|Nutrition for Muscle Gain
BodybuildingPro.com Articles Database Articles by Writer Articles Written by Matt Canning Nutrition for Muscle Gain
Focus on Nutrition to Maximize Your Bodybuilding Gain
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The single most important aspect to any bodybuilding program is nutrition. Some people may disagree, but likely not very many - especially among the more experienced who have been bodybuilding for a long time and have seen the drastic results that can come from a lifestyle of proper nutrition. Nutrition is something that I try to stress as often as possible. To the beginner and even intermediate and advanced level bodybuilder, it's often easy to keep in mind how important it is and get caught up in training, hard and heavy, only to have a lot of those workouts go to waste because of lack of proper effort in the kitchen. So I hope that by repeating myself enough times, everyone will keep in mind that nutrition is the most important part of a bodybuilding program - many say as much as 70-80% of the big picture.
You should also keep in mind that bodybuilding is a healthy lifestyle. You will always have your stereotypes about bodybuilding - people assume it is solely excessive drug use that makes muscles, but this isn't always the case. Surely there are some bodybuilders out there who rely on drugs more than anything else and may not end up so healthy as a result, but you don't need to follow their lead. You make the decisions for yourself, and if you do things the right way, you will not only gain much desired muscle mass, but you will also create a healthy and balanced lifestyle for yourself. Unless you are competing at a high level, bodybuilding doesn't need to be your life - just a hobby, but a great one at that. Of course nutrition is not the only aspect of bodybuilding - I'm just trying to stress it's the most important. Nutrition, coupled with proper training, recovery, and supplementation will create the whole picture for you, and something which you will be grateful for when you start to pack on the pounds of muscle in the road which follows. Below are some tips to help you make the most of your nutrition program and help you to achieve your goals:
Tip 1 - Water - Drink it Down!
Water is a very important aspect of muscle gain. If you don't drink enough water, you won't be giving your body the ideal environment for maximal muscle growth. As a result, your muscles will appear to be smaller and flatter and your strength will suffer. Water is essential for life and health and as such, it's essential for muscle growth, too. You should try to take in at least one gallon (3.8 litres) of water each day. Depending on other conditions, such as the temperature and whether or not you are working out or sweating - you should increase this amount even more. Drinking water during your workouts will incrase your blood volumes and muscle pumps. Aim to drink water before, during and after your workouts. About 5-10 OZ (200-300 mL) every 15 minutes is a good goal for water consumption during your workouts.
Now you might be asking how this can be made easier. The problem is that it is sometimes difficult to drink one gallon of water each day, especially if you are accustomed to drinking far less water as it is now. As an additional trip, purchase a water bottle and keep it filled with purified water. Try to take a gulp every 5-10 minutes. It's better to do this instead of drinking huge quantities at one time. If you drink too much, you might find it overwhelming and lose sight of your gallon a day goal, so take it slowly. Try to drink water between meals. You will find that drinking more water will help digestion and give you a bigger appetite. Now to make sure you have drank enough water throughout the day - use your personal gauge, ie, the colour of your urine. Your urine should be clear. If it is not, it's a sign of dehydration.
Tip 2 - Include Several Servings of Fruits and Vegetables in Your Diet.
Lots of fruits and vegetables is one of the best things you can include in your diet for overall health. Research has found that fruits and vegetables may help to prevent cancer. That said, fruits and vegetables can also help you out in your quest for muscle gain. Fruits and vegetables contain plenty of fiber, as well as being an essential source of vitamins and minerals. The best way to get your vitamins is from a healthy, balanced diet - which includes several servings of fruits and vegetables each day. You should strive to take in between 5-10 servings per day, and try to eat one serving or more with each meal. You can include berries in your oatmeal or cook vegetables in bulk. Salads, carrots, broccoli and apples are good choices.
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Tip 3 - Include Supplements in Your Bodybuilding Program.
You will benefit from various supplements in your bodybuilding program. Creatine helps to increase levels of creatinine in your body and keeps your muscles full. Postworkout protein shakes help muscle growth and glutamine helps to decrease recovery time and gives your immune system a boost. It also improves digestion and enhances muscle gains. You should shoot for 5 grams of creatine after you work out or you can split that quantity in half for both pre and post workout intake. You should also drink a postworkout protein shake that contains around 40 grams of protein and 40-100 grams of simple carbohydrates. You should consume glutamine throughout the day, up to four doses, each of 5-10 grams in size. Supplementation is an important part of the bodybuilding program, but be warned - it doesn't replace diet, nor is it intended to. Eat a balanced diet and use supplements for best results.
Tip 4 - Visit Your Doctor.
Remember, bodybuilding can be a healthy lifestyle and a very healthy one at that. By consulting with your physician on a regular basis, you can have an assessment of your overall health made and decide what changes in diet may be necessary - maybe you will have to make some changes or maybe not, but it's a very smart idea to be aware. You should have your heart rate and blood pressure checked and even give consideration to regular blood work. Have regular chekups and if you are experiencing any symptoms and are uncertain of your overall health, be sure to consult with your physician. If you get into this habit early at a very young age when you are also very healthy, you will be happy you did so years down the road when you will be quick to catch health problems early on. Preventative medicine is sometimes the best medicine.
Tip 5 - Perform Cardio.
Cardio may not be helpful if your goal is to gain muscle mass, but as I mentioned above, bodybuilding can be a very healthy lifestyle, and your only goal shouldn't be to gain as much lean muscle mass as possible. Focus on health and muscles for a great result. THat said, cardio is great for cardiovascular health and should be included in your training program to keep your heart strong. You should include three or four sessions each week, ranging from 10 minutes to thirty minutes of light cardio when bulking, and four one hour sessions of moderately intense cario per week when dieting.
Follow these simple rules and your quest for muscle mass will be all the faster. Better yet - do this for overall health as well as muscularity. Why settle for just one when you can have both?
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