To be successful in bodybuilding and transforming your physique, you must begin by working with your metabolism. You need to build your metabolism before you can become a fat-burning machine. And muscle is the key.
Muscle is very “metabolically active” tissue, which means that it burns a lot of calories even while you are resting. So muscle is desirable. (Don’t panic ladies, I won’t turn you into Arnold. But how about if I help you develop some nice curves in the right places?) Muscle is responsible for the nice curves of the body. And men, nothing beats a strong, defined pair of arms and hard abdominal muscles to impress the significant woman in your life!
Of the three macronutrients (Protein, Carbohydrate, and Fat) protein is the only one that provides muscle-building nitrogen. So when I devised the lean body diet, I started by addressing protein intake. Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting eating huge amounts of protein to the exclusion of all else. (And the lean body diet is not to be confused with the popular high protein low carb diets which also recommend high protein, but are also high in fat and low in carbohydrates.)
What I am saying, however, is that it is important that you construct your bodybuilding diet by meeting your dietary protein intake needs first, before addressing energy issues (more on that later).
So how much protein do you need? That’s a logical question.
I recommend that you get 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight (or 2.2 grams per kilo). If you are active and training with weights, research shows that this is a good rule of thumb. For a hypothetical, 200-pound man, this would amount to a total daily dietary protein intake of 200 grams, which would be should be eaten in equal amounts over five to six small meals. For a 140-pound woman, it would be 140 grams. Get the picture?
Protein contains four calories per gram. This means our 200-pound man needs to consume 200 grams x 4 = 800 calories from protein, spread out over five daily meals. That’s about 40 grams of protein per meal, which you can get from my Lean Body Proteins.
My Lean Body Proteins
Good protein choices are: Eight scrambled egg whites or egg substitutes; eight ounces of chicken breast, turkey breast, lean ground turkey breast, lean beef or fish (wild atlantic salmon, halibut, snapper, orange roughy, swordfish, flounder, mahi mahi, tuna, shrimp, lobster, crab, scallops, just to list a few); 1.5 cups of fat free cottage cheese; or 40 grams of high-quality protein powder or ready to drink shake.
If you are a woman, you would want consume roughly half (20-25 g) of this serving size of protein at each meal. One easy way to roughly measure out your protein serving size, if you don’t care to weigh it out, (and most people don’t) is to select a portion that is approximately the size of the of your open hand.
*Note: Lean Body Meal Replacements mix instantly with water, come in great flavors, and contain 42-45 grams of protein. They make it easy to comply with your daily protein needs and meal frequency and can accelerate your results. There’s a Lean Body for the ladies also. It’s called Lean Body for Her and contains 30 grams of protein. (For more information you can visit my website: www.labrada.com)
Don't miss part 2 of this article where I end the confusion about carbohydrates.
Go to Part 2 => Making The Science of Designing Your Bodybuilding Diet Simple, Part 2
Until next time!
About the Author
Lee Labrada, is a former IFBB Mr. Universe and IFFB Pro World Cup winner. He is one of few men in history to place in the top four in the Mr. Olympia seven consecutive times, and was recently inducted into the IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Hall of Fame. Lee is President/CEO of Houston-based Labrada Nutrition.