Looking and feeling good takes a lot of hard work. It’s not just about going to the gym every day, lifting some weights, working the Nautilus machine, sweating buckets and then expecting immediate results. If only getting a ripped physique were that easy but it’s not. There is a lot to be said and a lot to be gained when you work hard to have a great body. Celebrities do it to get more acting jobs and endorsements, bodybuilders do it to be able to compete professionally and some of us do it just because we want to be more active, do a lot more things and generally live longer, healthier lives.

Bodybuilders undergo some of the most intense training and exercise routines known to man and based on the results, it seems that they don’t even break a sweat when lifting those heavy weights or doing those reps, but those in the know understand that to be able to even do those things, they have to do more than just be strong – they also have to know about good bodybuilding nutrition.

Nutrition is the core of successful bodybuilding because without good nutrition, you can’t gain any muscle. When you work your body hard then you need to reward it as well with the essential nutrients to help keep you going and to keep you from feeling too tired or weak when training. Understand that the more your muscle mass increases, the more you have to eat and if your muscle mass decreases, you have to eat less. Striking the proper balance when it comes to your food intake is important if you are to achieve your fitness goals in no time.

First of all you need to learn your macro-nutrients and these are protein, carbohydrates and fats. Examples of foods that are rich in protein and should be incorporated in your diet include eggs, meat, fish, cheese and soy products. Bodybuilders can never have enough protein in your diet and if you’re a beginner in this sport, you’ll hear this word constantly day in and day out. Protein is the key to building muscle and accelerates anabolism or the creation, repair and maintenance of muscles during workouts and helps maintain the body’s nitrogen levels to make it more conducive for muscle growth. It is recommended for bodybuilders to ingest protein five to six times a day, spread in intervals of two and a half to three hours. This means that if you are a 200-pound bodybuilder, you should eat about five to six protein-rich meals each day to achieve your goals.

Carbohydrates on the other hand, serve as your principal energy source during workouts. When they are converted to glucose, it serves as a boost of energy that keeps you going rep after rep after rep. While you can easily get your carbohydrate fix from the best supplements, it is still recommended that you eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, cereals and grains. When your diet lacks carbohydrates, you deplete your muscle tissues and prevent yourself from being able to produce maximum intensity and peak contractions during your training.

Contrary to popular belief, fats do not make you gain weight and generally screw up your bodybuilding efforts. In addition to being an alternative source of energy, they help your body absorb essential vitamins like A, D and E and slows the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, keeping your blood sugar levels from spiking. As long as you ingest the good kind of fats like Omega-3 fatty acids for example, which aids in faster muscle recuperation.

As far as proper proportions go, it is ideal for bodybuilders to ingest as much as 30% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 40% fats especially if they are just starting out. However, your ideal body breakdown will depend on factors like your body weight, lean body mass and insulin sensitivity to help you achieve your fitness goals. To start building the best diet for you, you must remember to learn how to calculate your caloric intake each day. To pack on muscles, you need to take in more calories than usual to sustain your body weight and make sure to include protein shakes with your meals to ensure maximum results.