Muscle Building Tips Part 1: Nutrition
Muscle Building Tips Part 1: Nutrition
Ok here is something to consider. You’re in the gym for only an hour or so each day, the rest of the day your body depends on nutrition and rest to make progress. The problem is proper nutrition and rest often gets neglected. That’s why I am covering nutrition and rest as the first two parts of my muscle building tips. If you are in the gym struggling to build muscle read on because this is part one of a miniseries on how to get big! Part two is going to be on recovery principles and part three is going to be on training. Enjoy and grow!
Tip # 1 – Eat enough calories
To build muscle it is very important to eat enough calories. It comes down to basic math, calories in versus calories out. If you are trying to build muscle it is important to consume more calories than you burn. It is basically impossible to build new muscle if your body is in a negative calorie state. To make sure you are consuming enough calories determine your Lean Body Mass (body weight lbs – body fat lbs) and multiply by 15-25 calories depending on your metabolism/body type.
Tip # 2 – Frequent Eating
Aim to eat every 2.5-3 hours. This will supply your muscle with a constant supply of nutrients they need to grow. Feeling hungry is a sign your body is going into a catabolic state. Also when your starving you are more likely to eat whatever is in the cupboards regardless if it’s on your diet or not. Remember we are trying to gain muscle not fat!
Tip # 3 – Eat before bed
Before going to bed you want to consume some slow digesting protein along with healthy fat. This is to make sure there is a slow stream of amino acids through the overnight to hold off catabolism. Casein protein is a good option at this time because casein is a slow acting protein found in milk. Milk protein is made up of 80 percent casein and 20 percent whey. Casein coagulates in the stomach causing a slow release of amino acids for an extended period of time. You can buy a casein powder or just have cottage cheese. The protein that makes up cottage cheese is mostly from casein because the whey was drained off in the processing. The addition of fat slows down digestion even more. Add some peanut butter or almonds to your before bed snack to build muscle all night long!
Tip # 4 – Do not be afraid of carbs!
It takes more to build muscle than protein. To build mass you must consume enough carbohydrates to energize and fuel your workouts. Shoot for clean low G.I sources such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. Consume the bulk of your carbohydrates post workout and at breakfast because that is when your body needs them most.
Tip # 5 – The nutritional F-word
Fat is necessary for building mass. By now most people know that fat is not as bad for you as once thought. But what if I was to say even saturated fat is needed in a mass gaining diet? Well it is true; saturated fat has a place in a muscle building diet. For one saturated fat helps with testosterone production and it also helps protect the joints from the damages of heavy lifting. The only type of fat to avoid is Trans fat. Read the label! Even if it says “trans fat free” if there is “partially hydrogenated oil” trans fat is there. Of course the unsaturated “healthy” fats are needed as well. Make sure to get in monounsaturated fat from almonds, avocados, olive oil and your polyunsaturated fat form flaxseeds, walnuts and fatty fish. Consume anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of your daily calories from fat.
Tip # 6 – Water yourself
I have said this before but I will say it again, your body needs a lot of water to function properly. When you give your body lots of water everything runs smoothly. Water also helps with digestion so drink up!
Tip # 7 – Last but not least! Post workout meal
Ok this topic has generated a lot of discussion over the last decade and I feel there are a lot of myths that need to be mentioned. First off I believe carbs are necessary for proper recovery post workout. Following an intense workout your glycogen levels are low and your muscles are depleted. This is the perfect time for carbohydrate and protein intake. Secondly you want to consume a carbohydrate source that creates a high glycimic load. Notice I did not say anything about glycimic index. I feel too much consideration is given to the glycimic index but not enough to the glycimic load. For bodybuilders glycimic load is more important, it takes into consideration an entire meal rather than a single food. Another important point is the carbohydrate source does not need to be the fastest digested source possible. I would rather take in a source of carbohydrate that offers some nutritional density to it rather than just some dextrose that has no nutritional value what so ever. Another controversial topic is timing of this meal. Some would say immediately post workout, as soon as you put down the last weight start in with your post workout meal. Research shows that the “special window” is actually longer than originally thought. Therefore don’t stress about racing to get your post workout meal in. Actually waiting a little bit might be optimal, this gives your digestive system time to recoup some blood from the working muscle to use for digestion. Lastly I wanted to talk about how to structure your post workout meal to give you the best results. To start off I like to have a fast acting protein source like whey. Whey is perfect for post workout, fast acting, loaded with BCAAs and ect. Secondly I like to add a relatively fast acting carb to my whey shake. My carb of choice is a russet potato. I like russet potatoes post workout because they are loaded with potassium and my body fills up quite well on them. I also use oats with my whey shake post workout. I normally have a complete whole food meal 2 -2.5 hrs after my post workout meal.
Up next Tips on proper recovery for muscle building!
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