A good diet for natural bodybuilding includes between 2.3 and 3.1 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass each day, according to PubMed Central. Bodybuilders should also strive for 15 to 30 percent of their total calories from fat and the remainder of calories from carbohydrates. Supplements such as creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine and caffeine may be beneficial for bodybuilders preparing for a contest. Other supplements have not proven beneficial or researched adequately.
Bodybuilders who want to get as lean as possible, while at the same time retain lean muscle mass, need to maintain optimal macronutrient ratios and combinations, as well as caloric intake and deficit, states PubMed Central. Greater caloric deficits yield greater weight loss; however, the percentage coming from lean body mass increases with a higher deficit. A prolonged diet that supports a slower weight loss progression helps retain a higher percentage of lean body mass, and it's recommended to strive for approximately 0.5 to 1 percent of body weight weekly.
Bodybuilders may choose to eat frequent meals throughout the day, as well as include protein prior to and after resistance training, as part of a strategy to maximize training efforts, explains PubMed Central. However, as of 2015, there is no clinically substantiated evidence that timing and frequency of meals have any impact on weight loss or muscle retention.