What do you think of when you hear the world “anabolic?”
If you thought of muscle raging hormones like testosterone, growth hormone and insulin – then give yourself an A-plus. These three hormones are your body’s primary weaponry against stubborn and skinny genetics.
If you ever want a true shot at maximizing your bodies muscle-gaining potential th
en you need to keep your anabolic hormones high – this is rule #1.
Use these muscle gaining nutrition rules to to ensure you have your “muscle-building switch” turned to the permanent ON position if you ever want a body that commands respect.
Rule #1: Pound Those Calories
Research shows that intense weight training combined with inadequate calories, results in less gonaddotropin-releasing hormone produced in the brain. Since this hormone plays a role releasing testosterone, the end result is lowered testosterone levels, which halts your muscle gains.
Research also shows that extreme aerobic exercise with limited caloric intake can put your testosterone levels into the same range as a 90-year old man in a rocking chair. Not a good situation for building muscle.
The TIPS: Aim for a minimum of 18 calories per pound of body weight. So a 150-pound guy should be getting at least 2700 calories a day. This is an excellent sta
rting point and if you’re not gaining at least 5 pounds of quality weight each month then multiply your body weight by 20 and repeat until you start seeing muscle gains.
“It’s my guess that the actors in Spartacus: Blood and Sand have pounded a few calories!”
Rule #2: Don’t Be Afraid Of Fat
Research shows that lower-fat diets drop your testosterone levels by up to 15%, which will zap your sex-drive and put the breaks on muscle growth. Males who avoid beef also experience lower testosterone levels then males that eat higher amounts of beef, which contains saturated fat.
Plus, if you had to rank the world’s populations in terms of pure hairy-chested manliness, chances are Greeks, Sicilians, and Cypriots would rank on the podium. So it should be self-evident that an eating plan similar to the classic Mediterranean diet, driving about 25-40% of it’s calories from fat, is optimal for increasing or maintaining your testosterone levels.
The TIPS: Consume at least 30% of your calories from fat – 10% saturated, 10% monounsaturated and 10% polyunsaturated fat – with the bulk of your fat coming from omega-3’s. Skimping on fat prevents you from making steroid hormones – and testosterone is one of they key anabolic steroid hormones
The best choices of fat coming from three main foods – salmon, nuts, red meat and olive oil. Ensure your grocery cart includes at least 3 decent size salmons (6-10 oz) each week and you’ll plenty of high quality fat content. Get at least 500 ml of mixed nuts each week and ensure they are snacked on throughout the day and with your meals. Nuts are great on the side with a protein shake or to put on salads. Lastly, eat at least 2-3 steaks each week. An 8-16 oz steak will be filled with B vitamins and zinc, which is an mineral responsible for high testosterone levels. Always go with lean red meat, preferably top sirloin or flank steak.
Rule #3: Eat Enough Carbs
More research shows that those who carry the lowest amount of carbs in their body have the lowest amount of testosterone. in their bodies. This is why I’m not a fan of keto-genic diets that have almost zero carbs. Diets like this can drop your testosterone levels by 20% after 1-2 weeks of following.
The TIPS: To keep your testosterone levels CRANKED, get at least 1 gram of carbs per pound of bodyweight per day. I’m a 210-pound bodybuilder so I shoot for about 210 grams of carbohydrates a day. Over 5 meals that is 42 grams of carbs per meal. This is a good baseline to start at. You may need more, you may need less but start with this rule.
I stick to oatmeal, brown rice, potatoes, rice cakes, fruit and veggies as my primary source of carbs. If you’re using Maximize Your Muscle and really want to bulk up quickly then consider 2 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight per day. Anything more then this will often lead to excess fat storage.
The TIPS #4: Bye, Bye Booze
I’m sorry if you broke into a cold sweat or lost your eyes when they rolled to the back of your head. Research shows that alcohol and muscle go together like a plugged in toaster in a bathtub full of water. That means that the majority of studies show that people who drink the most alcohol have the highest waist-to-hip ratio. That is, they could be confused for being pregnant with triplets. Alcohol can also have a muscle-wasting effect, which is probably due to the stress hormone cortisol that is released. Cortisol increases muscle breakdown and hinders the normal muscle gains you would expect form weight training.
The TIPS: This message my be confusing considering all the attention and focus on the life-prolonging and heart-protecting benefits of moderate drinking. I encourage you to ask yourself one thing if you’re taking part in a dedicated muscle gaining plan: What is more important to you? Drinks suds or looking like a stud?
“Ask Flavia (my fiancee) if it was worth cutting the wine nights leading up to our trip to Punta Cana!”
Rule #5: Seize The Post Workout Window Of Opportunity With Carbs and Proteins
Think of it this way: Lost time is lost muscle. For every second that passes after your last rep in the weight room is another second that you be gaining muscle, not potentially losing it.
Research shows that insulin is one of the most powerful anabolic hormones. It combats cortisol levels that get elevated after an intense workout and speeds nutrients to muscles for refuel and repair.
Protein makes a logical choice to stimulate protein synthesis – the conversion of food to muscle – so why in the world wouldn’t you give your body protein after a workout? That makes complete sense.
But where do carbohydrates come into play? Yes, carbs replenish your glycogen stores but it also stimulates insulin which prevents muscle breakdown. Preventing protein breakdown is a huge piece of improving your physique.
Your body releases more insulin with the combination of protein and carbs rather than one of those nutrients alone. So if you to maximize muscle gain and minimize muscle lost you need a combination of carbohydrate and protein as soon as possible.
THE TIPS: If you’re a male then shoot for 80 grams of carbohydrates and 40 grams of protein and if you’re a female shoot for half of that. A popular post workout meal for me is Vector cereal and cottage cheese; or 2 bananas and a protein shake; or rice cakes with a litre of milk. Those are three fast-acting post workout meals to blunt cortisol and spike insulin for maximum muscle gain.
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P.S. Let me know which “must-know” tips you liked the most and if you need clarification on any of them.
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