Nutritional based articles straight from cutandjacked.com's specialist writers
Benefits: Variety of protein sources providing muscle tissue support
A note on Artichoke: Artichoke is documented to help with liver cleansing as well its positive effects on high cholesterol. Artichoke also has a good amount of potassium which helps muscle contraction and is very important for individuals who follow an exercise regimen.
- 2 ounce artichoke calories: 25, Fat: 0, Protein: 2 , Carbs: 6 ( 3gr. Fiber), Sodium: 75 mg., Potassium: 170 mg.
Recipe by Melih F. Cologlu / ACPT
Per one out of four:
Recipe by Anna from proteinpow.com
Tip: You want to cook your pancakes slow. If you cook them too quickly, they will be raw in the middle. Be patient and let them cook evenly and slowly. They should turn a perfect golden brown on both sides.
Recipe by Stephanie Woods
Picture the typical first date: the man confidently orders a steak to appear masculine while the woman orders a salad to seem feminine. What’s wrong with this picture? Women need protein too, and if you’re a fit woman you need it even more to support that beautiful muscle! Here you’re going to learn the benefits of adequate protein, how different sources affect your health differently, how much you should be eating, and the best ways to add in protein to keep you lean and sexy!
A new study recently published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that the prior recommendation of 0.36 g protein per pound of body weight is grossly inaccurate for women who lift weights. This is because the body needs more protein to build and maintain muscle and also to produce enzymes in the body that are key to metabolism. And it packs a one-two punch for those who are trying to lose or maintain weight. Of all the macronutrients, protein takes the most work to digest and it, therefore, increases energy expenditure when you eat it in greater proportion to other macronutrients or to the amount you are right now. Also, because it is harder to digest, it stays in the stomach longer than carbohydrates helping you feel fuller faster and longer. So how much protein should you be eating? About 0.8 – 1 g per pound of body weight every day is a safe estimate for most women to maintain and build muscle and keep their metabolisms revved up. Get this through 5 – 6 servings/day, 20-30g/meal, so that the body can better metabolize and absorb it and you’re not flushing protein and money down the drain (pun intended).
But what kind of protein is best? We all know that chicken, egg whites, and canned tuna are great lean sources of protein, but it turns out that different protein sources offer different health benefits, so your best bet is to get protein from a variety of sources: red meat, pork, poultry, whey/casein/dairy (if it doesn’t give you a bad reaction), fish, nuts, beans, and soy. Here we’ll talk about the benefits of a few of these. Red meat helps your brain to better remember important phone numbers (remember when you were standing at the ATM the other week and couldn’t remember your PIN?). This is probably due to the creatine monohydrate content found in beef, the concentration of which increases in your brain when you consume it. Creatine also has benefits in your training regimen as it has been shown to increase power – can you say new PR? Also, red meat is high in zinc and iron, both of which are critical to proper metabolism function and training capacity as they are key for delivering oxygen to working muscles and immune health. Finally, if you buy grass fed beef you are giving yourself a dose of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a healthy fat that has been linked to decreased body fat by increasing insulin sensitivity (so it helps your body use carbohydrates for fuel instead of storing them as fat). Aim for 1 – 2 servings/week. Pork has comparable benefits for muscle building as beef, with the same lean meat to fat ratio of turkey. It’s also high in thiamin, a nutrient that is often lacking in the average woman’s diet and key to metabolism because it helps to efficiently convert carbohydrates to energy and it also helps with muscle fiber repair and recovery – so if you’re working out hard, this is an important nutrient! Other micronutrients in pork help regulate energy release, strengthen bones, prevent injury, and increase your immune system function.
Eat up, aim for 1 – 2 servings of pork/week as well! Fish is another great source of protein. Most fish is very low in fat and calories (such as cod, tilapia, and albacore tuna). But the ones that are higher in fat are also important too; they contain a healthy fat known as omega-3, which has been linked to better brain function and mental acuity, lower rates of depression and anxiety, and heart health. But on top of that, omega-3s are being linked to greater levels of physical fitness and lower body fat. One recent study published by Washington University has even found a correlation between omega-3 fatty acid consumption and your body’s ability to turn protein in the diet into precious muscle. Eat fish often, and eat sources high in omega-3s at least 3 times/week!
Finally, let’s talk about a non-animal source of protein. Beans are a great, economical source of protein and are often overlooked as a supplement in the diet. Beans are high in folic acid which helps with cognitive function and helps prevent depression. Also, if you’re a female in your reproductive years, the folic acid in beans is important to help prevent certain birth defects that develop in fetal spinal cords in the first 2 weeks of pregnancy – a time when most women do not even know they are pregnant yet. So including beans as a regular part of your diet can help. Beans also have high amounts of magnesium and some have high amounts of iron, both of which are important for nerve function and muscle building. Finally, beans not only have satiating protein but also satisfying fiber – keeping your belly full and flat. Aim to eat beans 3 times per week or more. As you can see each source of protein offers unique health and training benefits. Reap the most from your protein by getting it from a variety of sources.
Okay, so you know how much protein you should be eating and you know why you should be eating it…but how should you add it in? Here are some quick and simple ways to add some extra protein into your day without too much time and effort:
If you plan ahead and batch-cook your protein, it’ll be easy to pack for the week or day and have protein on hand for every meal. Next time you’re out with friends, your guy, or by yourself, do yourself a favor and eat some protein. Let’s change the stereotype and make eating a diet rich in protein a girl thing too. You can do it!
- Written by Anjelica Mucci
Cut, shredded, lean, ripped, whatever you want to call it most people if not all want to get leaner to some degree. Doesn’t change the fact I still hear the terms ‘I don’t want to get too lean’ or ‘I don’t want to get too big’ in many consultations I have.
