Good nutrition is an integral part of an effective workout program for any body builder.
When you decide you want to undertake a body building program, the foods you eat can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your program. Many people don’t pay enough attention to the types of food they eat. But food is very important in a body building program.
Food supplies us with calories. Calories are tiny bits of energy that your body uses to perform work. Counting calories isn’t as important as knowing what calories will be the best ones to consume for the maximum effect on your workout.
To have enough energy to perform your workout, you’ll need a lot of different nutrients. One of the most important would be carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of glucose. Glucose is a simple carb that is stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen. Glycogen is the principal form of energy that is stored in muscles. When your muscles are filled with glycogen, they both look and feel full.
Glucose also provides energy for your brain and making blood in your body. Glucose can be made from protein, but that requires the breakdown of body protein from muscle. If you’re not eating enough carbohydrates, your body will start breaking down muscle tissue for glucose.
Carbohydrates should be the bulk of your daily caloric intake when you are starting a body building program. Focus on unprocessed complex carbs like sweet potatoes, potatoes, whole grain breads, oatmeal, and brown rice.
These natural complex carbs are made of long “chains” of sugar and are digested very slowly. Slow burning carbs promote consistent blood sugar levels which help to offset fatigue while promoting the release of insulin which is the body’s principal anabolic hormone.
For men, the amount of carbs that should be taken in by multiplying their body weight by three. That number will be the amount of grams that should be consumed daily. Women multiply their body weight by two to get their carb gram intake. For example, a 200 pound man should consume 600 grams of carbs per day and a 125 pound woman would eat 250 carb grams daily.
Along with carbs, you must consume enough fiber in your diet. Eating fiber makes muscle tissue more responsive to anabolism by improving sugar and amino acid uptake, and aiding in muscle glycogen formation and growth. Beans and oatmeal are two excellent sources of fiber .
Divide your carb meals into six servings throughout the day. This divide and conquer approach stimulates a steady release of insulin to create an anabolic, or muscle building, state. If you eat too many carbs in one sitting, the net effect is that fat-storing enzymes kick into high hear and you lose than lean and hard look.
Eat some simple carbs after your workout and eat more of them. Honey, sugar and refined foods such as white bread and white rice – typical simple carbs – are digested quickly and easily. The resulting insulin spike is a double edged sword, however. After training, it can prevent muscle catabolism while promoting anabolism. If you have not been working out, the intake of simple carbs can stimulate fat storage.
A high carb intake at your post training meal will have less chance of being stored as fat, as carbs must replenish depleted glycogen levels before they gain the ability to stimulate fat storage. Eat about 25% of your daily carbs at this meal.
Breakfast is definitely the most important meal of the day, and besides your post-workout meal, it is also the best time to load up on carbs. Blood sugar and muscle glycogen levels are low from your overnight fast. Your body must replenish these levels before stimulating the fat storing machinery in the body.
As your day wears on, your carb intake should decrease. Your energy requirements will also decrease at this time, so your body won’t need as much. If you eat carbs late in the day, your body will store them as fat and increase weight gain instead of muscle mass.
If you are needing to lose some fat along with building your muscles, you will want to rotate your carb intake. Bodybuilders who rotate their carb intake tend to lose more fat than bodybuilders who maintain a steady flow of carbs while dieting.
For example, instead of eating 600g of carbs every day (the typical daily total for a 200 pound bodybuilder), try varying the volume of intake. Eat 50% fewer carbs (300g) for two days, then the standard 600g for the next two days, then 50% more (900g) for the next two days.
The total carb intake is the same, but this schedule works because it lowers muscle glycogen in the first stage (promoting fat loss), and then increases insulin levels (ensuring no loss of muscle) on the final two days. Carb rotation gives you the best of both worlds: decreased fat with no loss of muscle.
Another important nutrient every body builder needs is plenty of protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Glucose molecules make up carbohydrates just like amino acids make up proteins.
Protein is involved in growing, repairing, and replacing tissues. That is made possible because proteins are the basis for body structures.
For body builders, nitrogen balance is an important concept to keep in mind when talking about proteins. Nitrogen balance is the difference between the amount of nitrogen taken in and the amount excreted or lost. If you lose more nitrogen than you consume, your body will break down muscle tissue to get it. On the other hand, if you consume more than you lose, you will be in an anabolic, or muscle building, state.
Protein intake exceeds output, and protein is retained in tissue as new muscle is added. Obviously, this is something that you want. Watch out, if your protein output exceeds intake you would have a negative nitrogen balance. This is not good because the opposite is now happening. Your body is degrading muscle and other body proteins. You usually see this in people who are starving, burned, injured, or have a fever. This puts your body in what is called a catabolic state.
An anabolic state is when your body has a positive nitrogen balance. The term catabolic refers to the state of the body in which body compounds are broken down for energy purposes. In body building contexts, catabolic means muscle loss. Ultimately, your body won’t grow when it is in a catabolic state.
