A Result Producing Guide to Nutrition
If you want to build muscle, lose body fat or improve your performance in a sport, you can lift all the weights and do all the cardio you want, but without proper nutrition, diet and supplements you will find yourself falling short of your goals. In this article we will help you gain a better understanding of what kind of foods you should eat and which ones to stay away from, how to set up a daily meal plan and what supplements you should take.
Protein: Muscles need protein to grow, so you need to make sure you are getting plenty, between 1 and 1 ¼ grams per pound of bodyweight. Calories from protein should be about 35 percent of your total daily calories. It is important to remember, when setting up your meal plan, that each gram of protein has 4 calories. Some good sources of lean protein are; chicken breast, lean beef/hamburger, whole eggs, egg whites, milk, cottage cheese and protein powders. When eating eggs limit yolks to no more than half of the total number of eggs you are eating, to lessen cholesterol and saturated fat. intake ( example: 3 whole eggs and 3 egg whites).
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are your body's main energy source. If you are training hard you need to take in a good amount of quality carbohydrates, about 45 percent of your daily caloric intake. There are 4 calories for every gram of carbohydrates. Complex carbs are slow burning and will give you a more steady source of energy. Good choices for complex carbs are: oats, potatoes, yams, whole wheat pasta/bread, brown rice, vegetables and maltodextrin powder. White rice, pasta and bread are over processed and have little to no nutritional value at all, so keep them to a minimal intake. Simple carbs are fast burning giving you a quick burst of energy and insulin release and then a quick drop off. These are best used for pre and post workout drinks. Fruits, juices, some cold cereals, white rice/pasta and carbohydrate powders are some sources of simple carbs. Keep these to a minimum in your daily meal plan.
Fat: Your body needs certain fats for proper function of your vital organs and brain. These fats have also been proven to improve your metabolism and aid in building muscle and fat loss. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature or when cold, these fats you want to stay away from as much as possible (animal fats, egg yolks, butter). Some good fats are omega 3 and 6 which are found in salmon and some other fish, olive, safflower and flax oil. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories. 20 percent of daily calories should come from fat.
Water: Muscles are made up of about 2/3 water, so if you want big muscles, drink a lot of water. Try to drink 16 ounces of water with each meal or ½ to 1 gallon of water a day.
SETTING UP YOUR MEAL PLAN
Counting calories can be a painful and time consuming experience, so here is an easier way to plan your meals. Keep the portion size of protein to about the size of your palm, more if you are trying to get big. For carbohydrates the portion size should be about the size of your fist, a little less if you are trying to lose weight or a little more for gaining weight. You shouldn't need to focus much on fat intake because there will be some in most everything else you eat. If you find that you aren't getting enough try adding natural peanut butter or some oil to protein shakes, or oil to veggies and salads. You can also supplement with CLA, ALA or FISH OIL capsules.
Eating 3 big meals a day is very outdated and is not effective for losing fat or building muscle. Your body needs constant nourishment throughout the day and in order to do this you must eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, every 2-3 hours. Each meal should contain protein and carbohydrates for better utilization in your body and to keep blood sugar levels constant. Try to spread your daily protein, carbohydrates and fat equally between 5-8 meals a day, this doesn't need to be exact. If you are trying to lose fat, lower the amount of carbohydrates you eat in the evenings.
For fat loss, in addition to lowering you carbohydrate intake, you will want to take a high quality fat burner in the morning and again about 6 hours later. These supplements have been proven to dramatically increase the amount of fat you can lose and will give you the extra energy you will need when on a lower calorie diet. Meal replacement shakes (MRP) are also a good idea, they contain all the nutrients you body needs for a complete meal with only about 250 calories.
If getting huge is your goal, be sure to try creatine with your workout shakes. There have been hundreds of studies performed that show creatine is very effective in building size, strength and endurance. Pre and Post workout drinks are vital for helping you recover and grow from your workouts. They should contain a quality whey protein (30-50 grams), a carb powder like maltodextrin(60-100 grams), glutamine(1-5 grams) and creatine(5-10 grams). Try taking a testosterone booster twice a day to dramatically increase the amount of muscle and strength you will gain.
Make sure you are getting all of your essential vitamins and minerals by taking a good multi vitamin and mineral supplement. ZMA is a great night time formula that will improve your sleep and increase your testosterone at night. Studies have shown that the majority of people who exercise are deficient in magnesium and without proper supplementation (ZMA) they will find it very difficult to make progress. Vitamin C is another one that you can't go without. Vitamin C strengthens your immune system and connective tissue and is crucial for speeding your recovery from intense exercise. Depending on your size and activity level take 2-5 grams spread throughout the day, but mainly before and after your workout.
This should be enough information to get you on the right track. Keep an eye open for our future articles that will go more in depth with more advanced techniques for building your best body. Remember that training, diet and supplementation are all equally important in developing your body, and if any one of them is deficient you will fall short in realizing your full potential. Work hard, stay motivated and be consistent and you will build your No Limits Physique.
Sam has 12 years of experience lifting weights and has always maintained a lean muscular physique. He has Deadlifted 675 pounds in competition at a bodyweight of 240, and has beaten a professional strongman at the Conan's Wheel strongman event.
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