MuscleMag 369

The 10 Commandments of Bodybuilding Nutrition — Fact or Fiction?

10 Bodybuilding Commandments

What’s the truth behind 10 commonly held beliefs about muscle- and strength-building nutrition? MMI separates the bodybuilding facts from the fallacies.

By Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

All sports have their tenets, some of which are so ingrained that they seem more like commandments.

Thou shalt swing thy golf club in an easy rhythm …
Thou shalt not swing at the baseball in the dirt …
Thou shalt use thy left jab to set up the overhand right …
Thou shalt not hit the quarterback after the whistle has blown …

Bodybuilding has its own commandments, especially in terms of nutrition. Some, like “Thou shall flood thy muscles with protein after a supercharged workout,” are indeed true, while others are less so. Unfortunately, it takes only a few well-intentioned strongmen spreading the word, and soon every Tom, Dick and Harriett are swallowing mistruths as facts.

The problem with myths is that not only can they waste your time and money, but they can also bring about lackluster results at the gym. Here, MuscleMag takes 10 commonly held beliefs and enlightens you on their merits when it comes to packing on mass and keeping healthy.

Commandment #1:“Thou shalt not eat egg yolks”


Verdict: False

Though once considered a serious hazard to your ticker, there’s no reason to be chicken about eating yolks. Since they’re a rich source of cholesterol, it was long thought that eating too many would gunk up your arteries. But it’s now clear that dietary cholesterol has much less of an impact on heart health than once thought, particularly for those without pre-existing heart disease or who are at high risk. In fact, evidence suggests that whole egg consumption raises blood levels of HDL cholesterol, which is deemed “good” cholesterol because it helps haul LDL cholesterol out of the bloodstream and, ultimately, out of the body. [1]

Besides, the benefits of the nutrients in the yolk far outweigh any drawbacks. Egg yolks deliver choline, a brain-boosting substance your body requires to break down fat for energy, as well as vitamin D, which has been shown to bolster testosterone production. Canadian scientists recently found that eggs contain high levels of antioxidants that may help your muscles mend.[2] But don’t buy the hype that brown eggs are superior to white ones — the color difference comes from the breed of the chickens producing the eggs, not from any differences in nutritional content.

Your Move:

As long as you don’t have existing heart problems or high cholesterol numbers, feel free to eat up to three egg yolks daily as part of your diet.

Commandment #2: “Thou shalt not overindulge in protein, as thy stomach can digest only so much protein at once”


Verdict: True

Yes, we know that bodybuilders require more protein than a pencil-thin Kenyan marathoner, but what needs to be understood is that your body can assimilate only so much protein in one sitting. After that, the leftovers are likely to be burnt off as energy or — gasp! — stored as fat mass. Case in point: A Journal of the American Dietetic Association study found that muscle protein synthesis isn’t significantly greater when more than 30 grams of protein is consumed at a meal.[3] But alas, these subjects weren’t mass hounds, meaning that bodybuilders may potentially tolerate more than 30 grams. Protein assimilation varies from person to person depending on stuff like genetics, bodyweight and training volume. So if mass is your goal, you need to make sure that you’re eating enough protein to properly recover from training and instigate growth, but not so much that with the additional muscle mass, you get a great deal of flab, too. A good way to judge this is by watching your physique. If you find two hefty steaks for dinner is helping you pack on muscle and fat, you may want to cut back on the amount of protein calories consumed at once.

Your Move:

Shoot for 1.2–1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight daily as part of a diet designed to spur growth. So for a 180-pound person, this would equal 216–270 grams of protein daily. Be sure to spread out this intake throughout the day to give your body a better opportunity to covert all those amino acids into granite dense muscle.

Tagged: , | Follow @MuscleMag

Also on MuscleMag

  • Fadrick Paiva

    many miths are now dead (y)

Current Issue
Preview the latest issue of MuscleMag

Preview the latest issue of MuscleMag

Preview the July 2014 issue of MuscleMag
MuscleMag On Twitter
Exclusive Video