The general rule is to consume daily the same amount of grams in protein as your body weight. A 200 pound body builder, therefore, would need to eat 200 grams of protein every day to put the body in an anabolic state. When calculating the amount of protein you are eating, concentrate on the complete sources of protein like meat, fish, and eggs. While there are proteins in other foods, you need to focus on the complete sources rather than those that are incomplete.
If you are dieting while body building, your protein intake should increase to 1 1⁄2 times your bodyweight. Many diets have you cutting back on fat and carbohydrate intake. This forces the body to burn more protein for fuel which can put your muscle tissue at risk. To compensate, you’ll need to eat more protein to counteract this effect.
Here’s a quick guide to the protein content of some foods:
– 5 oz. steak, cooked
– 5 oz. roasted chicken
Protein (in grams)
– 1 egg
– 1 c. milk
– 2 T. peanut butter
– 2 slices of cheese
– 2 slices of whole wheat bread
– 1 c. cooked broccoli
– 1 c. beans (legumes)
Some people don’t feel that loading up on protein is a good idea for anyone, but if you want to get ripped with your body building program, you’ll need the amino acids in protein to work in your body. Be aware of the amount of protein you are eating and make them work for you instead of against you.
Yes, even when you are building the perfect body, you’ll still need some fats in your diet. Fats are the main source of energy in the body. Fat combines with glucose for energy in order to spare the breakdown of protein. That way, protein can do what it is supposed to do – build muscle.
The key to fat intake is to stay away from bad fats and only eat the good fat. Saturated fat is bad. These are the fats that contribute to heart disease and high cholesterol. Because of the chemical composition of saturated fat, your body cannot break it down very well.
Saturated fats are commonly found in animal products such as meat, seafood, whole milk dairy products like milk and cheese, as well as egg yolks. Saturated fats elevate blood cholesterol by increasing both the good HDL and the bad LDL. Elevated levels of LDL can clog arteries and cause heart disease. They are also more readily stored as body fat, so they should be limited.
Trans fats should also be avoided. This type of fat is often used in commercially processed food because they are preserved longer. Trans fats cause an over activity in the immune system and are linked to stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. You should truly strive to eliminate all trans fats from your diet.
Unsaturated fats are easier for your body to break down. Some of them can act as antioxidants that can actually help in losing stored fatty tissue in the body. These fats are found naturally in foods like nuts and avocados. These fats have a great effect on the cardio system as they work to lower the bad LDL cholesterol in the body.
The easiest way to tell the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats is to look at them. At room temperature, saturated fats are hard and solid. Unsaturated fats are in liquid form as in oils.
So basically, you should stay away from fats like animal lard and use oils such as olive oil or canola oil. Pay close attention to the fat content of any processed foods you are eating and keep it to a minimum or else your body will store that fat as, well, fat.
Probably the best type of fat to have in your diet would be Omega 3 Fatty Acids. These fats are most often found in fish and can have some significant health advantages. They can reduce inflammation, help prevent cancer growth, and improve brain function.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids can actually help combat conditions such as depression, fatigue, joint pain, and even Type 2 diabetes. Because they reduce inflammation in the body, they are good for the body builder because they help promote muscle recovery which can be important in the body building process.
Fats are actually an important part of any diet. They play an important role in protecting the body’s vital organs. Fats keep the body insulated, maintain healthy hair and skin as well as providing a sense of fullness after meals.
Obtaining sufficient fat in its healthy form is one of the keys to good health and well being and a great body! However, you must be careful not to overdo on the fats, so consider the following suggestions for keeping your fat intake at a healthy level:
• Snack on peanuts instead of chips or candy. About a 1⁄2 cup is a good amount.
• Use olive oil in salad dressings and when cooking
• When baking, instead of topping with chocolate or candies, consider using nuts and seeds instead
• Try making sandwiches with avocado and tuna instead of higher fat lunchmeats
• Eat fish at least three times a week to increase your Omega 3 intake
• Limit or even eliminate fast food as well as sources of trans fats like commercially processed cookies and cakes
When you start on a body building program, you will want to pay close attention to the foods you are feeding your body. That includes alcohol as well. Many people like a drink or two or even three to help them unwind and relax. But when you are a body builder, alcohol can have a detrimental effect on your progress.
Alcohol contains nothing but empty calories. It has no nutritional value but it does contain high caloric content. In fact, just one shot of vodka contains 100 calories! Not only will drinking increase your caloric intake, it slows down your metabolism hindering your body’s ability to process foods.
Alcohol consumption also hurts muscle growth. Not only will having a hangover lower your workout intensity, but drinking actually lowers protein synthesis by twenty percent. There are several reasons why it does this.
For one, it dehydrates your muscle cells. As many know, hydrated and even over hydrated muscles allows for a much higher anabolic environment. Because your cells aren’t holding as much water, it becomes much harder to build muscle.
The second reason why alcohol can severely hurt muscle growth is because it blocks the absorption of many important nutrients that are key to muscle contraction, relaxation and growth including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and potassium.
Not only that, but alcohol lowers the amount of testosterone in your body and actually increases estrogen. Having higher levels of testosterone can help with your workouts by making you more aggressive, so when those levels are down, you will not be as intense in your lifting and weight training.
