrition

After an intense training session it is essential that you recover body carbohydrate and fluid stores before the next session.

The recovery process is vitally important and there are no two ways about it; bodybuilders need to recover properly after training, especially if they want to keep their body in the best possible shape.

There are three golden rules to successful bodybuilder rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:

  • Refuel

    Refuel muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stores).

  • Repair

    Repair muscle tissue (for maintenance and development).

  • Rehydrate

    Rehydrate to replace fluids and salts lost through sweat.

Bodily carbohydrate stores (glycogen) must be quickly restored to allow quality training to be maintained – the optimum time to restore muscle glycogen stores is during the first hour after training and this is when you need to consume carbohydrates.

If you do not replenish glycogen stores adequately however, recovery may well be affected leading to unwanted fatigue and poor training performances may then follow.

High GI foods are recommended immediately after training including white bread, potatoes or energy supplements such as sports drinks.

Following on, within two or three hours of training, there should be a regular intake of carbohydrate and further fluid.

A protein and carbohydrate supplement is effective in increasing muscle building if it is taken within the first 30 minutes after resistance training.

It is true to say that restricted eating can mean a limited variety of foods, especially during the cutting phase, so it is advisable to include as much variety as possible… consider eating as many different fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products and lean meat as possible during training and competition.

Another tip: try not to binge after bodybuilding competitions or particularly hard training sessions as this can lead to unwanted weight gain.

Want to get involved in bodybuilding?

If you’re not currently involved in bodybuilding and are keen to learn more about taking part then read on. Here we’ve brought together a number of useful links to bodybuilding organisations that may be able to help you.

  • The United Kingdom Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation

    The United Kingdom Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation (UKBFF) is affiliated to the European Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (EBFF) and the International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness (IFBB), which is the largest Bodybuilding and Fitness federation in the world. The UKBFF sanctions qualifying events throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (see Events). At these qualifying events, any UKBFF Member can compete and hopefully qualify for the UK British Finals which is held in October each year.

  • National Amateur Body-Builders Association

    NABBA is the first and the original competitve bodybuilding association. Formed in 1950, NABBA’s first Mr Universe contest was won by Steve Reeves, who went on to make over 30 Hercules movies. Formed in London in 1984, NABBA International became host to the European & World Championships. There are nine elected area reps covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and they are members of the NABBA council. Each area holds a qualifying event, which leads to the Annual Mr & Miss Britain Finals. This in turn becomes a qualifier for the European and Universe Championships. The Universe contest gets stronger every year.

  • British Natural Bodybuilding Federation

    The British Natural Bodybuilding Federation was established 2000 with the mission of providing the best possible environment for Natural Bodybuilders to compete. Through the use of the best venues, top quality lighting and most importantly the most stringent drug testing policy in the sport. Adhering to these principles quickly established us at the forefront of Natural Bodybuilding in the UK, and year on year the Federation has expanded and gone from strength to strength. The BNBF is a non-profiting making organisation. All the revenue gathered from ticket sales and sponsorship is used to pay for the drug testing, and we also fund a team comprised of that season’s champions, so that they can compete internationally at the World Championships of our global affiliated Federation, the DFAC (Drug Free Athletes Coalition.)

  • Bodybuilding on Wikipedia

    Bodybuilding is the use of progressive resistance exercise to control and develop one’s musculature. An individual who engages in this activity is referred to as a bodybuilder. In competitive amateur and professional bodybuilding, bodybuilders appear in lineups doing specified poses, and later perform individual posing routines, for a panel of judges who rank competitors…

Want help with nutrition?

Get in touch now for more information about bodybuilding nutrition and the use of sports supplements to help improve bodybuilder symmetry, muscularity and overall conditioning. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.

Guide to Football Nutrition

Football Nutrition

Football Nutrition & Sports Supplements for Footballers

football-nutrition-and-sports-supplements-for-footballers

The game of football or soccer as it is also known, is played by many millions of people all around the world and is recognised as one of the most physically complex sports there is, combining the need for high levels of skill, spatial awareness, game tactics, speed, physical power and endurance.

Did you know that in a typical football match a professional footballer can cover up to 10 to 11 kilometres, sprint for about 800 to 1200 metres, accelerate 40 to 60 times, and change direction every five seconds?

