If you are a part of the Iron game, you probably know the basic principles of building muscle and losing fat. Lift heavy, eat right and get plenty of rest if you want to succeed in this game called bodybuilding. Sometimes, however, people tend to forget basic things that can make them successful athletes and stand out from the crowd. They say that building muscle and losing fat is 70 percent nutrition, so here is a list of basic nutrition reminders to help you get the body of your life.
1. Protein is the base.
Your muscles are made of protein and this makes protein the essential macro nutrient you have to consume in order to build muscle mass. You need to consume at least 1-1.3 grams of protein per pound of your weight every day. This is a must if you plan to actually build muscle instead maintaining it. Good sources of protein include meats like beef,chicken and turkey, eggs, fish – tuna, salmon and herring and cottage cheese.
2. Complex carbohydrates throughout the day
Eat oatmeal, brown , potatoes, pasta etc. and fast carbs right after the workout. Complex carbs will ensure stable insulin levels during the day, they will give you more energy for intensive weight training sessions, while fast carbs will reload the depleted glycogen faster after training.
3. Eat essential fatty acids.
Healthy fats are crucial for numerous body functions such as proper brain and heart activity, hormone regulation and control of energy levels. Great sources of EFAs are nuts and seeds, fish, fish oil, some fruits like avocado and papaya.
4. Eat your vegetables.
Vegetables are a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Fiber provides bulk to foods, therefore making you feel fuller longer. It also keeps the the insulin levels and blood sugar levels steady by making the food digest longer.
5. Don’t overeat.
If you want to build muscle it’s necessary to eat more calories than you burn daily. This, however doesn’t mean that you are free to eat tons of calories. Eat only 400-500 calories more than you need to maintain your muscle mass. It’s always better to gain slowly but and stay lean, than to gain high percentage of body fat and then cut it down. Calculate your protein needs per meal and try to fulfill your protein needs first. Complete your calorie needs with carbs and then add some fiber.
6. Don’t drop your calories too low.
This one applies when you are trying to drop weight. A 400-500 calorie decrease is all that is needed for your body to start burning fat for fuel. Lowering your calories too low for longer periods can cause muscle breakdown for energy. I’m talking about fasting for days here, not hours.
7. Protein for breakfast.
There are studies that say the best breakfast for athletes is a pure protein one. Research has shown that starting your day with a protein food will normalize blood sugar, increase the metabolism and increase the production of anabolic hormones like the growth hormone.
8. BCAAs pre workout.
Branched chain amino acids will spare your muscles during and help you recover after an intense workout. Try taking a larger amount (10-20 grams) of branched chain amino acids before the workout.
9. Large amount of carbs after training.
Try to eat around 70-80% of your total carbs after the workout. Simple sugars will enter the muscle cells at a quick rate and will react with certain hormones to start the rebuilding process. Try to eat about 50 grams of fast carbs immediately after the workout together with a 30-50 gram whey protein shake. The rest of the carbs should be complex and you should eat them 1 to 2 hours later along with another 50-70 grams of protein.
10. Rotate the carbs (and calories)
The body is a well tuned machine and soon it will adapt to the constant amount of calories. This is why cycling your carbs will keep the body guessing and help you continue your progress. Try to eat the maintenance amount of calories for a couple of days, followed by a high calorie day and then a low calorie day.
11. Have a cheat day once per week.
Pick a day of the week when you can enjoy your favorite food. After you fulfill your protein needs you can eat whatever you want. This will increase leptin levels and help you burn fat and build muscle. Just remember to go back to your diet the next day.