• So you’ve been busting your ass in the gym, you’ve spent a small fortune on supplements, and have put serious time into finding  an optimal training program.

    But still, you’re seeing little to no results. Does this sound familiar?

    If so, you might still  be missing the most important piece of the bodybuilding puzzle…

    I’m going to let you in on an observation I’ve made over the past couple of years: Ever notice how many people ask the “big guys” at the gym what exercises they do for certain body parts, or what their training split is?  Or my personal favorite, “what supplements do you take?”.

    Nine times out of ten the people asking these questions are truly striving towards making themselves better, and just don’t know what it is they aren’t doing that the “big guys” are. All they see is the big guys crushing heavy weights in their workouts and drinking concoctions that sometimes look questionable for human consumption.  But that is usually all they see since after the workout is over everyone goes their separate ways.

    The big secret is that what causes muscle growth is what the big guys do during the other 22 or 23 hours of the day.  What sets them apart from the people who are not growing is their NUTRITION. I can’t tell you how many people think they know what I mean by that statement, but are way off the mark. If you are truly trying to put on muscle mass (this is bodybuilding, right?), your traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner will just not suffice, no matter how hearty they are.

    SECRET: The guys that you see at the gym that look like beasts are eating like beasts; sometimes up to 8 meals a day! I guarantee it.

    In reality, it is quite simple how putting on mass works: You need to have a caloric surplus! What I mean by this, is that when you add up your:

    1. Resting metabolic rate (calories burnt by your body just so it can function, which interestingly enough accounts for around 60% of your daily caloric consumption),

    2. The amount of calories expended doing your daily tasks (ie: walking, talking, working, or any other activity that demands calories)

    3. And the amount of calories burned by your workout /cardio, you must consume more than the number you get!

    The amount of surplus that should be consumed will be determined based off of your goals and how your body responds. One person might only need a 300-500 calorie surplus to make incredible gains, while another might require closer to an extra 1000 calories, because everyone is different. Regardless of metabolic difference, the fact remains that you must consume a caloric surplus.

    That being said, doesn’t it only make sense that the bigger you get, the more you will need to eat? This is a result of the increased metabolic rate caused by the added muscle mass.

    Now that you are armed with that knowledge, you might be wondering which foods are better than others to eat in order to fuel your body and get to your daily required surplus.

    There are several schools of thought on this, but the one that I am most partial to and have had the most success with is that of eating large amounts of very clean food. I have never been one to go on the “pizza and ice cream bulking diet”, because while you might put on weight, you will be left with a lot of unwanted body fat that you will have to lose later.

    Remember that bodybuilding is a marathon, not a sprint! So why put on large amounts of unnecessary body fat when you can achieve the same end goal, while looking and feeling much healthier? I don’t have any good reasons….

    When I say “clean food,” I am talking about lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Lean proteins may include items such as chicken breast, turkey breast, white fish, and ultra lean ground beef. Something to look out for, especially with your grounds meats, is the fat content. Food packers in our country have done a great job of preying on consumer ignorance, so when the average person picks up a package of ground beef and sees a big “93% fat free” sticker that looks like it was designed by a comic book artist, they think they are making a great choice.

    Fact of the matter is that this beef, at 93% fat free, is actually around 33 percent fat per serving. How is this possible you ask? The beef is 93% fat free by weight, not by calories!

    Since 1 gram of protein has 4 calories and one gram of fat is 9 calories, you can begin to see how the labeling of the meats is a bit of a gimmick. That being said, I try to look for 98% fat free for my diet, as it is around 10% fat per serving.

    Complex carbohydrates include brown rice, sweet potato, rice cakes, and quinoa. This is by no means a complete list, just a short list of my favorites. The main goal should be to consume primarily complex carbs, and keep simple carbs (think sugar and processed white flour) to a minimum. Finally, your healthy fats should come from omega-3’s (Salmon, fish oil, krill oil), and nuts and seeds.

    Keep in mind the above lists are not complete, and I encourage you to research and try new things, as that is how you keep things interesting. Just make sure the new things fit the guidelines described above: lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats.

    Hunter Labrada’s Bodybuilding Diet

    I have included my personal diet below for all who are interested:

    Meal 1
    2cup (16oz) egg whites
    2 cup oats

    Meal 2
    8 oz lean protein (chicken breast, turkey, white fish, ultra lean ground beef)
    15 oz sweet potato OR 2 cups brown rice

    Meal 3
    8 oz lean protein (chicken breast, turkey, white fish, ultra lean ground beef)
    15 oz sweet potato OR 2 cups brown rice

    Meal 4 (post workout shake)
    60-g LeanPro8
    100-g Powercarb
    20-g bcaa
    ~7-g glutalean
    5-g crealean

    Meal 5 (one hour after shake)
    8 oz lean protein (chicken breast, turkey, white fish, ultra lean ground beef)
    15 oz sweet potato OR 2 cups brown rice

    Meal 6
    2cup (16oz) egg whites
    2 cup oats

    Hope this helps!

    About the Author

    IMG_7760
    Hunter Labrada, amateur bodybuilder and fitness author, who got started in bodybuilding via football and now does it with the end goal of being at the Mr. Olympia stage.

    For additional tips, tricks, and view into Hunter’s everyday training and meal prep check out his:

    Check out Hunter Labrada’s Athlete Page Here << Full Training and Nutrition Program Included.

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