For people who are regularly active, watching one’s weight isn’t as important as being aware of body composition. Heart disease and diabetes are still common issues in active people when they are retaining too much body fat. This isn’t meant to suggest that a certain body type is better than another, or that the goal is to become muscle-bound, buff, or “swole” as the kids are calling it these days.
Bodybuilding has the advantage of redirecting the ratio of lean muscle to fat in the body through diet and weight lifting, usually in about a 12-week period. Our goal in this article is to create a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet combined with effective muscle-building techniques to equally distribute muscle mass around the body through the process of hypertrophy (breaking down existing muscle fibers for the purpose of creating more efficient and stronger fibers).
The basic outline, for our purposes, of the bodybuilding diet is to consume one gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight and drink one gallon (128 ounces) of water every day, with almost no carbohydrates. These numbers stay the same for both men and women, and will provide the fuel to increase lean muscle mass. The theory is that body will use these protein calories towards muscle building, and the metabolic rate increase will burn stored fat throughout the day. A typical day would have four large meals and about two protein supplements such as smoothies or shakes. This is often called the “cutting phase,” when your goal is to reduce body fat. Each week of cutting should result in about a one to two percent change in body fat percentage.
After you reach your goal body fat percentage, you can add in your healthy carbohydrates, such as oatmeal or whole wheat bread products, to fuel your workout intensity. The protein and fat intake remains the same in this phase, called “bulking phase.” When carbohydrates are added into your diet again, then your intensity of workouts can increase because you’ll have added fuel to use.
Cutting meals generally have three parts: animal protein, leafy vegetables, and nuts for healthy fats. Bulking means you add in complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal or whole wheat beyond the protein and fat intake.
The workouts during the cutting phase should be built around lower-intensity weight lifting and moderate intensity cardio workouts. Lower-intensity weight lifting workouts should contain a minimum of five upper-body exercises, four lower-body exercises, and three core or abdominal exercises. Here’s a sample bodybuilding workout during cutting phase:
The bulking phase workout can increase intensity, allowing you a greater variety of workouts such as powerlifting, high intensity interval training, sprint intervals, and so on.
Supersetting is a great way to maximize your intensity and cardiovascular endurance in your weights routine. A “superset” is best defined as having a push exercise immediately followed by a pull exercise, and followed by a squat exercise before ending with a one minute rest period. These types of workouts can also be referred to as circuit workouts, except that circuits are generally four or more exercises in a row before resting. Examples of supersets and circuits can be found on my blog, justinwalls.blogspot.com. Put in the keyword “workout” for written instructions, pictures, and videos.
By Justin Walls
Justin Walls is a certified personal trainer from the American College of Sports Medicine with specialization in youth fitness, senior fitness, myofascial release techniques, joint pain/arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, aqua fitness, running and walking. He also has expertise in lifestyle/health management and meal planning, and a background in psychology. Learn more at justinwallsfitness.com.