Probably one of the best things you can do to help your body building workout progress the way you want it to is to drink plenty of water. Water is good for you anyway, but for body builders, it can be especially important. Water is part of every single metabolic process that the body undertakes.
Most experts recommend everyone drink six to eight glasses of water daily to stay healthy. For body builders, you’ll need much more. Soda, coffee, and tea don’t count either. The caffeine can increase fluid loss, so you’re not getting the hydration you need. Body builders need at least a half gallon to a gallon per day depending on the intensity of your workouts.
Water flushes out toxins and other metabolic waste products from the body. Water is especially important when following a “high protein” diet, as it helps remove excess nitrogen, urea (a toxic substance), and ketones. If you’re eating big to gain weight, then you need even more water to help your kidneys do their work.
Without enough water, the kidneys can’t function properly. When this happens, some of the load is transferred to the liver. The liver metabolizes stored fat for energy. If the liver is doing some of the kidneys’ work, it burns less fat. In addition, water can actually reduce feelings of hunger.
Contrary to popular belief, drinking water can actually help you shed excess water weight. When water is in short supply, the body, thinking there’s a shortage, begins hoarding it. This water is stored in extra cellular spaces. In other words, your skin starts looking soft and puffy.
If you’re going to be using supplements in your body building program, and you should, water can help them work. Supplements like creatine work in part because it pulls water in muscle cells, creating an anabolic environment needed for muscle growth.
For this to work properly, you need plenty of water. Plus, if you’re training hard, then you need a basic mega-vitamin. Many vitamins are water soluble, and water unlocks the power of those vitamins.
A good diet is essential to an effective body building program. You can workout with the intensity of a professional, but if your diet stinks, you won’t be doing yourself any good. Consider the following general tips for your nutritional needs.
• Drink skim milk or soy milk
• Cut sugar from your diet. Use artificial sweeteners instead.
• No regular soda! Diet is better for you anyway and doesn’t contain sugar
• Pizza and hamburgers are a big no-no. Not only are they high in bad fat content, they are highly caloric and can cause you to overeat
• Eat lots of fish to increase your levels of Omega 3 fatty acids
• Chicken breasts are good for you as well
• Allow yourself one cheat day a week where you can indulge in something you’ve been craving. Just don’t overdo it on your cheat days or you can undo all you’ve accomplished.
• Limit the amount of fruit you eat. While fruit is healthy, it can have a detrimental effect on your workout.
• Protein and complex carbohydrates are very important
• Instead of eating three large meals a day, eat six smaller ones
• Don’t skip meals
• Vegetables are always a good choice at mealtime
• When eating out, choose foods wisely.
• Avoid most fast food restaurants or opt for healthy choices – remember no burgers!
The body is very adaptable to change. At first, you may have problems getting used to your new diet. But once you get used to eating right, you’ll find yourself not even craving the foods you used to eat.
In case you’re a little confused over what and how to eat, consider the following sample meal plans.
Choosing the right way to eat to build muscle can be a little overwhelming. But once you start eating the way you need to, it will become second nature to you. Following is a list of good foods for you to eat in each of the categories you need to concentrate on:
– White meat chicken or turkey Canned tuna
– Canned salmon
– Fresh Fish
– Shellfish Eggs Tofu Soy
– Red meat like steak or roast
– Complex Carbohydrates
– Yams, Sweet potatoes, Acorn squash Rice
– All water based types. Lettuce, Cabbage, Spinach Asparagus
– Bok Choy, Leeks Tomatoes
– Green Beans
– Broccoli, Cauliflower, Radish Zucchini Squash Mushrooms
– 1 Apple
– 1 Orange
– 1/2 Grapefruit
– 3 Small Apricots
– 1 Banana
– 1/4 Melon
– 1-Cup Berries, Grapes 1 mango, small papaya
– 1 yogurt
– 1-Cup low fat cottage cheese
– 1-Cup non-fat milk (I use vanilla soy milk instead!) 1/2 Cup non or low fat cheese
– 2 slices whole wheat bread 1 bagel
– 2-Cups pasta
– Whole wheat tortillas
– Snack Foods
– Rice cakes Non-wheat cereals Plain popcorn
– Raw Vegetables Nuts
– Dried Fruit
A good diet is well-rounded and contains some of each of the food groups. You should also include a supplement in your diet which we will get to in a later section. As we’ve said, you should be eating 5 or 6 smaller meals every day instead of three large ones. Space your meals about 2 to 2 1⁄2 hours apart. Try out a few of these meal plans to start out with.
Vegetable omelet (3 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 1 cup veggies)
You can also add some chicken or lean beef if you want.
