What if I told you that the key to everything you want with your fitness level has to do with food. Would you believe me? Sure the gym is important. Working out is important, but it’s a very small piece of the puzzle.
With that being said, there is so much information both good and bad out there about nutrition.
Starting Monday I am launching an exclusive video series talking about the do’s and don’t of food. All you have to do is be a part of my Facebook group to watch them.
Protein. We hear all about it. We consume it on a daily basis from one source or another. But what does it do, and do we really need it? If you follow my podcast you know how much I talk about nutrition being everything when it comes to hitting your fitness goals. But protein is often misunderstood.
I’ve known some people who wanted to gain muscle and so just started taking whey protein throughout the day. Whey is important, but that act alone is not going to just start making you jacked.
When you workout and exert a lot of muscle energy your muscles are literally starving and, because they’ve expended all their energy. They need amino acids (the building blocks of protein) in order to repair themselves. You see when muscles are worked out they literally tear. Then new muscle fibers come and grow over those tears like a scab on our skin. After these new muscle fibers patch up the tears that results in our muscle being stronger and denser.
Protein comes into play in patching up those tears, because our muscles need them to heal, otherwise if you are depleted of amino acids, the body will actually pull them from other muscles if it can (which is counter-productive to growing muscle).
So the cure? Try to down a scoop of protein within 30 minutes after working out, this gives your muscles their much needed boost of healing. My video talked about the importance of that this week.
In addition whey protein when mixed in low-fat milk can aid in pushing you up to your calorie range for the day. It’s a quick way to get some extra calories. But as with anything, you need a well balanced nutrition plan and don’t think that the whey protein will be enough to get you jacked. But it’s a very useful tool.
Sometimes when we think of working out we tend to think of young fit people, but in reality it’s even more important for those over 30 to get in the gym and start developing muscle. Let’s break it down into the top 3 reasons you should be lifting if you are over 30.
Reason #1: After 30 you begin to lose muscle. Yep that’s right. Now don’t freak out if you are already working out, because you are good. But if you are inactive and do not workout, your body will begin lose up to 5% muscle every decade after 30. While that may not sound like a lot, think about by the time you are 70 you will have lost 20% of your muscle. That’s huge. The good news is by lifting and working out, you can avoid this muscle loss.
Reason #2: Your metabolism starts to slow down in your 30’s, it’s just part of the way our bodies are designed, but by working out, eating healthy, and staying active, you can actually increase your metabolism and keep off that fat that likes to creep on in your 30’s. To get started with our free course on how to start boosting that now, click here.
Reason #3: As you get older your bones become more brittle, they loose density. But guess what? Lifting weights builds your bone density. We always think about how we are building muscle when we lift, but in truth our bones are growing in density and strength as well. This can help eliminate so many bone problems that we can develop later in life.
So if you’re debating on whether you should start lifting, you should, because while none of us are getting younger, we certainly can get stronger and build a healthier body no matter what our age. For more check out our podcast.
So if you want to build muscle you have to eat protein right? But why? Why are people who lift obsessed with downing globs of protein powder? Well, while we may not need as much as we think, there is a reason behind getting a good amount.
If our body has an excess of protein it goes into an anabolic state, which means our body can build muscle. If we get too little protein then the muscles start breaking down as our body will take the protein from our muscles for other important body functions. In my nutrition guide I point out a lot of the essential sources of protein.
It’s recommended to eat between 1 and 1 1/2 grams per pound of body weight for protein. But while this is recommended there’s still a lot of confusion about exactly how much protein our bodies can digest and actually put to use at once.
In addition to making sure get the right amount, you want to make sure you have a steady intake of it throughout the day. So make sure you are getting a good chunk of protein at each meal, as well as in your snacks.
You also want to make sure you are having some after your workouts, as this is a time your muscles will really be needing those amino acids to help repair themselves and ultimately grow. To learn more check out this week’s podcast.
When it comes to fats, you want to steer clear of most of them as they provide little value and assist in clogging up your arteries. But there are some great fats your body can put to good use. Fat while usually looked at as a negative thing, actually does provide some benefits.
After all we need a healthy layer of fat around our organs to protect them, and it plays an important role in our bodies. In addition to protecting our organs, it helps the body absorb vitamins. It also helps us to regulate our body temperature. I talk all the time about the importance of nutrition on my website and even have courses dealing specifically with that.
Now before you reach for that bag of potato chips, there are healthy fats you should be incorporating but they are not what we typically think of.
While you still want to moderate how much of even healthy fats you eat, some that you want to add to your list include eggs, which also give us a great boost of protein. Avocado (sorry store bought guacamole is out), but you can make some very healthy guacamole yourself.
Almond, cashews, and most other tree nuts are a great source of healthy fat that also pack a punch of protein. Olive oil and fish also give us a dosage of healthy fats that our body puts to good use.
So don’t fear healthy fat, still keep it in moderation, but your body needs those healthy sources.
Food prep is perhaps one of those things that maybe you’ve read about, but it seems too complicated, or too much work. If you are on a fitness journey and feel that you don’t have time to food prep, you actually don’t have time not too prep.
Food prep saves an incredible amount of time. By cooking things in bulk, measuring out foods, putting them all in containers, and cooking your meals before hand, you are not only setting yourself up for success, but you are saving so much time.
When you don’t prep it’s easy to pick up some food on your way home from work, swing through a drive thru on your way to work, and start undoing all the work that you are putting in at the gym. Food is the number one thing that will get you in the shape you want to be in. I talk about this all the time at Bones to Bulk.
Take a day that you are off and make a list of everything you are going to eat for the week and make a shopping list. Then go shopping. When you get home, don’t bother putting things away, start prepping! Cook your meats, cook soups, stir frys, then divide it all up into containers. Cut up vegetables, put your snacks in ziplocks or containers. Figure out breakfast, if you are doing smoothies, prep them, and make them the day before. Get your lunch together the night before work. In this week’s podcast I talk more about this.
Every step you can take to prep your food is going to get you one step closer to your goal. So don’t skip the prepping.
Sugar is everywhere. And I mean everywhere. It’s infused in about everything we eat, regardless of whether it’s a “healthy” item or not. While your body can process some natural sugars and can actually put them to good use to feed your muscles, we don’t need it in it’s refined from. Having a complex carb or something like a banana after our workouts can do great things to repair and build our muscles, but grabbing a sugary energy drink or candy bar is not the way to go.
Natural sugar comes in the forms of things like complex carbs, whole fruit, honey, Stevia etc. These can be beneficial to us in small portions. It’s when we get into the refined sugars like candy, many sports drinks, soda, etc. These are what can have devastating results on not just your lean muscle gains, but on your overall health. Getting lean muscle mass is great, but at Bones to Bulk I truly believe that it’s just as important to be healthy on the inside as the outside.
Too much sugar can cause a whole myriad of health problems including diabetes and others. But it’s not just that. Everything we put in our bodies is either used by our body to function properly, or has no purpose throws our body off. Sugar is an empty calorie that does nothing for us. When we consume it our bodies can’t handle the typical large doses we consume in every day products and it is stored as fat, this doesn’t get us any closer to our goal of lean muscle mass.
Remember, food is our body’s fuel, we’ve got to put high quality food in for us to get good results out.