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DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS Part 1: Muscle-Building/Power Athletes

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Blended excerpts from Potential Within A Guide to Nutritional Empowerment

Authored by Franco Cavaleri ISBN 0-9731701-0-7

Original post: June 28, 2011

This article is composed of multiple excerpts to result in tone and content shifts and reference numbering that may be out of order.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS Part 1: Muscle-Building/Power Athletes

The bodybuilder’s training program promotes the breakdown of more muscle fiber than that experienced by the endurance athlete and at a much deeper tissue level, as well. The nature of the intense resistance training performed by the power or bodybuilder athlete is such that it strains the muscle tissue with greater intensity to induce deeply penetrating muscle-fiber damage— the heavier the training the greater the micro-damage.

The body builds this stress-damaged muscle to be bigger and stronger than before the resistance training, but only if the building blocks for this renovation are available in unlimited supply. The building blocks come from the diet. This phenomenon can result in the sort of metamorphosis you might have recognized in someone who’s been training regularly with weights. However, the transformation is slow and the muscle growth isn’t that impressive unless you haven’t seen the individual for a long time as he or she amasses the incremental muscle fiber by fiber.

The muscle-fiber construction is ongoing but so gradual that the individual involved in the training rarely sees any significant change. In fact, a good result from a well-planned, regular weight-training program might amount to a 15-pound total muscle gain within one full year of training. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s quite significant. Weight gains that exceed this typical rate often include an increase in body fat, as well.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS Part 1: Muscle-Building/Power Athletes

Another explanation for gains that surpass this muscling rate is “muscle memory,” experienced by individuals who have resumed weight training after taking time off. Muscle memory contributes to a quicker pace to achieve the result attained prior to taking time off from training.

The other factor that might accelerate the rate of muscle anabolism is the use of steroids (anabolic steroid drugs or testosterone analogue drugs) which, as we all know, have consequences. Despite the biological motive and facilitation to build muscle mass and strength by the body, this genetically inherent coping mechanism relies on the availability of nutrient building blocks and co-factors the way any other biological system we’ve discussed does.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS Part 1: Muscle-Building/Power Athletes

Limited nutrition results in limited gains and limited coping potential. If an individual has difficulty increasing muscle, it’s probably because he or she isn’t meeting the demand for protein, carbohydrates, essential fats, vitamins, and/or minerals. Even if that person megaloads the protein intake, muscle gains will be restricted to the availability of the co-factors protein metabolism depends on. Genetic potential can be severely hindered by a limited diet. If the diet is processed, the body hasn’t reached its full potential. If you think your genetic potential to develop muscle is restricted in comparison to that of someone who’s progressing faster than you, think again after assessing your diet, which involves a lot more than just your daily protein intake.

A slight limitation in the B vitamins required for protein metabolism, for example, will limit protein availability as though the protein itself were in short supply in the diet. My guess is that people working the gym scene want every bit of lean muscle and power gain possible for the arduous time and effort they invest in the gym.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS Part 1: Muscle-Building/Power Athletes

My research, as well as my personal and consulting experience, tell me that a co-factor of 1.2 g of protein per day per pound of body weight will serve an athlete well as long as the body-fat mass doesn’t exceed 20%. A 170-pound bodybuilder or power lifter must consume about 200 (195 to 205) g of protein daily divided into five or six sittings (combination of protein drinks and meals). The bodybuilder and power athlete’s protein co-factor (PC) is 1.2: 1.2 g of protein x 170 pounds = 204 g of protein per day per pound of body weight.

Eating all this protein from food alone would likely result in overconsumption of calories and an excessive intake of arachidonic acid, the fat that’s loaded into beef and whole dairy protein sources. Protein supplementation with a whey isolate is crucial to muscle gain without an increase in body fat. Since I have access to many types of protein sources at the raw-material stage, I’ve had the privilege of scientifically assaying and personally using various types of whey isolates before any ingredients are added to create the flavored and nutrient-enhanced products on retail shelves.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS Part 1: Muscle-Building/Power Athletes

If you’re a manufacturer of such products, you’ll agree, after applying my suggested raw-material source, that it’s by far among the best whey materials on the market today. And if you’re an elite athlete and are in tune with your physique, you’ll realize within a few days of using it how different it really is. Check the Biologic Pharmamedical Research. Web site ( for details on how to get this approved source. In order for maximum muscle and strength gains to occur with minimum fat accumulation amid little or no cardiovascular training, carbohydrate intake for the day should only amount to about 150% of the protein consumed.

The active carbohydrate co-factor (CC) for this category is therefore 1.5: 1.5 g of carbohydrates per gram of daily protein required, which means that the bodybuilder/power athlete CC is 1.5 g of carbohydrates x 204 g of total protein required = 306 g of dietary carbohydrates per day.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS Part 1: Muscle-Building/Power Athletes

My recommendation is to include one form of regular cardiovascular exercise to establish a balanced program. Muscle-building athletes who think cardiovascular training degrades muscle are wrong. A little cardio work helps remove lactic acid and normalize blood and muscle pH to enhance recovery as long as the work is done slowly. Twenty minutes three times per week will suffice if the calorie-restrictive, nutrient-dense Ageless Performance program is adhered to. This will facilitate recovery, build cardiovascular health, and keep the fat mass at a healthy minimum.

The table on page 386 doesn’t include recommendations regarding the proportions of high-density versus low-density carbohydrate sources. Refer to the table in the previous section for those proportions. The table in this section includes the suggested carbohydrate and protein intakes for a post-workout meal or snack, while the table in the previous section doesn’t. However, the post-workout recommendations found here must be applied to the preceding Active Athlete category, as well. Use both tables to establish nutrient needs and timing.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS Part 1: Muscle-Building/Power Athletes

Keep in mind the importance of post-workout protein consumption for muscle reconstruction. This meal is critical to the rebuilding phase of tissue (10). The bodybuilder/power athlete who includes some regular cardiovascular training can apply the carbohydrate proportions and quantities displayed in the previous section’s table. In the absence of cardiovascular training, the CC of 1.5 might work better for lean-measure maintenance.

A large portion of the daily carbohydrate total (30% or so) must be ingested in the post-workout window to maximize glycogen restoration, lean-muscle recovery, and preparation for the next training session.

This portion can be consumed over two meals within two to three hours if the training sessions are intense and long enough. The remainder of the carbohydrate requirement for the day can consist of meals that include a combination of the low-glycemic-index vegetables described for the Active Athlete program. This vegetable medley can be combined with small amounts of a denser carbohydrate source whose quantity can be determined by personal energy requirements.

Again, each person is responsible for identifying his or her functional proportion of low-glycemic, fiber-rich vegetables to a denser carbohydrate source for daily carbohydrate intake, using the tables to understand the protocols and find a starting point. Don’t fall victim to the extreme 2 g of protein per pound of body weight per day. This is only required if carbohydrate levels drop to extreme lows.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS Part 1: Muscle-Building/Power Athletes


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