One cup yogurt or a protein shake
6 oz Chicken
Small raw vegetable
1 piece fruit
3-4 oz Chicken
6 oz fish
1 Cup grilled veggies
1 Cup brown rice
3 packs instant oatmeal
￼￼￼￼￼￼1 cup of yogurt
1 cup of cottage cheese
1 large baked potato
8 ounces chicken breast
2 cups pasta
1 cup yogurt
1 can of tuna
2 cups broccoli
1 cup brown rice
8 ounces broiled fish
1 cup veggies
2 cups rice
Alternative two plan
Breakfast burrito (3 egg whites, 1 whole egg scrambled, 1 cup onion/green pepper mix, salsa)
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup berries
1 cup raw veggies
Salmon burger on whole wheat bun (canned salmon, 1 egg white, onions cooked in a non-stick fry pan)
1 large potato cut into strips, brushed with olive oil, and baked in oven until crispy
1 garden salad drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar
1 cup yogurt
8 ounces chicken breast, cut into chunks, fried in olive oil and seasoned with oregano, garlic salt, and basil
1 cup cooked tomatoes
2 cups pasta
1 cup broccoli/cauliflower mix
1 cup melon
1 cup yogurt
Of course, these are only suggested meal plans. You can mix it up as you want to. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and pre-cook your meals. Keep vegetables cut up in the refrigerator so you don’t have to work too hard at meal time.
There’s really no need to measure carefully for the portions suggested. This isn’t an exact science!
Eyeball your portions and consider the following chart:
– 1 oz. meat
– 3 oz. meat
– 8 oz. meat
– 3 oz. fish
– 1 oz. cheese
– 1 med. potato
– 2 tbsp. peanut butter 1 cup pasta
– 1 bagel
COOKING FOR MASS
You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to cook nutritional meals that can complement your body building program. Cooking can be a great way to gain control of your eating and pick what you put into your foods like salt and fat. Meals can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Here are a few recipes to get you started.
– Your favorite cereal Skim milk
– 1 cup yogurt
Fill half the bowl with cereal. Add milk until it reaches the top of the cereal. Add yogurt. Top with more cereal. Add more milk. Drizzle with honey.
– 1 cup of Oatmeal
– 11 egg whites
– 1 whole egg
– 1 packet of sugar free Jello any flavor
Stir all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Drizzle onto hot non- stick fry pan.
Tuna or Salmon Patties
– 1 can tuna or salmon 1 onion
– 1 tablespoon of salt 1 teaspoon of pepper 1 teaspoon of parsley 1 whole egg
– 3 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed
– Mix potatoes, tuna, onions, salt, pepper and parsley. Shape into patties. Fry in olive oil until brown and heated on both sides.
Spicy Chicken Ole
– 8 ounces chicken breast cut into chunks
– 1 can diced tomatoes or 2 medium fresh tomatoes diced 1 can spicy chili hot beans
– 1 medium onion chopped
– Sauté chicken breast and onions in some olive oil in a frying pan. Stir in tomatoes and chili beans. Cook uncovered for ten minutes. Sprinkle with low-fat shredded Cheddar cheese.
Lightning Fast Fajitas
– 1 lb. flank steak cut in strips or small pieces 1 large green pepper, cut in strips
– 1 red pepper, cut in strips
– 1 medium yellow onion, cut in strips
– 3 cloves pressed garlic
– 1 tsp chili powder
– Lemon juice
– Fresh ground pepper to taste
– Sauté garlic in a bit of lemon juice for 1 minute in large wok or skillet.
Add beef and chili powder and cook until beef is cooked near to the temperature you desire. Add peppers and onions and cook until vegetables are mostly soft, raising the heat for a short time if you like the vegetables slightly charred. Spoon into whole wheat tortillas. Top with salsa or fat-free sour cream if desired.
– 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast 1 28 oz can crushed tomato
– 1 chopped onion
– 1 chopped green pepper
– 3 pressed garlic cloves 1⁄4 tsp. thyme
– 3⁄4 tsp. salt
– 1⁄2 tsp. oregano
– 1 tbsp. parsley Dash of pepper Cooking spray
Spray pan with cooking spray and heat. Brown chicken and set aside. Add chopped onion, green pepper and garlic. Cook until the onion is tender; about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, parsley, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook over low for 15 minutes; stirring occasionally. Add browned chicken, cover and cook on low for 45 minutes. Uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes. Serve. Top on whole wheat pasta or brown rice if desired.
Pan Broiled Fish
– 1 lb. Fish filets
– One 14 oz. Can diced tomatoes w/ basil, garlic & oregano
Arrange fish filets in a single layer in skillet. Cover with tomatoes and liquid. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10-20 minutes, or until the fish easily flakes with a fork. Serve plain or over brown rice.
Broiled Fish Dijon
– 6 fish filets
– 1 1⁄2 lbs small zucchini, cut lengthwise into halves
￼￼￼- 1⁄2 cup lemon juice
– 2 tbsp. low-calorie Dijon mustard 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
– 2 tbsp. drained capers Paprika to taste
Rinse fish and pat dry. In a separate bowl, stir together mustard and garlic. Arrange fish and zucchini in a single layer in a large pan. Drizzle with lemon juice. Broil on top rack for 5 minutes. Turn fish over, spread with mustard/garlic mixture. Continue to broil for 5 minutes or until zucchini is lightly browned and fish is cooked. Sprinkle with paprika and capers. Serve. 6 servings
Stuffed Chicken Breasts
– 1 chopped onion
– 1 pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and dried
– 1 egg lightly beaten
– 8 oz. low fat ricotta cheese
– Salt & pepper to taste
– 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, slice in half and flattened
Combine the onion, spinach, egg, and cheese mixture in a bowl. Put a dollop of the mixture into each chicken breast. Tie the chicken breasts together with butchers twine, or put toothpicks through them. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Optional: Garnish with lemon slices.
