THE TRUTH ABOUT NUTRITION
THE TRUTH ABOUT NUTRITION
SPELLING IT OUT
Here are two simple guidelines that may help put a proper eating procedure in order. After a while, eating right will seem like the most natural thing in the world.
One: Eat Protein At Every Meal.
I can’t make it any simpler than this. As a bodybuilder, you MUST make protein your main priority. That doesn’t mean you need to eat skinless chicken breasts three times a day. It just means that a bowl of pasta isn’t a meal. Eating crap just because you’re hungry is worse than not eating at all.
Follow The Old Rule of Protein Grams.
Way back when, someone wrote that a good guideline of protein consumption was one gram per pound of bodyweight. At first it was accepted, then repeated, and before long, everyone assumed it was an indisputable fact. Then came the scientists. They discussed it. Disagreed with it. And eventually discredited it – for no other reason other than they weren’t satisfied with the “nonscientific” reasoning. Well, as it turns out, the one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight isn’t a bad rule after all. Of course, it’s an estimate. But if you shoot for it, and get close, you’ll be in the right range.
One gram per pound may seem simple enough but to those who’ve been following a
“normal” diet will attest, that’s a LOT of protein. But by making this a priority it automatically keeps the fat and carbs in check.
Some skeptics argue that 200 grams of protein for a 200 pound bodybuilder isn’t enough and that if you want maximum gains you must eat massive amounts of protein. That’s just dumb. The body can only utilize so much protein at a time – which led some of the old timers to believe more than 25 grams each meal was excessive and that the excess will be turned to waste. Again, this is just conjecture, but it’s in the ballpark. You need to “shower” your muscles with protein, but once a cup is full, it’s full. Pouring more into it will do no good.
For those who need a detailed plan, here’s an example of a “bodybuilders” diet.
Portions are determined by one’s goals.
Eggs, Bacon, Sausage or Ham, High Fiber Cereal, Coffee
MRP or homemade protein shake Lunch: Turkey or Roast Beef Sandwich
Nuts or hard boiled egg or a piece of cheese or some fruit
Fish or Beef with large salad
Late night snack:
Protein bar with glass of milk
This diet isn’t mystical or magical. It doesn’t have a trendy name or macho title. It’s just eating. It’s only one example of a sensible diet for anyone looking to make the most of their bodybuilding goals. There are millions of variations. This is meant as nothing more than a starting point toward getting on track toward proper eating. Of course, I could say stuff like, substitute meal one with nothing but meat and on the following day, every other week, eat brussel sprouts every third hour and blah, blah, blah blah blah. I hate that shit.
A popular question among many novice bodybuilders concerns gaining bulk. They want more size and they want it yesterday. I can’t tell you how many people have told me they can’t gain weight no matter what they do. They’ve tried every diet and every supplement and nothing works. Well, I have the answer. It’s foolproof and guaranteed. Everyone who has followed this advice has gotten bigger. But you must follow the instructions implicitly! No variations or deviations of any kind!
Do this, and you will definitely grow. Eat more.
Right about now, you may be saying; “what are you, some kind of wise ass?” Well, yeah, I am, but one thing has nothing to do with the other. No matter what anyone tells you, you must increase calories in order to get bigger. You CAN NOT gain size without doing so.
Now for those of you who need further edification, this is not a justification to eat gobs of junk food. The simple key is to follow the guidelines of a healthy diet and simply crank up the quantity.
I apologize for the lack of convolution. Maybe you wanted a detailed diet plan that has you eating strange foods at weird intervals along with the latest poly-nucleac razzmatazz super supplement which will insure MUSCLE GROWTH BEYOND YOUR WILDEST DREAMS!!!!
Just pretend. The end result will be the same. So how long will it take to get bigger? As long as it will take not to get bigger. Don’t worry so much about “when” as “how.” Do what it takes and stop waiting for easy answers.
EAT ALL YOU WANT – AND STILL LOSE FAT!
Diet plans come and diet plans go, yet one thing remains the same. Taste and hunger are powerful forces. They’re a desire and they’re a need. Attempting to reject that need in an effort to lose fat can only lead to failure and disappointment. Although
just about everyone would like to shed some extra flab, at times it seems to be a near impossibility and that lean muscular look continues to elude.
