For Any Purpose There Is A Diet
When you say that you’ve started a new diet, most of the time people would think that you are trying to slim down and restrict your energy intake. But that is a common misconception, as diet is not necessarily a weight-loss tool. There are hundreds of nutritional plans online with different rules, purposes, and promised results. Although the word “diet” is associated with shedding pounds, various dietary plans can aim at weight loss and maintenance, health improvement, support of ethical principles, or weight gain.
The latter is popular among people who are underweight and want to return to their normal weight, or those who are trying to grow muscle mass and get buffed. Some people may think why a person would start a special diet to gain weight if they can just constantly eat lots of junk food, sweets, and other fattening foods, and they will gain weight in no time. Well, the reason for that is the result. Although the pounds a person gains may look the same on the scale, the outcome is completely different, since one is the fat mass, and the other is muscle mass.
The fat mass, that is gained when a person has an increased energy intake, which comes from unhealthy food, may increase the risk of diseases while adding to (most of the time unwanted) body fat. While muscle mass, gained through a healthy diet and regular workouts, promotes well-being, boosts confidence, and adds to the strength. That is why, if you want to get buffed in a healthy way, this 3200 calorie diet may be a great tool for you. Read on to find out what is a 3200 calorie diet for athletes, what are the rules of a healthy 3200 calorie diet, and what are 3200 calorie diet intake recommendations.
What Is A 3200 Calorie Diet For Athletes?
A 3200 calorie diet is a nutritional plan that aims at weight gain and muscle growth. It is often followed by athletes and bodybuilders. As you may know, a bodybuilding diet consists of two phases – bulking and cutting. In order to achieve a chiseled and muscular body, bodybuilders first pack on weight during the bulking phase, and then cut their energy intake during the cutting phase, thus reducing the amount of fat tissue, which makes their muscles look even more prominent.
During the bulking phase, which can last from months to years, bodybuilders follow a high-calorie, protein-rich diet like a 3200 calorie diet, and regularly lift weights intensely, trying to build as much muscle as possible (10). The following phase aims at the reduction of fat mass while preserving the lean muscle tissue developed during the previous phase. For that purpose, bodybuilders make certain gradual changes in their diet and exercise routine, which may take from 3 to 6 months (2). In this article, the focus is on the bulking phase, and specifically on the 3200 calorie diet.
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Rules Of A Healthy 3200 Calorie Diet
As was mentioned in the beginning, if you want to build mass, simply eating a lot of fattening food is not the way to go. In order to safely and successfully grow your muscles, you have to follow the rules of a healthy 3200 calorie diet. Like in any other food-related diet, here it all comes down to calorie counting. When you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume (3), and when you want to put on weight, all you need is to increase your energy intake. It is recommended for bodybuilders that they should increase the number of calories they eat by 15% during the off-season (8). However, in this case, they would want to make sure that their calorie surplus comes from nutrient-dense foods that promote healthy muscle growth. Luckily, that’s what a 3200 calorie diet is for.
Another thing that you should consider while bulking, and which is crucial for successful muscle building is the macronutrient ratio. Protein and carbs contain 4 calories per gram, while 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories (6). So, you should remember that simply increasing your energy intake won’t work, and you should also pay attention to your macronutrient intake.
The Regular Diet
The regular diet recommendations state that an average adult person should consume the following amounts of macronutrients (9):
- Carbohydrates – 45-65% of the daily energy intake. An average person requires 130g of carbs a day. This includes around 22.4-33.6g of fiber.
- Protein – 10-30% of the daily energy intake. Females should consume 46g of protein a day, while for males the recommended amount is 56g.
- Fats – 20-35% of the daily energy intake.
The Bulking Phase
- Carbohydrates – 55-60% of the daily energy intake. An average person requires 130g of carbs a day.
- Protein – 30-35% of the daily energy intake.
- Fats – 15-20% of the daily energy intake.
3200 Calorie Diet Intake Recommendations
For those who are wondering “How much fat in a 3200 calorie diet?”, or “What does the best 3200 calorie diet look like?”, here are the approximate 3200 calorie diet intake recommendations:
- Carbohydrates – 1,760-1,920 calories, which equals 440-480g
- Protein – 960-1,120 calories, which equals 240-280g
- Fats – 480-640 calories, which equals 53-71g
Foods To Eat On An Easy 3200 Calorie Diet
Like any other diet, a 3200 calorie diet has its food recommendations and restrictions. As you can see from the previous paragraph, this nutritional plan decreases your fat intake, while increasing your overall calorie consumption. To successfully bulk up using this dietary plan, you need to consume the following foods (2):
Lean Meats, Poultry, Fish, And Seafood
These include sirloin steak, pork tenderloin, venison, ground beef, chicken breast, salmon, shrimp, cod, and others. They are packed with protein and all the essential amino acids your muscles require for proper repair and growth. If you are a vegan, try to consume a great variety of plant-based protein sources like tofu, tempeh and legumes.
