Tuesday 7 August 2012

Nutrition for Muscle Building Part 1

Trying to gain muscle without an appropriate muscle building nutrition plan is like trying to sail a boat with no wind - it just won't happen. Whether it is for health, performance or aesthetic reasons, if you are trying to build muscle here some tips to help.

Big Ronnie Coleman know how to eat big
1. Live the phrase, “You gotta eat big to be big!”
My great uncle, a former P.E. teacher and football coach used to say this to me when I was a scrawny teenager. As simple as this phase sounds, it lays the foundation for effective muscle building nutrition. However, it is not enough to understand it intellectually - you have to live it. Every time you are about to sit down to eat, cook food, prepare meals and go grocery shopping, say this phrase to yourself over and over again. Make sure you don't just know it – live it! Eating is now your full-time job.

2. Calculate how many calories you need
Show me a person who says they cannot gain weight and I will show you a person who is not eating enough (with of course the rare exception being someone with a tapeworm or hyperthyroidism). If you are going to start eating for muscle gain, you need to know how many calories to eat. While no formula will be a perfect match for you, a good formula is a great place to start: take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by 18-22 (adjust within that range depending your activity level). Note: if you are eating way less than this, do not jump to this level immediately as it can cause fat gain and GI distress. Instead, gradually increase your calories towards this number until you see the scale starting to move.
Referece: Precision Nutrition Cerification Manual

3. Figure out what that many calories looks like
Having a specific number as to how many calories you should eat will do you no good if you do not know how much food that actually looks like. For starters, use an Excel™ spreadsheet, nutritional analysis software or a free web-based program such as www.FitDay.com in plug-in a typical day of eating. Do not be surprised if what you are currently eating falls far below the calorie calculation you did in step two. Most people who say, “I eat a ton,” are nowhere close to eating enough food. Keep adding foods and increasing portion sizes to your typical daily eating plan until you reach the recommended number of calories.

4. Weigh yourself weekly and measure yourself every two weeks. Then adjust food intake as needed.
This is another tip I learned from Dr. John Berardi. Once you think you are on the right track with eating, the re-testing is the proof. If you are gaining weight without much change if your waist, then you are on track. If not, you have only wasted 2 weeks of your training life and you can re adjust. Testing takes the guess work out nutrition and individualizes your eating. It is also important to remember that as you gain muscle, you will have to eat progressively more food to keep you gaining.

5. “Don't just eat until you're full, eat until you're tired”
I stole this tip from the host of my first (and only) Hawaiian luau. When eating for muscle gain, you are trying to disrupt your body’s natural homeostasis. This can often mean eating until you feel uncomfortable and even tired.

Stay tuned for part 2 with 5 more nutrition tips for muscle building…

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