Following on from my ultimate bulking guide I am now going to put together a pretty comprehensive guide to stripping down that bulk and get that physique out and ready for hitting the beach.
Some basic ground rules before you think this is the solution to all your problems.
The effectiveness of any nutritional plan is more often than not dictated by the person undertaking it and both their perseverance and willingness to change.
You must change your lifestyle, habits, addictions and approach to life if this is to work.
To cut subcutaneous (body) fat effectively with minimal muscle loss we must:
‘Cutting up’ is different in many respects to bulking in that the detail is now what counts and being pretty analytical with your food is what will safely get you to where you want without a notable trade off. As I’ve said before when it comes to most things, there is always some form of trade off. When it comes to cutting often the trade off is a loss in muscle tissue brought about by a notable caloric deficit and the elevation of catabolic/stress hormones. The key to effective fat loss is to manage the two hormonal states effectively whilst changing fuel usage and maintaining or creating a deficit.
Can fat loss be achieved whilst maintaining or even gaining mass? In my opinion yes and I have seen it happen on many occasion. It requires educated and strategic management of nutrition and fuel usage.
My approach for myself and my clients is different to that of most and I guess the reason for me writing this is to express that approach. I also wished to title this 'the death of the diet' but maybe it’s a little early for that kind of speculation.
Little bit of plagiarising of my own articles here, as some of this info is relevant and in my opinion good.
Insulin manages our hormonal state and part of our natural fluctuation between a state of regeneration and degeneration. Our hormonal and genetic makeup define for us how well insulin is managed at a base level and dietary habits influence it from then on in. Managing insulin is all about stabilising blood sugar and maintaining it through selective ingestion of predominantly carbohydrates.
To understand the more complex roles of carbohydrates besides the storage and transport of energy we must first understand that the bodies’ hormones are largely governed by this 'master' hormone, insulin. Following the consumption of carbohydrates of any type there is a concurrent and specific rise in our blood sugar or blood glucose levels. In response to this rise, insulin is secreted into the body. The excessive or insufficient ingestion of carbohydrates that is common in todays society cause lows and highs in blood sugar levels. The repeated fluctuation of these levels can impact the bodies’ ability to produce insulin and in some cases cause the whole system to shut down. Not only does this have a major impact on the regulation of sex hormones but in the pursuit of 'getting cut' there is a common and drastic trend to exclude or minimise carbohydrates from the diet below the bodies normal requirements. We start messing with sex hormones and we fall deeply into a catabolic (degenerative).
The three bodytypes endomorphs, ectomorphs and mesomorphs are what we will be starting with at our hormonal and genetic makeup level. What we have done with it from then on in is always tricky to define.
To summarise with this:
The suggested base dietary ratios (carbohydrates:proteins:fats) for the various body types are.
In essence this is telling us if we take an ectomorph and they consume 55% of their total caloric intake from carbohydrates they will metabolise it effectively and without gaining excessive fat. Is this 100% accurate, no but it gives a great start point. If we want a steady flow of energy this 55% ratio should be spread evenly throughout the day with a spike in levels only post workout. In the case of cutting assuming coming from a bulking cycle you will know what those ratios and levels are. If not I would take your current diet, log it accurately and see what level you are at right now. You will see why shortly. Whatever happens you need to honestly know where you start at otherwise you cannot adapt anything.
Point 1. Create a deficit of total calories through either a reduction in dietary calories or an increase in fuel (calorie) usage.
This is the point at which people will dispute the information I am about to give you now for various reasons. Answer me this, are you looking at maximal fat loss whilst preserving muscle tissue? If the answer is yes read on. If you don't care about losing some muscle just keep doing what you're doing.
Let me remind you of the two basic hormonal states. This diagram shows it in relation to blood sugar and its physiological response should it drop below a given level.
If we want to manage composition we cannot drop below the black line and into the red.
For the purpose of explaining this I’m going to use a hypothetical case study. John is an ectomorph who has been consuming a strategic eating plan to build bulk. He is now ready to cut the fat and maintain mass, being an ectomorph if he gets this wrong he will lose what took him a long time to gain. He consumes 3000k/cal per day and guess what he is going to cut without dropping calories. As a reference for those of you that ask the question, John uses no performance enhancing drugs, the relevance of this will become clear later.
He is going to diet for 15 weeks and we have ascertained that his basal metabolic rate simply to survive is a measly 1200k/cal per day. Remember he cannot drop in the red. The second he does all of his goals become compromised.
Firstly I want to give you a little insight into fuels and how they are used.
The essential nutrients (our body can't create but we have constant jobs for them) proteins and fats can be utilised as carbohydrates should our body need them. This is a pathway that your body needs to adapt to in order to become efficient at it. If we don't have enough protein our body steals from itself (lean tissue), if we don't have enough dietary fats our body shuts certain systems down. If we plan to protect muscle tissue whilst giving the option for the body to use another form of fuel (stored fat) we must maintain an anabolic state and consume above maintenance levels of protein. We can stick with our total caloric requirement whilst adapting fuel sources and protecting tissue. How do we burn fat, we burn fat because we not only tell the body to stop storing it, we create a metabolic impact through our training. At this point I must also tell you that when it comes to training more isn't always better. I will explain more later. This article is about the dietary aspect of cutting, why? Ask anyone in shape what’s more important. Diet or training?
This is straight away under the assumption that you will eat only clean foods during this time and stick to the plan.
The best way I have found to do this is by switching fuel sources over a given period. An undulating drop in carbohydrate switching calories to proteins and fats. Here is an example taking my case study down from 413 grams of carbs to 188 over a course of 15 weeks. He is an ectomorph and has a high carbohydrate tolerance so going much lower wouldn't probably be required. A large amount of this 188 grams will be ingested post workout, the rest of it evenly distributed throughout the day.
