Muscle Nutrition and Protein Supplements Made Simple: Radical Facts for Getting Hard & Strong

FACT #1: You Need Both Protein & Carbohydrates to Gain Muscle Mass

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YES, you absolutely need them both to gain muscle mass and insure fat loss. Some people say carbs are bad (That’s B.S. -- simple carbs are bad but complex carbs are actually required). Others quote a vague figure for how much protein you need pre and post workout.

Here’s the deal, plain and simple: Muscle Growth is 60% nutrition and 40% workout technique. Let's talk about the nutrition part.

Protein

  • Protein is required to repair muscle tissue after a rigorous workout. This workout may last anywhere from 30 minutes to one-and-a-half hours.
  • Protein gives you the staying power to get the most from your training while also insuring exercise and nutrition consistency. It's the most important nutrient for muscle strength and a determinant of workout intensity (i.e., how hard you can lift and how long you can last).
  • If you get your pre-workout protein from shakes or whey supplements then make sure that you have 1 scoop of Whey Protein Isolate, 30 minutes before you start lifting weights or doing resistance exercises.
  • Based on the duration and intensity of your training, a protein blend with Creatine (nitrogenous organic acid) or Casein (phosphoproteins) is also recommended so that you have a steady amount of essential amino acids entering your bloodstream over the course of a workout day. This aids long-term protein absorption into muscles compared to Whey protein.
  • Food protein is a vital requirement for bodybuilders. Dietary sources of high-quality protein include chicken breast, red meat, egg whites, tuna fish, nuts, brown rice and quinoa (these last two are actually rich in both proteins and complex carbs, i.e., good carbs).

Carbohydrates

  • Carbohydrates are essential energy sources that supply Glycogen to your muscle cells. They are like fuel for the body.
  • When you’re done with your workout, you will need to restore depleted blood sugar and energy levels through a complex carbohydrate meal. Just as a lean protein diet fixes your fatigued muscles, a complex carb diet restores your cellular energy.
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The metabolic interaction between proteins and carbohydrates (carbs) is really a symbiotic process because they balance and support each other nutritionally.

If you're deficient in one of these sources, you'll have a harder time getting any kind of meaningful or lasting results from your workout. That's an honest-to-goodness fact of muscle building and weight training.

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You’ll know you’re doing it wrong when you are unable to work out for longer than 45-60 minutes (including rest & recovery between sets)... Or you realize that you’re actually gaining weight (instead of losing fat) and not adding enough muscle bulk to show.

Your muscles may feel soft and spongy, or may lose toning after a few days of skipping gym.

An optimum mix of Proteins + Carbs will fix this nutritional anomaly.

Now, here's the thing: How do you decide which nutrient (protein or carbohydrate) do you need more in your diet?

That's actually quite simple to calculate and figure out.

Compare your current body weight and energy levels to your protein and carbohydrate intake.
  • If you feel low on energy then you need more carbs to get that glycogen flowing more freely through your body.
  • Alternatively, if your body weight (fat mass) is going up -- i.e., you are gaining weight -- then cut down on carbs and increase protein.
This may sound like a balancing act but it's easy once you get started. And besides, this conclusively shows why there is no such thing as the "best meal" for a man or woman trying to lose weight, burn fat and build muscle.

The best diet is always the one that takes into account your body weight, existing nutrition and weight loss / bodybuilding goals.

One more thing to remember: Carbs burn faster when you're working out, so replenishing them should be #2 on your list (after proteins at #1).

This is just as important as hydration (water intake) to insure optimum energy levels toward a fitter and metabolically active body.

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FACT #2: Safely Go Beyond the “1 Gram Protein Per Pound of Body Weight” Rule

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If you are serious about fat loss and muscle gain, you must be aware of the basic rule of how much protein you need in a day.

The rule says: you need 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. This means, if you currently weigh 115 lbs then you need 100-115 grams of protein per day, if you're into any kind of weight training exercise.

As I said above, protein is the nutritional building block of your muscle. Without protein, your muscles won't receive the basic nutrition (amino acids) to recover, rejuvenate and "bulk up". These protein-derived amino acids are the single most important thing in your diet (or whey isolate shake) that give you the strength to go for your health and fitness goals.

Often, I recommend that you moderately "UP" your protein requirement (i.e., go beyond the 1 gm per pound rule, and get 15-20 gms more). This is safe and not as unusual as people think.

So if you weigh 120 lbs, you can safely consume 120-140 grams a day IF you work out extensively. However, don't overdo the protein. You need complex carbs too.

Since we are counting proteins, it is only valid that we count carbs too. Or at least establish a percentage baseline so that you don't have to literally count carb and calories.


low calorie foods
A diet that's 65-70% protein and 30-35% complex carbohydrates works great for most muscle builders. Add a bit of fat too for calories (if you're aiming for weight gain). For this, check out your cooking oil.

Olive oil is among the best sources of heart-friendly fat and makes a great cooking oil. What about Flaxseed oil? It is good for salad dressing but never use flaxseed oil for cooking since it oxidizes at low temperatures.

Fish, like sardines and salmon, are also wonderful sources of polyunsaturated fats in addition to being rich in hair, skin, heart and brain-boosting Omega 3 fatty acids.

