Are you ready to step up your diet game in your quest for muscle mass? There are plenty of beginners making good progress with basic nutrition plans, but advanced guys can always use a few more tricks up their sleeves.
It’s also important to modify your diet to make sure the weight you’re gaining is solid muscle – not useless body fat. Here are four advanced rules for gaining pure muscle mass.
Carbohydrates are the double-edged sword in bodybuilding nutrition. They’re damn-near essential for building muscle mass, but they can also make you fat and bloated. Even lifters who eat nothing but “healthy” carbs like oats, rice, and potatoes can still find themselves gaining fat at an unacceptable rate.
If you really want to harness the muscle-building power of carbs without piling on the body fat, you’ve got to eat them at the right times. First, eat a meal rich in complex carbs an hour or two before you train. That will give you sustained energy throughout the workout, and you won’t crash like you would from eating sugar or simple starches.
After you train, load up on the carbs for one to two hours afterwards. Don’t go crazy, but this is the time when rice, potatoes, and other healthy starches are going to be put to use for muscle repair and growth – not fat gain. Of course, all of these carb meals should have plenty of protein, as well.
Other than those times, avoid most carbs throughout the rest of your day. Vegetables are fine, but starches and fruits are for workout energy only. On your off days, eat carbs only in your first meal – or not at all. Focusing on protein and healthy fats during your non-training meals will allow you to get the calories you need to grow without spiking your insulin.
Everybody knows protein is essential for muscle growth, but not all sources are equal. First of all, the tiny amounts you get from oats, breads, and other plant-based products do NOT count. Those proteins do not have the complete amino acid profile which actually helps you build muscle. If you’re shooting for a certain number of protein grams per day, don’t include these in your totals.
Also, stop relying so much on powders! Whey protein is great in a pinch, and its quick digestion rate is especially good for your post-workout shake. However, meat, fish, and eggs are where it’s at for building quality mass. Take some more time to cook, prep, and pack these foods, and watch your gains really start to take off. It takes extra work, but this is one of the things that sets the advanced guys apart from the beginners.
Most bodybuilders and general fitness enthusiasts have become indoctrinated with the idea that you have to eat six to eight small meals per day, and that going more than three hours without protein is going to kill your progress. Some people even make arbitrary claims that your body can only process thirty or forty grams of protein per meal. Nonsense!
The main reason why you’d want to eat so often when trying to get bigger is that you simply can’t force more food down at each meal. If you like to eat bigger, less frequent meals, then go for it!
Some people are never hungry when they first wake up, and the morning can actually be an ideal time for fat burning. If you’re trying to stay lean while gaining tons of muscle, you might want to try holding off on the food for four to six hours after waking. This will also allow you to put more calories in the meals that matter most – pre and post-workout! This may sound crazy, but a lot of big, strong lifters are having success with this method.
Overall, you’ve got to find the meal frequency that fits with your caloric needs, schedule, and hunger. Some people like lots of tiny meals, others like a couple of feasts. The important things are that you get all your protein in and eat your carbs around workouts.
Eating the rights fats is key for building a great physique. Essential fatty acids are important for fat loss, healthy skin, and even proper brain function. What you may not know is that they’re also crucial for muscle growth! Soreness in your muscles and joints is caused by inflammation, and a decent fat intake will help both to recover from heavy training. You need to make olive oil, nuts, avocados, and other healthy fat sources staples in your diet if you want to be big and lean.
Contrary to what people stuck in the 1980s might say, saturated fat is also an important nutrient for muscle growth. Not only does it NOT cause obesity, it is responsible for high levels of testosterone – a hormone conducive to building a lean, muscular physique. A good rule of thumb is to make saturated fat roughly one third of your total fat intake. Animal products like steak and eggs are good, but you should try to eat some coconut oil and other plant sources, too.
Article by Sixpackfactory’s Muscle Building Expert and Top Fitness Model Justin Woltering. Get more info on Justin at: http://www.justinwoltering.com/
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