It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an advanced bodybuilder, if you are a teen who is starting out who loves to eat and Paleo diet or a female who is looking for a vegetarian diet. Basic principles of nutrition can help you as soon as you stop thinking about restrictive diet mentality and begin thinking about the basic principles of physiological adaptation which essentially dictate how fast you gain muscle and become shredded.
Diets tend to focus on one aspect or one phase of bodybuilding like the cutting phase or building mass phase and forget that it takes years to reach the muscular maturity of a bodybuilder. It is true that during those years, there will be time that you want your body to peak and be contest ready. The contest may be on stage or on the beach but a pro understands the ancient principles of yin and yang that govern balance and life.
Within a cutting phase, there is a mass building phase and within the mass building phase there is a cutting phase. Your nutrition plan shifts the balance between the two in different phases of longer cycles. If you go too far in each phase, you’ll have a hard time transitioning back to the other.
For example in the mass building phase, you need additional carbs to protect your hard earned muscles, however, there are simple carbs that overload your organs and decrease your insulin sensitivity and there are complex carbs that keep your organs working well without spiking your insulin.
In this example, when you learn to work with the right type of carbs, you will bulk up enough to protect your muscles but you don’t gain so much fat to make the cutting phase a nightmare.
Female bodybuilders have a different nutritional challenge. They need a higher percentage of fat for their hormones to work well. When their fat percentage drops below a certain level, their hormones stop functioning which throws their body into a loop. Since most of the signals for muscles to grow come from hormones, imbalanced hormones slows down their effort to build muscles and stay healthy.
A higher fat percentage requires careful planning through the cutting phase to reach peak by a certain date.
Focusing on your bodybuilding nutritional needs over longer cycles that includes smaller cycles like fat cutting and mass building helps you plan a smoother and more effective meal plans.