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#2.1 Vegetables

green leafy vegetables
Veggie Power!
Green, leafy vegetables are an important part of a muscle diet (organic or preservative-free veggies are ideal). Veggies are not just for metabolism or weight loss. They supply important antioxidants that help the blood supply essential nutrients to your body organs, and also detox them when needed.

Here’s the simple rule for veggies: Get them in all available colors! Red, green, orange, yellow, purple.

All of these colors are rich in minerals, vitamins and nutrients for immunity. They cover the whole spectrum of natural goodness from Vitamin A to Iron; from Zinc (for testosterone) and Calcium (for teeth & bones) to Selenium and Folic Acid for fertility.

Beet roots, in particular, have both anti-inflammation and antioxidant benefits. They also make very good post-workout smoothies when blended with kale, bananas, papaya and coconut water.


#2.2 Multivitamins, Juicing & Smoothies

Next, move on to multivitamins. Vitamins B, C, D and E, in particular, that take care of your nerves, blood, skin, and also supply dopamine-boosting, anti-aging antioxidants.

You can buy them in either supplement form or as fresh fruit.

Remember that a freshly-squeezed glass of orange, lime or pineapple juice will always contain more vitamins and minerals than your over-the-counter vitamin pill. And while on the subject of juicing, try your hand at some deliciously wicked (yet simple-to-make) smoothies.

If you have an easymix blender, some bananas, strawberries / blueberries / raspberries, and 2 scoops of vanilla-flavored whey protein, then you can quickly blend yourself some lusciously tasty power smoothie.

Fancy some quick fruit and vegetable smoothie recipes? Here are two that are easy to whip up in a regular blender and supply you with a rich burst of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber and energy.
Smoothie Power! With energy-pumping antioxidants

Smoothie #1

This smoothie recipe is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. All you need are:
  • Blueberries (1 cup)
  • Strawberries (1 cup)
  • Mango pieces (2 cups, peeled & chopped)
  • Water (1/4 cup)

Smoothie #2

This smoothie recipe is great for instant energy, courtesy a glorious mix of vegetables and apples. All you need are:
  • Red Apples (2)
  • Cucumber (half)
  • Lemon (half, peeled)
  • Spinach (half a cup)
  • Kale (half a cup)
  • Fennel (1/4 bulb)
  • Celery (quarter bunch)
  • Ginger piece
  • Romaine lettuce (quarter head)
In addition to vital nutrition, both smoothies also provide you with sufficient calories, sugar and carbohydrates to get your glycogen & energy back on track after a workout. If you prefer, you can have a glass of smoothie instead of a whey protein drink, post workout.


#2.3 Dopamine and Tyrosine: Dynamic Mood Enhancers

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Need an instant Dopamine rush (feel-good blood/brain rush)? Feast on Tyrosine-rich foods like bananas, almonds, avocados or pumpkin seeds that are known to release dopamine. Tyrosine is an active ingredient of dopamine, a vital hormone that activates the reward centers of your brain.

The way it works its magic is by cutting the edge off your stress, lowering your anxiety, and boosting your focus. In turn, this improves your mood, keeps you happy, and gets you motivated to stay fit. The uses of Tyrosine range from gym training to sports, even mental health and emotional wellbeing.

The biggest advantage of Tyrosine is the clean burst of mental energy lasting several hours. It makes you more alert and clear-headed without the drowsiness, dependence or side effects typical of certain nootropics.

Tyrosine is also available in supplement form (L-Tyrosine 500-1000mg) and is often taken along with Vitamin B6 50mg (pyridoxine) or Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) for better absorption.

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is added to the mix for for serotonin balance, which is vital for good sleep.

By the way, Tyrosine is also a form of amino acid, so its application in sports and muscle nutrition is valid from a cognitive enhancement ("thinking athlete") standpoint.


#2.4 Genetics and Bulking Up

At this point, let me touch on an important topic that seems to bother a lot of people who are either unable to gain weight, add muscle bulk, or simply dissatisfied by the results they are seeing from years of training.

Don't let anyone tell you its all because of genetics. Don’t let them tell that you can NEVER bulk up, or that you’ll always be skinny or fat or average.

Sure, genes do have a BIG role to play in how big, hard and muscular you can get. But since you're here -- motivated and keen on making a difference to your body (and life) -- let me tell you this:

Nutrition in the right proportion CAN (and WILL) make a helluva difference to the quality of your workouts and the quality of your results.

And so does attitude and persistence.

Combine the two, and it levels the playing field between you and the pros.

Isn’t that what you want?

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FACT #3: Zinc is a Natural Testosterone Booster
For male bodybuilders, an extra testosterone boost is like that mystical manna from bodybuilding heaven. This essential growth hormone adds a double-digit percentage of "man" to your manliness, making you hard in the right places and easier to gain bulk where it counts.

Also, the fact that 90% of zinc is found in muscles and bones, underscores the importance of this vital mineral to bodybuilders and weight trainers.

Just as amino acids (whey, BCAA, etc.) help your muscles bulk up post workout, testosterone provides hormonal support for the whole bulking up process.

So does that mean you start popping testosterone pills on the double?

NO! Just get more zinc from your diet.

Oysters (seafood), chicken & red meat are the best dietary sources of zinc while beans, nuts and whole grains are good supplementary sources of zinc.

Your body will thank you for it.

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