Isn’t it funny how once hunger pangs have been quelled, that’s the time we realize the need to eat right? That’s why you hear so many people say they’re going to start their diets tomorrow, or next week, or after the New Year. The intention may be sincere but the days are long and when hunger sets in, there’s only so much willpower one can muster before the cravings become too great.
Instead of using denial as a method for staying on track, a more effective and realistic tactic would be to adopt an eating plan that allows you to eat good tasting food and still stay within your bodybuilding goals. This is the premise behind many of the low carb diets. The idea of eating steaks and cheeseburgers and rack of lamb is very appealing, yet it becomes quickly apparent that without carbohydrates, the food choices are very limiting which is exactly the reason why many people lose weight on low carb diets. With less food to choose from, the less you tend to eat – which leads to eating less overall calories. The problem with this game plan is what causes the downfall. Sooner or later, you just have to eat a piece of bread or a bowl of pasta! And when you do that, the diet is blown.
A more practical approach is to stick to a variety of foods that are filling and offer a high ratio of nutrients with the emphasis on protein. In this way, you can apply and adhere to a more “normal” eating lifestyle. As long as you don’t binge or eat total junk food (sweets and snacks with empty calories), it’s possible to eat what you enjoy and as much as you need.
The following is a list of 20 foods which fit the bill perfectly. They’re nutrient dense and each choice is meant to serve the purpose of either providing maximum energy or muscle building protein. They also taste good. And let’s face it, that counts!
Besides being an excellent source of protein, salmon is abundantly rich in heart healthy omega-3 oils. Omega-3′s have been shown to lower LDL levels (the “bad” cholesterol), improve the immune system and help the body utilize body fat for fuel. Salmon is also high in Vitamin B12, which helps in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
The bran found in oatmeal helps eliminate toxins from the digestive tract and assists in the removal of fat before it’s digested by clinging to the fat particles and pushing them through the intestines unabsorbed. Oatmeal can be eaten alone or added to a wide variety of foods. Homemade oatmeal cookies with added protein makes a wholesome high protein treat.
If it were possible to concoct the perfect food, it wouldn’t be much different from the good old egg. Eggs are pure high quality protein but their advantages don’t stop there. The yolks, which many a health conscious individual discards, contain mono and polyunsaturated fat (the “good” fat) as well as a hefty dose of lecithin which helps to emulsify body fat. Eggs also contain vital lipotropics such as DHA as well as lutein and carotenoids. Many experts believe eggs are also anabolic due to the cholesterol content. (All cell growth requires cholesterol). And one egg contains only 75 calories. They’re are also extremely economical, making them a “must have” for anyone interested in growing muscle and losing fat.
It may not be on everyone’s list of favorites, but broccoli is one mighty nutritious food. High in vitamins C, E and A, it’s also rich in sulforaphane which has been shown to inhibit cancer growth. Try cooking it in olive oil and garlic and you may change your mind about the taste of broccoli.
Many soups contain beans and vegetables making it a filling and nutritious adjunct to a meal or as a “light” meal all on its own. Just watch out for canned soups which tend to have an excess of 1000mgs of sodium per serving!
Sufficient roughage is a must for proper digestion when on a reduced calorie diet. A common mistake among dieters is to eat salad without an accompanied side dish. Lettuce is mostly water and digested quickly, leaving you with hunger pangs shortly afterward. Salads are best with a meal because they “take up room” in the stomach and prevent overeating.
This is a no-brainer. At over ninety percent protein, chicken is the staple of anyone looking to build muscle while keeping fat intake low. Chicken can be prepared in countless ways, making it the most versatile of all protein foods.
8) Whole Grain Cereals
Normally, cereal products are an inferior food – highly processed and laden with sugar. But whole grain products such as Shredded Wheat and bran flakes head the list of cereals worthy of consideration. It’s perfect for a quick, low calorie breakfast.
This summer delight is a delicious way to ward off free radical damage due to the abundance of antioxidants. Equally relevant, strawberries are high in quercetin which promotes healing and reduces the chance of infection. They also contain another plant chemical, anthocyanin, which prevents against heart disease.
