Bodybuilding Nutrition Tips for Looking Good Year Round

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Bodybuilding Nutrition Tips for Looking Good Year Round

Many advanced bodybuilders will never step upon a competition stage. They’ll train for years, attain high levels of muscle mass, vascularity, and symmetry, and never don a pair of trunks. They’ll master every pose, but only in the privacy of their bathroom mirror. They will apply great discipline to all aspects of training, diet, and supplementation, but they will never reek of Pro-Tan. They are bodybuilders, but they will never compete in a bodybuilding show.

For this group of athletes (which encompasses about 99% of us), the need for an off-season “bulking” phase and a pre-contest “cutting” phase, and all the details and concerns that come with these phases, are not necessary. This group might train to look good 365 days a year, never letting body fat get too high (over 15%) or too low (below 8%).

These “365-ers” face a major challenge. They must find a caloric number, which is perfect for maintaining their muscle mass (and allow them to gain more muscle) without making body fat levels rise. In other words, how do they keep their existing muscle, and gain new muscle, while avoiding fat loss? A few factors to consider…

The baseline number

Write down everything you eat in one day. Add up the calories. This is your new baseline. The next day, repeat this count. Continue this for a week. Chart out your daily caloric intake. If your muscle mass and body fat stand precisely where you’d like them to be, then voila, you have the magic number. If you find you’d like to add more muscle to your frame, consider adding 200 to 500 clean calories to this daily total. A pound of muscle contains 3500 calories, so 500 additional calories per day, over the course of seven days, will provide your body with the nutrients to add one pound of muscle. However, if other factors aren’t in place (training, sleep, aminos in the bloodstream), then a portion of this one-pound weight gain will be in the form of fat.

Variations, treats, and cheats

You will want to maintain your sanity, and there will be days when you do miss meals, go out to dinner, and enjoy cheat food. There is nothing wrong with it – enjoying tasty foods are a wonderful part of life. Just be sure to compensate for the additional calories with either additional cardio, or a future caloric deficit to even out the numbers. Remember – assuming you’re at the optimal calorie number – the goal is to eat this many calories daily.

Long term planning

If your goal is to look exactly how you do today, in ten year, then keep everything on course and don’t change a thing. However, if you’d like to remain in great shape, but gain muscle over time, you will want to plan longer-term goals, and record your activity and progress to ensure you’re doing what it takes to reach those goals. Lift more, eat more, and sleep more – it’s an easy fix. Just make sure you’re doing these three things at small enough increments to allow you to remain in your great current shape as you improve.

Dane Fletcher is the world’s most prolific bodybuilding and fitness expert and is currently the executive editor for If you are looking for more bodybuilding tips or information on weight training, or supplementation, please visit, the bodybuilding and fitness authority site with hundreds of articles available FREE to help you meet your goals.

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Born in the lab In early summer of 1965, a University of Florida assistant coach sat down with a team of university physicians and asked them to determine why so many of his players were being affected by heat and heat related illnesses. The researchers — Dr. Robert Cade, Dr. Dana Shires, Dr. H. James Free and Dr. Alejandro de Quesada — soon discovered two key factors that were causing the Gator players to ‘wilt’: the fluids and electrolytes the players lost through sweat were not being replaced, and the large amounts of carbohydrates the players’ bodies used for energy were not being replenished. The researchers then took their findings into the lab, and scientifically formulated a new, precisely balanced carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage that would adequately replace the key components lost by Gator players through sweating and exercise. They called their concoction ‘Gatorade’. Proven on the field Soon after the researchers introduced their Gatorade formula to the team, the Gators began winning… outlasting a number of heavily favored opponents in the withering heat and finishing the season at 7–4. The team’s success progressed even more during the 1966 season, with the Gators finishing at 9–2 and winning the Orange Bowl for the first time ever in the history of the school. Word about Gatorade began to spread outside of the state of Florida, and both the University of Richmond and Miami of Ohio, began ordering batches of Gatorade for their football teams. Orders from
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