Diet and working out

If you lift weights very often, you will have an increased need for energy.  So, even though the amount of food you eat may increase, you should still stick pretty closely to the ratios of food as suggested earlier (remember the?).  The only exception may be protein.  Immediately after your workout, you should consume about 20-30 grams of protein and 20-30g of carbohydrates for maximum recovery.  This is important to remember because you need to replace the energy you used working out (from carbs) and give your body some repair materials to fix up your muscles (from protein).  If your goal is weight loss, then do just the protein.

Eat more protein???

When you lift weights you actually damage your muscle tissue. Your body fixes it, but adds a little extra muscle protein in the process.  When your body repairs damaged muscle, you end up with a little bit more muscle than when you started.  That’s why your muscles may actually get bigger over time.

So, where does that extra muscle come from?  Largely from protein.   As a result of increased muscle breakdown and repair, your body needs more protein than normal.  The entire repair process typically takes at least 36 hours, so your body needs not only more protein right after a workout, but also over the next day or two.  Protein is also required by your body to “tell it” to build muscle.  It actually triggers hormones and processes that initiate repair.

Now, l am certainly not endorsing consumption of massive amounts of protein.  Hardcore bodybuilders often consume in excess of 400 grams of protein a day.  That’s the equivalent of 50 glasses of milk!  Although this practice does in fact promote maximum muscle growth, it crowds out other beneficial foods.  So, eat more protein than your un-savvy neighbors, but there is no reason to go overboard.

Supplements

There are a million and one supplements out there to help you build muscle faster and easier.  Some work, some work well.  And some of the ones that work need to be taken a specific way to be most effective.  Since this book is for the “average” person trying to get healthy I won’t waste time blabbing on and on about supplements to grow bigger muscles.  I plan to write a book specifically on that subject, but for those of you that can’t wait for my next book here are a few things to check out:

1) Phosphatidylserine
(PS)-decreases your stress response and therefore the amount of muscle lost to cortisol and other stress hormones.  Cortisol is also responsible for fat retention, so this one can help keep you thin.  There are also numerous mental benefits to this one.  Take 800 mg immediately following your workout.

2) Creatine
increases the amount of energy available to muscle tissue.  Take 5-10g after your workout.  There are also several different kinds with different absorbability, but at the end of the day, they are all creatine.

3) Glutamine
is your main building material.  You build a house with 2X4’s; you build a muscle with glutamine.  Take 5g immediately following your workout with your post-workout protein and carbs.

4) Testosterone Boosters
raise levels of testosterone, the male hormone largely responsible for muscle growth.  Testosterone is the reason men are naturally much bigger and stronger than women.  This is a little more “hardcore,” and although the previous 3 are recommended even for the ladies, this one is not!