If you’ve seen how big the human body can really get through bodybuilding, or you’ve seen a contest live, you’ve probably gotten the urge to see just how big you can get! However, you probably soon discovered that putting on size, or bulking as they call it, really can’t happen without macronutrients.
Macros are essentially broken down into three things, your carbohydrates, your fats, and your proteins. If you’re trying to grow your muscles, you should guide your macronutrients to grow in muscle tissue, and not in fat. That’s the ultimate goal from bulking. How can you do that?
The easiest way to measure your macronutrients is through ratios. A lot of people have even set a so-called golden standard that they demand everyone follow. You might’ve heard of the 30/30/40 ratio, where essentially 40% of your intake would be carbs, while protein and fats would share the rest equally.
However, there’s one thing you need to understand about ratios, it’s that your calories can throw all these percentages out of the window! Let’s take a more in-depth look at your macros.
Fats are Fuel
Everyone knows that your body stores fat as an emergency food source, and you’ve probably already guessed that your body can use fat as a fuel source. However, did you know that the role of your fat stores goes further? There’s a reason everyone says that you need at least 50-60g of fat a day, and optimally taking that number up to 100g. It’s to optimize your hormonal environment.
Because you see, the number 1 nutrient that optimizes your hormonal support is fat. If you’re on a very low fat diet, around 15% for example, your hormones are going to be plummeting faster than your drive to exercise in the first place.
In particular, testosterone would see a massive decrease. There’s a couple of things you need to pay attention to when it comes to your testosterone hormone, as a high resting testosterone levels have always been related to muscle mass. Now imagine the opposite.
Can’t Grow Without Protein!
Protein is essential for any muscle centered lifestyle. There have been countless studies conducted that show that if your protein level isn’t high enough, you’re never gonna grow. In fact, if you only take your global recommended daily allowance of protein, which is around 0.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight, then you’re never going to see noticeable gains. That’s less than half of a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. We recommend that you, at minimum, consume a gram of protein per pound of body weight if you’re looking to grow optimally. You can even bump that up to 2 grams or more.
Carbs are Supplementary
Your body uses your carb stores as a fuel source that supplies energy, and they’re your primary fuel during your workouts. However, as a bodybuilder, you’ll probably never deplete your carb stores. Why? It’s because you’re not built for endurance. And you’re not doing hours and hours of endurance training like cyclists or runners. You’re focusing on the muscle, getting the optimal pump, contraction, and growth. You’re focusing on supporting your growth, and your carb stores are here to support your growth.
Think about it this way. If you’re doing 20 sets of legs today, you might only deplete your carb stores by 20-30% tops. You’ll fully replenish your carbohydrate stores in your muscles within 72 hours, whereas you’d probably not train your legs again until next week, unlike an endurance athlete who would be running every day and depleting the same muscle every single day. And unlike an endurance athlete, you’re not focusing on compensating your glycogen or carbohydrate stores to perform.
Do You Need Carbs To Grow?
Absolutely not. In fact, we did a study where we took individuals on a ketogenic diet with a daily carb intake around 5g of carbs against people who were consuming 300g of carbs a day. We found that the low carb group was growing as much as those on a high carb diet. This proves that carbs themselves cannot trigger growth, they can only support it. In fact, any kind of additional energy intake can support growth, it doesn’t have to be carbs!
We recommend that the maximum amount of carbs you’ll need is between 1-1.5g of carbs per pound of bodyweight So if you weigh 150 pounds, you’re talking 150 to 225 grams of carbs.
Never listen to anyone that tells you to get as much protein and fats as your body needs, then fill the rest of your maintenance calories with carbohydrates. That’s a recipe for disaster! More carbs won’t make you grow more muscle. It’s not going to make you perform any better in the weight room. But do you know what it will make you? Insulin resistant. Which is why we recommend filling in the rest of your calories with protein rich food sources, such as steak, chicken, or even fish.
Protein rich meals will help you grow more, and once you get 1-2 g of carbs per pound of bodyweight, just eat protein rich meals. You’ll also likely hit 100 grams of fat if you need to from those same meals. Just select less lean cuts of meat if you need to up your fat intake.
And that’s all there is to it. We hope you’ve been able to get a hang of using your macronutrients to help you grow, we’ll see you the next time you need any help!