Such alternating fast and slow running patterns can easily deplete important leg-muscle fuel stores, known as glycogen.

Football nutrition

Studies have shown that a professional footballer spends more than two-thirds of a typical match at 85 per cent of maximum heart rate and can deplete up to 90 per cent of their muscle glycogen – more than enough to cause significant athlete fatigue and dramatically reduce their ability to accelerate and run at speed.

Combining the right kind of training techniques with a well balanced nutritional programme is therefore essential if players are to optimise their footballing performance.

Football training programmes need to be demanding in order to build up the necessary levels of skill, strength, speed, agility and fitness; which means lots of energy, carbohydrate and fluids.

Sports science research has discovered that on average, footballers require between five and eight grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per day in order to fuel training and fitness sessions, as well as preparation for games; making carbohydrate rich foods such as wholemeal bread, breakfast cereal, fresh or dried fruit, pasta, rice, fresh vegetables, natural yoghurt and sports bars a pre-requisite for meals and snacks.

Combining the right kind of training with a well balanced nutritional programme is essential if players wish to optimise their footballing performance

If, as a player, you are failing to meet these nutritional requirements your performance will almost certainly suffer, with mid-week slumps and a progressive loss of form over a season.

If you are a part-time professional or a keen amateur footballer, with a full-time job taking up most of your time, there are the added complications caused by fitting in training and matches; and often good nutrition habits are hard to stick to on a longer term basis.

Popular takeaway foods like curries, pizzas, chips and burgers can be a big danger, but they can also be the answer if the right choices are made.

Recovery nutrition

During periods of particularly intense training it is important that you focus on recovery nutrition as soon as you finish a session.

Your aim should be to consume between 50 and 100 grams of carbohydrate within 30 minutes of finishing, with fluids being an important part of any recovery snack.

The following list will give you an indication of what 50g of carbohydrate looks like:

  • 800ml sports drink
  • Three medium sized portions of fresh fruit
  • Two cereal bars
  • Two 200g cartons of yoghurt (without added sugar or artificial sweeteners)
  • One and a half cups of fruit salad with one tub of low fat unsweetened yoghurt
  • 250-350ml fresh fruit smoothie
  • One large bread roll
  • Two pancakes with a topping of jam or maple syrup
  • Three slices of toast with honey or jam

Maintaining your fitness levels

You should also watch what you eat and drink during the close season to prevent body fat levels from creeping up.

Physically eating less food is one way to counteract this; continued fitness training also helps, and playing another sport will assist in maintaining the status quo.

Football hydration

In football fluid needs are generally fairly high because of the intense “stop-and-go” nature of the game, with opportunities to take a drink during matches being limited, so it is important you are properly hydrated before kick-off, you make full use of any breaks in play such as injury stoppages, as well as half-time.

Specially formulated sports drinks are ideal, not only do they help to maintain correct levels of hydration, they also contain carbohydrate to assist with the replacement of vital energy stores, and small amounts of electrolytes (salts) to replace what has been lost during play.

When playing in hot conditions, extra attention needs to be given in this area, with refreshing fluids, kept as cool as possible, on hand to drink at every opportunity.

As dehydration adversely affects physical ability, skill, and decision-making function, it goes without saying that it has to be avoided at all costs.

Following a game or intense training session athlete fluid losses should always be carefully assessed – weighing before and after games will give a good indication of the amount of fluid loss, and is considered the best method – the lost fluids should ideally be replaced as quickly as possible.

Pre-match nutrition

What a player eats and drinks before a football game can also have a big impact on performance levels.

A pre-match meal is best consumed three to four hours before kick-off and it should ideally be high in carbohydrate and low in fat.

This should then be followed up with high-carbohydrate, low-fat sports snacks nearer kick-off time.

Consider the following as a typical footballers pre-match menu:

Three to four hours before kick-off: A bowl of rice or pasta with a low-fat sauce washed down with 400ml of fruit juice

Two hours before: A 200g low-fat yoghurt and small portion of dried fruit (40g)

One hour before: 500ml sports drink to assist with hydration needs

Match nutrition

As we’ve already identified, there are genuinely very few opportunities for eating and drinking during a game, so you should make the most of the 15-minute half-time break to consume fluids, and a sports drink is the best option, providing not only liquid but also vital carbohydrate, which is ideal at a time when rehydration is the main priority.

