Big, important question with a very simple answer.
While they both go hand in hand, and both are very necessary to have a grasp on, nutrition takes the cake. If we don’t have a solid grasp on nutrition, we’re not going to see the gains we want to see; especially for us ectomorphs (skinny guys).
In high school I ate like it was going out of style. For breakfast: 6+ eggs with toast and peanut butter. Lunch, up to 7 sandwiches, and I don’t think I ever said no to seconds at dinner. Yet, I was still a toothpick. I ate this way through college, but still, a toothpick I remained.
This fact made me ask the question: is eating to gain muscle a simple matter of calories in and calories out?
I thought the more I ate the more I’d gain. And yes, it’s true, you eat more calories than you burn, you’re going to gain. But what are you going to gain?
I’m not concerned with gaining mass. I don’t want you to gain pure mass and then have to shed the unwanted fat – which often proves more difficult than the initial gain. No, I’m concerned with building lean muscle mass.
Is it possible to gain muscle but lose fat at the same time? Of course. The simple fact that we’re gaining muscle mass means we’re boosting our metabolism. But there are tricks that can help us achieve lean gains even further.
There are times to eat certain foods that help us on a hormonal level – in turn, helping us build muscle while burning fat, and recovering faster. This article will give you 7 strange muscle building nutrition tips. Implement them into your routine right away. If you have any questions, please as in the comments section.
1. Get right hormonally.
If you want to build muscle mass you need to get right hormonally. What I mean by this is you need to limit your cortisol levels, and dramatically increase your Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and Testosterone (test) levels. Both help us build muscle, and both help us recover.
Also, both can be manipulated with certain nutrition tricks.
If you want to increase your testosterone levels read this: Naturally Raise Testosterone Levels
For HGH levels, read on…
2. Eat more protein (for reasons other than you may think).
Duh. Protein helps us repair muscle. But protein also requires 25-30% of the energy it provides just for digestion, absorption, and assimilation. Carbs only require 6-8%. Fat requires 2-3%. This means that protein is thermogenic, leading to a higher metabolism.
Thus, by eating more protein we’re not only repairing muscle tissue, but we’re also burning more fat.
The best sources of protein: Iso Smooth, Meats (of all kinds), fish, eggs. If you have access to wild game, even better. But we’ll leave this intriguing topic for another article soon to come.
3. Have a shake within 15 minutes of your workout.
I can’t harp on this subject enough, the post workout shake is probably the most important meal we can have in our day. Other than, possibly, our pre workout supplementation (#5).
Without this shake we run the risk of wasting a workout from a muscle building standpoint. Training on an empty stomach (pre and post) can be great for fat loss. Training on an empty stomach can even be great for muscle gains (release of GH). But ending a workout without a post workout shake can be disastrous.
The two things you need in a post workout shake:
ISO SMOOTH PROTEIN: Ideally you want a 3-stage release in your protein, which is what Iso Smooth offers. There are others out there that offer the Isolate, Whey, and Casein release. Just check the ingredients on the back of the tub.
Carbs: keep it simple, have a waxxy maze blend, or fruit. Both end up being the same price, so if you can find a wxaxy maze blend, grab it. It’s filled with starches that will rush the protein to your muscles a lot faster than fruits or other carbohydrates.
Check out this video: 3 Muscle Building Nutrition Mistakes
4. Consume nothing during a workout.
I’m learning more and more everyday. Where I used to think we need to go carb-heavy before a workout, I now know the opposite is true (as much due to research as trial and error). That’s the thing about research, it rarely tells the full story. For example, while having carbs during workout is a great way to replenish your muscle glycogen, the ensuing insulin spike inhibits growth hormone production.
Hormone’s are of the utmost importance with regards to muscle building and fat loss. Lesson: leave sugars out of your during workout training.
5. Have a crap load of BCAAs before a workout.
BCAAs have immense benefits for guys trying to gain lean muscle mass. For one, they require no energy to digest (which helps us maintain growth hormone levels). They are also very anti-catabolic and increase blood sugar while we train – both important factors in creating ‘the perfect muscle building environment’ in our bodies.
If you’re trying to gain lean muscle mass and can only afford one supplement, BCAAs are the best way to go. Also, if you’re sensitive to dairy, you can toss out your whey protein and just use BCAAs (unless you have lactose free protein powder).
The Best BCAAs <——-
6. Focus on energy levels first.
Energy levels are very important with our training. As are hormones. By going carb-heavy before a workout, we can experience an ensuing crash in energy levels during our workout. We’re also going to lower our growth hormone levels like I explained in #4. To find the perfect balance, we need meats, nuts, and veggies before our workouts. This will help us create rising energy levels, not declining one’s.
For a complete guide of what to eat, and what not to eat before a workout, read this:
7. Would a caveman eat it?
Muscle Rule: If it doesn’t fly, swim, or walk or it isn’t green, don’t eat it. It’s a pretty basic way of thinking, but if you’re ever wondering if you should eat this or that, ask yourself, “would a caveman eat it?”
If it’s processed or created by man, then stay away from it. Meats, fish, fruits, veggies, and nuts are all great for us to eat. They either help us recover and stay healthy, help us burn fat, help us repair muscle tissue, or in the case of meats and nuts, they also help us boost testosterone levels.
It’s a simple rule, but a must for anyone starting out with their quest on ‘learning how to eat’.
If you in any way benefitted from this article, and want to learn more about muscle building nutrition, you need to check out this awesome video: 3 Muscle Building Nutrition Mistakes