10) Wheat Germ
Did you know that wheat germ can be used instead of high fat nuts as a garnish and works perfectly as a substitute in recipes that require bread crumbs? Now you do.
That’s right – considered by many to be the bane of most fat-loss programs, beef can be invaluable in helping to take off weight. The slogan “beef satisfies” is more than a clever advertising angle. Beef is slow to digest, leaving you with a feeling of fullness that lasts for hours that can result in eating less overall calories throughout the day.
Although carrots are a high glycemic food in that they’re converted to sugar rather rapidly, they’re a tasty source of fiber and beta carotene, an antioxidant which is proving to be an even more powerful free radical scavenger than once believed. Carrots are a great choice when the craving to eat something crunchy comes over you. Pass on the chips and pick up some carrot sticks. When it’s time take off your shirt, you’ll be glad you did.
Whether in soups, as a side dish or as a compliment to other whole grain dishes, lentils are a tasty addition to most any meal. They’re high in iron, folic acid and magnesium, which is vital to muscle contraction and the maintenance of normal blood pressure.
This almost falls into the “junk food” category because jerky contains spices and preservatives. Still, with 12 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat and only 2 grams of carbohydrates per serving, jerky is a snack with impressive macro-nutrient stats.
Toasted and salted soybeans are similar in taste and texture to nuts. The big difference is the protein to fat ratio. Most nuts are over 75% fat whereas soybeans are about 75% protein. They’re also high in vitamin B6 and phytochemicals which have been recognized as beneficial to prostate health. Don’t go overboard with soybeans, though. Although a small amount are fine, excessive soy in its raw state may increase estrogen levels in some people.
16) Tomato Sauce
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene which has been linked to a reduction in prostate cancer. They’re also high in vitamins C and A. Does this make pizza health food? That may be pushing it. Nevertheless, tomatoes in the form of sauce, juice or in their raw state, are vital to every man’s health.
Sweet and delicious, bananas are one of the highest sources of potassium which helps regulate water balance. (Without sufficient potassium, it’s easy to retain water which looks like fat.) Eating a banana one half hour before a meal can help suppress the appetite.
This delicious delicacy isn’t just for Thanksgiving dinner. The biggest problem with fresh turkey is the time it takes to cook it, so save the undertaking for a day when plan on hanging around the house and watching a few games. Then you can count on having a high protein meal for the next three days! Sliced deli turkey is also an excellent choice.
19) Sugar Free Pudding
Okay, so we cheated on this one. Sugar free pudding offers no nutritional value but it’s as close as you can get to a sweet decadent treat without all the fat, sugar and empty calories that go along with such an indulgence. When a craving for dessert hits, sugar free pudding is the perfect choice.
20) Meal Replacements
In many ways, meal replacements are the most obvious choice of all in that they’re specifically designed to have a favorable nutrient to calorie ratio. Once again, taste is a factor and that’s an area that varies widely among the different products. Since flavor is subjective, it may take some experimenting to find which products you prefer. At any rate, there’s no reason to drink something you don’t like just because it’s “good for you.” Many of today’s meal replacements taste like ice cream shakes. You can even mix a bland protein powder with different flavorings, chocolate, fruit
flavors, etc., and make your own protein drink for a fraction of the cost. Add creatine, colostrum or flax seed for a specialized muscle building meal.
There you have it. Twenty fabulous foods that not only won’t blow your diet but help you have more energy and gain more muscle. There’s no reason to starve or deny yourself good tasting food. As long as you make the right food choices, you can enjoy eating and still get in great shape. Bon Appetite.
GREAT TASTING WAYS TO GROW MORE MUSCLE
If you’re looking to gain weight, extra calories, especially protein, is essential. If losing fat is the objective, maintaining adequate protein is the only way to prevent muscle loss while in a calorie deficit. Most any quality protein supplement fills these needs quite well. One of the problems with most meal replacements is that they don’t work very well in accomplishing what their title suggests, that of replacing a meal. A liquid food source is digested quickly, which is great when you want to replenish nutrients after a workout but not so great if you’re looking for something that will keep you full for hours. Some products attempt to fulfill the “satisfaction” quotient by adding thickeners producing a more immediate feeling of fullness, but this tactic has its drawbacks. Swigging down two or three “heavy” shakes every day is a procedure few people can tolerate on a consistent basis. Besides, even if the drink is thick, it will be quickly digested, leaving you with hunger pangs soon afterward. In that regard, meal replacements are most effective for weight gaining purposes. Having a shake in- between meals will add extra protein and calories while still maintaining enough of an appetite for solid food.
