building revolves a large part around nutrition. Whether you like
it or not, if you don't eat properly, you won't make the muscle
gains that you aspired to. Many people think that protein is the
building block of muscles and it's true. Your muscles need protein
for development. Working out exhausts your muscles, depletes them
and puts them into catabolic mode meaning losing muscle mass.
This is why you need amino acids from protein for repair, growth
and also to sustain muscle mass.
Due to the
importance of protein, some people focus way too much on protein
like drinking many whey protein shakes, eating lots of meat, eggs,
fish etc... So all their meals will have plenty of protein with
few carbohydrates and vegetables. This is known as a high protein
low carb diet.
is a major nutrient for muscle building, it's not all there is
to building muscles. If you focus on a diet with too much protein
and practically no carbs, that's not good in the long run. Consuming
too much protein can overload your liver and is bad for its health.
Don't think that having lots of protein in your body will make
you grow bigger and bigger. Your liver might not be able to process
all the protein and utilize it, so if protein synthesis isn't
fully done, some will go to waste and not absorbed by the muscles.
More protein is not always better. Typically protein consumption
is based on a person's body weight, for instance if you weigh
200 pounds, you need about 200 grams of protein per day to maintain
your muscle mass and growth. That gives you 1 gram of protein
per pound of body weight. 200 grams of protein divided in 5 meals
per day gives you 40 grams of protein per meal and it's ok for
a 200 pound person who is active in muscle building like weight
give some energy too although not much, so relying on protein
with too few carbs isn't recommended if you want to pack lean
muscle mass. You still need a good source of energy beforehand
to fuel your workout. If you don't get the required energy for
your demanding training sessions, your performance won't be optimum
and as a result, your muscle building goals will be affected as
well. So it's very crucial to ingest a good amount of carbs pre-workout.
Carbs notably complex carbs, those that take time to digest and
supply your body with energy gradually and not causing insulin
spikes and a big crash and drop in energy levels following after.
Complex carbohydrates like whole grain oats eg rolled oats, steel-cut
oats and sweet potatoes, brown rice, wholemeal bread, wholewheat
pasta etc... are ideal choices.
Not only carbs
are important pre-workout but post-workout too. The reason is
that when your muscles are depleted from energy, you need to restore
and replenish lost muscle glycogen stores and skipping this process
will result in muscle tissues breakdown that is weak, flat and
tired muscles. Carbs will do the job of supplying energy fast
to your energy drained muscles but also aid the protein and amino
acids to reach your muscle cells faster. While some people prefer
high GI carbs(fast acting), others find it equally beneficial
to stick to lower GI carbs(slow acting) post-workout. This is
actually a topic which creates lots of debates.
A high protein low carb diet is not too ideal if your goal is
to pack lean muscle mass. It's recommended to find the right balance
between the protein and the carbs and you'll achieve better results.
Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body
Building Resource which provides articles on weight training,
nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.