Eight Nutritional Rules to Build Quality Muscle
Never forget the importance that diet plays in achieving a great body. Following these ten rules will provide you the foundation you need for muscle growth.
With all the different diets and workout gadgets out there, it is hard to determine which route to take. If you look at diets, you get totally lost in all the confusing arguments about which one is best. You have the Adkins diet, the grapefruit, the low carb, now even the acai berry diet. I’m confused just thinking about the different versions. Now I’m sure these diets all work to some degree, but I am going to give you an easy to follow, nuts and bolts approach to gaining muscle and changing your physique.
We are going to limit this to just the vital information needed to build more muscle and become leaner in the process. The KISS method (Keep It Simple Stupid).
1. Eat A Meal Every Three Hours
Frequent, smaller meals ensure your body is constantly being delivered the proteins, carbohydrates and essential fatty acids required to maintain an anabolic state. Muscle building all comes down to nutrient delivery to feed the muscles so they can grow. So, this comes down to eating every three hours, 5-7 times a day.
I know this sounds like a lot but, these are smaller 400-600 calories per meals. Eating this way will keep your blood sugar levels maintained, so your sugar you will not spike up and down as with the fewer, larger meals. Elevated blood sugar levels cause your body to put out insulin in an attempt to store that sugar for later. When insulin is present, it halts fat burning.
Lowered insulin levels and steady flowing amino acids will help deter this problem.
2. Load up on Protein
Every meal you eat should have an adequate amount of protein included in it. To maximize muscle building, you will need to consume a minimum of 1-2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. (This means 180-pound person should consume a minimum of 180 grams of protein, 360 grams on the high side).
So depending on how much protein you will need per day, you will divide that by the number of meals for that day. For example, if you require 200 grams of protein per day divided by six meals, comes out to roughly 35 grams per meal.
These proteins should come from lean animal sources like chicken, eggs, fish, turkey, beef and dairy. Variety in nutrition is crucial, just like variety in your training, so mix it up frequently.
3. Keep Hydrated
Drinking water goes beyond keeping yourself hydrated. The more water you consume, the more will then be pushed into your muscles, and the greater their size and strength will be, and they will function better also.
And if you are also taking creatine, glutamine or any other supplements, this will give your muscles even greater capacity to store water within and keep them full.
You should consume a minimum of 1 gallon of water per day, preferably more. When training, try to get at least 8 ounces every 10 -15 minutes.
4. Carb Up The Correct Way
When it comes to carbs, you need to be a little precise. Too many can make you become a bulked up softie, and too little can hurt your gains. A good rule of thumb is to get 2-3 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight, per day when trying to add some bulk.
The same principle is used just like the protein intake, split it up between all of your meals for that day. There are two exceptions to this, and that is at breakfast and right after your workout. Breakfast and post-workout are vital to aiding in muscle growth.
Most meals you will want to consume slow-digesting carbs such as whole grain bread and pasta, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and fruits and vegetables.
After workouts, you should consume fast-acting carbs, those that digest quickly such as Gatorade, a toasted bagel with jam, or fat-free pop tarts. This will help when combined with whey protein for halting muscle breakdown. (more on this in rule 7)
5. Red Meat Is Good
Hamburgers and steaks scare a lot of people because of the high-fat content in many cuts. But when you are looking to build muscle, not eating red meat is the last thing you want to do. It is high in B vitamins including B-12, which supports muscle growth and endurance and is packed full of creatine and iron more than any other source of protein.
It is a great source of slow-digesting protein that aids in nitrogen retention and elevated amino acids in the bloodstream.
When selecting your red meat sources, go for the leaner cuts such as ground round and top sirloin. Go for the meats which are at least 93% lean. Your body and taste buds will thank you.
6. Eat Fish
Most bodybuilders like to live on chicken and low-fat beef, but fish like salmon, trout, tuna, and grouper have advantages other protein sources do not. They are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help make you bigger and leaner.
Omega-3’s help the body produce glycogen, a carbohydrate that is stored in the muscle tissue. This will be a main source of energy while training and will also aid in muscle growth and repair.
Remember that 20-30% of your daily calories should come from healthy dietary fats.
7. Supplement With These 3
As you become more advanced with your training and nutrition, you can try a variety of muscle builders and strength builders. But for now, just stick with the basics: Creatine, Glutamine, and Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs. These are three of the most affordable and effective supplements on the market.
Creatine has been shown in numerous studies to boost muscle strength, power, and size.
Glutamine is a key amino acid that aids in preventing muscle breakdown and helping your immune system.
BCAAs also prevent muscle breakdown and help to delay fatigue from vigorous training.
Adding these 3 to your diet will help excel the benefits from your training.
Take 5 grams of creatine, 5-10 grams of glutamine and 5-10 grams of BCAAs about 30 minutes before and after your training.
8. Feed Your Body While You Sleep
When you are sleeping, your body is in a fasting state, robbing amino’s from your muscles to feed your brain with the absence of food; not good if you want to pack on some muscle.
To offset this, eat something that consists of slow digesting protein 30 minutes before you go to bed.
You can eat some walnuts or mixed nuts, 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter, or a cup of low-fat cottage cheese. You will want to consume about 30 grams of protein before bed because it is slow digesting it will feed your body thru the night. I am not a fan of cottage cheese, so I take a casein protein powder along with a tablespoon of flaxseed oil. The chocolate flavor from the protein is like a late night dessert for me.