2. Follow Proper Protein Intake
Bodybuilding is really the result of body destruction in the gym, with the building coming in the form of muscle repair. Dietary protein is critical in order to repair muscles and make them bigger. The human body needs the so-called “complete” proteins because they contain all the essential amino acids. These specific essential aminos are found in the richest concentration in animal meat and animal products. So bodybuilders need animal protein throughout the day as part of their frequent feeds. As such, bodybuilders are very susceptible to protein depletion because they are trying to gain an almost “unnatural” and disproportionate degree of muscle, all while keeping down their body fat. Although an average 30-year-old male may not even need one gram per kilogram of body weight per day, a serious bodybuilder may need double or even triple that amount depending on his size, intensity of training, and a number of other factors.
Applying this knowledge to my model of a good bodybuilding meal cadence, we come out with a general rule of roughly 20–30 grams of protein every two to three waking hours. When it comes to protein intake for extreme mass building, another key point to keep in mind is not to overdo it. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. As I pointed out, a good meal cadence is critical and you should never be starving, but there will be rare occasions when the very thought of eating another protein meal actually sickens you. When times like this strike, the key is to listen to your body and not push it. Instead of obsessing about losing muscle, back off the meal or you really will become somewhat catabolic. What I mean is to just skip the rare protein meal your body tells you is too much. Don’t fear that you will lose ground. All that will happen is that your muscles will flatten a bit but tighten up with more density.
On the other hand, if you don’t listen to your body and instead force-feed yourself, you will be stimulating a catabolic response resulting in physiologic retribution in the form of muscle breakdown and fat gain. So again the rule is to carefully honor the two- to three-hour protein meal cadence while being sensitive to those times when your body is not cooperating and wants a brief break.