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Eating Whole Foods vs Supplements

Nutrition is key for muscle-building such that in the bodybuilding world, there are many different views as far as eating whole foods vs supplements are concerned. There is a thorough debate going on but in my honest opinion, I think whole foods and supplements can be used as part of your bodybuilding nutrition but your primary focus should be on whole foods. If you can't get your nutrition right, supplements won't do anything magical for your progress. Supplements are just that, just to supplement an existing nutritional plan not to replace it although they can be used as meal replacement at times notably when you don't have enough time to prepare a real meal. To resume, supplements are rather handy and convenient and can help you in your goals but should not be relied upon mostly. Eating real solid foods should be your primary objective.

First and foremost, what you need to do is have a proper nutrition routine in place then you can start adding supplements. You should try having 4-6 meals per day. The portion of your meals should not be too big, rather a fist-sized portion for each food item will do. Your goal is to have small quality meals every 3 hours or so to keep your metabolism active and making your body anabolic. Usually some brown rice, chicken breast, broccoli florets and a drizzle of olive oil is an example of a quality bodybuilding meal packed with nutrients for muscle-building. Here you have complex carbs, protein, fiber and healthy fats.

The difference between whole foods and supplements is the nutrients like vitamins, minerals etc…you get from whole foods can't be compared to supplements. If you rely only on supplements, you will be lacking some essential nutrients from real whole foods. It's true that supplements are derived from foods like milk(80% casein, 20% whey) but nutrition-wise, your diet will be lacking some important vitamins and minerals from other food sources. But can you rely on whole foods alone? Sure you can and your progress will be impressive even without supplements.

Having said all that, one critical time when supplements can play a key role is for post-workout and I believe this is the best time to have supplements. Other than that, you can stick to whole foods. Why post-workout? It's true you can have a solid meal after training with fast-acting carbs like white rice and a lean protein like skinless chicken breast but frankly it isn't the best time to have a meal from whole foods. Why? Honestly, it's rather a personal choice but for me I don't think I'll be able or want to eat a real meal within a few minutes after my training. Here are 2 reasons:

The first and simple reason is I'm rather thirsty not hungry and I'll gladly gulp down a cold protein shake to alleviate my thirst. There is nothing better than a refreshing drink right after an intense workout.

The second reason is I want to refuel my body fast and a liquid meal digests faster than a solid meal and this is what you want at this critical point in time. Many people call it the "window of opportunity" whereby you need a fast-acting carb like dextrose or waxy maize and a fast-digesting protein like whey protein isolate as soon as you finish working out. It's not a myth as some think because refueling your body as soon as possible post-workout really makes a difference in keeping your body more anabolic(building muscle) as opposed to catabolic(losing muscle).


What I recommend is have a cold whey protein shake within 15 minutes post-workout then have a solid meal one hour later, this truly works best.

For a large variety of whey protein supplements, go to the whey protein store.


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