Bodybuilding for Real People
and Real Life Results

By Dave Picard

This article was written by Dave Picard, who is co-owner of American Fitness Wholesalers Incorporated, the New England Distributor of American Body Building Products. Dave has a degree in Health Science and Nutrition, and has won, placed and competed in several bodybuilding competitions. Dave has been involved with athletics all of his life, and one of his strongest interests is improving performance through training and nutrition. Self experimentation, working with others and plenty of reading are just some of the ways he increases his knowledge and awareness of the industry.

This is part two of Dave Picard's series in bodybuilding. The first part was about the Workout. The second part is about Nutrition.


In my first article, I discussed training and the importance of generating high intensity while utilizing proper form and getting adequate rest. As important as training is, it is only a small piece of the overall pie that delivers success and progression in Real Life Bodybuilding. A much larger percentage of that pie is Nutrition. Nutrition is by far the most important factor and is almost always responsible for both success and failure in bodybuilding, and for that matter any and all fitness programs. In the following article, I'll lay out a basic nutrition program. With this program, you'll be able to figure out your daily Protein, Carbohydrate, Fat and Calorie needs. I'll also include some key tips on nutritional timing, metabolic enhancement and preferred food and supplement choices. So get ready! Bodybuilding for real people and real life results Nutrition 101 is about to begin

Daily Caloric Intake

This is an area that has been used and abused a lot over the past several years. At one point, high calorie diets are in and a year later low calorie diets are back in fashion. The same holds true for Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats. Opinions seem like they're changing on a daily basis and they are! The following formula is tried and true. lf you follow it and make adjustments where they're needed, you can't help but to achieve nutritional nirvana. Many complex formula's for figuring daily caloric needs have been introduced. My formula is a simplified and effective version.

Take your current body weight or a realistic body weight goal (Up or Down), and multiply it by your desired factor (either 12, 15, or 18). If you want to lose weight or have a slower metabolism, multiply your weight by 12. For maintaining your current weight, multiply your weight by 15. And for hardgainers or those looking to gain weight, multiply your weight or desired weight by 18. This is a starting point for figuring out your daily caloric needs. (Example: Male who is 200lbs x 15 = 3000 calories per day, Female wh is 130 lbs x 15 = 1950 calories per day). You may need to adjust your caloric need by 50 - 100 calories per day should you stagnate and not be achieving your desired goals. This formula also works as a nice starting point for a bodybuilder looking to figure out the different caloric needs over the course of a year.

A Pre-Contest bodybuilder would use their desired body weight multiplied by 12. An off-season bodybuilder would use their weight or desired weight multiplied by 15 or 18 depending on how fast their metabolism is and how lean they want to stay in the off-season. I personally use my body weight multiplied by 15. This allows me to grow and stay very lean in the off-season. This formula works equally well for both men and women.

After figuring your daily caloric needs, you now need to figure out how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fat you'll take in per day. Roughly 30-35% of your calories should come from protein, 50-60% from carbohydrates and 10-15% from fats. Each gram of protein or carbohydrate is equal to 4 calories. Each gram of fat is equal to 9 calories. Your calories should be partitioned somewhat equally throughout 5-6 meals or more per day. Higher calorie post workout meals are encouraged and will be discussed later in this article. Although vitamins and minerals will not be discussed in detail in this article, I do recommend everyone use some type of Mega Multi Vitamins or Vitamin Pack on a daily basis. Such supplementation provides daily insurance and eliminates the worry of meeting required needs for general health and recovery.


Protein is essential for the repair and growth of muscle tissues. The amino acids derived from proteins form the building blocks for all cells in the human body. Without protein, your organs, hair, nails, immune system and every other part of your body would not survive. Those who work out need to supply their bodies with enough protein to carry out the bodies regular day to day functions along with recovering from your daily workouts. Daily protein requirements for active people have been disputed for years between sports medicine professionals and those who decide on the US RDA's. My personal opinion and that supported and accepted by most sports nutritionists and bodybuilding experts is 1 - 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. This is a perfectly safe and very effective amount. Any less and your recovery and growth will suffer. Higher amounts of protein don't seem to be any more beneficial, either.

Your protein intake should be approximately 30 - 35% of your total caloric intake. A 200 lbs male eating 3000 calories per day would want to consume 250 grams of protein per day, this would be 33% of his total calories. A 130 lb female eating 1950 calories per day would want to consume roughly 160 grams of protein per day, this would be 33% of her total calories. Your protein intake should be divided somewhat equally throughout all of your meals. If our 200 lbs male consumed 6 meals per day, he would want to consume 35-43 grams of protein per meal. If our 130 lb female were eating 6 meals per day, she would want to consume 20-30 grams per meal.

Best Protein Sources: Protein Powders and Supplements, Turkey, Chicken, Fish (White), Lean Red Meat, Egg Whites.


Carbohydrates are the bodies preferred energy source. For the purpose of this article, I will break them down into two categories: Simple carbohydrates and Complex carbohydrates, Complex carbohydrates are carbohydrates that are broken down slowly and elicit a mild blood sugar response. With the exception of post workout meals, complex carbohydrates should represent the majority of the carbohydrates in your diet.