So this is the point where it becomes the argument of calories in vs calories out.
Take calories out of your diet you run the risk of the red zone. Burn more you don't provided you utilise a post workout drink.
I have speculated a very low basal metabolic rate in my case study, 1200 k/cals. Basal metabolic rate is basically what our body needs just to survive. We don't want the body switching into a survival mechanism (red) therefore you can deduct 1200k/cals from the intake straight away and know you will never drop below that. That leaves with a 3000k/cal total intake 1800k/cal to play with and utilise as fuel before we drop into the red.
By creating this optimal hormonal state (anabolic) we can prime the body to burn fuel that isn't required (body fat). We preserve the metabolically active tissue (muscle) whilst providing an alternative and protective fuel source (protein and fats). This minimises the risk of a surplus of carbohydrates (our raw fuel) and it's conversion to stored energy. As we still ingest the same amount of calories our ability to sustain metabolically demanding workouts still remains possible. We create a calorie deficit with minimal risk and by only increasing output not reducing food intake. Overweight people diet and eat diet and low calorie foods.....need I say more.
Let me show you an example of when more is not always better and a reason I only add cardio into a fat loss program as a last resort and way to burn energy (literally moving, not running, nothing overly strenuous) high intensity cardio is low intensity weights before anyone starts.
John (case study 1) is on a weekly basis going to add a brisk 15 minute walk extra a day to his fat loss regime, that’s all. By week 15 he will be doing 3 hours and 45 minutes of cardio per day!!!! Effective? Read on.
Up until week 7 his body is primed for fat loss, at week 8 it fails and will start to catabolise valuable and metabolically active tissue. This would look something like this:
If this wasn’t a simple enough reason to understand why conventional dieting (dropping calories) doesn’t work I don't know what is.
Also when nutrition has been consistently manipulated for 10-15 weeks and your metabolism is topping out what have you got left? Nothing. You haven’t any more time or energy to do more cardio and your receptors are so fried from all the fat burners you've taken what tricks do you have left?? None. Save the cardio and thermogenics for when you're looking for the details.
I have a very successful fat loss client who has lost over 45kg of weight and an amazing amount of bodyfat whilst also adding a decent amount of lean tissue. Weight loss if done successfully as in fat will always wave up and down much like the carb cycling I showed above. Infact here is his weight loss chart.....well some of it (ps. I don't log clients weights, he did this using his iphone):
The peaks you see weren't because he went off plan they're because of what I like to call metabolic shifts, his body is adapting to new tissue and making adjustments to compositional changes and his ability to use fuel more effectively.
At one point his weight stalled for about 5 days so the question posed to me was:
'should I reduce my calories and do some more training, maybe some cardio?'
'Lets drop out one of your gym sessions this week and I want you to increase your overall calories everyday' very puzzled he went ahead and did it, guess what, he lost more fat and got his metabolism going again. He had stalled because he had waved into the red so I pulled him out of it. My point here is that metabolism and fuel usage in immeasurable to a large extend so at times it needs a push in the right direction.
I wrote about this a while ago when discussing cheat meals. Let me draw your attention to this and will simply cut and paste some of my previous piece as it now ties in nicely.
Leptin is a hormone that basically signifies if we are starving or satiated. In the grey or in the red. Its a bit more complex than this but a whole other article but fundamentally. Someone creating a deficit or on a restrictive diet will lower leptin levels, which therefore sends the signal we are starving (red zone). At this point cortisol goes through the roof, thyroid hormones plummet and a bunch of appetite stimulating hormones fire up to tell you to get your arse back in the grey. Science tells us that after 7 days of restrictive dieting or creating a negative deficit through training (my favourable method) leptin levels drop by about 50%. To raise this back to its normal level will generally take us less than 24 hrs.
Ok, now before you all start getting excited and think that because you’ve spent 7 days dieting or creating a calorie deficit its time to pig out, think again. The higher someones bodyfat is the higher their leptin levels are, the lower someones bodyfat therefore is the lower someones leptin levels will be. The 50% drop is relative to the amount you begin with. If you’re overweight the leptin is there but much like the issue we have with insulin you cannot release and utilise it, the leptin receptors have been de-sensitised. The 50% drop will not be sufficient in someone overweight to warrant a carb/caloric refeed as it’s only relative to the amount they began with. Leptin management is only really of major concern to those that are lean but if utilised correctly can push the boundaries of leanness and ramp metabolic rate significantly.
In a hierarchy of what someone overweight needs to be concerned with it isn’t leptin. As diet improves and insulin efficiency improves leptin receptors will in hand be re-sensitised and it now becomes a useful tool in the quest for fat loss and getting cut.
The thyroid hormones are responsible again in this conversation for basal metabolic rate. It will increase this basal metabolic rate and also impact the metabolism of protein, carbohydrate and fat. This becomes a burnout issue in most cases. Our body has a certain amount of fuel it can process and utilise in one go.
If we take a typical western diet that has 3 meals in it with traditionally the biggest meal being in the evening it would mean at some point this person will overeat in order to meet caloric requirements. If they don’t remember all that happens is leptin decreases and appetite stimulating hormones ghrelin, neuropeptide-y and anandamine increase. So you’re going to be hungry irritable, losing no bodyfat and on a low calorie diet. …..Sound familiar (just incase you really don’t get it muscle will be used as fuel so weight will come down to a point).
