Protein and calories: getting jacked
For natural lifters this is fairly straightforward, but probably also varies a little bit due to people’s bodies being different.
General Rule(s) of thumb: If you are cutting weight, then ~1g per 1 lb of body weight should be a sufficient amount of protein for reducing muscle loss or even maintaining muscle.
If you’re looking to drop weight, chances are you’re trying to lose fat and not muscle. You lose weight by being in a caloric deficit and your body burns stored energy in order to fuel your staying alive. If you don’t have enough protein, your muscles will go catabolic on you (breakdown for the sake of energy) and your cut will be pointless. There will always be some muscle loss in cutting, but you can severely reduce it by eating enough protein.
Bulking is fairly straightforward. You’re getting enough calories, so you don’t have to worry about getting enough protein for your muscles to not disappear, just enough to make sure they’re growing adequately. For a natural, non-enhanced, lifter, ~0.8g per 1 lb of body weight seems to be the magic ratio. Eat your protein, make sure you’re getting enough fat and then load up on some carbs.As far as calories go, it’s the same general guidelines as given earlier. If you want to lose weight, be in a deficit while consuming sufficient protein. If you want to gain muscle, be in a caloric surplus while consuming sufficient protein. There are training conditions to be taken into account, but that is not within the scope of the present writing. Make sure you’re eating in line with your goals.
Role of Carbohydrates in Resistance Training
When it comes to resistance training, carbs are your friend. More than a friend, they are what keeps you going. Studies show that eating carbs before, during, and after working out significantly affects recovery in a positive way. This recovery means that you can train with higher volume, and higher volume means more muscle. This also means that as your training intensifies, so will your nutritional requirements. Long story short, if you want to see more improvement, eat carbs. Eat a mix of simple and complex carbs prior to the gym, have some simple carbs during the gym, and have a mix afterwards.