Bodybuilding Diet and Nutrition Plans for Women: A Look at Some Popular Plans

Page content

Nutrition for Women Bodybuilders

Women bodybuilders, whether you are getting into shape for training or aiming for a sexy body, the first step toward bodybuilding and fitness is proper nutrition. To optimize diets to build muscle mass and/or lose fat, you must know the best bodybuilding diet and nutrition plans for women.

The correct balanced diet for bodybuilders should include more protein and less fat. This is because protein helps you build muscle mass and that’s what you are aiming for, right?

Carbohydrates are a major energy source. During digestion, the body converts carbohydrates into sugar. This sugar enters the body’s cells through the bloodstream and is converted into energy. The excess sugar is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen, which is then converted to energy during a workout. Glycogen reserves can normally be used up within 90 minutes of intense training. Building your muscle mass depends on the type of carbohydrate you eat, and how and when you eat it.

Multivitamins, salmon oil, flaxseed oil, and calcium supplements are some of the common supplements used by women bodybuilders. The right supplements help you gain muscle mass quickly. However, no supplement or protein shake can give you the results you are looking for if you don’t have your bodybuilding diet plan in place.

Strange as it may seem, the right kinds of fat actually help women bodybuilders to lose extra body fat, reduce workout-induced inflammation, and boost energy. Omega-3 fatty acids, a form of polyunsaturated fatty acids, play an important role in building muscle mass. Flaxseed oil, cod liver oil, and salmon are good sources of fats for muscle building.

Building muscle mass requires plenty of calories. Bodybuilders generally require a high calorie diet of around 3000 to 4000 calories, unless they are planning to lose fat too. Furthermore, the lowest calorie meal should be dinner since you are not going to be very active after dinner.

Drink lots of water. You can never drink enough! Drink not less than ten 8-ounce glasses per day. Drinking water has many benefits.

  • Water flushes toxins from the body.
  • Kidneys don’t function properly without enough water. The liver must take over some of kidney’s work and it burns less fat. In other words, water helps metabolize fat.
  • Drinking water reduces hunger pangs.
  • Water reduces fluid retention.
  • Water helps supplements work better.

High Protein Nutrition Plan

A majority of women bodybuilders choose high protein nutrition plans, and not without reason. Amino acids are the building blocks for proteins that form muscles and other organs in our body. So, protein is essential in muscle building. Bodybuilding diet and nutrition plans for women must include a good mix of proteins to ensure availability of all the amino acids needed to build muscle mass.

The absolute minimum for protein intake per day is one gram per pound of body weight. There is no maximum. However, too much protein may promote fat gain, so limit protein intake to 1.5 grams per pound of body weight per day. Opt for lean protein sources, that is, proteins that have 10-15 percent of calories from fat.

Get proteins from lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, low fat cottage cheese, soybeans, tofu, and beans. Take care not to go overboard with soy based foods; two to four servings per week is sufficient. A protein shake or a protein bar is okay sometimes, but don’t make it a habit. Natural sources of protein are a good and comparatively inexpensive option because they give you not just proteins but plenty of anti-oxidants and minerals as well.

For vegetarian women bodybuilders, good sources of vegetable protein are chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, and soybeans.

Lisa Watson, a natural bodybuilder, uses whey protein powder as a morning and afternoon protein meal. For supplements, she uses creatine a month or so before a show.

Carbohydrate Cycling Diet Plan

The Carbohydrate Cycling diet plan basically works on the principle of ‘keep the body guessing’ regarding carbohydrate intake. This one-week plan involves three types of days:

  • High Carb Day – Four of the meals (three if you eat five meals a day) include as much carbohydrate as you can eat. The meal preceding and following workouts have high carbs.
  • Low Carb Day – Three of the meals (two if you eat five meals day) may contain carbs.
  • No Carb Day – Just as it says, no carbs on this day. Consume only proteins and fats.

On this plan, at least 70 percent of total calories come from carbohydrates.

The Zone Diet Plan

The Zone Diet follows a formula of 40 carbs**:** 30 protein**:** 30 fats. According to this diet plan, the main source of carbs should come from fruits and vegetables and not breads or pasta. This is because excessive carbs can cause the body to produce too much insulin and this could reduce physical performance. So the glycemic index (GI) factor is very important if you follow the Zone Diet.

Here’s a mini cheat sheet for carbohydrate consumption that many women bodybuilders who follow the Zone Diet can use:

  • Eat small amounts of carbs more often to keep a steady flow of insulin in the body. Have small meals about six times a day.
  • Eat high glycemic index (GI) food within 15 minutes to two hours after training. This helps replenish depleted glycogen levels in the muscle. Honey, potatoes, candy, corn flakes, rice cakes, carrots, and peas are high GI food.
  • Eat low GI foods, such as nuts, legumes, whole milk, ice-cream, yogurt, oats, peanuts, apples, and vegetables (excluding carrots, corn and root vegetables), before training. Low GI foods increase muscle glycogen levels thus preventing lowering of blood glucose levels and consequent fatigue. These foods also tend to decrease storing extra glucose as fat.
  • Avoid eating carbs after seven in the evening.

Pauline Nordin Fighter Diet Plan

Pauline prioritizes protein consumption in her diet plan. According to this plan -

  • Eat about one and a half grams of protein per pound of body weight.
  • Consume one third of the daily amount of carbs about one and a half hours before a workout and the rest afterwards.
  • Consume 20-30 grams of good fats daily. Fish oil, flax seed oil are good fats.
  • Eat one to three pounds of green veggies daily.

Tammy Strome Diet Plan

Tammy’s diet plan begins 10 weeks out from a show. She prefers -

  • Low carb diets with a carb boost every five days to keep metabolism from slowing down.
  • Substituting lean protein for some extra fats every 7-10 days to keep cravings down.
  • Drinking five to eight liters of water per day.

Carmen Garcia Diet Plan

Carmen follows a high protein/low carb/low fat diet. She consumes -

  • Five to six small meals a day.
  • Low fat-low carb protein shake a day mixed with water.
  • Last meal of the day before eight pm.

Lisa Watson Nutrition Plan

Lisa starts her diet plan four months before competition. She follows the 40 (protein): 40 (carbs): 20 (fats) diet plan. She says -

  • Counting calories is important. If you lose or gain in a week, then adjust your calories next week.
  • Her post workout shake consists of protein, pure dextrose, maltodextrin, creatine and crystal light.
  • A tablespoon of peanut butter a day helps boost energy levels.

Whatever the diet and nutrition plan you choose, ensure that you include enough proteins, the right amount of carbs, and a little good fat in your diet regularly. Remember, drink lots of water, and the correct supplements and an occasional protein shake will perk you up for intensive workouts. Any of these plans will produce energy and stamina for women who want to pursue bodybuilding.