Take a look through any bodybuilding magazine or stroll down the aisle of your local health food store and the apparent choices of products are staggering. Literally hundreds of companies are vying for your business. I’ll forgo recommending any particular brands since a big factor in choosing a meal replacement is its taste, and what one person thinks tastes like ice cream, another person thinks tastes like melted linoleum. To each his own. If you’ve been supplementing for a while, you probably know what you like and are reluctant to change. But getting extra protein is never a bad idea.
The following recommendation is meant to be an adjunct to your current protein supplementation. It requires nothing more than an initial investment of some unflavored protein powder.
Although whey has become the most popular choice due to its high bio-available profile, it may be best to use a combination of protein sources.
Egg protein is, in some ways, preferable to whey in that it’s a more “pure” protein.
Milk protein has the advantage of being slow to digest, making it a more “time released” muscle building source. It also provides a nice texture and “mouth feel.”
Personally, I prefer a blend of 50% Ion Exchanged Whey, 25% Casein, 20% Egg
White, and 5% Whole Egg.
Okay, so you’ve got your protein. Now, what do you do with it? The answer is to simply implement the protein into your favorite flavor shakes and desserts. For some strange reason, many of the chocolate flavored pre-flavored meal replacements taste dreadful, yet chocolate is the easiest flavor to make delicious! In some cases, the reason for the foul taste could have to do with the additional vitamins and minerals added to the MRP’s, but if you take a quality vit/min supplement, your micronutrient requirements will be covered.
For the best tasting CHOCOLATE PROTEIN SHAKE, try this:
In a blender, mix one cup of 2% reduced fat milk, 4 ice cubes, and one scoop of your protein blend. Mix ingredients together. Then add 1 spoonful of cocoa, one spoonful of sugar, and one packet of either aspartame or sucralose. If preferred, you can use a pre-mixed chocolate flavoring (i.e., Bosco or Nestle’s Quik – either regular or sugar- free or a combination of both.) Note: Most artificial sweeteners work best as sweetening “enhancers.” If there’s some real sugar used along with it, they’re fine, but by themselves, they’re pretty gross – at least I think so. Although this chocolate shake may seem like it would be too high in sugar, the overall carb content won’t be much higher in products which use maltodextrin or fructose or dextrose. And it’ll taste a lot better! If you want a weight gaining version, substitute the 2% reduced fat milk with Half and Half. That’ll make you grow! If you’re extremely underweight, you can add a scoop of ice cream.
Here’s one that would normally be considered for fat loss since it’s light and refreshing, but due to the fact that it goes down so easily, it’s actually great for mass building programs as a super source of extra protein. In a blender, mix a half cup of cold water, one scoop of protein powder, one banana, 10 frozen strawberries, 4 ice cubes and 2 packets of sucralose or aspartame. Voila! A delicious summertime treat
– anytime! When working with unflavored protein, it doesn’t only have to be used in shakes. There are plenty of ways to utilize the protein without even knowing how to cook. Here are a few examples:
INSTANT PROTEIN PUMPKIN PIE
Blend protein and milk into a thick batter and pour into a bowl. Add one can of pumpkin, and a half box of instant vanilla sugar-free pudding. Mix in 4 packets of aspartame or sucralose and a glop of honey. Add 1/4 ounce of pumpkin pie spice
(Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Allspice) Pour contents into a graham cracker pie crust and refrigerate for 20 minutes. A killer dessert with approximately 15 grams of protein per slice – and a hefty dose of fiber as well!
Using a half cup of pre-packaged brownie mix along with a half cup of protein blend, add one egg, a quarter cup of oil, walnuts, and 4 packets of sucralose. Pour batter halfway up in a greased cupcake pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Allow to cool fully. YUM!!!
