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How to Train and Diet for Natural Bodybuilding – Generation Iron Fitness & Bodybuilding Network

Everything it’s essential to learn about coaching and weight-reduction plan for pure bodybuilding

Bodybuilding is a sport the place athletes carry weights and eat the meals mandatory to construct the utmost physique of a human–for essentially the most aesthetically interesting physique potential to shine below the brilliant lights of a stage. Bodybuilders intention to develop essentially the most proportionally muscular and lean physique they will to catch the decide’s eye for an opportunity to win gold medals. 

However, bodybuilding leagues, such because the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro, enable medication reminiscent of anabolic steroids. But pure organizations just like the International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA)/Professional Natural Bodybuilding Association (PNBA) forbid drug use. 

Is it potential to construct a rare physique with out doping? The most interesting INBA PNBA athletes show that naturally constructing a muscular and shredded physique is greater than achievable in the event you observe an environment friendly vitamin and exercise plan. This article will dive deeply into how top-tier pure bodybuilders eat and practice. 

What Is Natural Bodybuilding?

As the identify suggests, pure bodybuilding is bodybuilding with out doping. Using medication reminiscent of anabolic steroids and different performance-enhancing medication (PEDs) is prohibited within the sport of pure bodybuilding. And essentially the most distinguished pure bodybuilding group, INBA PNBA, screens its athletes by essentially the most strenuous drug testing requirements–the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Any athlete who fails a drug take a look at throughout season or low season will likely be stripped of their title and prize cash and positioned within the Hall of Shame

Below is a clip from Generation Iron: Natty 4 Life detailing extra of the WADA protocols within the INBA PNBA.

The objective of pure bodybuilders is similar as a bodybuilder–construct essentially the most aesthetically pleasing physique with lots of muscle, and low physique fats, besides pure bodybuilders, accomplish that naturally with out medication. Of course, PEDs make reaching this feat a lot simpler. However, the correct vitamin and coaching regimens make sculpting a top-tier physique naturally potential. 

Nutrition for Natural Bodybuilders 

natural bodybuilding nutrition

Both enhanced lifters and pure bodybuilders observe an analogous weight-reduction plan protocol–they need to intently monitor their energy and macros (protein, fat, carbs). However, pure athletes have to be extra strict and undergo an extended bulking and chopping section since they will’t depend on steroids for quick outcomes. It’s not unusual for pure athletes to take years off from competing to focus solely on constructing muscle earlier than getting into a present once more. Also, pure bodybuilders have to be warier in preserving their muscle mass when contest prepping/chopping since PEDs assist with that. 

Calorie Guidelines for Natural Bodybuilders

Your vitamin begins together with your energy as a pure bodybuilder. Although your macronutrient consumption is crucial, counting energy is essentially the most essential side of gaining and reducing weight. To construct muscle, you’ll need to undergo a bulking section. And it’s essential to chop to drop some pounds.

A bulking section is when bodybuilders eat at a caloric surplus for a while to acquire mass and muscle. Bulking is usually the place pure bodybuilders spend most of their time within the low season. However, as competitors approaches and pure athletes are in-season or contest prepping a number of weeks from the present, they’re in a caloric deficit to shred as a lot physique fats as potential. 

Generally, you’ll need to eat about 300-500 energy above or under your upkeep. But it depends upon in the event you’re bulking or chopping. Eating 300-500 energy above upkeep energy (energy wanted to remain the identical weight) will show you how to construct lean muscle whereas limiting undesirable fats mass. And consuming 300-500 energy under your upkeep energy will lower physique fats whereas preserving lean muscle mass. Gaining or shedding about 1-2 kilos per week is an efficient rule of thumb. Studies present that that is preferrred for shedding/ gaining weight healthily whereas preserving muscle/stopping fats acquire (1). 

Although, through the low season, pure bodybuilders might eat greater than 300-500 energy above upkeep and acquire further fats to placed on as a lot muscle mass as potential. And pure bodybuilders might lower their energy a very good bit under upkeep energy when a present is across the nook. 

It’s essential to say that the variety of energy you devour will fluctuate relying in your objective, weight, physique fats, and many others. Various calorie calculators on the web will show you how to decide your calorie consumption necessities. 

Macronutrient Requirements for Natural Bodybuilders 

After you’ve your energy dialed in, subsequent, you’ll be splitting your energy throughout three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Typically, bodybuilders will observe a high-protein food plan with both low or reasonable carb ranges, relying on in the event that they’re bulking or chopping. 

When pure bodybuilders are bulking, they’ll devour extra carbs. That’s as a result of carbs are your major supply of vitality and muscle glycogen (vitality on your muscle tissue). But it’s customary for bodybuilders to chop carbs out after they’re chopping, particularly earlier than a present. 

Low-carb diets reminiscent of keto make athletes seem leaner (which is crucial for competitors) since carbs retain water. And keto is efficient for quick weight and fats loss. 


The quantity of protein you devour is the second most essential side of vitamin behind energy. Adequate protein consumption is crucial for constructing muscle mass. In addition, protein will help satiate you, making chopping weight simpler. 

Many research have proven that consuming between 0.7g – 1g of protein per pound of body weight is efficient for constructing and preserving muscle (2). Although, some pure bodybuilders will devour extra. 

Some good protein meals sources embrace pork, beef, protein shakes, tilapia, and eggs. 


As aforementioned, carbohydrates are important for supplying your physique and muscle tissue with vitality. And chopping them out will also be useful for bodybuilders earlier than a present. So the timing of if you devour extra carbs and lower out carbs is crucial. You don’t need to scale back carbs whereas bulking since that would impede your exercise efficiency. And it might be greatest to devour fewer carbs if you’re chopping to assist with fats loss

The carbs you eat rely upon what number of energy and protein you devour. But it’s greatest to get about 40-60% of your energy from carbs, particularly if you’re bulking or in a upkeep section. 

