Building Maximum Muscle - Nutrition
By Jim Brewster - Part 3 of The Anabolic Surge Series:
When it comes to getting the best results, the correct timing and intake of calories from protein, carbs, and fats ( macro-nutrients) is one of the main keys to progress – some might say nutrition makes up as much as 80% of your success.
The term macro-nutrients, as mentioned above, means nutrients we need in large amounts. On the other hand, micro-nutrients are vitamins and minerals - micro meaning we need these in small amounts such as vitamins and minerals. Each type of nutrient performs specific functions in the body, but interacts with other nutrients to carry out those functions.
Let’s start this article with protein, the most important nutrient of all.
Protein - Your body is 70% water, the rest is protein. In terms of bodybuilding, protein is used by the body to build, repair and maintain muscle tissue. Protein is made up of amino acids, commonly called the "building blocks of protein" of which there are approximately 20 amino acids. Nine of these are called essential because the body cannot make them, they must be supplied by the diet. Literally thousands of amino acid sequences, or chains, are continually required to perform thousands of bodily functions daily, each one has a specific function determined by its amino acid combination ( or chain). This is why protein and the proper timing of protein from food and supplements is so important: lack of adequate protein, and your body will break down muscle tissue to help meet its daily protein needs. Most modern authorities agree that at least 1 to 11/2 grams of protein per lb. of body weight is ideal for muscle growth. I typically stay with 1.5 grams per pound. So, if you weigh 150lbs., your protein intake becomes 225 grams per day which is 37 grams per meal over 6 meals. The timing of protein is the key to staying in an anabolic state. You should take in protein every 3 - 4 hours; hence the 6 meals - your protein intake should be evenly divided up throughout the day over the course of 6 small meals as opposed to the erroneous 3 large ones. This can be three main meals and 2-3 high protein snacks or protein shakes. There are some critical times to take in protein - first thing in the morning, with some simple carbohydrates because
you have not eaten since the evening before and your body is in a catabolic state, in the hours surrounding your workout and before bed, because during the night you typically fall into a catabolic state due to lack of food intake. Maintaining a consistent protein intake is known as being in a positive nitrogen balance (nitrogen is one of the most important elements in protein, it is essential to animal life for tissue building), this really means positive protein balance. This is the state in which muscle growth can occur. The other side of the coin is the term negative nitrogen (or, protein) balance and this is a catabolic state that results in muscle loss, as talked about above.
Carbohydrates - Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred fuel source – this includes your muscles. Once ingested, they are turned into glucose, which, among other things, fuels muscular contractions and glycogen, which is stored in the muscles and liver for future use. Without enough stored carbohydrate, or glycogen in the muscles, they’ll take on a flat appearance and you’ll lack the energy to train hard. There are two basic types of carbs, sugary or simple carbs and complex, slower burning carbs. In this day and age, everyone talks low carb and blames carbs –at least partly - for the obesity problems we see today. The thing people need to understand about carbs, given today’s trend of low carb diets - is that too many calories, of any type, can lead to fat gain. It’s not just carbs that lead to the problem of being overweight but they do play a big role in the problem. When it comes to carbs, people eat too many sugary carb foods, which also contain high amounts of fat. The average person and many bodybuilders do not understand the hormonal impact of too much sugar taken in throughout the day. Sugar directly impacts insulin, which can directly impact fat storage even though it’s a potent and important natural anabolic hormone. It is true that you need carbs for energy but you only need so much. If you overload your energy needs and overload your total calorie requirements for the day and if you are not active enough to burn these excess calories, they will be stored as fat – it’s that simple. Most people are not that active and they also eat too many calories of all types, especially fat and sugary carbs, this is the reason so many people are overweight. The answer is not to follow some goofy fad diet but rather make lifestyle changes in your eating habits which means understanding the functions of the food you eat and adjusting your food intake accordingly and becoming active enough to burn excess calories over daily requirements. For bodybuilders, the thing to remember about carbs is that your intake of simple carbs needs to be concentrated around two key times of the day: first thing in the morning and in the hours surrounding the workout with a heavy emphasis on your post-workout nutrition.
Hidden Carb Count Calculator
This calculator uses the formula (Fat X 9) + (Carb X 4) + (Protein X 4) = Calories. This takes the difference between the calories listed on the label and the calculated calories and divides that result by 4 to arrive at the answer. It then adds that number of grams to the carbohydrate grams listed on the label. This hidden carb calculator assumes that all missing calories are from hidden carbohydrates.
