Natural bodybuilding: the basics
It’s no longer a secret that bodybuilding, whether as a hobby or a competitive sport, involves the use of prescription drugs that can often be misused to boost muscle growth. When the gains are coming thick and fast, it can become all too easy to turn a blind eye to the potentially negative effects on health. Natural bodybuilding was developed as a counter-movement to traditional bodybuilding with a balanced diet, training and proper recovery at its core. In this blog, we’ll dive into all aspects of natural bodybuilding and how you can incorporate its ideas into your own health & fitness routine.
What is natural bodybuilding?
Natural bodybuilding is about fully exploiting the body’s natural potential for muscle growth while completely avoiding the use of performance-enhancing substances like anabolic steroids. It promotes the best possible use of recognised training methods, targeted nutrition and the use of nutritional supplements as needed. Natural Bodybuilding is not just an alternative training method, but also the perfect combination of training, nutrition and regeneration, coupled with a healthy attitude to life.
How do natural bodybuilders train?
A proper training plan is essential for anyone looking to build muscle naturally. You’ll need to put in the hard work at the gym — that’s a given — although it doesn’t mean you need to overdo it. In fact, training too hard is one of the most common mistakes natural bodybuilders make. Allowing enough time for the body to recover is key
Usually, a natural bodybuilder has a 3 or 4 day split schedule, where a different muscle group is the focus of each training session. This gives the other muscles enough time to recover before they’re trained again. It could look a little something like this:
Monday: chest, back, rear shoulders
Wednesday: arms, front shoulders
Friday: chest, abs, back
Getting enough sleep, keeping stress levels down and eating the right nutrients are also key to successful recovery.
If you’re just starting out in natural bodybuilding, it’s a good idea to get in touch with an experienced trainer to develop an individual training plan based on your body type, experience, preferences and goals.
The right diet for natural bodybuilders
Natural bodybuilding isn’t just about training hard. Nutrition plays a crucial role, too. In a nutshell, the following nutritional aspects are important for natural bodybuilders:
Maintaining a calorie surplus
An increased calorie intake is essential for natural bodybuilders, especially during a bulking phase where you want to pack on as much muscle mass as possible (after that comes the cutting phase, which is all about reducing body fat). If you’re a hard gainer who doesn’t build mass easily, you can support your increased calorie needs with a high-quality weight gainer. Check out our beginners guide to bulking for more information on building muscle mass.
Getting enough protein for natural muscle building
Protein is indispensable for building muscle. Up to 2g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day is a good guideline for natural bodybuilders. Your diet should consist of high-quality protein sources such as fish, meat, eggs or dairy products and you can supplement with whey or vegan protein shakes.
Keep in mind that everybody is different and individual requirements and goals in natural bodybuilding can vary greatly. Finding the right protein powder can be a bit of a challenge, especially when you’re just starting out. To help you decide which protein powder is best for you, feel free to explore this summary of our bestselling powders and shakes.
Eating a varied diet
Even the best building materials won’t do you much good if your body can’t metabolise them properly and convert them into muscle. In order to build muscle naturally, the body needs fat, vitamins and minerals.
The ideal diet for natural bodybuilders also depends on a balanced distribution of macronutrients such as protein, carbohydrates and fat. Their ratio should be as follows:
Natural bodybuilding and muscle recovery
As in other sports, recovery in natural bodybuilding is just as important as nutrition and training. This not only prevents injuries, but also helps natural muscle growth and supports your immune system. In general, you should make sure you train in a balanced way: neither too hard to the point of total exhaustion, nor too easy without breaking a sweat. To regenerate properly, a low-stress life as well as plenty of sleep, rest and fun in natural bodybuilding are very helpful.
Now that we have a general overview, it remains for us to look at what nutritional supplements can do in natural bodybuilding.
Which nutritional supplements help in natural bodybuilding?
We’ve already spoke about the importance of protein in natural bodybuilding, but what other supplements can help you achieve your goals?
Our Build Muscle Starter Pack comes with our high-quality whey protein blend, Whey Perfection, plus a tub of BF10 Pre-Workout, BCAA amino powder and an Essential Shaker. It’s the perfect introduction to our leading muscle growth supplements and a great way to start your natural bodybuilding journey.
Another important natural bodybuilding supplement is creatine. This supplement increases performance during successive bursts of short-term, high-intensity exercise. Go for a powder to add to your protein shakes or smoothies or enjoy our convenient Creatine Tabs with Creapure®.
For an extra boost of focus and energy to see you through your workouts, a pre-workout supplement is ideal. They often contain ingredients like caffeine, which increases alertness and improves concentration, and vitamin B12, which reduces tiredness and fatigue. Find out all there is to know about pre-workouts in our pre-workout supplements 101.
Natural Bodybuilding is the healthier and more natural way to build strong, well-developed muscles, and we at Body&Fit want to support you in your quest for gains. For further information about building muscle and any of our products, get in touch with our dedicated team of Nutrition Experts. If you’ve already had experiences with natural bodybuilding, don’t hesitate to share your tips and advice with us via @bodyandfit_official.