PROTEIN OATMEAL COOKIES
Mix two packets of apple cinnamon instant oatmeal with a large scoop of protein powder. Add one egg, a spoonful of cinnamon, 1/4 cup of wheat germ, a small box of raisins (optional) a dash of salt, 4 packets of sucralose and an 1/8th of a cup of oil. Squish batter into flat 2″ cookie shapes on an ungreased pan. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
These will be hard to resist! And they’re great to throw in a Tupperware bowl and take along with you for a quick high energy/protein snack on the go.
Naturally, desserts of this type, even though they’re protein fortified, aren’t meant to be consumed in copious quantities. They’re more of an additional source of protein that will quell your sweet tooth without blowing your diet – or your budget. By making your own “meal replacements” you’ll be saving a ton of dough as well as making sure you like what you’re eating.
Protein supplementation doesn’t have to be a financial back breaker and it doesn’t have to be treated as if it’s something mysterious and highly scientific. It’s just food.
THE KETOGENIC FARCE
An Expose’ of a Disastrous Diet
When discussing nutritional strategies for the bodybuilder, it’s doubtful a discussion can last for two minutes without someone mentioning the ketogenic diet. This controversial method of losing weight and burning fat has become a widely utilized diet plan among bodybuilders embarking on a fat loss diet, yet I sometimes wonder if anyone knows why. It could be that the ketogenic diet falls into the same category as so many other fallacies that are perpetuated through “parroting” in that an authority makes a claim (coupled with some sketchy scientific rationalization), and before long, it spreads among those in the field. After a while, everyone who wants to sound like they know what they’re talking about begins repeating the information. Soon, the hyperbole and hypothesis are considered fact. If the information is of a technical, scientific perspective it has an additional snob appeal which appeals to exercise elitists. In an effort to appear “in the know,” no one dares to disagree with the popular consensus. So is the case with ketogenic diet.
There are so many things wrong with using ketosis as a fat loss tactic that it’s hard to know where to begin. But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this diet method, here’s a brief outline of the principles involved.
The Ketogenic Diet was written by then 24 year old UCLA kinesiology student, Lyle McDonald. The premise suggests that by excluding carbs from one’s diet, the body will then be forced into a state of ketosis, forcing it to burn fat for fuel. I have no argument with that. In fact, when I first read of Mr. McDonald’s findings, my initial response was to say: “give me some more groundbreaking information, like the sky is blue or OJ is really guilty.”
The concept of cutting carbs in order to lose weight is nothing new. Back in the 40′s, when the science of nutrition was in its infancy, the only information coaches had for helping athletes in losing weight was; “lay off the starches.” They didn’t know nor did they care why it worked. It just did. It was obvious that eating too many carbohydrates would make you fat. If that tactic didn’t work they had a back up plan:
“Get the fork out of your face.”
Worked every time.
Of course, there were physiological reasons for the occurrence and those principles were later compiled and marketed to the general public by a certain Doctor Robert Atkins back in 1973. Fifteen years following Dr. Atkins studies, Dr. Mauro DiPasquale wrote a book called The Anabolic Diet which explained how bodybuilders could implement the high fat diet into their programs for greater muscle gains. (Which was something training coach Vince Gironda advocated in a less formal fashion back in the 1960′s). Concurrent with Dr. DiPasquale, Dan Duchaine offered a similar assessment in a document entitled “The Ultimate Dieting Handbook.” (Later re- written into “Body Opus.”) So my question is this: Why is everyone so impressed with the ketogenic diet? It’s essentially old news.
Besides its lack of originality, the concept of the low/no carb diet is also severely flawed. Placing the body in ketosis takes the already bad idea of dropping carbohydrates and makes it worse.
This is why:
For starters, the utilization of ketones for energy induces tremendous metabolic stress. It will work for a short while and cause a dramatic loss of weight but the loss will be temporary, mostly due to its dehydration effect. It can also elicit dangerously low blood sugar levels and places considerable strain on the kidneys. Since the brain requires carbohydrates for fuel, a deficiency can lead to dizziness and disorientation. The current trend of incorporating insulin into the array can lead to such a severe drop in blood sugar, it could instigate a state of comatosis. Mess up and you may mess up big time – maybe for the last time.
