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Maximize Your Results: Part 2!

If your nutrition isn't in order, you can forget it. When it comes to your bodybuilding success, the way you eat is just as important as the way you train.

Note: This is part 2, click here for part one, 'Getting Started'!
click here for part three, 'Supplementation'!
click here for part four, 'Cardio'!
click here for part five, 'Pre-Contest Preparation'!

So you want to get big and lean, huh? Well if your nutrition isn't in order, you can forget it. When it comes to your bodybuilding success, the way you eat is just as important as the way you train. And when I refer to nutrition, I don't just mean taking the latest hyped up supplement. Just like training, you must feed your body intelligently and consistently.

How Do You Do This To Maximize Your Results?

To understand how to eat, you need to understand the five major nutritional elements that are significant in building muscle and minimizing fat, calories, protein, carbohydrates, fats, and water. How you structure the intake of these five elements will dictate the success you have in your bodybuilding efforts. Let's take a closer look at each one.

To put this simply, calories are your fuel. They are derived from three sources - - protein (4 calories per gram), carbohydrates (4 calories per gram), and fats (9 calories per gram). These are also known as your macronutrients. Everyone has their own metabolic individuality which allows them to burn a specific amount of calories in a day just to survive. This is your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR. Activity level, amount of lean muscle stimulated, nutrient partitioning agents of food, and thermal effects of supplements all affect the amount of calories you can burn.

Next to water, protein is the single most abundant nutrient in you body. Delivering a constant supply of protein throughout the day is essential for muscle growth. Unlike carbohydrates and fats, you body does not have a protein reserve that it can take from whenever needed. We store fat in the form of adipose tissue and carbohydrates in the form of muscle glycogen...we do not store protein. If a steady supply of protein is not consumed daily, the body will steal it whenever needed. Where from? Muscle... A.k.a. muscle breakdown!

Protein is not just needed for muscle growth and repair but also for blood, hormones, enzyme production, and immune system function. A steady intake of protein is essential for virtually all growth in your body just to survive. We are continually regenerating cells in bones, muscle, and skin, etc. In fact, about every 4 months our bodies consist of newly regenerated cells. Multiply that by the fact that weightlifting increases your demand for protein and you can see why this macronutrient is so important to your success. To maximize your results, you need protein available at ALL times. This will mean feeding yourself every three hours with some sort of whole food (chicken breast, round steak, fish, eggs, egg whites, nonfat and low-fat milk products) and/or supplement (whey protein isolate, meal replacement shakes). Remember this...PROTEIN IS THE ONLY MACRONUTRIENT THAT BUILDS MUSCLE!!!

Here are THEE most overrated macronutrient in the bunch. Carbohydrates are just sugar. I know you may be saying, "Come on Jim, now your nuts!" But if you know your digestion, then you know that the end product of all carbohydrates is glucose….a sugar. The main uses for carbohydrates are muscle fuel and brain function. Most people tend to think of carbohydrates in terms of simple and complex. To get the most out of your bodybuilding nutrition, I urge you to start thinking in terms of Glycemic Index, or G.I. G.I. is a reference number assigned to foods in accordance to the speed of their digestion and absorption.

The higher the G.I. number, the faster the absorption process will be. With the exception of the three hours post workout, you should make all of your other carbohydrate choices relatively low in G.I. (60 or less). Carbohydrates with a G.I. of 80 or more are actually preferable in that anabolic window after your workouts. We will get into that next week. For now, click here for more information on the glycemic index of foods.

Fats are vital in many of your body's functions. The problem is they add up so fast calorically (9 calories per gram) that you must limit your intake to avoid getting a little on the chunky side. Also, not all fats are created equally. You should stay away (or at least seriously limit) saturated fats and trans fatty acids. But, you DO want to include a daily intake of linoleic and linolenic acids. Make sure you are getting enough of the "good" fats by eating fish (salmon), using certain oils (flaxseed, safflower), and/or supplementing with CLA.

We are all one third water! Your muscles are about 70% water! Do I need to say more? Water is vital in regulating body temperature, utilizing water soluble vitamins, flushing toxins, digestion, nutrient transport, and nutrient just name a few. The best part - water is non-caloric. So drink it and drink a lot of it.

How Much Of Each Do I Need?

Now that you have a basic understanding of your essential nutrients, let's calculate how much of each you will need to maximize your results.

How Many Calories?
Like I said before, everybody has their own BMR and activity level. But, for muscle growth, a good place to start would be taking your bodyweight and multiplying it by 15. This will work for about 80% of you. Some of you will need to add or subtract in accordance to your body's response. After 3-4 weeks, you will have your caloric range dialed in. Click here to calculate how many calories you will burn exercising!

How Much Protein?
I know some of you are thinking that you know this answer….one gram per pound of bodyweight, right? Wrong! Did you ever ask yourself where the "experts" came up with this number? I will tell you…convenience... Ease of calculation….no scientific reasoning at all. These so called "experts" knew that we needed more than the RDA recommends, but they did not look for science backing. So they basically doubled it and simplified it for ease of calculation. We are after maximizing our results, so we follow the science.

