We'll now discuss the characteristics of a good nutrition program and we'll also go over nutrition basics.
Characteristics of a Good Nutrition Program
1) It should favor smaller and frequent feedings throughout the day instead of large and infrequent ones. Why? Because when you feed your body several times a day, your metabolism increases. Therefore, you burn more fat. Frequent feedings are of particular importance since after three to four hours of no food your body switches to a catabolic state (a state in which you lose muscle and gain fat!). The body believes that it is starving and it starts feeding itself on lean muscle tissue and it prepares to store calories as fat. Bad scenario! Therefore, in order for your program to work, you will eat between four to six meals (depending gender and goals) a day spaced out at 2-1/2 to 3 hour intervals.
2) Every meal should have carbohydrates, protein and fat in the correct ratios. Having a meal that is not balanced (for example is all carbohydrates) won't yield the desired results. Every macronutrient has to be present in order for the body to absorb them and use them properly. Without boring you with the effect of food on the body's biochemistry, let's just say that if you only eat carbohydrates in one meal without anything else, your energy levels will crash in about 30 minutes and your body will be storing any carbohydrates that were not used into fat. Conversely, if you only eat protein, you will lack energy and your body will not be able to turn the protein into muscle because it is difficult for the body to absorb protein in the absence of carbohydrates. In addition, the ratios for each particular macronutrient have to be correct in order to get the results that you want. The ratio of our diet will look like the following:
Note that for every serving of carbohydrates, you get a serving of Protein. You can use Bill Phillips' Method of creating meals which is to count a portion of carbohydrates as the amount of food the size of your clenched fist and a portion of protein as the amount of food the size of your open palms.
3) The calories should be cycled. I strongly believe in caloric cycling as this will not allow the metabolism to get used to a certain caloric level; something that leads to stagnant results.
Therefore, bodybuilders in search of just muscle mass should follow 5 days of high calories (lean body mass x 15) with two days of lower caloric intake (lean body mass x12). Bodybuilders in search of losing fat while building muscle at the same time should follow 5 days of lower caloric intake (lean body mass x12) with 2 days of higher calories (lean body mass x 15). (Note: If you build muscle and lose fat at the same time you will not gain muscle as fast as you would if you just concentrated in muscle mass. However, you get to get both goals accomplished at the same time).
People interested in bodysculpting should alternate between two weeks of lower calories (around 2000 for men and 1200 for women) and two weeks of higher calories (around 2500 for men and 1500 for women). These caloric intakes assume a normal activity level that only includes Body Sculpting training. Those of you involved in activities like marathon running or heavy physical labor jobs need to adjust your calories upwards accordingly mainly in the form of carbohydrates in order to support your higher levels of activity.