If the scale shows that your weight is staying the same (or going down) then it’s time to look at your diet and make healthy changes to create a high calorie bodybuilding diet.
If your weight is increasing, is it muscle mass or fat mass? If your stomach is getting larger then you might be eating too much. You can expect to put on some bodyfat when trying to put build muscle (especially if you’re eating a high calorie diet), but you want to monitor to make sure that dreaded fat percentage isn’t increasing too much.
Another good tool to track your progress is a set of body fat calipers. Using calipers every two weeks will provide you an idea of exactly what is happening. If your lean body mass is going down, you might want to increase the amount of calories that you eat. On the contrary, if body fat is increasing, you might want to decrease your food consumption. Finding the sweet spot where you can gain muscle without fat is every bodybuilder’s dream.
All good gyms will have a set of calipers and as long as the same person does the measurements every time you should be able to get a true reading as to what exactly is happening. Once you have obtained the amount of total millimeters and your bodyweight, the chart that comes with the calipers will show what your bodyfat percentage is.
Now comes the clever bit. If you take your bodyweight in pounds and times it by the bodyfat percentage, then you will be able to figure out your total level of bodyfat. Then you subtract this number from the total bodyweight and that will give you a figure for your fat free mass. The figure is not all muscle (technically it includes internal organs, bones etc.) but we’ll use the figure as muscle for our calculations.
The two figures you have just worked out (total bodyfat and fat free mass) should be written down and kept. Then next time you have your measurements done you can compare the two and see if your bodyfat percentage has gone up.
You will find that if your food intake is right, then with proper amount of exercise, your fat free mass will go up and your total bodyfat will go down. But if you’re not eating enough, you will find that your fat free mass (muscle) is going down and your bodyfat goes up, which is definitely not what you want!
The next time you have the bodyfat percentage calculated, ideally you want to see that the level of fat free mass has gone up and the total bodyfat has stayed the same or has gone down. That is the ideal situation. But sometimes it doesn’t happen and the fat level increases and the fat free mass decreases.
The reason that the fat free mass decreases is that possibly you are losing muscle, because you don’t eat enough food for the amount of work/training you are doing.
Ok, I hear you saying, what if I train at home? Well in this situation we can use the old favorites, a set of scales and the mirror. You know, the one you use to admire yourself in!
The bathroom scales should show an increase in your bodyweight, if it’s not going up then you’re not eating enough. If the mirror is showing an increase of bodyfat around your midsection, then you are eating too much.
So how do we set up a bodybuilding meal plan with the right nutrition for ourselves? First, we need to know how many calories we should eat in a day, on top of the calories required for our body at rest we need to add into the diet calories we expend on daily activities and our training.