Dietary fat also known as fats or fatty acids is another component of food. It is very important ingredient of bodybuilding diet.
Fat is an essential nutrient of a healthy diet as well. It’s a great source of vitamins, minerals and calories. It has a bad name but generally is very healthy and without it we couldn’t function properly, never mind build muscle mass. It’s responsible for many processes in a human body like production of hormones and general physical and mental health. It plays a key role in maintaining healthy skin, hair and protecting body organs from shock and temperature changes.
Additionally, fats are another great source of energy, especially when there are not enough carbohydrates in our diet.
Because they play a vital role in production of anabolic and fat burning hormones; and have high content of calories they are essential macronutrient in any muscle mass building meal.
Division of fats and their sources
Most of dieticians, scientists, food companies or even sportsman divides fats into saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and trans. I don’t like this division and I don’t want to confuse anybody with it. Although it’s correct I like bodybuilding to be simple and therefore we have 3 types of fats:
- natural fats which come form of plants,
- animal sources or fatty acids,
- artificial fats (man-made in factories).
As you should know by now most of things that grow or live on planet Earth is made for human. It’s generally healthy and essential in our diets. On the other hand most of man-made products or any type of chemical or artificial stuff is usually harmful.
There are 7 main sources of fats:
- Oils (olive, coconut, rapeseed, sunflower, etc.);
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts…);
- Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, flax-seed…),
- Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines…),
- Meat (poultry skin, high fat parts of meat, bacon, lard, etc.),
- Diary (milk, cream, cheese, butter, egg yolk…),
- Junk food (chips, crisps, nuggets, doughnuts, cakes, cookies, margarine).
The best sources of fats
The best sources of essential fatty acids come from plants. Avocados, seeds, nuts, olives and their products are extremely healthy especially olive oil, peanut butter or dark chocolate. Fatty fishes and cod liver oil is also very rich in this substance.
Make sure to include this food in your menu and try to consume it every day. This type of nutrition is very healthy and important for the proper development, not only for bodybuilding.
Don’t avoid fat that comes from meat or diary. It has been consumed for many centuries and is also beneficial for the human body.
Artificial – hydrogenated fat like margarine or frying oil in fast food bars is extremely hard to digest by humans or even by any other living creatures. It causes weight gain usually in abdominal area. Besides it has many more harmful effects. Try to avoid it. Of course nothing will happen if you’ll grab a doughnut or a bag of chips from time to time, just don’t eat it on a daily basis.
Food containing fat is very much demonized in the modern society even by doctors and dieticians mostly because of its high content of calories. It’s blamed for obesity, heart diseases and different health issues. Therefore people who are trying to lose weight or just want to become healthy are advised to avoid it. As the result they are becoming hungry, weak and very often sick or depressed. By avoiding fat they cause deficiencies of certain minerals and vitamins which are essential for the proper functions of the human body and mind.
It’s a great misunderstanding. Only artificial fats are harmful for us. Under no circumstances should we eliminate the natural sources of fatty acids. They are the essential ingredient of a healthy diet especially for bodybuilders or any other sports men.
How much fat to consume
An athlete who’s trying to build muscle mass should consume minimum:
- 0.5 gram of fat per pound of body weight or
- 1 gram of fat per kilogram of BW
This is really a minimum. Old time strength and bodybuilding coaches advise to eat much more fats, especially when you try to build muscle. I agree with that.
If you are a hard-gainer and eat enough proteins but struggling to gain weight, you should increase the consumption of fats along with carbohydrates. Because fatty acids contain many calories they are extremely helpful for anybody who wants to get big. So add some olive oil to your salad, eat few bags of nuts between your meals and don’t avoid an egg yolk.
If you’re overweight, watch out your carbohydrates and of course cut down on doughnuts, chips and other junk food. Additionally you can do one or two cardio sessions per week. This should help to minimize an unwanted body fat gain.
Fats are essential in bodybuilding and day to day life. They have only bad name. Generally they are very healthy, of course except man-made ones. Think about them like about something healthy like oils for example. We can compare them to engine oil in your car. If you drive without it your engine will break. Engine in your car is like a heart in your body. Hope you get in now.