Ensuring a steady supply of essential nutrients to the body is essential to maintaining strong health and building a body builders physique. Fat is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in the bodybuilding process, both for gaining muscle mass and to ensure overall health. Although there is a prevalent myth that fat is bad, it is important to understand the right kind and right amount of dietary fat you should consume in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The Benefits of Healthy Fat
Consuming the right type of fat helps to provide a steady stream of energy, to build tissue of various organs, to transport fat-soluble vitamins, to provide insulation and protection around organs, and to produce hormones.
Polyunsaturated fats are a popular source of healthy fats as they assist in lowering bad cholesterol levels, reduce risk of disease and also provide a unique combination of fatty acids (the Omega 3s found in salmon, tuna, sardines, walnuts and flaxseeds are a great example of this type of fat).
Monounsaturated fats are also linked to better heart health and lower cholesterol levels; they can be found in avocados, peanuts, olives, almonds and other nuts & seeds. They are also excellent sources of essential fatty acids.
Saturated fats are fats that are solid at room temperature, often found in animal proteins such as red meat, lamb, beef, pork and dairy products. While they are not essential, saturated fats provide numerous health benefits through maintaining the structure of cell membranes.
How Fat Influences Bodybuilding Goals
When it comes to bodybuilding, fat plays a vital part in the anabolic process – or the building of muscle tissue. Fat helps support recovery, maintains a healthy immune system, regulates hormone production and acts as an energy source instead of breaking down muscle tissues for fuel. It also helps to control inflammation in the body, allowing for healing after intense workouts.
Consuming adequate amounts of healthy fats also helps to create an optimal environment for muscle growth. Healthy fats stimulate the production of testosterone and human growth hormone which are both essential for achieving a bodybuilder’s goal of adding muscle mass.
The Right Balance of Fat for Bodybuilding
The amount of fat a bodybuilder should consume is highly debated, with some advocating for higher fat diets and others who suggest keeping fat intake relatively low. A general rule of thumb is that 10-12% of daily calories should come from healthy fats, split evenly between monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
That becomes 2-3 tablespoons of unsaturated fats with each meal. A study has also shown that an increase in dietary fat up to 20% of total calories is beneficial for promoting muscle growth if energy intake is kept the same.
Fat is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in bodybuilding and health. A healthy and balanced diet should include a good mix of essential fatty acids to provide a steady amount of energy and a range of health benefits. The right combination of fats can help support muscle growth and recovery, making it a great addition to a bodybuilding diet.