When it comes to working out, I’m inclined to say that as much as I believe “you are what you eat” I also put a lot of stock in “how MUCH you eat” as well. Because the portions of food that you eat and how often you eat them can radically affect your energy and performance levels in the gym and out; as your body assimilates the proteins and carbohydrates you ingest before and after you hit the gym.
Here’s a simple test for you: which do you feel is better: 3 big meals a day or 6 -7 small meals a day that get digested, absorbed and turned into fuel much quicker? Well – duh – of course you want to go smaller and go more frequently! But check this out: According to bodybuilding.com, smaller portions of the wrong kinds of foods do absolutely nothing for you! You can take this to bank, folks: what you put in your body is a critical part of your workout but how often you eat is equally important. You can be consistent with your workouts, but if you don’t fuel your body properly and throughout the day you will fall short of your goals. In other words, you are what you eat!
The Key to the Kingdom: Protein:
If you’re looking to make serious gains in the gym then protein is arguably the most important nutrient you can put in your body. And even if you’re not looking to give Arnold a run for his money, you should be consuming between 1 and 1.5 grams of protein per pound-of-body weight each day, and spreading that out over the course of 5 or 6 meals. According to proteinbodybuilding.com, if you weigh 200 or so pounds, that means you need to ingest about 40-50 grams of protein per meal. If you are working out diligently but your gym-goals are a little more down-to-earth, then 1 gram of protein per pound-of-body weight each day will do the trick.
Why protein? Because protein builds the foundation of your muscle and strength. The protein you ingest gets broken down into amino acids which acts like fuel for your muscles. But don’t misconstrue what I’m saying. Protein doesn’t make you stronger! And what’s more, a lot of protein without intense workouts to back up the intake isn’t going to make you more muscular either.
You don’t think you are what you eat? Small meals taken throughout the day supplemented by good ‘ol hard work in the gym is what’s going to make you bigger, stronger, leaner and more fulfilled.
And Speaking of Carbs…
Carbohydrates give you energy to burn. By the same token – according to muscleandstrength.com, not enough carbs will also leave your muscles looking and feeling flat. Consider this: if your carbo intake is too low, then your body assimilates protein to create its energy. And if your bod is burning in protein that means it’s depleting your muscles of what it needs to grow.
If all I eat is chicken, pasta and a hearty salad until I’m 100 years old I’ll be a happy guy.
Needless to say, your carbohydrate intake will vary depending on your training goals. If your goal is to get bigger and gain muscular size then you need to increase the carbs and protein (see above).
I’ve said all along, you’re weight-training goals are unique to you. Bigger or stronger or a combination of both? It’s all good. But maximize the time you spend in the gym with the time you spend in the kitchen!
Don’t forget – it doesn’t take any more time and effort to eat right and at the right times then it does to eat junk food.
Remember: you are what you eat!