So everytime someone overeats thyroid hormones elevate metabolic rate and this leads to heat generation. In someone who regulates metabolic rate successfully overeating will lead to a notable increase in body temp. If this isn’t you maybe the timing of a cheat meal isn’t appropriate. Continuous bouts of overeating or binging will lead to the burnout of the thyroid hormones and once again an indication of underactivity within them. Overeating is not total calories, it is a ‘per meal’ scenario. Therefore 3000 k/cal is not just 3000, it's how it's dispersed and often the reason most of my clients end up eating more calories than they started with.
There is no exact science here but I would quite simply start with some markers.
If bodyfat is in excess of 25% there are no cheat meals as in the onset, someone at this level will make conscious and unconscious mistakes.
A cheat meal simply has to be an excess of calories and a substantial elevation in carbohydrates if we want to spark up and make use of the above three systems. This does not have to be junk. It can simply be a re-feed. I occasionally just eat my normal structure and throw a 1kg bag of sweet potatoes on every meal in that day. Other times I’ll pick one meal and have a pizza or something like. At present my bodyfat is about 8 - 9% so I use one every 7-10 days and may choose either option. What I can say for sure is that 1 - 2 days post re-feed my metabolic rate is still racing and I am visually leaner. The way this works is that the elevation in calories ramps everything up and for a period of 24 - 48 hours later your body is working harder than ever. Therefore you burn fuel fast!
Pretty neat huh…..but this is an earned right!
Cheat meals need to have a high percentage of carbohydrates in them to be effective and also a hefty hit of calories, double normal intake is a good bet. This ramps metabolic rate, which remember you have primed and will carry over momentum for 48 or so hours later.
There is no definitive way to cut or get lean!! There are stupid approaches and intelligent approaches. I am throwing down my gauntlet as to how I approach people (and myself) when trying to get lean. I keep calories high and burn fuel. I know in the course of a year I can burn 30 - 40kg of bodyfat easily with someone, I can't develop that amount of metabolically active muscle tissue in anyone. I choose to protect muscle tissue and use it to my own and others advantage. I haven’t gained more muscle personally than most other people that have weight trained for the past 15 years, I’ve just lost less and my profit is more!
Written by Phil Learney - Phils Facebook Fan page
Blended together and baked at 180 C (356 F) for ~ 20-25 minutes:
When the muffins are ready, take them out and let the cool a bit. Then, get a bowl out and mix 2 scoops of casein (I used chocolate orange casein) and mix it with 5 tsbs of Greek yogurt and about 5 tbsp of milk. Add one tbsp of milk at a time, until you get a frosting-like mixture - creamy and not overly watery. When the casein mixture is ready, stick your nozzle in a plastic sandwich bag (a ziplock bag will do). Push the nozzle to the corner of the bag and cut a corner off the bag so the nozzle sticks out. Then, just stuff all the casein mix in the bag, twisting the top so there's pressure and the casein comes out as you press it.
Macros per one muffin (out of six): 150g, 10.3g carbos (2g sat), 21g protein, 2.8g fat (2g sat) and 2.75g fiber!
Recipe by Anna from proteinpow.com
Flip through any fitness magazine, and what’s the first thing you see? Flashy ads, featuring models with ripped physiques, claiming all their results are from uber-powerful fat demolishing power matrix pills. These fat burners have varying degrees of effectiveness, and most are plagued by what I call “overcomplication disorder” - they have two or three known effective ingredients, like caffeine, green tea, or yohimbe. The rest is a proprietary blend of all kinds of long chemical names, and super-scientific explanations of how they work, designed to sell the product. What if there was a simple supplement that had one ingredient, and actually did work? Good news; there is.
Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, is quickly gaining popularity as a type of natural “fat burner.” It is not a thermogenic supplement like many other fat burners on the market, it simply helps your body become more efficient at processing and storing dietary fat intake. In very simple terms, CLA helps prevent your body from storing extra fat by interfering with the chemical that adipose cells, or fat cells use to absorb and store excess fat. Studies show that CLA also helps the body use stored fat for energy while increasing lean body mass. It doesn’t directly burn fat cells on it’s own, but it encourages the body to burn fat with a proper caloric deficit and exercise, and prevents your body from absorbing fat and forming new fat cells.
Many double-blind clinical studies have been performed on CLA, where half of a given group was given a placebo, and half was given CLA supplementation. All of these studies showed the same thing: those on CLA showed decrease body fat, although not necessarily decreased weight, and increased lean body mass. The only adverse effect found was some minor gastrointestinal bloating and discomfort. This varies person to person, and is often not a big enough problem to steer people away from CLA.
These studies show that a person with a clean diet and exercise can expect to increase fat loss over a long period of time with CLA supplementation. The shortest clinical study showed that users began to see results of CLA supplementation after twelve weeks; this is not an overnight fat burner. However, given all of the above information, CLA seems like a healthy and extremely effective supplement for those looking to burn fat and increase lean body mass without using any harsh stimulants.
This may not be a miracle pill, or a quick fix, but if something quick and natural can help increase lean body mass while decreasing fat mass, that can hardly be considered a bad thing. CLA isn’t too expensive either, so if you’re the type that loves supplements, this is a great one to consider!
Written by: Matt Dustin, NASM-CPT
References: Guallier JM, Halse J, Hoivik HO, Hoye K, Syverstsen C, Nurminiemi M, Hassfeld C, Einerhand A, O’Shea M, Gudmundsen O. Six months supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid induces regional-specific fat mass decreases in overweight and obese. 2007 Mar;(3):550-60. PMID: 17313718
Guallier JM, Halse J, Hoye K, Kristiansen K, Fagertun H, Vik H, Gudmundsen O. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation for 1 y reduces body fat mass in healthy overweight humans. 2004 Jun;79(6):1118-25. PMID: 15159244
Lots of people are trying to eat better,... trim off some extra pounds gained over the holidays, or get beach-ready for a moment in the sun. Eating better is hard, and many people get frustrated, fall short or give up. Here are some key ways to make your eat better stick.
