Rob Terry shares his tips on the top supplements and dietary needs for a successful run at natural bodybuilding.
As people have begun to see the harm in using certain supplements and banned products when it comes to improving their overall strength and physique, natural bodybuilding has taken hold as a way to compete at a high level while also living a healthy lifestyle. While it may be easy for some to differentiate between a natural bodybuilder and someone using other substances, for the individual, it is about lifestyle and what they seek to accomplish out of their bodybuilding goals.
Natural bodybuilders are those who shy away from substances that will give them that competitive, unfair advantage over the rest of the field. While taking such substances may increase your chances of victory, the harm you are causing to your body and the longevity you may seek in the sport are taking a major hit. As a natural bodybuilder, it is important to know your limitations when it comes to your body, bodybuilding goals, and long term health. By being “natural” you adhere to the idea that you will not engage in using performance enhancing drugs or substances that are banned from whatever the sanctioning body deems illegal. This means your training, nutrition, supplementation, and means of recovery need to reflect your goals but in a realistic way.
Throughout my career, I have made a conscious choice to pursue natural bodybuilding and will discuss below my ideas and tips surrounding supplementation and diet tips for those seeking the natural bodybuilding route. As a former WWE signee and Impact wrestling stand out, I made the transition into the world of natural bodybuilding. In Generation Iron’s documentary Generation Iron: Natty 4 Life, it explores the controversial world of professional natural bodybuilding while showing my journey in preparation for an event.
Editor’s Note: Check out Generation Iron: Natty 4 Life here!
As an athlete, having competed on the WWE stage and now training as a serious contender in the natural bodybuilding circuit, I follow a strict supplement and diet routine to maximize my gains. These tips around natural bodybuilding diets and supplementation may just help you in your goals as you seek a more natural approach to your bodybuilding lifestyle.
To start, consistency is more important than the actual foods. If you remain consistent with your dietary plan and not give yourself an out to cheat, you will start to see great gains in your weight loss, body composition, and strength goals. Once you start to see those gains happen, it becomes easier and easier to stick to that consistent plan and really work to see those goals become reality.
I typically stick to foods that will keep me full but also provide energy and an overall healthy quality of life. When I can control it, I will typically eats six meals a day. This will change depending on my work schedule but it consists of foods like brown rice, sweet potato, white asmati rice, white potato, asparagus and other vegetables, lean ground turkey, and red meat. While some of these foods may seem bland when put alone, there are ways to be creative and inventive with how you prepare meals. Look into certain sugar free sauces and other low calorie spices to give yourself variety while sticking with your goals.
Natural Bodybuilding Supplementation
Supplements all depend on how I feel and if I need them. I feel they are important if taken at the right time. A solid protein powder that doesn’t have too much sugar or any added fillers or preservatives is a great supplement for natural bodybuilders to get the most out of. Creatine may be the biggest thing, for it allows for consistent growth in muscle volume and allows for that extra boost with repair and recovery. Plus, it can keep you full to avoid any snacking and unwanted cravings.
Editor’s Note: Check our list of the best protein powders here!
Pre-workout is an interesting supplement to discuss because much of the pre-workout push is a mental game. A good, strong cup of coffee can do the trick when it comes to giving you a boost and if you are going to take a pre-workout, make sure there is nothing added that you don’t want. If you want to take it because you feel it gives you a better workout, then take it. If you can go without and use caffeine from other sources, then do that. Whatever works to get your mind right for a big workout.
Editor’s Note: Check our list of the best pre-workouts here!
With conflicting information around BCAAs and EAAs, it is ultimately someone’s choice as to whether or not they feel they need to take them. Staying hydrated and giving your body good amino acids won’t do harm, but it is a personal choice. Also, glutamine is a great supplement to aid in many bodily functions to keep you operating up to par.
Editor’s Note: Check our our list of the best BCAA supplements here!
- Protein Powder: Make sure it is clean with no added artificial fillers and as little sugar as possible.
- Creatine: Great for consistent growth and fullness.
- Pre-workout: If you feel it is helpful. Remember, it is a mindset thing.
- BCAAs: Stay hydrated and it can’t hurt to give your body good amino acids.
- Glutamine: Great for overall support.
What Sanctioning Bodies Look For
As performance supplements begin to grow in popularity, and as technology matches the level of competition, more and more substances are added to the list of those banned for competitive use. What these bodies look for are any agents that could give the upper hand to someone that would take away an opportunity from others. This is in efforts to even the playing field but also promote somewhat of a healthy lifestyle for these individuals as they grind to perfection. The level of testing has shifted to not just the day of the show, but also throughout the training year to ensure all athletes and products are compliant with every rule.
It is truly possible to succeed in the bodybuilding world as a natural bodybuilder. While many may be using performance enhancing drugs, the choice to live a healthy lifestyle to promote longevity and overall good health is one to heavily consider and these diet and supplementation tips will kick start you so you are well on your way to achieving that. Natural bodybuilding is absolutely possible as long as you maintain that strict determination that gave you your bodybuilding goals in the first place.
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*Images courtesy of Envato and Rob Terry Instagram