Of course, as you well know by now, no training program is complete without a nutrition and supplement program to work with it. Training is just half the equation and nutrition is equally, if not more important for realizing your goals. But just as you can alter your training to focus more on a specific goal, you also need to alter your diet to better reach that goal. This diet is built for those who want to maximize muscle growth and strength gains.
Gain size and strength
As you know the three main macronutrients are: 1) Protein, 2) Carbs and 3) Fat. As you’ve heard me state time and time again, protein is critical for building muscle size and strength. So it should come at no surprise that this diet will provide you ample amounts of protein to pack on muscle and get you stronger and more powerful. The basic diet plan, which is meant for rest days, or days you are not training, will provide you about 1.5 grams of protein. This will keep you anabolic and encourage muscle growth. On Workout days the addition of a pre and postworkout shake or my favorite, a pre/during/postworkout shake, will bring your total daily protein intake closer to 2 grams per pound, which will be the days that extra protein will ensure that you’re really kicking up muscle growth on those training days.
Carbs are the macronutrient we like to give the most credit to when it comes to providing us energy, especially when we work out. Yet, while carbs are critical for workout energy, so is protein and fat. Yes, amino acids from the protein you eat can be used for energy… and so can fat. I’ll get into this in just a minute. Back to carbs… to ensure you have ample levels of energy to get through these workouts and recover properly from them, you will be getting in about 1.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight on rest days, and a full 2 grams of carbs per pound on workout days. To provide yourself the type of longlasting energy that will get you through these grueling workouts, without adding body fat, you should focus mainly on slow-digesting carbs. Research studies confirm that when athletes consume slow-digesting carbs (such as fruit and whole grains) earlier in the day, such as at breakfast and lunch, they have more energy for workouts and can workout harder for longer, in addition they burn more fat during exercise and at rest sitting around. That is why this diet focuses on fruits, oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread. These carbs will keep insulin levels low, which means you have more stable and longer-lasting energy, and you will burn more fat.
Of course, there is a time or two when you want to focus on fast-digesting carbs. The first time is right when you wake up. Getting in fast carbs at this time will send those carbs straight to your liver, which will tell your body to stop burning up muscle protein for fuel. Yes, the bad news is that when you sleep, you go so long without eating that your body feeds on your muscle for fuel. But getting in fast carbs like cantaloupe (one of the few fast fruits, along with watermelon) will stop it quickly. Even other fruits that are low-glycemic or slow-digesting, such as apples, berries, oranges, etc… make a good carb choice when you wake. One of the main reasons that fruit is low glycemic is the fructose content. Fructose has to go to the liver first to be converted to glucose (blood sugar). That is one of the main reasons why most fruits are “slow”. But the fructose still gets to your liver fairly quickly and signals your liver to stop burning muscle for fuel. Of course, with these carbs you’ll need to add a fast-acting protein, like Pro Jym, to stop the breakdown of muscle protein and replace some of the lost aminos. This also happens to be the reason why you will go with a protein shake right before bed. The slow-digesting proteins found in Pro Jym will give you a long and steady supply of amino acids throughout most of the night so your body doesn’t eat up as much muscle protein for fuel. The only other time you want fast carbs is right after the workout. Here you want those carbs to not only quickly replenish the carbs you burned during the workout, but you want them to spike insulin levels. The anabolic hormone insulin drives amino acids and carbs (in the form of glucose) into the muscles for recovery and growth, and it also turns on the process of muscle protein synthesis (which is the biochemical steps that lead to muscle growth). So after workouts turn to fast carbs like gummy bears and other fat-free candy, white bread, white potatoes, or sports drinks.
The other issue with carbs is timing. You should focus the majority of your carb intake on the earlier parts of the day, like breakfast, lunch and the snacks you have up till the afternoon. When it comes to dinner, you should stick with vegetables as your sides and skip the carby potatoes, rice, breads and pastas. Also keep snacks after dinner to just protein and healthy fats.
Speaking of healthy fats, you also need to get in ample amounts of fat, especially healthy fats like olive oil, egg yolks, omega-3 fats from salmon and other fatty fish, and peanut butter. These fats are not as readily stored as body fat as other fats and are readily used for fuel during exercise. On this diet your total daily fat intake will be about 0.5 grams per pound of body weight and about 30% of you total daily calories. Fat is also critical for keeping testosterone levels high.
The sample daily diet I provided is what a typical day will look like on days you do not train. This is for a typical 180-pound guy, but will suffice for men and women between 160-200 pounds who want to build more muscle and strength. If you weigh more or less than this range, adjust your macronutrients accordingly for your weight.
On workout days, simply add the pre and postworkout meals (or do it as a pre/during/post workout meal) in around your workout time. If you train close to one of the meal times, simply replace that meal with the pre workout meal and follow up with the next scheduled meal about 1 hour after your postworkout meal. For example, if you workout first thing in the morning, skip the shake and cantaloupe and go with the preworkout meal as your first meal. Then have breakfast one hour after the postworkout meal.