Simple carbohydrates are only recommended during the first two hours following your workout. The reason for this is simple carbohydrates elicit a rapid rise and fall in your blood sugar levels. This not only causes you to feel sluggish and tired but it also causes such an insulin spike that the body begins to convert and store those simple carbohydrates as fat, sometimes even before the simple carbohydrates leave the liver. Needless to say you've triggered hormones that are more conducive to fat storage than they are to fat burning and muscle building.

However during that two hour period following your workout, often considered the post workout window of opportunity, your body and your muscles are very receptive to simple sugars. Spiking your insulin levels at this time will not only help to begin refilling all your depleted glycogen stores but will also help you recover and feel revived from your intense workout. It is believed that 60 - 80% of your glycogen replenishment (carbohydrate storage & replacement) needs to take place within two hours after training. In other words, the quicker you can get the carbohydrates into those hungry muscles, the better your chances of having a great workout the next time out. It only makes sense that simple carbohydrates would work the quickest and get the job done with no drawbacks. But remember this is really the only ideal time for simple carbohydrates in your diet. During all other time frames, complex carbohydrates will help you to sustain a nice steady energy level that delivers a steady flow of carbohydrates to the muscle.

Carbohydrates should make up 50-60% of the calories in your diet. As with proteins, you need to space your carbohydrates throughout your meals for the day. A good ratio would be 1 - 1.5 grams of carbohydrates per gram of protein in all your regular meals and 2-3 grams of carbohydrates per gram of protein in your two post workout meals. I mention two because one should come immediately at the gym usually in the form of a drink or bar or both depending on your size, and the other should come about 60-90 minutes later in the form of a meal at your home, office or other destination. These two meals should represent 30-45% of your total calories and carbohydrates for the day. If you use a higher carbohydrate pro workout meal (60-90 minutes prior to training), its perfectly fine to make adjustments in your other meals ratio's to balance out your daily percentages.

If you do eat foods that contain simple sugars, an easy way to combat the insulin spike is to simply make sure your eating complete meals. In other words, taking in protein with simple sugars, or for that matter any carbohydrates will slow down the absorption rate for a much more favorable and growth promoting blood sugar profile.

Best Complex Carbohydrate Sources: Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Beans, Hot Air Pop Corn, Green & Yellow Vegetables, Shredded Wheat, Yams, Sweet Potatoes.

Best Simple Carbohydrate Sources: (Post Workout). American Body Buildlng's Critical Mass, XXL, Bulk Force, Amino Force, Carho Force, Steel Bar's, Amino Power, Super Shakes (The product of choice depends on your size and caloric needs). Foods include Boboli Pizza with Fat Free Cheese, Whole Wheat or Buckwheat Pancakes, Whole Wheat Pasta's, Syrian Bread sandwiches with real turkey or chicken, etc.

Best Meal Replacements: American Body Building's High Voltage.


All the fat you need should occur naturally in your everyday diet. However, if your fat intake is extremely low (below 10%), I would recommend supplementing a tablespoon of flaxseed oil, olive oil or even a serving of peanuts just to make sure you get your essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids do play a role in growth, recovery and day to day well being. My recommendation is your daily caloric intake consist of 10-15% fat.

Mid Night Meals

At one time or another you've probably been warned not to cat anything before bed or in the middle of the night because it will turn immediately to fat. This is Dead Wrong! One of the biggest mistakes a bodybuilder can make is to go 10 or more hours without eating. If you eat every 2 - 4 hours during the day to prevent catabolism, what logic could convince you to fast every night for 10 - 12 hours. This might be the easiest way to interrupt recovery and growth on a daily basis. The following recommendation might be the most important growth promoting tip you've ever received. Eat 1 - 2 times during the course of the evening. I'm not talking about a full meal but rather a small protein based meal. Carbohydrates are not all that important during the middle of the night simply because you're not doing anything but sleeping. However, protein will help to prevent catabolism and, during the all important Growth Hormone releasing sleep, promote anabolism. l'd recommend either drinking a protein shake, taking some amino's, eating 3 - 4 egg whites or having a cup of cottage cheese just before bed and then once again in the middle of the night when you get up to go to the bathroom. All you need is about 75 - 125 calories in each meal and don't forget to include them in your daily counts. Start eating in the middle of the night and you'll be growing around the clock, and don't worry, I guarantee you won't get fat.


As I stated in the beginning of the article, nutrition is by far the most important factor and is almost always responsible for either success or failure in bodybuilding and most fitness programs. Although very complex, a basic understanding can guide anyone in the right direction. As you progress in your bodybuilding and fitness programs and gain further understanding of the relationship between performance, recovery and nutrition, you'll be able to find certain nutritional strategies and manipulations that will help drive you to new heights. In future articles, we'll discuss such strategies and manipulations. Until the next issue, good luck to all and hopefully bodybuilding's nutritional jigsaw puzzle is a little easier for you to understand now.