Eat fat, build muscle.
To the uninitiated, the very mention of fat makes them think of burgers smothered in cheese, greasy French fries, and oil slicked pizza, but those aren’t the essential fats we’re talking fats. To the bodybuilder, the word fat can just as easily translate to foods included in their diet that can bring about great results if utilized correctly. In this article, we will share the 5 essential fats you need for your diet and bodybuilding routine.
Fats can be your best friend if you choose the right ones. As we’ve mentioned before, there is a world of difference between the common way we use the word “fat” and dietary fats. With a stigma around fats for what they are and how they’re used, essential fats can provide energy and work for a host of benefits to aid in all things bodybuilding as you look to continue to work hard and shred.
You want to make sure that fats are not neglected in your diet for they help round out those macronutrients we all need. With the right balance of fats, protein, and carbs, you are well on your way to see those gains you want most. It just takes the right attention and proper care to best get those essential fats in your diet.
Let’s take a look at fat and see why essential fats, are, well, essential. We’ll talk the benefits of fats and which fats should absolutely be in your diet for what they can do for all areas of your gains.
Benefits Of Fats In Your Diet
The benefits of fat are undeniable and will make you reconsider if you don’t get enough in your body. Benefits of fats include:
- Better energy: Fat can be converted into energy to give you that boost for your workout and everyday life to keep you moving more efficiently.
- Enhance brain function: Fats increase the production and release of neurotransmitters to better support your brain function (1).
- Increase nutrient absorption: An essential part of absorption, fats can ensure you get all those nutrients into your body to be used effectively (2).
- Regulates body temperature and appetite: Fats can keep you full for longer and allow your body to find the right temperature to thrive at.
- Protects organs and creates cells: Can provide a physical cushion for protection of our organs and has properties to create cells we need.
5 Essential Fats For Your Bodybuilding Diet
Let’s take a look at 5 essential fats for your bodybuilding diet that will absolutely help you with everything you need. By putting these into routine, you will better prepare yourself to handle all of those nutrient goals you seek.
Filled with essential omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil is a great fat that any athlete should have in their dietary plan. Fish oil supplements can help prevent muscle breakdown, are great for joint health, and does wonders for brain functionality. It’s an anti-inflammatory gem and a fat you should absolutely consider (3). Check out our list of the Best Omega-3 Supplements for some awesome products that will seriously work wonders for you.
This natural fat sourced food is great for a bodybuilder for a variety of reasons. If you wish to clean bulk, this food provides a high calorie count while at the same time offering monounsaturated fats that can prevent fat redistribution to the midsection (4). You can bulk up while at the same time keeping your abs ripped and shredded. Perfect to add to toast, eggs, or alongside a lean meat, this is a versatile and convenient fat food that is nothing but great for you.
The king of fish, Salmon is a great food for bodybuilders. The fish is filled with a variety of beneficial nutrients. It contains omega-3 fatty acids and also provides a great amount of protein. The omega-3 fatty acids prevent muscle protein breakdown while at the same time providing the protein needed to build muscle. Conducive to most diets, salmon is that go to fish for bodybuilders because it is easy to cook and tasty to eat. It goes well with a variety of other foods and is most certainly one of those to not take for granted.
Nuts are a great fat to have in your diet plan. They help to maintain your blood sugar levels, which in turn transforms into energy and alertness. Walnuts in particular contain omega-3 fatty acids (can you see the trend yet), but others nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts, among many others, are just as great of options (5).
Along the lines of nuts are those nut butters which are nice sources of fat as well and give you an alternative to the traditional peanut butter. Nuts make for a great snacks through the day that can boost your energy levels. Moderation is key but they are versatile and convenient as well to get those fats into your body.
Another oil that’s beneficial is olive oil, especially of the extra virgin variety. Olive oil is loaded with monounsaturated fats which is great for heart health and offers a healthy oil option (6). Not only that, but it also helps prevent muscle breakdown as well. Perfect for cooking or adding with something like balsamic for that salad dressing, olive oil is a great ingredient to have for a variety of things in your diet.
We cannot take essential fats for granted in our bodies and by putting an emphasis on them, we can better tackle all of those important bodybuilding and dietary goals we need to most. With the right approach to nutrition, making sure we balance out our macronutrients is incredibly important. With the right essential fats in your diet, you will be well on your way to seeing only the best gains possible.
*Images courtesy of Envato
- Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine (2021). “Fat cells found to play a central role in cognitive decline and neurodegeneration”. (source)
- Goodman, B. (2010). “Insights into digestion and absorption of major nutrients in humans”. (source)
- Calder, P. (2017). “Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: from molecules to man”. (source)
- Duarte, P.; et al. (2016). “Avocado: Characteristics, health benefits and uses”. (source)
- Ros, E. (2010). “Health Benefits of Nut Consumption”. (source)
- Guasch-Ferre, M.; et al. (2014). “Olive oil intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in the PREDIMED Study”. (source)