Bodybuilders of yesteryear used to avoid fat like the plague. They wanted to bulk up but be lean and trim. Yet, we now know that there is good fat and bad fat – and that the good fat is actually an essential nutrient for bodybuilders. Unsaturated and monosaturated fats keep testosterone levels high to turn the body into a muscle building machine. Essential omega-3 fats enhance the body’s capacity to burn fat. In the early nineties, bodybuilders derived no more than 10 percent of their daily calories from fat. Today, 30 percent of a bodybuilder’s calories come from fat.

Despite the vital importance of fat in a bodybuilder’s diet, there is a time and a place for everything. Two times to avoid fat are during pre and post workout periods. It’s recommended that bodybuilders stick to no more than 5 grams of fat during pre-workout and post-workout meals. The problem with having fat at these times is that it tends to slow down the digestion of protein. During a workout or recovery, it’s important that blood, oxygen and energy get to the muscles as quickly as possible.

Studies show that the immediate effect of fat consumption is the depletion of growth hormones. UCLA researchers had three groups of study participants performing 10 minutes of high-intensity cycling under different conditions. Group A had a non-caloric placebo liquid meal prior to working out. Group B had a high-glucose liquid meal. Group C had a high-fat liquid meal. They found that growth hormone levels were cut by more than half in the high-fat meal group. They also showed an increase in somatostatin levels (which is a hormone that inhibits growth hormone release).

A good pre-workout meal might include 20 grams of whey protein and 40 grams of slow-digesting carbohydrates like oatmeal, fruit or sweet potatoes. A good post-workout meal includes 40 grams of whey protein and 40 – 100 grams of fast-digesting carbohydrates like sports drinks, sorbet, bread or pasta. Most experts will agree that the body processes carbs better early in the morning and fats better at night. However, you also don’t want to overdo it by eating all your fats at night. It’s good to eat a little fat with breakfast, morning snacks, lunch and dinner, but keep the pre and post-workout meals sacred.

If you’d like more nutrition advice from a certified professional trainer, stop in at and make an appointment for a free 1-on-1 consultation with a nutritionist who can give you a monthly meal plan for bulking.