Eggs are another rich source of protein. They can also offer you a great amount of other nutrients, including healthy fat, and a plethora of vitamins and minerals (4). It is one of the best sources of protein for people who follow a vegetarian diet. If you fear that simple boiled or scrambled eggs are too plain and boring, and you will soon get sick of eating them, then try to spice them up, by learning new ways of cooking them and including them to other dishes.
Yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat milk, and cheese are the recommended dairy foods for the 3200 calorie diet. They also contain some protein and other essential nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamin D, and others (7).
Grains and grain products, including bread, oatmeal, cereal, whole-wheat crackers, quinoa, brown rice are a good source of complex carbs, that will add to your energy intake, without making you feel too full.
Fruits, like vegetables, are an inseparable part of any healthy diet. They are a great source of fiber and various essential nutrients. Some fruits are also relatively rich in protein, which is very important for building muscles. Your diet should include such fruits as oranges, apples, bananas, grapes, pears, peaches, watermelon, and berries. Dried fruits are also a great option, as they are extremely energy-dense, and can be easily accessed no matter the season.
Vegetables, including starchy vegetables like potato, corn, green peas, green lima beans and cassava, and other vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, leafy salad greens, tomatoes, green beans, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus, peppers, and mushrooms should all be included into your menu when you follow a 3200 calorie diet. Like fruits, they are rich in fiber and various micronutrients, while some of them are also a great source of protein.
Seeds And Nuts
Seeds and nuts have it all – protein, fiber, healthy fats, and vital minerals. They are a perfect option for a snack or an addition to other meals. Your diet should include almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and others.
Seed And Vegetable Oils
These are the second main source of fat in your diet. The 3200 calorie diet allows the consumption of olive oil, avocado oil, and flaxseed oil.
Beans And Legumes
Last but not least, beans and legumes are one of the main sources of protein for people who follow a vegetarian diet, and a main source of that nutrient for vegans. Besides protein, beans and legumes are rich in fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals (11). It is recommended that you consume chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans.
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How Many Servings Of Each Food Group 3200 Calorie Diet Requires?
You already know the correct macronutrient ratio for the most effective muscle mass gain, and now it is time to find out how that ratio is reflected in the number of servings of each food group that you should consume.
- Fruits – 2½ cups (1 cup equals either 1 cup raw, frozen, cooked/canned fruit; or ½ cup dried fruit; or 1 cup of 100% fruit juice).
- Vegetables – 4 cups (1 cup equals either 1 cup raw, cooked/canned vegetables; or 2 cups leafy salad greens; or 1 cup of 100% vegetable juice).
- Grains – 10oz (285g) (1 ounce equals either 1 slice bread; or 1oz ready-to-eat cereal; or ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, or cereal).
- Protein – 7oz (198g) (1 ounce equals either 1 oz cooked/canned lean meats, poultry or seafood; or 1 egg; another option is 1 tablespoon peanut butter; or ½ ounce nuts or seeds).
- Dairy – 3 cups (1 cup equals either 1 cup milk; or 1 cup yogurt; or 1 cup fortified soy beverage; another option is 1 ½ oz natural cheese; or 2 oz processed cheese).
Foods To Avoid On 3200 Calorie Diet
Here are the foods that you should keep at bay while following a 3200 calorie diet:
Added sugars provide you with a lot of empty calories, but an extremely limited amount of nutrients. Try to avoid such foods as cookies, candy, ice-cream, cakes, sugary drinks, soda, and others.
A 2014 study shows that consumption of alcohol after the workout may interfere with your body’s ability to recover (1), thus hindering the proper muscle growth.
Deep-fried foods are one of the most health-harming types of food there is. They promote inflammation and when consumed in excess, even disease. No matter what type of diet you are following, it is recommended that you stay away from such deep-fried foods like French fries, onion rings, chicken strips, cheese curds, and others.
Just like the slimming process, growing muscle mass requires some effort if you want to do it the right way. To successfully bulk up, you need to not only increase your daily energy intake by 15% but also slightly change the ratio of consumed macros. Eating more protein and reducing your consumption of fats will promote muscle growth instead of fat deposition. Your daily energy intake on a 3200 calorie diet should be on 55-60% made up of carbs, on 30-35% of protein, and on 15-20% of fats. You can reach such a result by consuming lean meats, seafood, dairy, eggs, grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, legumes, and beans. The 3200 calorie diet also has certain restrictions, including alcohol, added sugars, and deep-fried foods. In general, this diet promises to help you get buffed healthily. Before starting any changes in your diet or workout plan, consult a dietitian first.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Alcohol Ingestion Impairs Maximal Post-Exercise Rates of Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis following a Single Bout of Concurrent Training (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Bodybuilding Meal Plan: What to Eat, What to Avoid (2018, healthline.com)
- Counting calories: Get back to weight-loss basics (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Everything you need to know about eggs (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation (2014, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How many calories are in one gram of fat, carbohydrate, or protein? (n.d., nal.usda.gov)
- Is dairy good or bad for your health? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Macronutrient considerations for the sport of bodybuilding (2004, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Micros vs. macros: Everything you need to know (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Physiological implications of preparing for a natural male bodybuilding competition (2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What are the health benefits of beans? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)