Post match nutrition and recovery

After a match or an intense training session it is essential that you recover body carbohydrate and fluid stores before the next session.

The recovery process is vitally important and there are no two ways about it; footballers need to recover properly, especially if they want to keep their body fighting-fit and in the best possible shape.

There are three golden rules to a footballers successful rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:

  • Refuel

    Refuel muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stores).

  • Repair

    Repair muscle tissue (for maintenance and development).

  • Rehydrate

    Rehydrate to replace fluids and salts lost through sweat.

Bodily carbohydrate stores (glycogen) must be quickly restored to allow performance levels to be maintained – the optimum time to restore muscle glycogen stores is during the first hour after a match or training and this is when you need to consume carbohydrates.

If you do not replenish glycogen stores adequately however, recovery may well be affected leading to unwanted fatigue and poor performances may then follow.

Carbohydrate-rich foods are key in helping to quickly replenish lost muscle glycogen stores. It is equally important during weeks of heavy training.

During this post match recovery time it is also vital to include some form of lean protein source to aid muscle tissue repair and growth.

A snack of, for example, a chicken salad roll taken with a sports drink, or a bowl of breakfast cereal with dried fruit and milk could also be consumed within 30 minutes of finishing a football match, or, indeed, a training session, helping to replace lost carbohydrate, protein and fluid.

The next meal, preferably within three to four hours of the final whistle, should see a resumption of your normal eating patterns, with carbohydrate, protein and fluids again the essential ingredients.

Want to get involved in football?

If you’re not currently involved in football as a recreational activity or at a competitive level and are keen to learn more about taking part then read on. Here we’ve brought together a number of useful links to football organisations that may be able to help you.

  • The Football Association

    The Football Association, also known simply as the FA, is the governing body of football in England, and the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in its territory. The FA sanctions all competitive football matches within its remit at national level, and indirectly at local level through the County Football Associations. It runs numerous competitions, the most famous of which is the FA Cup. It is also responsible for appointing the management of the men’s, women’s and youth national football teams.

  • Scottish Football Association

    The Scottish Football Association (also known as the SFA and the Scottish FA), or Comann Ball-coise na h-Alba in Scottish Gaelic, is the governing body of football in Scotland and has the ultimate responsibility for the control and development of football in Scotland. Members of the SFA include clubs in Scotland, affiliated national associations as well as local associations. It was formed in 1873, making it the second oldest national football association in the world. It is not to be confused with the “Scottish Football Union”, which is the name that the SRU was known by until the 1920s.

  • The Football Association of Wales

    The Football Association of Wales is the third oldest association in the world, having come into existence in 1876. The association has governed football in Wales continually since that date. The FAW is a member of FIFA and UEFA and is one of the five associations (together with FIFA, The FA, SFA and IFA) that make up the International Football Association Board, the guardians of the “Laws of the Game”. The FAW in addition to its administration responsibilities for football in Wales also has the responsibility of running the international teams, of which there are eight, namely “A”, “U21”, “U19”, “U17”, Semi-Professional, Womens, Women’s “U19 and Women’s U17”.

  • The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)

    The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), is the administrative body for association football in Europe and part of Asia. It is one of six continental confederations of world football’s governing body FIFA. UEFA represents the national football associations of Europe, runs competitions including the UEFA European Championship, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and UEFA Super Cup.

  • The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)

    The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA – International Federation of Association Football) is the international governing body of association football, futsal and beach soccer. FIFA is responsible for the organisation of football’s major international tournaments, notably the World Cup which commenced in 1930 and the Women’s World Cup which commenced in 1991.

  • Football on Wikipedia

    Football refers to a number of sports that involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball with the foot to score a goal. Unqualified, the word football is understood to refer to whichever form of football is the most popular in the regional context in which the word appears: association football (also known as soccer) in the United Kingdom and most of the non-English speaking world…

Want help with nutrition?

Get in touch now for more information about football nutrition and the use of sports supplements to help improve your speed, power, fitness and endurance for better performances in training and on the pitch. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.