1. Set goals - It starts by having clear and realistic goals. Write a list of things you want to change about your diet. Also incorporate goals that you may have regarding your body and plan your diet around those goals. I recommend setting present goals, short term, and long term goals. If you try and do everything all at once you can be overwhelmed and want to quit. Take it one goal at a time if need be, and one day at a time, this isn’t a race. You may also want to write reasons why you want to make a change in your eating habits. You might share your goals with others who will help you meet them. You can put your goals where others can see them “on the fridge, at work” to motivate you to work harder. This will also get others behind you and involved in your new routine. As you achieve your goals, check them off. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and add excitement leading to your next goal.
2. Have Realistic expectations- Any diet plan needs to work with you and not against you. You need to be realistic when setting up the parameters of your new diet. Your plan needs to work for you and your situation. It needs to fit your schedule and your budget. If you don’t follow your budget, your cooking costs will get too high and you will have to withdraw from the diet you set up. If you don’t cook for your schedule and your eating times you will find yourself without food and scrambling to find a healthy choice. So be realistic with time, and give yourself extra time to prepare food, or have food pre-packed. Also know that obstacles can and will come into your path from time to time to derail you and your progress, so don’t think that everything will be easy and will just happen. This takes work.
3. Be Proactive - Make a list of healthy foods you enjoy, and what foods you can take with you to work, in the car, school, etc. You can create entire menus revolving around where you will be at what time of the day. Never give yourself an excuse to not have something available for you to eat, no matter where you are when you are supposed to have a meal. Always keep healthy foods on hand. If you don’t you will probably eat whatever is available at the time whether it be fast food, office treats, etc. This can throw off a diet plan and get you in the habit of making bad food choices and eat whatever is fast and convenient. Know where you will be at what time of the day, when you are open to cook, to eat, to shop for groceries, and plan accordingly. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
4. Consistency is key - Most people respond well to consistency. Make a plan and stick to it. Try to eat at around the same times daily and keep to the same portion size and caloric intake.. Your body will recognize this pattern and in turn keep your metabolism burning and your energy levels will stay high. You will feel better, and get in a healthy routine. It is easy to sabotage yourself by grabbing nasty snacks to meet uncontrolled cravings. The time you spend on planning and consistency is a true investment that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
5. Be flexible - Of course, even the best plans fall short at times. Life can sometimes get the best of all of us. Sometimes your eating routines need to change. Where you can, try to plan ahead for these events and have items on hand you can take with you when you’re in a rush or are eating out. Example: Bag of almonds, protein bars and shakes, fresh fruit. Also educate yourself on nutrition through the internet, books, and magazines. You can use this knowledge to help you improvise and find foods that are compatible with your diet, for example if you are out with friends or stuck with no time to cook. Find items that are less time consuming that you can take with you in a pinch.
6. Don’t be so hard on yourself - Nobody is perfect all the time. If you mess up, miss a few meals, or even have a bad couple of days, just pick yourself up and get back on track. You’re doing this for you, and the added stress of not living up to your own expectations can lead to a total diet derailment. Being healthy and eating healthy does not mean you can’t enjoy foods not on your meal plan. So don’t be so hard on yourself. YOU CAN DO IT!
7. Stick with your plan - It takes time to develop healthy behaviors. After about a month of eating better consistently, you will have developed a habit. You will find that everything you initially may have had a hard time doing becomes more effortless and be a normal part of your day to day life.
8. Have fun - Eating right takes dedication, commitment and sacrifice. Don’t stress yourself out over small bumps in the road. You have the power to change any negative into a positive, and you have the choice to have a positive outlook regarding any situation you find yourself in. Find fun ways to keep yourself motivated. Get friends and family involved. Set challenges at home, with friends, or at work to start eating healthier. Take the time to cook and try new and interesting recipes. You are making change for the better, so why not make it enjoyable.
9. Give yourself praise - You are not a dog so don’t reward yourself with treats. Realize that changing your eating habits can be a daunting task for anyone. Just think how long you have had your current habits and know that changing those habits will not happen overnight, but with time. Congratulate yourself on any healthy changes you make, you deserve the praise. Praise builds confidence and makes you feel good about the healthy choices you are making, and in turn help keep you on your path to betterment.
10. Don’t rush into this - People always start with the best of intentions and will try and do everything at once. They get overwhelmed and quit before they really even started. Small changes add up and can make a huge difference. Work on one thing at a time and keep adding to it. Before you know it you will have many healthy habits that incorporate together to make a healthy lifestyle and a healthier and happier you.
11. Focus on the journey and not the destination - To live a healthy lifestyle is never easy. In order to enjoy this lifestyle with all the ups and downs, we must enjoy the process and the journey on the way to our destination. Once we hit our destination we immediately look to the next mountain top and we either want more, or worst case scenario we think that we have accomplished all we need to and we relax on all of the things that got us there in the first place. Take pride in small victories along the way, they add up.
12. Measure Success and Set New Goals: Making successful changes means measuring your progress towards your goals and recognizing your accomplishments. As you meet short-term goals, you can plan the next steps with more confidence. Constantly re-strategizing your goals takes long-term visualization. That long-term vision needs to be broken down into doable steps.
By: Brandan Fokken
Bodybuilding.com Sponsored Athlete
'Bulking up’ is a term I'm not overly keen on as it’s generally something done by competitive bodybuilders. Most of us aren't competing and knowing full well that you will gain a load of fat but are prepared after that to follow a prolonged (12-20+ weeks) and VERY strict diet isn’t what most of us want.
