Proper Nutrition

Outside the gym is when nutrition plays a big role in changing body composition. Learn the importance of pre and post workout meals to maximize muscle gain! Check it out here...

Regularly eating the right foods is often a large part of gaining lean body mass or losing fat weight. The fact is that in the gym we are there to stimulate body composition change. Outside the gym is when that change actually takes effect: through proper nutrition and sufficient rest. Training relatively is the easy part.

Getting to the gym for most people to exercise, and focusing on the purpose of getting fit, is easier than eating right outside the gym. Outside the gym we have a life, a job, or a family to attend to. In our life outside the gym, distractions tend to pull us this way or that way.

In the gym we are naturally focused on getting fit because that is why we are there. We become relentless in desiring to get fitter, and as a result our ability to endure pain along the way to get there is a great sensation.

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The Body
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The body has a natural chemical it releases to control pain occurring like morphine-like substances called "endorphins." With endorphins released we can continue to work out harder and squeeze out those last two repetitions that make a difference!

Training in the gym makes up roughly 20 to 40% of the effort for effecting body composition change.

Outside the gym is when we become fitter or when muscle actually grows, if we've supplied our body with the right nutrients with the correct ratio amounts and rested. Building muscle outside the gym makes up more than half the equation to complete the muscle building process or effecting body composition change. It requires more effort and discipline - 60 to 80%.

What you eat and drink is crucial if you are going to get the full benefit from your training session. That's why Arnold Schwarzenegger regarded nutrition as 50% of the battle for making gains. A number of top bodybuilders today place nutrition as high as 70 to 80% of the battle for making muscular gains and becoming more defined.

All food (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) can be used for energy, contribute to satiety and is broken down at different rates. Carbohydrates are quickly digested and transformed into glucose, the primary fuel for the body. Protein and fat require more time to digest. They produce energy, but at a more gradual rate.

Based on food preferences and profile type most individuals should ingest a total of 15 to 25% protein, 45 to 75% carbohydrates and 10 to 30% fat from their total caloric intake. In America it's easy because there is a nutritional label on every kind of food.

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Besides water, protein is the most plentiful substance in the body. Protein builds, maintains and repairs body tissue. It is your muscle-building nutrient that is made up of structural units or chains called amino acids (AAs) and is your secondary source of energy or fuel at 2,000 calories per pound.

Protein yields 4 calories per gram. Depending on your goal, age, basal metabolic rate (BMR), fitness level and body composition eat 4 to 6 meals daily. Meals should be spaced out every 2 and a half to 3 hours. Include a meal replacement (protein powder) drink daily.

Protein Powder Protein powder is not a miracle muscle building food like some people believe it is. I once operated a gym overseas and the members believed that protein powder was a miracle muscle building food substance. Protein powder is a convenient fat-free food supplement source, which contains protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals from milk, egg whites, soy, yeast and/or beef containing all the essential 22 amino acids that is necessary for muscle growth.

It's best to have a protein powder drink one hour before working out or going to bed, since it is easy to digest and will be readily utilized in the body. I recommend buying a book that has more detailed information about protein and AAs.

If you are religiously following the three exercise components of nutrition, training and recuperation tailored to your needs but not experiencing muscle gains or fat loss, you probably have a high metabolism for the former and a slow metabolism for the latter. Increase caloric intake for building muscle and decrease caloric intake for losing fat (especially carbohydrates and fat) while increasing your activity.

The basic rule of thumb for a physically active person or recreational body-builder is to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight. (Training for a contest would require more protein to continue the muscle-building process and at the same time used as energy to lose fat because of the low carbohydrate consumption.

See my other article entitled "Diet by the Numbers" for your interest.)

Recommended grams of protein per lb. of bodyweight for each training goal.
(The Personal Protein Calculator uses the same numbers.)

Lifestyle/Training GoalDaily Protein NeedsLifestyle/Training GoalDaily Protein Needs
Bodybuilding 1.0 - 1.6g/lb bodyweight   Endurance 0.7 - 0.9g/lb bodyweight
Power & Speed 0.9 - 1.1g/lb bodyweight   Trauma Recovery 0.9 - 1.4g/lb bodyweight
Dieting 0.35 - 1.0g/lb bodyweight   Stressed 0.45 - 0.7g/lb bodyweight

For example, a person who weighs 200 pounds with 15% body fat needs at least 170 grams of protein. 200 pounds multiplied by 15% equals 30 pounds of fat weight. 30 minus 200 equals 170 pounds of muscle weight. Meals should be spaced out every 2 and a half to 3 hours throughout the day. To get the most out of your training and after eat a protein meal one hour before training!