A proper eating plan is just as or even more crucial than any amount of workouts one can perform in trying to achieve a fitness or bodybuilding goal. Ask any fitness expert or guru and they will tell you that a good training routine is only half of the equation, the other half is of course nutrition. In fact, you can lift all the weights you want if your nutrition is not on point you will have little success in achieving your fitness goals. But knowing how to eat is not always an easy task with all the dietary propaganda on tv. However, when it comes to nutrition simplicity is the key. Whether you want to build muscle, lose body fat, or a combination of building muscle and losing body fat, the fundamental rule of a good nutrition will always hold true.
Rule 1: Eat a meal every 2-3 hours
Eating every 2-3 hours supplies you with nonstop nutrients while helping you keep your metabolism revved for fat burning. These meals keep a steady supply of energy and amino acids to your muscles promoting growth and protection. Each meal should be about the same calorie-wise and also balanced with foods containing proteins, carbs, and fats. Including pre and post-workout meals, you should hit about a total of 7 meals a day.
Rule 2: Eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily
Protein is the building block of muscle tissues. The body uses protein to repair damaged muscle fibers and create important growth-supporting hormones. Thus, it is crucial to consume enough protein for your bodyweight, especially if your goal is to add mass and strength. You need to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day. But if you fail to grow on 1 gram per pound or if you tend to get too sore after a couple of day of training, bump up your protein intake to 1.5 grams. Your protein choices should be mainly animal proteins such as beef, chicken, dairy, eggs, fish, and turkey. These are the complete protein sources, meaning they provide the body with the essential amino acids it can’t manufacture on its own. In addition to these protein sources, supplement with 2 protein shakes pre and postworkout.
Rule 3: Eat before you workout
Eating before your workout provides you with the long-lasting energy you need to fuel through your workout sessions, especially if these workout sessions tend to be grueling or long. To prepare your muscles for your workout session as well as kick-start the recovery process, your pre-workout meal should consist of slowing slower-burning carbs and protein and can be consumed in form of solid food or a shake. For pre-workout meal stick with a shake, you need fast digesting protein to encourage muscle growth at this time, and whole foods are too slow to offer much benefit at this time.
- 30 minutes before your workout drink a shake with 20 grams of protein along with 20-40 grams of slower-digesting carbs
Rule 4: Eat after you workout
After your workout your muscles are broken down and receptive to nutrients. This is called an opportunity window because the nutrients you take in go directly to start the muscle rebuilding process. In order to maximize muscle recovery and growth then, this meal should consist of protein and fast-digesting carbs. The combination of fast-digesting carbs and protein enhances protein synthesis and increases protein and carb uptake by muscle cells.
- 30 minutes after your workout, have a shake with 40 grams of protein and 40-80 grams of fast-digesting carbs.
Rule 5: Drink water
The body is made up of 55 to 65 percent water. Everything from blood to bones and muscles contains water, and your bodily systems depend on water to function properly. Water regulates body temperature and waste disposal lubricates your joints, keeps your metabolism, and helps you maintain muscle fullness. So it is crucial to replace the fluids you lose during your workouts in order to prevent dehydration and ensure proper functioning of your bodily systems.
- Make sure to drink water regularly and during training sessions and continue to drink even when you are done. You should at least have a gallon of water per day
Rule 6: Add supplements to your diet
In addition to your nutrition regimen, you should add supplements. Supplements enhance your diet. They will help you push muscle growth further than just a simple eating plan. Supplements improve strength, size, energy, fat loss, and overall health. However, keep it simple and stick to the basic. Consider taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement, creatine, branched-chain amino acids(BCAAs). Creatine boost muscle power, strength, and size while BCAAs prevent muscle breakdown and delay the onset of fatigue during training.
- Take 3-5 grams of creatine pre and post workout and 5-10 grams of BCAAs to help you stay anabolic and rip the benefits from your training