Bodybuilding 4 MIN READ 215 VIEWS April 27, 2022

How Important are Fats in Bodybuilding?

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Fats in bodybuilding
Benefits of Fats in Bodybuilding
Fats to Eat in Bodybuilding
Fats to Avoid in Bodybuilding
When to Have Fats in Bodybuilding
Fats Dosage in Bodybuilding
Conclusion

Bodybuilding is progressive resistance training. It helps develop muscles as you shun away with all the extra body fat. Understandably, the power to carry out rigorous workouts comes through a strict bodybuilding diet that contains the right amounts of carbs, proteins, and fats. But fats in bodybuilding can act as a double-edged sword. While too much fat can delay bodybuilding results, going down too low on fats can also interfere with bodybuilding results. Read on to know the helpful the quantity required, and intake timing.

Benefits of Fats in Bodybuilding Diet

Akin to carbs and proteins, fats in bodybuilding are extremely important. But the importance of fats in bodybuilding is always undermined when it comes to optimizing diet. The benefits conferred are:

  1. They regulate our appetite and make us feel full.
  2. Unlike carbohydrates, fats are calorie-dense and therefore provide long-lasting energy.
  3. As compared to sugar, fats have a low insulin response. They help regulate blood glucose levels and insulin response.
  4. Fats are essential for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins namely vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
  5. Cell membranes are composed of fats. Low fat intake hinders the proper functioning of the cell membrane.
  6. Fats are a great insulator. They help regulate the body temperature. It also protects the vital organs from damage caused due to temperature fluctuations.
  7. Fatty acids present in fats make the myelin coating of the neurons. These are useful for the nervous system in communication.
  8. Fats activate the production of sex hormones namely testosterone and IGF-1, which are also crucial for preserving muscle mass.
  9. Fats help decrease muscle soreness and aids overall recovery and performance
  10. Fats (Omega-3 fatty acids) help alleviate inflammatory joint pain thereby reducing injury risk. This improves training longevity.
  11. Fats help reduce muscle catabolism by reducing the activity of the ubiquitin-proteasome system
  12. Fats (polyunsaturated fats) decrease levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. 

Fats to Eat in Bodybuilding

1. Monounsaturated Fats: Relying majorly on monounsaturated fats will be good. They help lower cholesterol levels, ensure healthy skin, protect against a few cancers, and aids in maintaining good overall health. While olive oil is the most popular source of monounsaturated fats, others like grapeseed oil, Brazilian nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, avocados, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds are great sources too.

2. Polyunsaturated Fats: Fats sourced from polyunsaturated fats are healthy fats for bodybuilding.  These are the ‘essential fats’ that must be consumed for the proper functioning of the body. The two main types of polyunsaturated fats namely Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 fatty acids are crucial to prevent serious health consequences. Foods rich in polyunsaturated fats are fish oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, canola oil, flax seeds, and soybean oil to name a few.

3. Saturated Fats: Although saturated fats are blamed for a variety of health conditions, it’s not actually the case. The trick to using saturated fats will depend upon the body physique and intensity of the workout regimen. Bodybuilders with a lean and active lifestyle can indulge in higher amounts of saturated fats without experiencing any side effects. On the other hand, overweight individuals with a generally sedentary lifestyle must go low on saturated fats.

Fats to Avoid in Bodybuilding

Trans Fats: Whether you are bodybuilding or not, trans fats must be avoided under all circumstances. To increase shelf life, vegetable oils are made to undergo a process called hydrogenation. This changes its chemical structure which adversely affects the human body. Consumption of trans fats fuels conditions like body inflammation, risk of heart disease, depression, insulin resistance, and overall increased body fat.

When to Eat Fats in Bodybuilding

As a bodybuilder or fitness enthusiast, meal timing holds great value. The natural attribute of fat to slow down digestion should be avoided when quick nutrition is required. Therefore, breakfast options and post-workout snacks must not include fats. However, the slower digestion ability proves to be advantageous when fats are consumed in evening meals and before going to bed.

Dosage of Fats in Bodybuilding

The number of fats that a body requires will depend upon the body’s physique and fitness levels. Very low fats in the diet are directly counterproductive to the health and fitness goals. Likewise, very high-fat diets slow down the metabolism and provide no advantages for muscle gain and fat loss.

As a rule of thumb, 25% of the daily total calories must come from fats. Furthermore, 10% of our calories must be from saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, while the remaining 10-15% of the calories should come from monounsaturated fats. Trans fat should be avoided altogether. Also, the minimum amount of healthy fats for bodybuilding must not be less than 20% of the total daily calories.

Conclusion

Fats in bodybuilding play a crucial role. They help in assimilating body nutrients and aid in achieving fitness goals. The key lies in understanding its types and knowing how much and when to consume. Because overdoing fats can actually make you fat! Get in touch with a trained dietician or fitness expert to chalk out your daily fat requirement to get that muscle mass.  

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