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There are a few things you will have to accept before trying to gain mass:
I don't mean sitting around eating plain brown rice and plain chicken...ok,
maybe sometimes. But there's no reason you can't have your protein powder
and eat it too. You just have to get a little creative. For example, most
spices have very few calories and lots of taste. I use lemon-pepper, celery-salt,
a little BBQ sauce, etc. It's not hard. Just use a little common sense. Below
are some examples of what I eat.
When I made the commitment to get back into bodybuilding, I wanted to accomplish one thing: get bigger and more muscular.
I've always eaten well, but not protein powder. I mention that a lot, because I feel it's importance can be easily overlooked.
- My typical protein shake recipe:
So, a typical day's meal plan may look like this:
I try to drink about 1 gallon of water a day, including what I have
above. Sometimes I'll end up drinking 2 gallons if I work legs that day.
It's very important to stay hydrated all the time. A good indication is if
your urine is clear or yellow. If it looks like this: YELLOW!,
then you're not drinking enough (haha). You need to flush out all those toxins
and free radicals that you generate in the gym. Think of it as preventive
medicine for later in life.
There are some theories about how drinking too much water flushes vitamins
out of your body. I'm sure this has some truth to it, but only in extreme
cases. I've heard some pro-bodybuilders drink upwards of *5* gallons a day
the week before competition. Holy hydration, Batman! That's a lot of water!
Might as well put your refrigerator and TV in the bathroom, and buy stock
in Tidy Bowl!
I always try to eat healthy, even when I travel. Sometimes you just
have to stop at a gas station or a fast food joint to eat. When you do, it's
not always as hard as you may think to eat right. For example, at a gas station
I may try to get some Fig Newtons, granola bars, Powerbars, those new V8
drinks, Gatorade, or lots of other stuff. You'd be surprised at what you
can get there. Avoid candy bars, soft drinks, etc. These contain mostly refined
sugar that has little or no benefit to you. You can even get the canned Slim
Fast milkshakes. Those aren't too bad, and even have some protein.
At fast food places, I usually get coffee (my one weakness!), two small
hamburgers, and maybe a small milkshake. It's not too bad, and keeps you
full. Just use common sense, and remember your goals.
Actually, I usually make 2-3 servings of protein drink and pack it
in a cooler. Every 1-2 hours I'll drink one serving and have a few pieces
of fruit. Remember that when you travel you are sitting down most of the
time. Very few calories are expended in this manner (maybe 60-100 an hour).
So even if you ate 1 candy bar which has 250 calories, it's enough energy
for up to 2.5 hours! That's why it's important to choose wisely when traveling.
This has to be the most absurd idea I've ever seen! I'm not sure where
this concept first materialized, but it's completely wrong. The only diet
that guarantees not fat on your body (or muscle) is a food-free one. Just
take a look at war/famine victims...no fat! Of course, they also have very
little muscle as well. The body has had to feed of their own tissues to keep
them alive. These are extreme cases of what happens when you don't eat. I
am, by no means, recommending this diet.
I suppose this myth originally came from a deduction: Excessive bodyfat
looks bad, feels bad, and has some bad health consequences...therefore, dietary
fat is also bad. First of all, everything you put in your body has
to be fully digested - down to the smallest atom. Only then can it be used
by the body for energy, or stored as fat. The body will only store your food
as fat if it already has sufficient quantities to perform all necessary bodily
functions. It's like a car's gas tank: it simply stores all the excess fuel
(energy) in the tank until needed. Only a small amount is needed at any one
For bodybuilding purposes, I recommend aiming for the following food
percentages: Protein - 40%, Carbohydrates - 40%, and Fat - 20%. This is very
flexible depending on your goals. I would use this balance for gaining weight.
A contest diet would be much higher in protein, for example. It also depends
on your body type (i.e. you tend to gain/lose weight easily, or have a fast/slow
metabolism). But make no mistake, protein intake is very important to building muscle. It simply can't be done without adequate amounts. Which leads me to the next topic...
There have been tons of studies to find an answer to this question.
All of them seem to reach a similar conclusion. The general rule of thumb
seems to be: eat 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So,
if you're 150 pounds, try to eat between 150 and 225 grams of protein a day.
If this sounds like a lot, then you're right! The typical American
diet primarily consists of carbohydrates and fat. I'd estimate it's in the
range of 70% carbohydrate, 25% fat and 5% protein. Well, that may be a bit
extreme but just look around you. Most people have lots of fat and very little
muscle. Like I said before, two-thirds of Americans are overweight - sad,
So back to the question of protein intake. The body can typically only
digest 40 grams of protein at any one sitting. I recommend distributing your
protein intake over the entire day in the form of whole foods and protein
supplements. For example, if you eat 6 small meals a day (like most bodybuilders)
then try to consume 30-40 grams of protein per meal. More if you're a big
person, and less if you're small. The goal is to provide your body with a
constant stream of protein to rebuild muscle. That way, every time your body
goes to repair a damaged muscle fiber there will be raw materials available.
This is another hot topic of debate. Some scientists claim you can
get enough vitamins from regular foods. Other insist athletes need vitamin
supplements due to their demanding training regimens. Both sides put up a
good argument. But I have another take on the subject: preventive medicine.
Multivitamin/Multimineral supplements are very cheap. A bottle
of 250 tablets might run you $10-$12 - about 20 cents a day. A drop in the
bucket compared to other things you buy. And what do you get for it? A guarantee
that your body is getting all of the necessary vitamins critical to good
health. That's it! For 20 cents a day, what do you have to lose? Not much.
But you have a lot to gain.
Also, you can take some additional Vitamin C and E. These are two of
the more important vitamins. They help prevent cancer, rebuild damaged cells,
utilize protein, and lots more. In general, taking 500mg of C and 400IU of
E is good for most people. Higher levels can be used during dieting or other
extremes, but consult someone knowledgable in that area first.
Vitamins are very important to good health. They do everything from
strengthening the immune system to helping you metabolize protein. Vitamins
can't provide you with extra energy the way food can, but they will improve
your health. Just use common sense and don't go overboard with them.
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