Dieting Principles While Exercising

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Here is a very important word when talking about bodybuilding. Too many people think that training will be enough to get results.

Unfortunately they are wrong!

In bodybuilding there are several types of people: those who do not train regularly, those who do not train properly or those who train regularly and properly.

For the first two, the lack of results is obviously explained by the irregularity and quality of their workout. However, for the last one you can see that the training is optimum so the problem is somewhere else.

In fact, I met many people in this situation in my career. Their training is very good and intense and yet they don’t gain any muscle or very little. The problem is pretty obvious: diet (and rest).

You must keep in mind that the fitness industry is a whole. By mentioning bodybuilding, you must automatically have in mind the words diet and rest.

Food Intake

This is the most common problem in bodybuilding. You want to gain weight but you eat no more than an anorexic!!! You want to get ripped but you eat as fat as a sumo!!!

You would agree that there is problem. Once more, I have to emphasis the word GOAL. If you have an objective, put the necessary means to get there.

This article has no purpose to talk into details about what you should eat or not.

This post is here to talk about the concepts to optimize your results if you have a good program.

First and as you may already know, the protein intake is essential. Proteins are the main building blocks of your muscles. You can read everywhere that you should take 1.6 to 2.5g of proteins per kilogram of body weight per day.

I totally agree with those numbers. From my experience, going with 1.8g to 2g will give you excellent results.

Example: if you weigh 100kgs, you need to take at least 160g to 250g of proteins per day. I know that’s a lot so try to reach the minimum amount.

If protein intake is essential for building muscles, it is not enough to bulk or to get ripped. You will need to increase or decrease your calorie intake.

Whether you wanna gain weight or get ripped, the ideal would be to eat at least 5 to 6 times a day. It’s completely feasible even if you are going to work or at school. Almonds or hazelnuts are perfect as a snack around 10h and a banana will just do great before your workout (about 30min to 1 hour before).

Increasing Muscle Mass

Bulking up is the action of increasing your body mass to seem more massive and ultimately, more muscular (bigger muscle).

If you want to increase your body mass, you’ll have to eat a lot more than you’re used to. You will keep the same protein intake regardless of the quality. Red meat is often considered as a ‘bad quality protein’ because it contains a lot of fat.

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Beef, Lamb, Pork and Chicken BBQ with some rice to bulk up

Therefore, it is often advisable to eat red meat responsibly! but I’’m gonna tell you the opposite: Go Ahead! 

Red meat is your #1 friend to increase your body mass. It contains a lot of proteins (a good steak can have 50 to 60g of proteins), natural creatine that will help you recover faster after your workout, and fat to increase your body mass.

If you wanna gain weight, you will have to increase your calorie intake somewhere. It ain’t gonna work by eating 1kg of veggies only. You must increase carbs (bread, pasta, and rice) but why not taking two steaks instead of one…

Be warned! By increasing your body mass, you will necessary gain some fat. Do not dream of becoming well defined while bulking up. For that, you will need to get ripped.

If you find a formula to build mass without gaining fat, let us know! It’s possible to gain in volume with no fat to some extent but that’s a lengthy and hard process.

You must decide what you should eat or not to avoid gaining too much fat. You could definitely increase your body mass very quickly by going to Macdonald every day, but that’s not really what you are looking for.

The purpose of bulking up is to take the most muscle with the minimum fat. So you have to dose out what you are eating and as we are all different, you are the only one who knows how many calories you will need. We can help you but we can’t do it for you!

Getting Ripped

People usually start to get ripped after a mass cycle (bulking up). The goal is to lose the accumulated fat to show the hard-earned muscles only.

If you wanna get lean and cut, you will have to reduce your calorie intake. This time it will be essential to keep quality proteins to maintain your muscle mass and avoid bad proteins (red meat) in order to lose weight.

Quality proteins: fish, chicken, turkey, white meat (rabbit for example).


Of course, you can still have a delicious steak especially to recover from your workout (because of the creatine) but prefer lunch over dinner.

In fact, the ‘rule’ is to avoid eating carbs after 16h (you can even say lunch) – taking some in the morning and for lunch is enough. Do not forget to get some carbs right after your workout as well.

