For many, time spent in the gym is time sacrificed for one goal – to get bigger. While the right weights program is crucial for muscle fibre stimulation and subsequent growth, so too is providing the muscle with the right fuel mix, at the right time to recover and build.
Given that muscle tissue is made of protein, the focus for many trying to gain muscle mass is to feed with extra protein. While protein is crucial, it is also important to remember that the seemingly simple act of building muscle tissue is actually an energy intensive process for the body, meaning that it takes a lot of calories to actually grow muscle cells. For this reason, if you want to get big, increasing your intake of protein alone is not enough; you also need to eat more carbohydrates to give the body enough energy to make new muscle cells.
The average person, training once each day, will need six small meals each day of carbohydrates and proteins, as well as an extra form of protein supplementation to optimise muscle building potential.
And, as is the case for everything, timing of these meals is crucial to optimise anabolic hormonal processes in the body. One of the most common mistakes made is not optimising the period of time immediately before, during and after a training session in terms of nutritional preparation and recovery. Remember, a training session is a huge energy burner, which means that unless you eat both a low glycaemic index carbohydrate for sustained glucose release and a protein rich food to help prevent muscle breakdown, an hour or less prior to your workout, you are starting the session in an energy depleted state and reducing the amount of fuel you have available to build new tissue. Secondly, during the workout, consuming a high glycaemic index sports drink, such as Hydrade, will help to maintain blood glucose concentrations via insulin release throughout the duration of the workout for optimal tissue building potential. Finally, consuming some high biological value protein such as that found in whey protein with some high glycaemic index carbohydrate from sports drink or banana, will again support muscle growth and recovery immediately post workout.
Simple but crucial steps to get big.
1) Eat every 3 hours (breakfast, pre weights, post weights, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, dessert and protein shake before bed)
2) Always eat protein and carbs together: eg
- Yoghurt and a piece of fruit
- Low fat milk and breakfast cereal
- 2 slices of grain bread with low fat cheese, tuna, ham, chicken
- Banana smoothie made with skim milk
- Pasta and sauce with chicken breast/tuna
- Baked beans or egg on grain toast
- Nut muesli bar
- Cheese and crackers
- Protein Shake + Skim milk (30g ~ 1scoop protein power per shake)
3) Drink sports drink during weights sessions
4) Eat immediately after weights
5) Have a protein shake before bed
6) Add in ice cream + tinned fruit in natural juice for dessert
7) Carry extra food in your training bag such as at all times
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