True Bodybuilding Success Starts With Strength and Growth Part 2
Part 2 - Nutrition
Last time we touched on how to train to maximize muscle gains and if you followed the workout given to a tee, you will have a good solid start to a bigger, stronger physique. But your game plan is incomplete. You need to know how to eat for maximum muscle. If your nutrition isn't in order, you will hardly maximize your results. When it comes to your bodybuilding success, the way you eat is just as important as the way you train. And when I refer to nutrition, I don't just mean taking the latest hyped up supplement. Just like training, you must feed your body intelligently and consistently.
Eating To Maximize Your Results?
To understand how to eat, you need to understand the five major nutritional elements that are significant in building muscle and minimizing fat: calories, protein, carbohydrates, fats, and water. How you structure the intake of these five elements will dictate the success you have in your bodybuilding efforts. Let's take a closer look at each one.
To put this simply, calories are your fuel. They are derived from three sources - - protein (4 calories per gram), carbohydrates (4 calories per gram), and fats (9 calories per gram). These are also known as your macronutrients. Everyone has their own metabolic individuality which allows them to burn a specific amount of calories in a day just to survive. This is your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR. Activity level, amount of lean muscle stimulated, nutrient partitioning agents of food, and thermal effects of supplements are just some of the variables that will affect the amount of calories you can burn.
Next to water, protein is the single most abundant nutrient in you body. Delivering a constant supply of protein throughout the day is essential for muscle growth. Unlike carbohydrates and fats, your body does not have a protein reserve that it can take from whenever needed. Some may not realize how other macronutrients differ. Let me explain. We store fat in the form of adipose tissue and carbohydrates in the form of muscle glycogen...we do not store protein. If a steady supply of protein is not consumed daily, the body will steal it whenever needed. Guess where this needed protein gets stripped from? Muscle... A.k.a. muscle breakdown! Hardly what we are after.
Protein is not just needed for muscle growth and repair but also for blood, hormones, enzyme production, and immune system function. A steady intake of protein is essential for virtually all growth in your body just to survive. We are continually regenerating cells in bones, muscle, and skin, etc. In fact, about every 4 months our bodies consist of newly regenerated cells. Multiply that by the fact that weightlifting increases your demand for protein and you can see why this macronutrient is so important to your success. To maximize your results, you need protein available at ALL times. This will mean feeding yourself every three hours with some sort of whole food (chicken breast, round steak, fish, eggs, egg whites, nonfat and low-fat milk products) and/or supplement (whey protein isolate, meal replacement shakes). Remember this...PROTEIN IS THE ONLY MACRONUTRIENT THAT BUILDS MUSCLE!!!
Here is THEE most misused macronutrient in the bunch (it is the most abused as well as the most neglected, depending on your which diet guru you follow). Carbohydrates are sugar. That’s it. I know you may be saying, "Come on Jim, now your nuts (or raisins to stay with the carbohydrate theme)!" But if you know your digestion, then you know that the end product of all carbohydrates is glucose? What is glucose? You guessed it - a sugar. The main uses for carbohydrates are muscle fuel and brain function.
Most people tend to think of carbohydrates in terms of simple and complex. To get the most out of your bodybuilding nutrition, I urge you to start thinking in terms of Glycemic Index. G.I. is a reference number assigned to foods in accordance to the speed of their digestion and absorption. The higher the G.I. number, the faster the absorption process will be. With the exception of the three hours post workout, you should make all of your other carbohydrate choices relatively low in G.I. (60 or less). Carbohydrates with a G.I. of 80 or more are actually preferable in that anabolic window after your workouts. We will get into that next time.
Fats are vital in many of your body's functions. The problem is they add up so fast calorically (9 calories per gram) that you must limit your intake to avoid getting a little on the chunky side. Also, not all fats are created equally. You should stay away (or at least seriously limit) saturated fats and trans fatty acids. But, you DO want to include a daily intake of linoleic and linolenic acids. Make sure you are getting enough of the "good" fats by eating fish (salmon), using certain oils (flaxseed, safflower), and/or supplementing with CLA.
We are all one third water! Your muscles are about 70% water! Do I need to say more? Water is vital in regulating body temperature, utilizing water soluble vitamins, flushing toxins, digestion, nutrient transport, and nutrient absorption...to just name a few. The best part - water is non-caloric. So drink it and drink a lot of it.
The Jim Cipriani Approach to Macronutrient Intake
Now that you have a basic understanding of your essential nutrients, let's calculate how much of each you will need to maximize your results. The basis of the following has a lot of science and research that I have looked into behind it, but mostly it comes from the trial, error, and success of not only myself but the hundreds of one-on-one and online personal training clients that I have helped transform.
How Many Calories?
Like I said before, everybody has their own BMR and activity level. But, for muscle growth, a good place to start would be taking your bodyweight and multiplying it by 15. This will work for about 80% of you. Some of you will need to add or subtract in accordance to your body's response. After 3-4 weeks, you will have your caloric range dialed in.
How Much Protein?
I know some of you are thinking that you know this answer - one gram per pound of bodyweight, right? Wrong! Did you ever ask yourself where the "experts" came up with this number? I will tell you - convenience... Ease of calculation...no scientific reasoning at all. These so called "experts" knew that we needed more than the RDA recommends, but they did not look for science backing. So they basically doubled it and simplified it for ease of calculation.
