Bodybuilding and Weight Training/Constructing a Diet

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Beside the obvious weight lifting aspect, some regard a proper diet to be as, if not more important. A traditional bodybuilder's diet will always include a high amount of Protein (current research suggests 25-30% of calorie intake [1]), Carbohydrates, usually complex (rather than simple sugars) to provide them with energy to complete their workout, and go about their daily lives. Lastly, fats. The misconception about fats is that "all fats" make you gain body fat, whilst this is not true. There are three types of fatty acids: saturated, trans, and unsaturated. They each contain 9 calories per gram, whilst Carbohydrates and Protein have 4 calories per gram.

  • Saturated fats: They are definable because they are solids at room temperature, like the fat on bacon.
  • Unsaturated fats: These are "useful" fats that can be broken down into subcategories monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and include the popular Omega 3 & 6 fats. They are usually found in liquid form, particularly in fish. They are essential to every diet.
  • Trans-fats: These are so named due to how they look structurally. From a chemistry perspective, there is a cis formation and a trans formation for a fatty acid chain. This trans formation is produced when hydrogen is added to an unsaturated fat (an oil) which causes it to solidify. These fats are solid at room temperature and are generally found in fried foods, some margarines, processed red meats, and processed foods of all types. They are listed on food labels as 'partially hydrogenated' oil. They are used by many fast food chains because they don't smoke when heated. They are generally considered a health hazard.

Depending on whether a bodybuilder is "cutting" or "bulking", they will either try to burn more calories than they consume, or, if bulking, consume more "useful" calories (that is, protein) than they burn.