Steph’s Powerbuilding Diet
For so many years, any blogs offering diet tips to women focused on diets for weight loss. While it’s absolutely fine to have this as your goal, it left little room for women who wanted to train with other goals in mind. Thankfully, a shift happened along the way and now there are diet tips for almost every type of training and nutrition goal.
While there is now no shortage of information when it comes to exercise and your diet, there can also be lots of misinformation and differing opinions. What I want to do with this blog is give you some details about a powerbuilding diet, what it can include and why, so you can then implement some of these tips into your routine if your goal is to develop muscle mass.
I want to give you some background into what nutritional choices can help complement BUILD, my training program. I’ll explain what I do to maximise my performance in the gym to help you understand why diet is crucial for the best results.
Powerbuilding diet and nutrition
When it comes to training performance, the importance of your diet cannot be underestimated. It isn’t just important for training — it is necessary for your recovery as well. If you want to train at your highest capacity and be able to perform consistently, a well-structured powerbuilding diet is crucial.
I believe the main thing to understand when it comes to nutrition and its impact on your training is the importance of macronutrients.
If you’re not familiar with the term, macronutrients (sometimes called ‘macros’) are nutrients your body needs in large doses. There are three main macronutrients, which are proteins, fats and carbohydrates. These three nutrients are really important for your body to function at its best.
When I shifted my focus away from how lifting made me look and instead became determined to increase my performance, I made a huge shift with my diet as well.
I found it hard to follow calorie-restricted diets because they caused me to feel very low in energy when I wanted to train. What worked for me was increasing my intake of carbohydrates (adding foods like sweet potato and rice to my meals) because I found I could train harder. Over the years, this has shifted slightly and I have changed my diet a number of times but always with my health and performance as a focus.
My macronutrient breakdown is based around the goal of increasing muscle, so the amount of carbohydrates I eat is different to that of someone who wants to lose weight. My protein and fat intake needs to be adequate for energy and muscle building. Tracking macronutrients makes it easier to stay on track and balanced across my meals.
I’m quite a fussy eater but being able to perform in the gym is important to me, so I always put effort into my diet to help me train at my best.
Does a powerbuilding diet need lots of protein?
As you probably already know, your body needs protein for muscle building. Protein provides your body with amino acids, which are essential for muscle growth and repair. Muscles are made up of actin and myosin, two filaments that are also proteins. To grow more muscle, you need to increase the amount of actin and myosin by joining more amino acids together inside the muscle. When you eat protein-rich food, you are providing your body with the amino acids it needs to start this process.
It sounds confusing but ultimately muscle growth requires protein to help repair existing muscle and to increase muscle mass (a process known as biosynthesis).
Another thing to consider when you are lifting weights is that you are putting your muscles under strain and they need to recover. I know that if I don’t get enough protein, my body won’t be able to repair the muscle damage caused by my training. My protein intake is important for helping me to follow a consistent training schedule but also to reduce my risk of injury from overtraining. I get my protein from foods such as salmon, steak, kangaroo, eggs and natural yoghurt.
Remember that protein is just one of the main macronutrients you need to support your training. While protein helps with the muscle growth you might be chasing, it is important to include protein with other nutrients too.
Should I be taking supplements?
Spend a bit of time online or in gyms and you’ll probably notice that supplements are often talked about in conjunction with weight training, particularly when it comes to powerlifting.
If you follow me on social media, you have probably seen that I take some supplements to complement my diet and my training. Personally, I have two rules when it comes to supplements:
1. Food should always come before supplements.
2. Supplements never replace food.
What this means is I prioritise my diet and use supplements only for their intended purpose — to supplement my existing diet. There is no replacement for eating to suit your training and to provide your body with the nutrition it needs to move efficiently.
With that in mind, as I mentioned, I do take some supplements as I have found them to be beneficial for my performance and my overall health. For example, I take probiotics and digestive enzymes to help support my gut health and digestion. I also take vitamins D, B12 and C for energy and to support my immune health.
When it comes to training, I find taking specific supplements has helped assist my recovery. As I’ve explained above, amino acids support muscle growth and repair, so I use supplements with amino acid blends to help with recovery (including sleep) and to give me an energy boost. Whether you choose to do this is up to you — if you prefer not to take supplements, I would recommend focusing on your specific diet and perhaps even speak with a dietitian to be sure you are meeting your needs.
I think there are a couple of key things to remember when it comes to supplements. First, your diet should be providing you with the essential nutrients you need, so focus on getting this balance right to begin with. Second, if you want to try supplementing, find something that works for your specific needs. Everyone’s needs are slightly different so trial a few different types to help you find the supplement that gives you the most benefit.
Get started with your powerbuilding diet
Just like any other form of training, nutrition should be an important consideration. This blog has covered a lot of ground, so hopefully you have a clearer understanding of what to consider when planning your own powerbuilding diet.
If you can follow these tips alongside a well-structured training program like BUILD, I firmly believe you can achieve outstanding results with both your physique and performance!
See you in the gym,
* Results from BUILD may vary. Strict adherence to the program is required for best results.