Good nutrition, like good training, is simple—learn the basics and practice them consistently. A little knowledge and a lot more discipline is the secret. Apply yourself diligently—look ahead, don't look back and don't look for shortcuts. There simply aren't any.
Health and fitness has climbed to the top of America's popularity list and has become big business. As you've noticed, there's a gym on every corner and a glut of diet and bodybuilding formulas to pack on muscle and burn off fat. Competition is fierce, the promises are bizarre and we're all confused, suspicious and eventually numb. We have on our hands a zillion ways to diet, feed ourselves and live our lives for fitness. Let's clear the air and put some things in order.
Stay away from fats, excessive salt and simple sugars. This eliminates 99% of the fast foods, munchies and soft drinks. Who needs them? In a few short weeks, you won't want them, wonder why you ate them and feel sick if you do!
Eat a basic breakfast of complete carbohydrates and protein to set up your metabolism for the day and to provide fuel and muscle building ingredients. Basically, protein builds muscle and carbohydrate supplies fuel for energy. Breakfast can be an easy to prepare meal from a quality protein shake to a bowl of oatmeal, scoop of cottage cheese, fruit and coffee.
Remember, if you don't feed yourself a small wholesome meal in the morning, your body will draw on your muscle tissue as a source of energy, putting you in a slump and in muscle deficit. Add a good vitamin and mineral formula each morning to put order and efficiency in your body chemistry.
With whatever effort it takes, feed yourself every 3 to 4 hours throughout the day - each meal consisting again of protein and carbohydrate. Any combination of the following is perfect: tuna/rice, lean meat/baked potato, cottage cheese and fruit, chicken/pasta, etc. (Vegetarians—take particular care in order to get plenty of protein in your diet.)
In simple English, to gain weight, eat more and eat more often. Be ready for solid bulk weight—lean muscle comes slowly but surely. To lose weight, eat less, still as often, consuming the majority of your calories early in the day.
I have always instinctively leaned toward a higher intake of protein over carbohydrate to build a lean body. Though contrary to popular opinion, many doctors and top bodybuilders I've conferred with agree. Emphasize protein.
Between meal snacking is okay if the snack is truly nutritious—no junk! Don't let them be a substitute for a meal or become a habit. Good snacks are fruits or vegetables, low fat muffins, protein energy bars, nonfat yogurt, whole wheat bagels, cottage cheese, etc.
Simple carbohydrates (sugar and honey) provide us with a quick pickup but let us down just a quickly. Excessive sugar plays havoc with our insulin metabolism and leads to fatigue and fat storage. Not good.
Fuel up before your workout. Eat a small easily digested meal 30-60 minutes before you train. With complex carbohydrates in your system, you'll train harder, longer and with more enthusiasm. You won't experience low blood sugar jitters or dizziness—you will experience a great muscle pump and probably get that last rep. After a long day's work, protein shakes and BCAAs are the kings. It's also a good time to restock your creatine stores.
Similarly, you need to eat a hearty protein meal with plenty of carbs within 60-90 minutes of completion of your workout. This is necessary to provide the muscle building materials to repair depleted tissue and begin the process of building new muscle. Hint—Nature's Best Perfect Isopure and EAS Simply Gain drinks work great for this. Again, restore creatine levels. Check out the protein finder to find one that is right for you, click here.
The most important nutrient in your body is plain water. The quality of your tissues, their performance and their resistance to injury is absolutely dependent on the quality and quantity of the water you drink. Flood yourself throughout the day, especially during the workout.
Sleep, rest and relaxation are of prime importance. It's during periods of sound sleep that our bodies recuperate and build muscle tissue.