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Eating For Muscle Gains

Nov 7, 2007
If you are looking to build muscles, what you do outside of gym is just as important as what you do inside of it. And the surest way to sabotage your plan to build muscles mass is to pay too little attention to your diet. Your body needs fuel to exercise and fuel to grow, and educating your self on the right foods to eat and how to eat them.

Make sure your diet is packed with carbs. Every time you lift a weight, your body dips into its glycogen supply in order to get the energy to make that happen. And your glycogen comes from consumed carbs. If not enough glycogen is present, it has to rely on your internal protein for energy, and that might actually hinder your muscle development.

Of course you shouldn't neglect your protein. If you expect your muscles to grow at all, you need to be steadily ingesting protein to help them. As a good rule of thumb, you should consume about a gram of protein per pound of body weight.

So if you are clocking in at about 180 pounds, you should be consuming at least 180 grams of protein per day. But a little bit more wouldn't hurt if you get an extra craving for fish or lean beef.

Rather than the typical breakfast, lunch, dinner system that the world revolves around, eat several little meals throughout the day.

When you eat and your blood sugar goes up, your body releases insulin to keep everything chemically balanced in your body. Insulin is important to muscles gains because it keeps your body in an anabolic state. The more insulin you naturally get, the more you grow.

Bodybuilders who are looking to keep their fat level low are usually paranoid about fat intake, but it's a mistake to avoid all fats. You just have to know which fats are best for your growth. Look for foods that contain essential fatty acids, omega-3, and conjugated linoleic acid.

Before you start a workout, eat a carb-loaded meal, especially one that has a lot of slow burning carbs like spaghetti. This will help keep your energy high all throughout the workout. But don't forget to mix in some protein too to help you along with your gains.

Your post workout meal should be high in protein. You've just worked hard on your muscles, and now they need to raw material to make them stronger. You should also add in some faster burning carbs.

I know you're sick of hearing it, but here it is again because it's important and neglected for too often: you need to drink more water. People are mostly water, and if they get dehydrated, their muscles shrink. Bodybuilders shouldn't have to hear any more than that to motivate them to always keep a full water bottle at hand.

And as always, don't forget your sleep. When you building up a great body, it might be tempting to show it off by going on a few nights on the town, but that will slow down all the training momentum you've built.
About the Author
Chris McCombs is an Orange County weight loss trainer and owns the company Positively Fit Personal Training. His website www.socalworkout.com offer fitness tips and exercise "how to" videos.
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