Ground Turkey Breast Sauce
– 1 lb. ground turkey or beef
– 1 chopped onion
– 1 cup chopped portabella mushrooms 1 tsp allspice
– 1 tsp red pepper flakes
– Salt & pepper to taste
– 1 jar spaghetti sauce
Brown the meat with the red pepper flakes. Add the chopped onion and mushrooms. Put the all spice, salt and pepper in. Pour the spaghetti sauce in. Serve over your favorite type of noodle.
Lemon Pepper Tuna
– 1 can tuna
– Lemon Pepper Seasoning
Spray a fry pan with no calorie non-stick cooking spray. Add tuna and sprinkle with seasoning. Cook tuna to desired doneness. Eat plain or on a bed of pasta. This is also good cold.
– 1 can tuna
– Worcestershire Sauce
– No-Fat or Low-Fat Cheese (optional)
Spray a fry pan with no calorie non-stick cooking spray. Add tuna with an amount of Worcestershire Sauce that you like. Cook to desired texture. Add cheese if you like and let it melt after turning the burner off. You can eat this on some whole-wheat bread, plain, or over some brown rice.
Chicken, Rice & Beans
– Cooked Shredded Chicken Breast 1⁄2 – 1 cup cooked brown rice
– 1⁄4 can red beans
– 2 tbsp. barbeque sauce
In large bowl or Tupperware, combine rice, beans, and chicken. Add barbeque sauce and stir together until well-coated.
Egg Salad Sandwich
– 3-4 boiled egg whites (may keep 1-2 yolks) 2 tbsp. low fat mayonnaise
– 1 tbsp. yellow mustard
– Ground black pepper
– 2 slices 100% whole wheat bread Shredded lettuce or spinach leaves
￼￼￼￼- 1⁄2 can tuna (optional for more protein, or just use more egg whites.
Chop egg whites and add to medium bowl. Add mayo, mustard, black pepper, and tuna. Mix well and spread over bread. Top with lettuce or spinach leaves and second slice of bread.
– 3-4 cups cooked pasta
– 1-2 cans tuna (drained)
– 1⁄2 cup low fat cottage cheese (drained) 1⁄4 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese 2 tbsp. low fat mayo
– Ground black pepper
– 1⁄2 cup canned peas (rinsed & drained)
In medium bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until well-mixed. Microwave for approximately 1 minute when ready to serve.
Fiery Chicken Deluxe
– 8 oz chicken breast
– Tabasco sauce (or other favorite hot sauce) 2 tsp cayenne pepper
– 2 tsp crushed, dried jalapeno peppers
– 2 pinch of salt
– 1 tbsp Cajun rub/spices
– 1 1⁄2 cups of frozen green beans
– 5 oz red potatoes
Combine the hot sauce, cayenne pepper, salt with chicken in a container and really roll the chicken breast around in the mix, then let it sit in the refrigerator for 3 – 10 hours (the longer, the juicier it will be)
This works best with a Foreman-style grill. Pre-heat, then slap the chicken on and cook for 7 1⁄2 minutes
While the chicken is cooking, stab the red potatoes and cook in the microwave for 4 1⁄2 minutes or until soft in the middle
Take the potatoes out, and put the green beans in for 2 – 3 minutes
Smash the potatoes and sprinkle on a pinch of salt and the crushed jalapeno peppers
Sprinkle the other pinch of salt on the green beans
Grilled Chicken Asparagus Rolls
– 1 chicken breast
– 2 asparagus sticks
– 2 slices of low fat turkey bacon 1 tsp Dijon mustard
– 1 tbsp honey
– Salt and pepper to taste
Once the chicken breast is washed trim the fat from it. Cut chicken into two to four thin slices, depending on how thick you would like your roll to be. Put chicken slices in the container; add the salt and pepper, mustard and honey. Let it marinate for 25 minutes.
Give the asparagus a quick wash. Snap off tough ends of asparagus and remove scales with vegetable peeler. Place one slice of turkey bacon on each slice of chicken breast. Place one asparagus stick on the top and start rolling it.
Once the roll is ready, use a couple of wooden picks to secure the turkey bacon – ensure the picks are placed in such a way the chicken meat maintains its shape around the roll. You can grill rolls than for seven minutes on the electric grill at 375 degrees, or bake them for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.
Three Minute Scallops
– 1⁄4 cup dry white wine
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tsp. Dried parsley
– Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
– 1 lb. Fresh bay scallops, rinsed and patted dry.
