Everybody needs to eat a healthy diet: consume less saturated fats, which contribute to poor vascular health, and include more fruits and vegetables to the meal in order to neutralize extra calories and fats. And if your goal is a muscular physique, then you should pay a greater attention to what you eat. Fiber (here is meant only dietary fiber) is an essential nutrient, which should be added to a daily diet of every bodybuilder. Let’s see, why it is healthy and how it can help bodybuilders build muscles and fat-free mass.
What is Fiber?
Fibers are indigestible substances that help move food through the digestive system and absorb water. Fiber is contained in all plant foods: fruits, vegetables, cereals and so on. The sources of fiber are divided into two groups:
• water-soluble (containing so-called soluble fiber),
• water-insoluble ones (insoluble fiber).
The former fiber kind binds with fatty acids and prolongs stomach emptying time, which provides a slower sugar release and absorption. It contains low “bad” cholesterol, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Examples of foods containing soluble fiber are plum skin, carrots, oranges, oatmeal, peas, pears and others.
The latter kind of fiber has passive water-attracting properties, that help to soften transit time through the intestinal tract. Foods containing insoluble fiber are the following: whole wheat, corn bran, wheat, celery, green beans, nuts and potato skin.
Fiber Fights Dietary Fat and Improves Absorption
Dietary fats are beneficial to bodybuilders, but too much calories would not lead to healthy gains in mass, but a low-fat diet rich in carbohydrates would contribute to it a lot. Fiber binds with dietary fat and pulls it through the body. So, even if you treat yourself to some fat pork, eat an orange (or another fruit containing soluble fiber) to neutralize some of this fat.
Moreover, fiber intake contributes to creating an anabolic environment in your organism, as it provides a better absorption of nutrients along the intestinal walls by removing undigested food. And this is very important for a more efficient and a healthier mass growth.
Fiber Suppresses Appetite
Fruits and vegetables, the main sources of fiber, normally contain fewer calories in the same amount of grams. Foods containing fiber suppress appetite by stimulating the production of cholecystokinin, a hormone, which gives the brain a signal, that the body is satiated. This is why you eat less, if you add fiber into your diet.
Fiber Helps Increase Training Intensity
In addition to other effects of fiber on your body, it also slows down carbohydrates digestion. When this happens, carbohydrates get into the blood slower. The slower the food energy is burnt, the better – your body needs this energy to build muscles. This means, that you can train longer and achieve better results, and fiber provides it. Another beneficial property of increasing the duration of carbohydrates digestion is that in this case your body stores more carbohydrates as muscle glycogen rather than fat.
Fiber and Anabolic Hormones
Insulin is an anabolic hormone, which is released, when one eats carbohydrates. Insulin provides your muscles with carbohydrates and proteins and, thus, stimulates a better muscle growth. But this process can be limited by so-called insulin sensitivity. Muscles have receptors for insulin, and the more the affinity of these receptors, the more carbohydrates and proteins can be driven by insulin to your muscles. You can enhance the receptor affinity of your muscles by regular workouts, more muscle mass and low levels of fat. You already know the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber both enhances the receptor affinity and improves insulin sensitivity. So, include soluble fiber to your daily diet to provide your body with natural anabolic hormones.
When Should Bodybuilders Eat Fiber
It’s better not to consume foods rich in fiber after workouts, because at this very time your body needs energy for muscles to recover and grow, that is, to saturate the blood with glucose from carbohydrates. Fibers, on the contrary, slow down digestion, so bodybuilders should skip their consumption after workouts.
How Much Fiber Do Bodybuilders Need?
Now you know, how fiber can help build muscle, but there’s one more question: how much fiber should be contained in your daily meals? Nutritionists recommend to increase the intake of fiber gradually. If you didn’t pay attention to your fiber consumption before, start with adding about 3 grams a day and strive for the norm of 25-30 grams a day. It’s for you to decide, whether to get fiber from natural sources or take fiber supplements – both variants are good and will help you have a muscular body.
Fiber is one of the most important components of human nutrition. For those wanting to build muscles it’s twice as important. Add fiber regularly into your daily ration. And note, that fiber should be combined with a bodybuilder diet containing plenty of proteins and carbohydrates to make your workouts much more effective in building a lean and muscular physique.