Back in 1974 Dr. Gontzea at the Institute of Medicine in Bucharest demonstrated that 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (twice the Recommended Daily Allowance-RDA) was insufficient to prevent muscle loss (negative nitrogen balance) in athletes. This was confirmed by a series of studies published in the mid 1980s by Peter Lemon and colleagues at Kent State University. They showed most athletes require at least 2 ½ times the RDA for protein to remain in positive nitrogen balance and prevent muscle loss. And that was to just prevent muscle loss.

To promote muscle growth and strength performance they showed it would take even more than that. In recent years studies with both strength and endurance athletes have clearly shown that exercise increases the need for protein and specific amino acids. Studies have also shown that the anabolic effects of intense training are increased by a high protein diet. How much more protein? Up to twice your bodyweight in grams of protein! Now, again, everyone has their own metabolic individuality. So, instead of fixating a number to your bodyweight for protein, a better measure would be to take 50% of your total caloric intake in protein. This will be more moldable to individual purposes, yet still fit into our scientifically proven parameters. One more time…Protein builds muscle! Click here to see how much protein you should consume daily!

How Much In The Form Of Carbohydrates?
As far as carbs are concerned, we want to provide enough fuel for our muscles and other body functions without excess to be converted to bodyfat. Carbohydrates should make up about 35-40% of your total caloric intake.

And Fats?
When following a diet high in lean proteins and moderate in carbohydrates, your fat will naturally get taken care of. So, there is really no need for calculation. You still want to make sure you are taking in a steady supply of the "good" fats daily. I strongly recommend that you have a tablespoon of flaxseed and safflower/sunflower oil a day along with 4 capsules of CLA. If you weigh over 170lbs., take 6 capsules of CLA a day. This will meet all of your essential fatty acid needs.

Note: When making food choices, it would be a good idea to get your hands on The Nutrition Almanac or some other similar book. It is essential to learn the macronutrient breakdown of different foods in order for you to make the most of your nutritional plan. And lastly… labels!

How Much Water?
I have already emphasized the importance of water. Drink at least one gallon of water a day. One ounce per pound of bodyweight would be even better.

Auto Calculator!

Enter Your Bodyweight:

Your Bodyweight In Pounds:

Let's look at some numbers in a calculation recap for a 200lb. bodybuilder with a moderate to high BMR.

Calories: 200lb. x 15 = 3000 calories a day.
Protein: 3000 calories x .50 = 1500 calories of protein per day/4 calories per gram = 375 grams of Protein per day.
Carbohydrates: 3000 calories x .35 = 1050 calories of carbohydrates per day/4 calories per gram = @ 263 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Fat: 3000 calories x .15 = 450 calories of fat per day/9 calories per gram = @ 50 grams of fat per day.
Additional Fats: 1 tbsp. each of flaxseed oil and safflower oil, 6 caps. Of CLA/day.

You can calculate your own baseline diet by substituting your bodyweight for the 200lbs. in the above example. Once you have attained your starting caloric range, divide it into 6-8 meals and spread them out across the day. Just make sure you are eating every 2 ½ - 3 hours.

My Eating Plan

For example sake, I am including what my structured diet plan that fits into my metabolic individuality. Whether I am off-season or pre-contest, my macronutrient ratios stay the same. The only thing I change is my calories.

Time Meal
6 A.M. 8 egg whites with 1-2 cups of mixed vegetables, 1 serving of oatmeal, and 1 scoop of whey protein isolate (I use AST's VP2)
9 A.M. Meal Replacement Shake in water (I use AST's Nytropro 40)
11 A.M. Meal Replacement Shake in water
1 P.M. 4-6 oz. of chicken breast or 8oz eye round steak, 2cups green beans
4 P.M. 1 ½ scoops of whey protein isolate and 1 scoop of glucose based creatine (I use AST's Creatine HSC…who else?)
5:30 P.M. 1 ½ scoops of whey protein isolate and 1 scoop of glucose based creatine
6:30 P.M. 2-3 oz. of chicken breast, 1 serving of white rice.
7:30 P.M. Meal Replacement Shake in water.
8:30 P.M. 2-3 oz. chicken breast, 1 serving of white rice, 1 scoop of whey protein isolate.
11 P.M. 1 scoop of whey protein isolate in 8 oz. of skim milk.

This diet yield about 2850 calories, 386gm of protein, 262gm of carbohydrates, and 29gm of fat. This comes out to be about 53% protein, 37% carbohydrate, and 10% fat.

Now you have a starting plan to provide you with a steady supply of nitrogen yielding protein and insulin level maintenance. Remember…If you don't lift right, you won't stimulate muscle and if you don't eat right, you won't recover or grow optimally. Next time, we will get into supplements and a discussion about fine-tuning our post workout, three hour anabolic window.

Note: This is part 2, click here for part one, 'Getting Started'!
click here for part three, 'Supplementation'!
click here for part four, 'Cardio'!
click here for part five, 'Pre-Contest Preparation'!