Heat wine in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add parsley and lemon juice. Cover and cook 1 minute. Add scallops and cook 1 minute or until scallops turn from translucent to opaque. Makes 2-3 servings
Garlic Roasted Vegetables
– 6 carrots, peeled and quartered
– 6 parsnips, peeled and quartered
– 6 shallots, peeled and halved
– 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into 6-8 wedges 1 large garlic bulb, broken into cloves and peeled 1 tbsp. dried rosemary, or 3 tbsp. fresh, chopped 1 tbsp. dried thyme, or 3 tbsp. fresh
– 4 tbsp. olive oil
In the Oven: Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine all the vegetables in roasting pan, drizzle with oil and stir to coat. Roast for about 1 hour 20 minutes or until tender. Salt and pepper to taste.
On the Grill: Turn barbeque to medium. Combine all the vegetables into a tinfoil bag, drizzle with olive oil and stir to coat. Roast for about 30 minutes or until tender. Salt and pepper to taste.
Chicken Salad Roll-ups
– 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, cooked 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
– 2 tbsp. dried fruit bits
– 1/8 cup celery, diced
– 1/3 cup nonfat yogurt Fresh Leaf Lettuce
– Dice chicken, and place in mixing bowl. Combine with sunflower seeds, fruit bits, celery, and yogurt.
Spread a little chicken mixture on lettuce leaf and roll up tightly. Repeat until mixture is used up. Serve immediately, or wrap roll-ups in plastic wrap for later use. Makes two servings
Fish in Foil
– 1⁄2 lb. halibut, cut in two pieces 1 tomato, chopped
– 1 green onion, chopped
– 4 small zucchini, julienne
– 1 carrot, julienne
– 1 cup dry white wine
– 1 tsp. each fresh dill and parsley Dash of freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut two 12 in. square pieces of foil. Place a piece of fish on each square of foil. Top each piece of fish with tomato, green onion, zucchini, and carrot. Sprinkle each with wine, herbs, and pepper. Fold foil edges together, sealing with a pleat. Bake for 15 minutes. Makes two servings
Muscle Building Shake
– 1 cup ice cubes
– 3⁄4 cup egg whites
– 3⁄4 cup vanilla soy milk
– 1 cup frozen strawberries 1⁄2 banana
– 1⁄2 cup cranberry juice
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds. Drink.
Workout Energy Salad
– ￼1 cup lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces 1/3 cup spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces – 1/3 cucumber, peeled and sliced
– 1/3 tomato, sliced
– 3⁄4 cup sprouts
– 1/3 cup shredded carrots
– 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
– 1/3 avocado, cubed
-1 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 2 tsp lemon juice
– Dash each of thyme, parsley, basil
In a medium-sized salad bowl, combine lettuce, spinach, cucumber, tomato, sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, avocado, and sunflower seeds.
In a screw-top jar, mix olive oil with lemon juice and herbs. Shake vigorously, and pour over salad.
Muscle Density Broccoli Salad
– 1⁄2 pound cooked steak, cut in strips 1 cup broccoli, cooked and chopped 1 cup green beans, cooked and cut 1 stalk celery, sliced
– 1⁄2 cup mushrooms, sliced 1 green onion, sliced
– 1⁄2 tbsp red wine vinegar 1⁄2 tbsp lemon juice
– 1⁄4 cup nonfat yogurt 1⁄2 tsp mustard
– 1⁄4 tsp ground pepper 1⁄2 head of lettuce
– 1⁄2 tomato, sliced Fresh parsley
In large salad bowl, combine steak, broccoli, green beans, celery, mushrooms, and onion.
In a screw-top jar, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, yogurt, mustard, and pepper, and shake until thoroughly mixed for the salad dressing.
Arrange salad on a bed of lettuce leaves. Garnish with tomato slices and parsley
– 1 cup fat free milk
– 1 cup fat free vanilla yogurt 1/3 cup frozen blueberries 1⁄4 cup frozen cherries
– 1⁄2 cup Egg Beaters
– 1 Banana
Toss all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Nutrition is very important when you are trying to build up muscle mass. You don’t necessarily have to be dieting, but you do have to be conscious about what you are putting into your body so that you can maximize your workouts.
Another huge thing you have to be aware of in your body building program is sleep.
Rest is one of the most overlooked parts of an exercise regimen, but the reality is it is actually a quite important principle. Sleep is one of your most valuable tools for growth that you can have in your body building arsenal.
Muscle adaptation and growth often occurs at night. During the suspended state of animation you are in, your body is doing exactly what you have been asking it to do during your workouts – build muscle.
Lack of sleep can have an intoxicating effect on your body. According to the Journal of Applied Sports Science, being awake for 24 hours has the same physical effect as a blood alcohol content of 0.096, which is above the legal driving limit in most states.
Working out in this state has its obvious downside. For starters, your lack of muscular coordination places you at a much higher risk for
injury. Just as you’d never head to the gym after drinking a few beers at your local tavern, you should never work out after not sleeping the night before. You’re better off waiting until the next day when your body has been given proper rest.