This approach has 2 purposes, it means that you’re guaranteed an excess of both good and bad (which when you've been eating chicken and broccoli six times a day for 20 weeks is a nice psychological break) calories. The key being to consume enough nutrients that the maximum amount of energy can be exerted in the gym and the maximum amount of protein can be turned over as new muscle tissue, it’s a very unstructured way to do it but works ok for most.
The trade off as a bodybuilder during this process is that the caloric surplus overflows and a whole heap of body fat is gained as well as the muscle tissue. During the dieting process if done well and intelligently the ratio of fat: muscle loss ends up favorable and a bigger leaner physique is the product! Not always though as muscle loss at some level will always occur with such harsh dieting.
The two hormonal states you will have heard me talk about before are Anabolic (Regenerative) and Catabolic (Degenerative) in muscles case it builds or it wastes it. The balance of these 2 groups of hormones dictates protein turnover and ultimately lean tissue gain.
Data gathered by the New England Journal of Medicine found that a 69kg sedentary male turns over about 280g of protein daily. About 30% of this is generally what is accepted as ‘muscle protein’. Within the course of a year this person gained and also lost half of his bodyweight in muscle without lifting a weight but the metabolic processes at play meant his net profit was zero (See my ‘MANAGING YOUR LOSSES’ seminar on you tube).
Taking into consideration all metabolic factors and using myself as an example.
At 100kg can potentially create 399g of new muscle tissue a day!!! Studies have shown however the controlled catabolic process of training destroys 80% of the induced anabolism (growth).
If we look at this statistically: My potential results over a year of eating and training perfectly.
Basal (Resting) Protein Synthesis = 50kg
Gains from training = 27.5kg
Total Gain = 77.5kg of muscle.
Tissue lost from Basal Catabolism = 50kg
Tissue lost due to training induced catabolism =22kg
Total Muscle Lost = 72kg
Muscular Gain = 5.5kg
SO IF WE CONSIDER THE DIFFERENTIAL IN ANABOLIC AND CATABOLIC HORMONES BETWEEN MALES AND FEMALES THIS WOULD EQUATE TO ABOUT A MAXIMUM OF 2.35kg FOR A FEMALE. THE FEAR THAT BUILDING AN EXCESS OF MUSCLE TISSUE IS CRAZY.
As a side note I still get ‘I want to build muscle but not too much’ an awful lot in consults…I’m not worried and you shouldn’t be either. Now take someone who isn't prepared to stick to a diet as strict and rigid as this for the time it takes (that's 95% of us). We don’t want to be contest ready and we certainly don't want to go through the hell a competitive bodybuilder goes through to get rid of that excess fat. So there are therefore 2 strategies. The one above which is just to relentlessly consume calories or there is a more intelligent approach.
Just to summarize. To build mass effectively we must:
1. Consume an excess of total calories.
2. Increase Anabolic hormones and decrease catabolic hormones.
3. Increase Protein and nutrient turnover.
4. Work on increasing the number of motor units recruited within muscle tissue.
5. Volumize the cells within muscle tissue.
I will put these in a logical order for you to work through.
MACRONUTRIENT SPLITS, BODYTYPE AND INSULIN MANAGEMENT
Insulin is the master hormone, it governs pretty much every other hormone in some way and management of it is critical if muscular gain or fat loss is your priority.
Insulin has the ability to increase the uptake of protein into cells, as well as increasing anabolic (Building/Regenerative) processes it can also help decrease catabolic (degenerative) processes. To make insulin work for us depends on the individual but fundamentally it involves consuming carbs and protein together. Insulin then under the right environment and at the right levels triggers anabolism and delivers the amino acids for protein synthesis (Muscle adaptation).
Managing Insulin is all about the diet and what we’re looking for is a small spike in most cases, enough to drive those nutrients into tissue, the spike I will talk about later in the article.
The only meal as a note that requires a rapid and high spike in insulin is the post workout. During a workout we have damaged tissue and driven blood sugar down. This needs a reactive spike to bring blood sugar and insulin levels back to baseline and also drive amino acids to repair the damaged cells. Utilizing a post workout carb and protein drink is critical as this speeds up the absorption. Irrelevant of the makeup of an individual I would in almost ALL cases recommend a 2:1 ratio of carbs and protein post workout. This being based on 0.8g/kg and 0.4/kg respectively and on total bodyweight. This strategy also activates the powerful stimulator of muscle growth IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor -1)
The human body is in a constant state of protein turnover. Anything that is cellular is constantly being degradation or breakdown. Insufficient consumption of protein means that the body remains in a state of degeneration stealing amino acids from non-critical to maintain critical function. Protein has a large amount of factors as to its turnover rate, hormones, diet and training to name but a few. When we influence Insulin and any other anabolic hormone positively that number goes UP!
Now the great thing about proteins AND fats is that both of them if required can be converted to glycogen and used as a fuel source. If we fall short of either nutrient however the same cannot be said of Carbs. Our key therefore is to build a diet around an elevated baseline of protein and at minimum a baseline of fats if mass building is our intention. When dieting this protein intake may go up further as the body tends to oxidize amino acids as an energy source.
There have been countless studies on optimal intake but some of the best results have been shown when purely mass building at 1.6-1.8g/lb. of bodyweight. (12)
We then need to consider the quality of this protein. Protein is determined by two markers the Biological Value (BV) and the protein-digestibility amino acid score (PCDAAS).
Now the issue we have with this table is that a high percentage of Westerners have trouble digesting products with lactose in them. If you cant digest something you CANNOT absorb it.
SO FAR… We have an intake that looks like this assuming an 80kg (176lb) athlete:
PROTEIN (176 x 1.8) 1267 k/cal 316g of Protein coming from high-ranking protein sources.
