There is a four-letter word that fills every bodybuilder with dread. The word is diet. The truth is that without good nutrition, all the training in the gym could prove worthless. If you want to build muscle, you need to pay attention to what you eat.
However, this doesn’t mean that you constantly need to be on your toes, charting your day to day meals.
With our 11 adjustments in your nutrition, lifestyle and training you can say goodbye to extreme dieting and food deprivation for good. Try incorporating them in your everyday life and start melting down excess fat fats.
1) NEVER CONSUME CARBS ALONE
Although there are some people who would beg to differ, there is nothing wrong with consuming carbs, as long as you are training hard and not consuming too many calories overall.
However, eating carbs alone can cause significant amount of trouble in the body fat department. When you consume carbs by themselves, without protein, the body transforms them into glucose very fast.
This results in increased insulin production, which increases your appetite and slows down the digestion of fats. According to the research, including protein in your nutrition slows down the digestion of carbs. Try including protein with every carb meal.
2) AVOID SLEEPING AFTER YOU EAT CARBS
Eating before you go to bed is probably one of the worst ideas you can have. When we sleep, our metabolism rate slows down, and we burn less calories than usual.
As a result, our bodies transform the carbs into fat, storing it in our cells. If you have to eat before you go to bed, it’s much better to help yourself with a small protein meal. No more than 30 grams.
Or you can take a casein shake. Another negative effect of consuming carbs three hours before going to bed is that it inhibits the growth hormone production in our bodies.
3) KEEP YOUR BODY WELL HYDRATED
According to some studies, even a mild dehydration can result in slowing down your metabolism by 2%. Although some of you might argue that this figure is not much, in the long run it can account for the difference in truly muscular body and an average one. On the other hand, consuming enough water can significantly boost your metabolism.
According to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, consuming half a liter of water can increase your metabolic rate by 30%.
Having in mind that our bodies are mostly comprised of water, we can see why this ingredient is so important for normal bodily functions. Drinking water also increases your satiety, preventing the cravings for food.
Thirst can be easily mistaken for hunger, leading you to think that you need to eat instead of water. You should aim for drinking half-liter of water before each meal. It will aid to your feeling of satiety.
4) CONSUME FATS
Although fats are packed with calories, (one gram packs 9 calories, while one gram of protein packs just 4) they are also very important for your health and your testosterone production.
So if you those gains to keep on coming you need to include fats, especially saturated fats found in beef and milk, in your diet. However, you also have to restrict their intake.
You should also include foods that provide you with monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. The body uses these fats found in nuts, olive oil, avocado and fatty fish mainly as fuel. We recommend restricting your total daily fats intake to 20-25% of your total calories.
5. PROTEIN POWDERS AS SNACKS
You can prevent blood sugar spikes and crushes by using protein powders, instead of going for the usual high carb snacks. Protein powders are not only convenient to use and easy to prepare, but are also packed with all the amino acids your body need to build muscle.
The amino acids provide you with an additional and not as apparent benefit. Namely, they have the ability to quench your hunger, thus helping you in restricting the calorie intake.
6) SUPPLEMENT YOUR FOOD
Supplementing your diet with creatine, arginine and BCAAs can help you shed the fats in more than one way. These supplements are known to increase muscle size.
The bigger your muscle, the more energy they require, and it becomes more difficult to add body fat. In fact, the supplements themselves have many fat-burning properties. Arginine, for example, in addition to stimulating the growth hormone production, helps you burn fat.
7) TRAIN MORE FREQUENTLY
One of the greatest benefits of frequent training is that you increase your overall metabolic rate, resulting in more spent calories. Of course, you should also pay attention to recovery. When you’re not providing your body with sufficient time to rest and recover, you hinder muscle growth.
However you can easily overcome this problem by splinting your training wisely. This creates a workout protocol consisting of five to six lower volume sessions, instead of three longer training sessions.
The six day workout protocol relies on training fewer body parts per session, which helps you avoid overtraining and exhausting your body.
It also helps you in another important area: regulating the glucose metabolism. Increasing the workout frequency trains your body to store your excess glucose as muscle glycogen instead as fat.
Take a look at our sample workout protocol for high frequency training. Of course, you can always come up with your own.
Day Body parts Trained
1 Chest, abs
3 Legs, calves, abs
4 Shoulders, traps
5 Triceps, abs
6 Biceps, forearms
8) THE FIFTY-FIFTY SPLIT
Cut in half your typical portion of carbs, and mix it with some vegetables with low caloric value. It will increase your feeling of satiety, and prevent you from consuming too much calories from complex carbs.
9) CONSUME MORE FIBER
Including fiber in your daily nutrition will definitely help you stay lean. Fiber regulates the bowel movement and is especially beneficial for your digestion. It has fantastic absorptive properties swelling up in your guts and adding to the feeling of fullness.
By stimulating the muscle cells’ glucose receptors, fiber also participates in lowering insulin levels. The increased presence of this hormone in the bloodstream acts like appetite booster.
One of the best things about fiber is that you need not always consume it from whole foods. You can also bland them into a smoothie. Just avoid adding sugar.
10) TAKE A BEFORE PHOTO
Noting can be as motivating as having a visual idea of your progress. Take a snapshot of yourself every seven to ten days so you can see how much muscles you have gained. Just remember, the before photo is not capable of telling lies.
It will also tell you if you have failed to make any gains. This method can also help you in detecting the lagging areas you need to improve.
11) TAKE A TREAT
If you have managed to incorporate all of the above mentioned tips in your daily routines, or at least most of them, don’t shy away from treating yourself every once in a while.
Rewarding yourself with the favorite food helps you stay on track with your nutrition, and reduces the risk turning to snacks over the week. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should gorge up 10 burritos, but a desert or two will not ruin your waistline.