What are the best practices when it comes to getting enough sleep? Here are some pointers:
• Don’t exercise before bedtime. Body temperature has a huge effect on our ability to fall asleep. As your body temperature lowers, you start to feel sleepy. If you work up a sweat before trying to sleep, you will have difficulty falling asleep and it could take your body several hours to cool down enough so that you can drift off.
• Try having a light snack before bedtime. Some people disagree with this theory, but if you go to bed on an empty stomach, it can distract from your ability to fall asleep. Make sure this snack is light, though.
• Get at least eight hours of quality sleep per night. This will insure that you get the rest and recovery that your body needs to be able to function effectively during the day.
• Keep your bedroom dark and cool. Try having some white noise in the room like a fan running.
• Don’t drink a lot of fluids before sleep, especially tea or coffee. Not only will the caffeine keep you awake, but you’ll have to use the bathroom more often as well which will disturb your sleep.
• Establish both a regular sleep cycle as well as a pre-sleep routine. This will help you signal your body that it’s time to think about resting.
While your body is sleeping, your body’s synthesis of protein increases. This is what makes you grow. Your body can recover and repair any damage you did during the day while you are at rest.
A majority of growth hormones are also released when the body is in the sleep state. Growth hormones are very important in increasing muscle mass. During a workout, growth hormones are also released, but the majority of this happens while the body is at rest.
Just as sleep will give you more energy, it is also vital in helping your body recover and ultimately grow like you want it to.
As we said before, you will want to take supplements when you really want to grow your body. They can be confusing, though.
There are literally hundreds of supplements on the market targeted at body builders and meant to increase your body size. They are designed to maximize the body’s natural abilities and help you get the body mass you want. How do you know which supplement is right for you?
Creatine is the most popular and commonly used sports supplement available today. There are numerous studies backed by anecdotal evidence that support the efficacy of creatine supplementation. For the majority of the population, including both elite athletes and untrained individuals, creatine supplementation increases fat free mass and improves anaerobic and possibly aerobic performance.
Creatine is a natural constituent of meat, mainly found in red meat. Creatine is manufactured naturally in the body from the amino acids glycine, arginine, and methionine.
This process takes place in the kidneys, liver, and pancreas. Approximately 40% of the body’s creatine stores are free creatine (Cr), while the remaining 60% is stored in form of creatine phosphate (CP). The typical male adult processes 2 grams of creatine per day, and replaces that amount through dietary intake and fabrication within the body.
Creatine is used for the resynthesis of ATP. ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is the “power” that drives muscular energetics. When a muscle is required to contract, the bonds in the ATP molecule are split, yielding ADP (adenosine-diphosphate). The energy released by breaking this bond powers the contraction of the muscle.
When ATP is depleted within the cell, the cell can no longer contract. There are several methods by which the body rebuilds ATP. The fastest method, without oxygen, is through CP. Creatine phosphate is “split” to yield the phosphate portion of the molecule. This phosphate portion bonds to the ADP, turning it back to ATP. Once CP stores within the cell are depleted, the body must use other methods to replenish ATP.
Supplementation with creatine increases Cr and CP within the muscle, allowing further capacity to regenerate ATP. In other words, the creatine enhances the ability of the muscle to maintain power output during brief periods of high-intensity exercise. The periods are brief because the ability of a cell to store CP is limited, therefore the body will quickly move to other methods of replenishing ATP.
There are two way to decide what dosage of creatine you should take. In the “loading phase” which is where you begin adding creatine to your diet, the dosage is 20 grams a day for five to seven days. After that, it’s recommended that you stick to 5 grams per day.
You can also calculate creatine dosage according to body weight and mass. Follow along closely, this could get confusing! Not really, though. Experts say in the “loading phase”, you should be consuming .3 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight. So if you weight 200 pounds, the formula would look like this:
1 lb divided by 2.2 kg multiplied by .3 = 27 grams of creatine per day
After the loading phase, your weight is multiplied by .03, so you would require 2.7 grams in the maintenance phase.
Essentially, creatine can create muscle fullness as well as create an environment within your body that is conducive to muscle growth. It can also delay fatigue during repeated workouts. However, you must use your creatine regularly instead of sporadically for it to be effective.
Creatine is also thought to increase the body’s aerobic abilities. One study showed that using creatine supplements help to reduce the oxygen cost of activity so less strain is placed on the cardiovascular system while performing aerobic activity. This is a huge advantage for the body builder as this means you will be able to work harder and longer losing fat and building up muscle.
Creatine is safe for most everyone to take with the exception of people with renal issues. Doctors are even beginning to endorse creatine which is generally unheard of with supplements.
Many people like to take their creatine in a shake as it most often comes in the form of powder. You can mix the creatine powder with some skim or soy milk and even add some fresh fruit for flavor. It is generally a good idea to have your creatine after you workout so that the glycogen in your body is replenished and recovery can be enhanced.
Another popular supplement among body builders is glutamine. Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid that is produced naturally by the body. Sixty percent of glutamine is found in the skeletal muscles. The remainder is in the lung, liver, brain, and stomach tissues.