So we know how much protein to take in, what about carb intake? When trying to gain mass, you should take in 2 -3 grams per lb. of body weight of carbs. I say 2-3 grams because this is what I call an adjustable macro nutrient due to its potential contribution to fat gain. Depending on your metabolism and current body fat %, carb intake should be cycled, even when gaining mass. Gaining muscle with a minimum of fat is possible if you cycle carbs. I suggest a higher carb intake on training days, followed by a more medium intake on off days. Those with fast metabolisms should start right at 3 grams per pound of body weight – using our 150lb. male as in the protein example above, this would mean 450 grams per day, which equates to 75 grams per meal. This should be adjustable, however, with a drop to 40 grams per meal on off days. This would mean a daily total of 240 grams per day. This approach provides plenty of workout energy while allowing glycogen stores to be replenished after training and prevents fat gain because you adjust carb needs to your energy needs. The beauty of this is, you can adjust carb intake based on results – getting a little fat around the waist? Cut carbs by 10% and see what happens. You can even adjust lower if you need to but adjust to low and you’ll impact muscle gains. If you have a high percentage of body fat, start out with 1 ½ grams per lb. of body weight. As long as your carb intake doesn't overwhelm your energy needs and you adjust as discussed, you do not have to worry about fat gains from carb intake.
The Food Pyramid is a guide for verage people
Your Goal is to Build Muscle
FATS - fats, also called lipids, are the most energy dense of the three macro nutrients at 9 calories per gram as opposed to 4 calories per gram for protein and carbs. Fat is essential for the proper functioning of the body. Fats provide essential fatty acids, which must come from the diet since they are not made by the body. These essential fatty acids are known as linoleic and linolenic acid. They are important for controlling inflammation, blood clotting, and brain development. Fat helps the body absorb and transport vitamins A, D, E, and K.
SATURATED - Found mainly in animal and dairy products, such as whole milk, cheese, beef, veal, lamb, pork and ham. Also, you will find this type of fat in some oils, such as coconut, palm kernel and vegetable shortening. These are the biggest dietary cause of high LDL levels ("bad cholesterol").
POLYUNSATURATED - Found in things like corn, soybeans, safflower and sunflower oils and some fish oils. This type of fat may help lower total cholesterol. Since this includes good cholesterol, intake of this type of fat should be limited.
MONOUNSATURATED - found in vegetable and nut oils, such as olive, peanut and canola. They can help lower LDL, or bad cholesterol without lowering HDL, or good cholesterol.
Most foods are a combination of all 3 fatty acid types; one is typically the dominant type which therefore dictates its classification.
TRANSFAT - these occur when polyunsaturated oils are altered through hydrogenation, a process used to harden liquid vegetable oils into solid foods like margarine and shortening.
Fat intake should be kept at around 20% of total calories which I will calculate for you in the next section.
So, given the individual gram totals of protein and carbs and the fat % given above, what does this work out to be in terms of daily calories? Before we do that, let’s look at exactly what a calorie is: The production of energy in the body is measured in calories. The calorie content of a food is determined by measuring the amount of heat produced by that food in a laboratory device called a calorimeter. Food is functional, however, this goes against everything we as a society are taught. In this society, most people – except athletes and fitness minded individuals that is - see food as a source of enjoyment. Therein is the root of the problem of obesity.
OK, to stay on track, we see what a calorie is, how to we calculate our daily requirement? While there are various calculations you can use, the easiest approach is to simply take the gram totals suggested above as follows: Protein : 225 x 4 calories per gram = 900 calories per day or 150 calories per meal over 6 meals. Carbodydrates : 450 x 4 calories per gram = 1800 calories per day or 300 calories per meal on training days, 240 x 4 calories per gram on off days = 960 calories per day or 160 calories per meal. Fat intake should be from healthy sources and should also be around 20% of total calories as suggested above and is calculated like this: 900 protein calories + 1800 carb calories = 2700 calories *20% = 3240 total calories per day or 540 calories per meal. On medium carb days, that number will drop,I’ll let you make that calculation. As far as fat is concerned, it works out to be 60 grams of fat per day. This seems high but it’s only 10 grams per meal. You’ll be surprised at how fast fat calories add up. In fact, you may find it hard to stay at 10 grams, so 60 grams really is not that much. So, to recap, this approach to total calories is easy, quick and adjustable. Now, let’s look at a sample food list for each macro-nutrient:
Protein - lean beef, chicken, turkey, fish, low fat dairy, protein powders.
Carbohydrate - whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes. Simple carbs: Fruit such as bananas, pears, apples, oranges. Low- fat dairy such as yogurt but sugar content needs to be 7 grams or less for one serving. Any carb serving you might consider eating should be at least 60% complex carbs to 40% - or less- simple carbs. A great example of this would be a protein bar.
Fats - flaxseed, sunflower seeds, canola oil, olive oil, almonds, peanuts. Fats to avoid: processed vegetable oils. Fats to limit: butter, saturated fats.
Using a Diet Journal
It makes a lot of sense to keep a journal of how much protein, carb and fat grams you eat every day, time eaten and total calorie intake. If you're serious about building muscle, why guess at the amount of calories and grams of protein, etc.? You don't make gains by guessing. This allows to detail the results from different calorie and macro nutrient totals. You can add your supplement schedule to this as well.
This article to be continued on Part 4
Thanks for reading, Jim Brewster
Visit my website: jbfitnesssolutions.monnfruit.com