I also recommend weighing your food.

Example: 60g of pasta, 80g of rice or 80/ 100 g of potatoes is perfect

For the evening, you can have as much vegetables as you want and quality proteins.

Getting ripped can be physically challenging because you will have less nutritional intake, so less energy at gym. It is therefore essential to keep carbs in your diet in order to have enough energy for your workout. You can also reduce the weights to prevent injuries, but you can keep your program. No need to change everything!

I also want to warn you about getting ripped. It’s always difficult to lose weight but it is even more difficult to lose weight without losing muscles. Keep in mind that even with the best diet in the world; you will still lose some muscle (a little).

The art of getting ripped lies in this subtlety: slowly losing weight by gradually reducing your calorie intake. You have to do it step by step. If you do it right, the results will be fantastic. Your muscles will be so defined that you will appear more muscular than when you were bulking up.

One more thing: cardio is not necessary. If your nutrition is optimum, it will make all the difference. Cardio can possibly help you at the end of your cycle to get rid of the reluctant fat. But prefer HIIT training over a more classical cardio. I’ll talk about HIIT in another article.

I think I told you all the principles about dieting. You can have the best program in the world, if you do not have the right diet, you will get no results.

Diet is the key!

I still have to write an important article to complete this one: rest because one does not go without the other.

Meanwhile, bon appétit and enjoy your diet!

4 Comments Posted

  1. salut a toi russcoff,
    je vais attaquer un entrainement en 5×5 pour gagner en force.
    est ce que je dois prendre du poids chaque semaine ( environ 400 a 500 grammes par semaine) comme une prise de masse car je veux éviter de prendre trop de graisse .

    • Salut Xav, toujours un plaisir de te voir sur le site!

      Non ce n’est pas une question de prendre du poids chaque semaine mais d’avoir assez d’énergie pour soulever lourd.

      Lors d’un programme de prise de force il faut consommer assez de protéines car c’est essentiel pour la construction musculaire.

      Consommer au moins 2 à 3g de glucides par poids de corps et du coup manger de bons glucides pour empêcher une trop grosse prise de gras – riz brun, pâtes au blé entier, flocon d’avoine…

      Boire beaucoup d’eau et là je te renvoie à cette anecdote pour comprendre pourquoi:

      Et mange tes glucides le matin et autour de ton entrainement pour limiter la prise de gras! ‎

  2. merci pour ta réponse russcoff,
    je pratique le jeune intermittent dont 16h sans apports nutritionnels et 8 h avec apports.
    mon plus gros repas est celui qui vient juste apres le training .
    est-ce d’apres toi une bonne stratégie pour un training basé sur la force?
    vaut-il mieux faire un repas 2 à 3 h avant ma séance car je m’entraine a jeun?
    je pense aussi prendre un booster ( 3 séances sur 4) ainsi que bcaa et creatine hcl environ 30 mn avant mon training .

    • Salut Xav,

      Toujours un plaisir de te répondre. Ecoute le jeûne intermittent (dont je ne suis pas spécialement fan) est efficace pour une perte de poids mais ABSOLUMENT PAS lors d’un programme de prise de force.

      Comme je t’ai dit dans ma réponse précédente, il te faut beaucoup d’énergie pour être dans la zone de travail 1-5 reps. En étant à jeun, tes perfs vont être médiocres et tu augmentes aussi le risque de blessure. Je te recommande plus de manger toutes les 3h pour avoir toute l’énergie nécessaire avec au moins 50% de glucides.

      Booster peut être très intéressant 30min avant ta séance pour (comme son nom l’indique) te donner le coup de boost/punch pour faire une bonne séance.
      Les BCAAs sont toujours utiles pour un programme de force mais PAS NECESSAIRES. Les BCAAs sont là pour minimiser le catabolisme musculaire et donc aider à conserver ta masse musculaire (donc comme j’ai dit pas le principal pour une prise de force).

      Créatine est super intéressante en prise de force car ça améliore la récupération musculaire, l’endurance musculaire entrainant un gain de force. La créatine est aussi anti-catabolique. Par contre, si tu utilises de la crea – prends de la monohydrate, il n’y a pas meilleur.

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