I’ve covered in a previous article (FORM OVER PERFORMANCE) body types and what a useful tool they are for a basic assessment of dietary requirements. Adjustments will always need to be made however it gives a great start point.
We have three distinct body types characterized by certain traits and dietary considerations. These STILL stand true even when in a mass building phase.
If we refer back to the point about Insulin, an Ectomorph would need a HIGHER % of carbs with more frequent feedings (2-2.5 hrs.) to get a suitable insulin response and to prevent their high Thyroid output metabolizing muscle tissue as fuel. This means that a smaller amount of fats would be used to amass the total calories. Ectomorphs need to manage stress and minimize the use of stimulants if muscle mass is their intention. Pre workouts need to be approached sensibly. Consumption of food is often their biggest challenge.
The hardest part for an Ectomorph or what we 'know' as a hard gainer is the fact that the digestive system is slow and can only deal with a small amount of food at a time. This coupled with the high metabolic rate means the classical ectomorph will lose almost as much tissue in a year as they gain. To get the volume of required nutrients you need to move towards the broken down form of food and supplements more. Liquid such as whey and oils and suitable meal replacement drinks can fill in the gaps for an ectomorph in an easily digestible format. Supplementing with greens supplements when required aswell. The fine line and trial and error here is to keep digestive turnover at an efficient rate.
Mesomorphs remain the athletes of the bunch with a high dominance in anabolic hormones and very efficient metabolic systems. Care still must be taken to ensure optimal composition.
Again with reference to Insulin management an endomorph needs considerably less carbs per feeding than an ectomorph would in order to get a similar insulin response. Endomorphs need to monitor total calories more than Ectomorphs as they will have a tendency to over consume…and what better excuse than ‘I’m in a BULKING PHASE’. They have a lower Thyroid (Essentially the over-eating failsafe) output.
Note: People often ask how I personally turnover tissue on such a low level of carbs? It's because THIS is my natural body type and I need very little carbs to get a suitable Insulin response.
Now if you're not prepared to pay someone to do this for you and you want to do it successfully, guess what you have some homework to do.
Using what we have above and the baseline of protein that we determined we have now come to a position that gives us the following for three different body types all at 80kg all intent on building mass.
As you can see the Ectomorph is consuming a larger number of calories due to the faster metabolic rate. The Endomorph due to the lower carb tolerance consumes a lower amount of carbs than the other two types.
If you take the post workout away from these figures you’re left with what should be spread over 6-8 meals in the case of the Ectomorph and 5-6 in the case of both the Meso and Endo. On non-training days hit the calories the same but adjust each meal to account for what the post workout lost.
Lean mass building whilst maintaining a good level of body fat can be done but minor adjustments must be made. If after 7-10 days weight is not increasing positively increase total calories by 150-200 per day. The same can be said if body fat is creeping up either decrease calories or introduce some low level fuel work (Walking, XT etc.) at a controlled level.
It must also be understood that management of Insulin improves the leaner someone gets so in most cases the level of carbs CAN go up as someone get leaner as they manage it better.
If we refer back to the initial points:
The use of BCAAs during training is once again something I will re-iterate, read my past articles for more info but these are a few of the finer points.
• It helps to regulate and promote protein synthesis and reduce degradation.
• It helps with the anabolic/catabolic hormone ratio
• Raises Growth hormone and Insulin during a workout.
It has been shown that there is a worldwide prevalence in Zinc deficiency and also that is plays a large role in modulating testosterone levels.
Now we have a two-pronged attack whilst training. We have one, which will increase Testosterone production, and one that will enhance Growth hormone production. When looking at gaining size it would be wise to incorporate BOTH into your workout plans.
Evidence has shown us that using large compound movements performed with high intensity and a moderate volume will increase serum testosterone levels. Utilizing heavy loads in excess of 85% 1RM with multiple sets/exercises with short rest periods (30-60s).
To increase Growth Hormone levels lower percentages of weights would be used (65-75% 1RM) and higher reps (8-12). This combined with multiple sets will increase lactate production and in response an elevation in Growth Hormone levels.
In both cases utilizing big, multiple joint movements will illicit the greatest response.
Written by: Phil Learney - Facebook Fan Page
Open a magazine and just look at not only the amount of supplement ads but all the different types of supplements on the market. It is no wonder that bodybuilders are always researching the latest information on the newest supplements and how and when to use them. It can be difficult to sift through all of the info and find which ones really do work and which ones may be a waste of your time. How do you know which supplements are worth your hard-earned money? How do you determine which ones to try and which ones should be a staple in your quest for the ultimate physique? Well, set your chicken, rice and broccoli aside for a moment as I will tell you which supplements should be a part of your foundation program and which you should give an honest chance.
This list will be structured by level of importance and how much relevance it has to your bodybuilding goals for muscle mass growth. It is also considering that you have a sound bodybuilding-friendly diet consisting of plenty of whole proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats eaten in small frequent meals (five to seven) spread throughout the day. Supplements are just that-they are for supplementing or adding to already good eating habits. If you are not practicing those habits then supplements will not come to your rescue. If so, then enjoy your forthcoming gains!
Whey protein is the granddaddy of supplements and is a must in your mass seeking arsenal. As a fast digesting protein, it is ideal for pre and post workout nutrition and extremely convenient. Rich in Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine, and valine, whey is invaluable as a fast-acting muscle booster to help you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to muscle repair and growth.
Try taking 20 grams with complex carbs about 30 to 60 minutes before training and 40 grams with 60 to 80 grams of simple carbs immediately after training. Taking whey before training will set up an anabolic environment in the muscles and taking it after training will enable whey to be more readily absorbed by the muscle tissue. This will bookend your efforts in the gym so you will leave no stone unturned on your pursuit of the most effective recovery.