Over 60% of our amino acids come in the form of glutamine. Under normal conditions, our body can produce more than enough. However, during times of stress, glutamine reserves are depleted and must be replenished through supplementation. This includes stress that the body is under during periods of exercise.
If you have too little glutamine in your system, it can result in muscle loss. This amino acid is essential to muscle building because it helps nitrogen in the body move around to where it needs to be. You have to have a positive nitrogen balance in order to gain muscle mass.
Creatine is also thought to prevent sickness, promote healing, prevent sore muscles, and speed up growth hormone production.
The typical American diet provides 3.5 to 7 grams of glutamine daily which is found in animal and plant proteins. Many people are choosing to supplement daily due to the long growing list of benefits.
Research shows levels of supplementation from 2 to 40 grams daily. Two to three grams has been found to help symptoms of queasiness. This two to three gram dosage used post workout builds protein, repairs and builds muscle and can induce levels of growth hormone found in the body.
If you want to build a ripped body, you’ll need both creatine and glutamine alike. Again, it usually comes in powder form, so you’ll want to take it with milk or in a shake.
The importance of protein to a body builder is a no-brainer. It is the single most important nutrient in a body building regimen. Protein is what makes up and maintains most of the stuff in our bodies. Protein has been shown to have the best effects on the body when combined with carbohydrates.
Much of your protein will come from your diet, but if you really want to grow your body mass, increasing protein through weight gainers or protein powders is necessary. Of course, you’ll need to be careful not to overdo it and monitor the amount of protein you are consuming.
The best type of protein supplement on the market is whey protein because it is the highest yield. Whey is the best investment because of its capacity as a post-workout recovery supplement. This is a critical time after severe physical stress when the cells will act like a sponge and take in almost anything. The extreme hunger of the cells and the fast-acting properties of whey will make sure you use the best window for recovery to the fullest.
If not, the body will hunt the stored reserves of nutrients and when on a diet for example that will cause them to rob other muscle- tissue of glutamine. So whey is the best protein, especially on a diet. It also supplies the most amino acids that bodybuilders use.
Its unfortunate high cost however makes me advise you to use it sparingly. Whey protein is the only choice when on a diet however. When on low-carb diets whey can function as an alternate source of energy, sparing hard-earned muscle protein and glutamine stores within the body.
As with creatine, the best time to take your protein supplement is post-workout. As we said before, it’s good to combine your protein with some form of carbohydrate for maximum results. Combine the powder with some eggs, low-fat milk, ice cream, and olive oil. You can also add in some fruit for flavor.
Another powerful supplement you can take as part of your body building program is nitric oxide. Many body builders take nitric oxide for a variety of reasons.
Nitric Oxide, a key molecule manufactured by the body, causes vasodilation [an expansion of the internal diameter of blood vessels], which in turn leads to increased blood flow, oxygen transport, delivery of nutrients to skeletal muscle and a reduction in blood pressure.
Nitric oxide promotes extended ability to life weights. It also signals muscle growth, speeds recovery, and increases strength along with stamina. This element also increases energy levels and some people even feel that it promotes a better sex life!
During a workout, when a muscle contracts and blood vessels dilate, Nitric Oxide is present for a brief moment. The release of nitric oxide creates surges of blood flow, which is the muscle pump we are familiar with. Unfortunately this pump is only temporary, and will dissipate shortly after you complete your workout.
It often comes in pill form, and should be taken in the manufacturer’s recommended dosage. Nitric oxide also comes in powder form as well, so you can take it in a shake just like with other powdered supplements.
Steroids and Growth Hormones
We’re not going to spend a lot of time on these types of supplements because they are certainly not recommended, but they are used by body builders all over the world. Both of these substances are highly controversial, and in many places, they are illegal.
Steroids and growth hormones stimulate muscle growth often quite quickly which is why they are so popular among body builders. They also enhance performance making a person stronger and extending their stamina.
Steroid use is generally not condoned in the sports world and constant testing is done of the athletes to see if they are getting an unfair advantage by using steroids or growth hormones.
Steroids do have some advantages. They are used in treating a variety of health problems including AIDS, cancer, and other serious diseases. They help the body fight the ill effects of these diseases and promote healing.
However, steroids have some serious health implications when taken for reasons other than therapeutic. They can cause serious liver damage and even lead to liver failure.
Steroids increase testosterone production which can lead to overly aggressive behavior, a decrease in libido, and low sperm count.
The reason many body builders use steroids is because they increase water retention in the muscles which leads to an anabolic state. However, this increase in fluid retention makes the heart work harder which can increase blood pressure and even bring on a heart attack.
All steroids eventually change to estrogen which causes feminization in men. That causes an enlargement of the breasts along with an increase in fatty deposits.
Growth hormones stimulate the elements in the body that make muscles grow. They are naturally produced by the body, but many body builders take them to basically tell their muscles to get bigger. They can be dangerous, though, as well.
You can get huge, ripped muscles without having to resort to using illegal substances like steroids or artificial growth hormones. They can make you bigger quicker, but the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages you are taking by introducing these substances into your body.