It really is remarkable how antiquated ideas about nutrition and muscle building stick around long after they’ve been proven wrong by science. Maybe it’s the fact that people are too lazy to brush up on the latest info on diet and muscle. Or maybe it’s just nutrition momentum that has people follow old-school advice from Arnold’s Pumping Iron.
Not knowing the latest on carbs, protein and vitamins at this day and age is like not being able to send an email or post a status update on Facebook – it makes you look like an 80-year -old…literally.
Either way, it’s time to join the ranks of the 21st century and brush up on what’s new in 2011 for packing on serious amounts of lean mass in the shortest period of time. Consider this a primer on maximizing the returns on everything you put in your mouth –with an emphasis on breakthroughs from the last few years.
No All Protein is the Same
Many people scan the side of whatever they’re about to eat to see how many grams of protein they’re about to put into their body. Their thought process is, “Wow, this has x grams of protein in. It’s going to help me build muscle.”
While it used to be “in” to stuff your face with as much protein as possible, new science has discovered that some sources of protein outperform others. This discussion of protein quality isn’t about complete protein sources either, although that’s important.
This protein issue has more to do with the amino acid composition of the protein. Protein sources with an anabolic amino acid composition (meaning they contain lots of branch chain amino acids) promote more muscle growth than those low in BCAAs.
The foundation of your protein intake should be in the form of high BCAA protein sources like red meat, eggs, whey protein powder and low-fat dairy products.
Organic Food for the Win
To most bodybuilders, organic food is something hippies eat to stick to the man. However, this is one instance where we should follow the hippie’s diet advice. Studies show that the vitamin and mineral content of fruits and vegetables have shrunk in the last 40 years. You can thank factory farming for that development.
Considering that vitamins like B12 and minerals like iron and chromium are a must for muscle growth, this isn’t a trivial matter for those wanting to build muscle. Although it may cost a bit more, organic produce will fill your body with the vitamins and minerals that your growing muscles demand.
Kill 3 Meals a Day
There’s little debate that eating more often helps you grow. That’s because unlike carbs and fat, your body isn’t very good at storing protein (hey, nobody’s perfect).
By only eating breakfast, lunch and dinner you’re going long periods without giving your body protein. Where do you think your body gets protein from if you don’t eat it? That’s right: your muscles!
Instead of sticking to the traditional eating pattern of the Western world, space out your eating every three hours or so – making sure there’s a high quality protein source at every once of those meals.