Also, when choosing a whey protein product make sure it is low in carbs and fat. Carbs and fat slow digestion down a bit. Post workout you want protein to rapidly enter the muscles, which can slow digestion down a bit when you need it most post workout. Some products include protein enzymes to help with digestion. If you have digestion problems with whey try a product with enzymes included, it may do just the trick and allow you to easily digest this “must have” supplement.
If you have never heard of creatine, then welcome to earth. Touted by athletes and researchers as one of the most effective supplements ever created, creatine has grown quite a powerful reputation. Heavily researched and widely used, athletes from all disciplines have sworn creatine’s effectiveness with readily apparent and fast-acting results. This supplement is another “must.”
As it gets converted to creatine phosphate in the muscles it creates a very anabolic environment in the tissue allowing more protein synthesis to occur. This “superhydration” of fluid in the muscle cells allows more nutrients to help repair and grow tissue. Try taking 3-5 grams pre and post workout with your whey shakes. Again, the pre workout dose will prime the muscles so they will be ready for the intense training to come and the post workout dose will enable the muscles to shuttle in creatine at a quick rate so the tissue will be topped off for the next session.
Some people claim creatine bloats their stomachs and/or intestinal area. If this is the case, it may not be digesting properly or completely. Creatine monohydrate may only be partially absorbing in the intestines but some may still be sitting outside of the intestinal walls. This causes that area to attract water and therefore a bloat in the lower G.I. tract. You are in luck. Creatine ethyl ester is a form of creatine that has been developed to be absorbed even more effectively. Creatine ethyl ester is broken down more readily for easier digestion. For you that means less bloat and more effective digestion of creatine to where it needs to go for growth and repair.
“What?” You’re saying. Yes, zinc, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin E are essential to the body when you are undergoing intense training. Sure, they don’t sound like the latest supplement breakthroughs, but the body produces free radicals which can circulate and cause damage. Antioxidant vitamins C and E can help combat these free radicals and strengthen the immune system, which means a healthier recovery ability and better gains. ZMA helps with increasing Insulin Growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and testosterone-potent hormones to help you along your quest for a more massive physique.
These two categories are what I call foundation supplements. You won’t instantly feel them working like creatine or caffeine, but they are of utmost importance regarding the body’s general health and wellbeing. If the body is not in a healthy state to begin with, how can it possibly build any muscle tissue? ZMA and antioxidants help maintain a healthy foundation so you are able to build upon it.
Take 500 mg of vitamin C and 200 to 400 IU of vitamin E with your first whole food post workout meal. Before bed take a ZMA supplement providing around 30 mg of zinc, 450 mg of magnesium, and 10 mg of B6.
Another great protein product which, with the right timing, can be used to your advantage is casein. Casein is a slow digesting protein for those times when you need a longer lasting supply of amino acids in the bloodstream. It can be taken before bedtime with some healthy fats such as flax oil or natural peanut butter to have steady release of protein. Since it digests slower, casein is also ideal for when you need a convenient protein shake at any time during the day when you are unable to eat solid food. The steady flow of nutrients will allow your body to keep feeding, supplying those muscles with what they need. 20 grams of casein is great to add to your post workout shake of whey, creatine and simple carbs.
Another unglamorous supplement is glutamine which is a very abundant amino acid in the muscle tissue. Although not “sexy,” glutamine has a host of unbeatable benefits such as helping muscles take up glycogen after a workout, maintaining immune function, and increasing growth hormone levels. It can also delay fatigue so you can workout harder longer and keep you out of that dreaded catabolic state. If your system is in short supply of glutamine it will actually steal it from muscle tissue, so can you think of any reason not to supplement with it?
Try 10 grams pre and post workout to help combat the fatigue factor and give the recovery process a head start. Again, glutamine may not be a jolt of energy or enable you to instantly have strength gains, but in the long run you won’t be sorry. As another “foundation” supplement glutamine works behind the scenes to help other processes happen.
Here are a few more supplements that may or may not work for you so just remember to try them one at a time. If you were to take all of them at once how would you know which ones worked?
Maltodextrins are carbs that are easily digestible. They made from natural corn starch which is cooked, and then acid and/or enzymes are used to break down the starch. Maltodextrin is a great carb addition to a whey or casein shake. This “weight gainer shake” is a convenient way to get some serious calories into your diet without the added sugar.
Vitargo is a high molecular weight, sugar free carbohydrate which is perfect for your post workout shake. It can produce the same insulin spike after training as sugar without the unwanted effects. Combined with creatine and whey protein, vitargo is a great way to add carbs while staying on a low sugar diet.
Arginine readily converts to nitric oxide (NO) in the body. By dilating blood vessels, arginine allows more nutrients such as amino acids and glucose into the muscle cells. With more nutrients and fluid in the muscle more protein synthesis can occur. Try 3 grams upon waking, pre workout, and before bed.
Tribulus Terrestris: As a testosterone booster tribulus terrestris can also increase nerve activity in the muscle cells allowing for more powerful workouts. Take 300-500 mg before training.
Carnosine allows muscle to contract more forcefully and for longer periods of time. In addition it can delay fatigue so you can last longer with greater intensity in the gym. Try 1-2 grams before workouts.
So there you have it; five must have supplements with a few to take to the lab (gym) and try for yourself. Remember to always use caution when taking any supplement and always ask a medical professional if you feel you have any health concerns. With a sound bodybuilding diet, hard training, and a few strategically taken key supplements you can build one impressive physique without confusion.
By Brad Borland, M.A., CSCS workoutlab.net
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