We are after maximizing our results, so we follow the science. Back in 1974 Dr. Gontzea at the Institute of Medicine in Bucharest demonstrated that 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (twice the Recommended Daily Allowance-RDA) was insufficient to prevent muscle loss (negative nitrogen balance) in athletes. This was confirmed by a series of studies published in the mid 1980s by Peter Lemon and colleagues at Kent State University. They showed most athletes require at least 2 times the RDA for protein to remain in positive nitrogen balance and prevent muscle loss. And that was to just prevent muscle loss. To promote muscle growth and strength performance they showed it would take even more than that. In recent years studies with both strength and endurance athletes have clearly shown that exercise increases the need for protein and specific amino acids. Studies have also shown that the anabolic effects of intense training are increased by a high protein diet.
How much more protein? This is going to be the biggest change and hardest one for those reading this to absorb (mentally). Up to twice your bodyweight in grams of protein! Now, again, everyone has their own metabolic individuality. So, instead of fixating a number to your bodyweight for protein, a better measure would be to take 50% of your total caloric intake in protein. This will be more moldable to individual purposes, yet still fit into our scientifically proven parameters.
One more time? Protein builds muscle!
How Much In The Form Of Carbohydrates?
As far as carbs are concerned, we want to provide enough to fuel daily activity, our workouts, and other body functions without excess to be converted to bodyfat. My simple recommendation is carbohydrates should make up about 35-40% of your total caloric intake.
When following a diet high in lean proteins and moderate in carbohydrates, your fat will naturally get taken care of. So, there is really no need for calculation. You still want to make sure you are taking in a steady supply of the "good" fats daily. I strongly recommend that you have a tablespoon of flaxseed and safflower/sunflower oil a day along with 4 capsules of CLA. If you weigh over 170lbs., take 6 capsules of CLA a day. This will meet all of your essential fatty acid needs.
Note: When making food choices, it would be a good idea to get your hands on The Nutrition Almanac or some other similar book. It is essential to learn the macronutrient breakdown of different foods in order for you to make the most of your nutritional plan. And lastly - read labels!
How Much Water?
I have already emphasized the importance of water. Drink at least one gallon of water a day. One ounce per pound of bodyweight would be even better.
Let's look at some numbers in a calculation recap for a 200lb. bodybuilder with a moderate to high BMR.
Calories: 200lb. x 15 = 3000 calories a day.
Protein: 3000 calories x .50 = 1500 calories of protein per day/4 calories per gram = 375 grams of Protein per day.
Carbohydrates: 3000 calories x .35 = 1050 calories of carbohydrates per day/4 calories per gram = @ 263 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Fat: 3000 calories x .15 = 450 calories of fat per day/9 calories per gram = @ 50 grams of fat per day.
Additional Fats: 1 tbsp. each of flaxseed oil and safflower oil, 6 caps. Of CLA/day.
You can calculate your own baseline diet by substituting your bodyweight for the 200lbs. in the above example. Once you have attained your starting caloric range, divide it into 6-8 meals and spread them out across the day. Just make sure you are eating every 2 - 3 hours.
My Eating Plan
For example sake, I am including what my structured diet plan that fits into my metabolic individuality. Whether I am off-season or pre-contest, my macronutrient ratios stay the same. The only thing I change is my calories.
TimeMeal 6 A.M.8 egg whites with 1-2 cups of mixed vegetables, 1 serving of oatmeal, and 1 scoop of whey protein isolate 9 A.M.Meal Replacement Shake in water
11 A.M. Meal Replacement Shake in water
1 P.M.4-6 oz. of chicken breast or 8oz eye round steak, 2 cups green beans 4 P.M.1 scoops of whey protein isolate and 1 scoop of glucose based creatine
5:30 P.M. 1 scoops of whey protein isolate and 1 scoop of glucose based creatine
6:30 P.M. 2-3 oz. of chicken breast, 1 serving of white rice.
7:30 P.M. Meal Replacement Shake in water.
8:30 P.M. 2-3 oz. chicken breast, 1 serving of white rice, 1 scoop of whey protein isolate.
11 P.M. 1 scoop of whey protein isolate in 8 oz. of skim milk.
This diet yield about 2850 calories, 386gm of protein, 262gm of carbohydrates, and 29gm of fat. This comes out to be about 53% protein, 37% carbohydrate, and 10% fat.
Now you have a starting plan to provide you with a steady supply of nitrogen yielding protein and insulin level maintenance. Remember, if you don't lift right, you won't stimulate muscle and if you don't eat right, you won't recover or grow optimally. Next time, we will get into supplements and a discussion about fine-tuning our post workout, three hour anabolic window.
James Cipriani, ISSA-CPT
Cutting Edge Personal Training
Subscribe to one of the internet's Most Popular Bodybuilding and Fitness Newsletters - Jim Cipriani's Cutting Edge Fitness Chronicle. It's FREE. Each monthly issue is crammed with training tips, nutrition articles, supplement reports, exclusive discounts, and much more. Sign up for your FREE JimCipriani.com Fitness Newsletter Now!