On a pragmatic side, the ketogenic diet is almost impossible to maintain. The food choices are too limiting. Constipation is often a problem. (A big problem). Energy levels plummet resulting in sub par workouts. Your muscles flatten out. The absence of carbs is also extremely catabolic. Any way you slice it, ketosis is an unnatural and unhealthy condition. You’re essentially beating up your body in order to lose weight. It’s one thing if winning a bodybuilding contest is your goal and you tough it out for a few months, but excluding grains of any kind on a consistent basis is nothing short of self torture. Only the truly obsessed can live day to day in such Spartan denial.
Eat a piece of bread. It won’t kill you.
Perhaps the strongest argument to the ineffectiveness of the ketogenic diet comes from the author himself. Lyle’s reputation grew quickly and he soon became known as an exercise and nutrition guru throughout the bodybuilding community. He gained notoriety as a popular “ring leader” of an internet newsgroup dispensing his rhetoric with a pompous and almost bullying tone to those who questioned him. He was respected and revered by a loyal following of disciples…until they saw what he looked like.
Now let me preface my next remarks by saying that it isn’t necessary to look impressive to be a good coach. However, Lyle, despite the fact that he was young and not particularly big, had what many would consider a hefty bodyfat percentage. Again, you can’t blame someone for their genetics, but if you’re going to imperiously espouse a system as effective, at least practice what you preach. Lyle was a perfect example of the ketogenic diets failings. It looks good on paper, but in reality, it just doesn’t pan out.
Once Lyle’s omnipotence was questioned by his former flock, he vowed to get into the best shape of his life using the principles of the ketogenic diet. He then posted pictures of himself. Pffft. There was hardly any change! It simply looked as if he started working out a little. The people who frequented the message board were merciless in deriding his efforts. Whether or not the criticism was justified is arguable. Be that as it may, it ostensibly proves that the ketogenic diet isn’t a miracle cure.
Still, there are many who will attest to the benefits of the Ketogenic Diet and swear that it worked for them. (Of course, many use fat burning drugs at the same time). I find it especially humorous when someone misinterprets information, yet still gets results. I recently spoke with a competitive bodybuilder who declared he never got more cut than when he eliminated bread, potatoes and pasta from his diet. Then he went on to explain that he ate rice with every meal! Rice?! That’s the starchiest, highest glycemic carb in the world! Yet, the diet still worked – because he ate clean and ate sparingly. There was no way I could convince him his “no carbs” plan was totally off base, so I didn’t try.
(Note* Even in Ronnie Coleman’s video, there’s a point where he’s eating his “no carb” meal – chicken cutlets – dipped in barbeque sauce!)
The cold hard truth is – people want to think they’re being “high tech.” It gives the impression that they’re privy to “inside” information which will give them the extra edge. By obtaining a wealth of esoteric scientific knowledge, one can hopefully understand the workings behind a protocol. Well, it’s time to wake up and smell the sneakers. Understanding how something works or why it should work, is often in contradiction to what works in the real world (much to the chagrin of many a scientist). Naturally, if fat loss is your objective, excess carbs should be the first to go. But they are still needed. The fact remains, the basis behind any fat loss diet is that you need to burn more calories than you take in. That may be the main reason low carb diets work at all. The food choices are limited and you simply wind up eating less. It may seem appealing to be able to eat hamburgers and sausages but how much of that stuff can you chow down every day at the exclusion of most other foods? I don’t know anyone who thinks that lamb chops are a good before-bedtime snack!
If you’re thinking about going on the ketogenic diet, you may want to think again. It’s only a quick fix which can ultimately backfire by disrupting your metabolism. Don’t rely on gimmicks – even if they’re saturated with “sciency” jargon. Keep it simple. Learn proper eating and implement rational calorie restriction if you want to remain lean and hard, year ’round. That’s what has always worked. As a matter of fact, it’s the only thing that works.
And for a final note on the topic I’ll leave you with this excerpt from the movie
Gangster One: “I’m hungry.” Gangster Two: “Eat a sandwich.”
Gangster One: “What can I eat that’s less fattening?” Gangster Two: “Half a sandwich.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
What? No mention of what type of protein is best for muscle growth? Okay, here goes.
Excluding other elements present in a particular food and excluding the speed of absorption…
…a gram of protein is a gram of protein is a gram of protein.