Amateur Bodybuilder Needs Diet and Exercise Help

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question-icon-newI’m an amateur bodybuilder and really need help clarifying some doubts I’ve been having about my current workout and diet plan. My overall goal is to get bigger and stronger while keeping my body fat levels low so I can see definition in my physique. My questions are:

  1. I do cardio everyday for 30 minutes after my weight training workout session and I burn around 400-450 calories. Will this cardio regimen burn any muscle tissue? To be on safe side, after I weight train (before starting cardio), should I drink a whey protein shake?
  2. Do I need to take multivitamins? If so, which product is the best?
  3. What is the most ideal body fat level?
  4. Should I drink a whey protein or casein protein shake before going to bed?
  5. Can I drink milk before going to bed?
  6. I drink black coffee before my workouts. Is this fine or should I buy a caffeine supplement?
  7. Can I train abs everyday?
  8. I currently drink whey protein concentrate shakes, three times a day. Is whey protein isolate more effective.

answer-icon-newI’m happy to help out and answer your questions. It looks like you are very dedicated to the sport of bodybuilding and you have some very interesting questions that many beginning bodybuilders have about their diet and training program. Here are the answers to your concerns and I hope this will help you reach your bodybuilding goals!

  1. amateur-bodybuilderThe amount of cardio you’re doing is fine. You could even do another 15-20 minutes if you’re not getting the fat loss results you want. 45 to 60 minutes of cardio after your weight workouts should not cause your body to burn lean muscle tissue. As long as you drink a whey protein shake with some slow releasing carbs (oatmeal) before your weight training workout, you should be just fine. To be absolutely sure your body has the amino acids it needs during your cardio session, you might try drinking an amino supplement like Amino1 or AminoX which both have zero carbs and zero calories. Just add 1 scoop of amino powder to your water bottle and sip on it while you’re on the treadmill, elliptical or bike. Once you’re all finished with your entire workout (cardio and weights), make sure to drink another whey protein shake when you get home and add some carbs to replenish your glycogen levels. Post-workout nutrition is extremely important for rushing nutrients to your muscles to help recover and grow.
  2. Yes, a good multivitamin supplement is one of the key items to have in your supplement regimen. Opti-Men by Optimum Nutrition is a very good product.
  3. There is no “ideal” body fat level. For men, anything under 10% is pretty lean. A good rule of thumb is to stand naked in front of a mirror and jump up and down. If you have any flab jiggling around, you probably need to tighten up the diet and add more cardio. Just make sure to do this technique at home and not in the gym locker room!
  4. Before bed, casein protein is your better choice since it’s a slower acting protein and it will supply amino acids to your muscles all night long. You can also eat a little cottage cheese if you don’t want to buy extra protein powder.
  5. Since milk contains simple sugars and carbs, don’t drink it before bed if your main goal is to lose body fat. Mix your casein protein shake with water for the best results. As mentioned above, cottage cheese can also be used since it doesn’t contain as much sugars and carbs as milk does.
  6. Coffee by itself is just fine. You can also drink green tea for extra energy. Try to stay with the all-natural caffeine stimulants versus using supplements. You will save money going this route.
  7. No, do not train abs every single day. Every muscle needs time to rest and recover. Give your abs at least 48 hours of rest between workouts. If you’re still sore after 2 days, rest another 24 hours before training your abs again.
  8. Whey protein is fast acting and is ideal before and after your workouts. You really want to focus on nutrient dense whole foods as your main source of nutrients during the day. If you absolutely have to take a protein supplement, go for a slower releasing blended protein that has egg and casein in it to give you that sustained release versus the quick spike you will get from whey.

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