Competitive bodybuilding nutrition plans are typically divided into two distinct phases: off-season mass-gaining diets and pre-contest cutting diets. But what if you don’t want to alternate the two eating strategies because competing onstage is not your immediate goal? In other words, you want one plan that combines the best of both worlds so you can look as large and lean as you can year-round. That’s what the 10 tips on the proceeding pages will do.
Learning to work with your body type is a key component in keeping your metabolism in an optimal muscle-building state. On our plan, hardgainers with fast metabolisms will find that they can consume foods, many higher in fat, that will help them achieve their goals. Those with metabolisms that are not quite so fast will find tips to get their engines revving so they can gain muscle without adding extra body fat.
A COMPLETE DIET BENEFITS HEALTH AND MUSCLE GROWTH.
Here’s a rundown of the three basic body types
ECTOMORPH: You are naturally lean, and you find it challenging to add muscle.
What to do: “You need to eat, eat, eat,” says Jonathan Mike, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., N.S.C.A.-C.P.T., U.S.A.W. The best strategy is to increase total calorie consumption, emphasizing slow-digesting carbs, healthy fats, and protein. “Good choices of complex [slow-digesting] carbs are brown rice, brown pasta, bagels, yams, and sweet potatoes,” Mike says.
MESOMORPH: You have an athletic build, and you add muscle mass naturally. But you also add a moderate amount of body fat as you grow.
What to do: “This is where things get tricky,” Mike says. “Guys in this category need to assess their resting metabolic rate [RMR] to determine how many calories they need for basic function.” (See the “Calculate Your RMR” sidebar on the next page to learn how to do this.) “In addition,” Mike says, “be careful not to consume a large amount of sugary foods or drinks, or fried foods, etc., because these increase not only insulin release but unfavorable health markers when consumed often and may negatively impact your ability to burn body fat.” Scheduled cheat meals (one about every three days or so) are OK, Mike says. But the bulk of your nutrition intake should come from wholesome foods: relatively lean meats, vegetables, and complex carbs.
ENDOMORPH: You add weight readily, but much of it is body fat. Your body type can benefit most by boosting your metabolic rate and using stored fat to help fuel muscle growth.
What to do: Overhaul your program, integrating the tips on our list that you currently aren’t following. “Your body type allows you to boost metabolic rate to dramatically improve your year-round appearance,” Mike says. You can reduce calories without going on a rigorous diet. “Bump your protein and healthy fats, and pay attention to your RMR to reduce body fat.”
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