It’s greatest to devour advanced carbohydrates (potatoes, entire grain bread, greens) in comparison with easy carbohydrates (pastries, white pasta, sweet) since they’re extra nutrient dense. Fruits are additionally a very good supply of carbs since they’re full of micronutrients (nutritional vitamins and minerals). 


The the rest of your energy will come from fat (20-30% of energy) after you’ve dialed in on what number of energy, protein, and carbs you’ll be consuming. The actual quantity of grams of fats and carbohydrates gained’t be as substantial as nailing your protein goal. However, consuming correct quantities of fats remains to be essential. 

Fats hold your testosterone and hormones in examine, which is crucial since many bodybuilders have talked about a hormone drop throughout an intense lower. Although, you have to be cautious of the variety of fat you devour when chopping as a result of fat comprise essentially the most energy per gram (9 energy/g) in comparison with protein and carbs (4 energy/g). 

It’s greatest to devour fat from wholesome meals as a substitute of processed meals. Healthy unsaturated fat embrace olive oil, almond nuts, and avocadoes. High-protein meat meals like pork have fats as effectively. 

Micronutrients for Natural Bodybuilders 

Regarding health targets reminiscent of constructing muscle and shedding physique fats, energy and macros are essentially the most essential side of your vitamin. However, on your common well being, consuming correct micronutrients (nutritional vitamins and minerals) will optimize your well being and provide you with vitality, which will help you together with your exercises and physique. 

There are many useful micronutrients you could get from maintaining a healthy diet meals, particularly fruits, since they’re crammed with micronutrients. However, some useful nutritional vitamins and minerals for pure bodybuilders are vitamin D, iron, zinc, and ashwagandha

  • Vitamin D: Many persons are vitamin D poor from not getting sufficient solar publicity. But vitamin D is important for a sturdy immune system, vitality, and testosterone (3). 
  • Iron: Iron is an important micronutrient because it helps transport oxygen all through your physique by way of crimson blood cells, which is important for exercise efficiency. 
  • Zinc and ashwagandha: Zinc and ashwagandha are two vitamins that may help testosterone manufacturing naturally (3). 

Taking a multivitamin generally is a useful option to get crucial vitamins since it may be difficult to get them from meals sources alone. 

Supplements in Natural Bodybuilding 

Some substances are allowed in pure bodybuilding. However, pure athletes, particularly within the INBA PNBA league, must be cautious of their dietary supplements since WADA has an inventory of banned substances from the competitors. Some of those substances may be included in protein powders, fats burners, creatine, and pre-workouts, so it’s essential for any INBA PNBA athlete to completely examine their dietary supplements for any substances which will get them banned from competing. 

Training in Natural Bodybuilding

Below is a clip of PNBA athlete Luke Francis Trainor performing barbell incline bench press.

As the adage goes, you’ll be able to’t out-train a nasty food plan. That mentioned, a high quality coaching program is essential for any aggressive athlete. We’ve gotten some perception from INBA PNBA pure bodybuilders’ coaching regimens. And these athletes practice laborious with ample quantity and depth. Although pure bodybuilders gained’t be capable of practice with as a lot quantity as steroid customers since PEDs enable your physique to deal with extra load than it might in any other case. 

And relying on the bodybuilding division, some athletes deal with different muscle teams heavier than others. For instance, 3x Men’s Physique Natural Olympia champ William Long says that legs aren’t as essential within the Men’s Physique class since contenders put on board shorts. 

Also, every pure bodybuilder follows their distinctive exercise construction. However, there are some common pointers and ideas the highest contenders adhere to. These embrace:

  • Lift within the six to 12 rep vary more often than not. 
  • Lift heavy weights. 
  • Perform a cut up routine 4-6 days per week. 
  • Have relaxation days. 
  • Perform 3-5 units per train. 
  • Perform 5-7 workout routines per exercise. 
  • Include barbell compound actions (barbell bench press, squat, row, deadlift) and put them in the beginning of your exercise. 

*Note: Top pure bodybuilders’ quantity and coaching frequency are excessive. If you’re a newbie, we propose beginning with a decrease quantity. 

Final Word 

Natural bodybuilding leagues just like the INBA PNBA are just like bodybuilding leagues just like the IFBB Pro, besides medication are prohibited in pure bodybuilding. Natural bodybuilders eat a food plan crammed with entire meals emphasizing energy and protein. 

And they undergo intervals of bulking and chopping phases to progress their physique yr after yr and prep for exhibits. Elite pure athletes carry heavy weights with excessive quantity, besides not comparatively as excessive as enhanced bodybuilders since medication reminiscent of steroids allow lifters to do extra quantity.

Natural athletes within the INBA PNBA league show how effectively you’ll be able to construct your physique naturally with out steroids and different probably dangerous PEDs. 

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  1. Mero, A. A., Huovinen, H., Matintupa, O., Hulmi, J. J., Puurtinen, R., Hohtari, H., & Karila, T. A. (2010). Moderate vitality restriction with excessive protein food plan ends in more healthy consequence in girls. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 7(1), 4.
  2. Stokes, T., Hector, A. J., Morton, R. W., McGlory, C., & Phillips, S. M. (2018). Recent Perspectives Regarding the Role of Dietary Protein for the Promotion of Muscle Hypertrophy with Resistance Exercise Training. Nutrients, 10(2), 180.
  3. Maktabi, M., Jamilian, M., & Asemi, Z. (2018). Magnesium-Zinc-Calcium-Vitamin D Co-supplementation Improves Hormonal Profiles, Biomarkers of Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Biological hint aspect analysis, 182(1), 21–28.

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