Is Your Nutrition Allowing For Success

When it comes to building muscle, nutrition is half the battle.I am constantly preaching to the athletes I work with you’ve got to train your heart out to give your body the stimulus to grow new muscle tissue, but without the right building blocks (food), it can’t do a thing! What’s more is that it’s not good enough to just “eat healthy” or “eat a lot” like so many struggling beginners say they do. You’ve got to actually construct a proper muscle building diet!

Don’t worry, though, because that’s actually a lot simpler than it sounds. There are, however, a few crippling mistakes you’ve got to watch out for. Avoid these pitfalls, and you’ll be well on your way to a strong, muscular, and lean physique!
Mistake 1: Eating Low Fat

For the most part, the low-fat diet craze of the eighties and nineties is over. However, there are still a few bodybuilders out there who would recommend a super-low-fat diet to those looking to improve their health and physique. Not only is avoiding all fat NOT healthy, it’s horrible for building muscle!

First of all, dietary fats play a large role in your body’s maintenance of proper hormone levels. The most important hormone for building muscle is testosterone, and yours is going to be miserably low if you avoid things like eggs, beef, and other fat-rich animal foods. Even some of that saturated fat is good for your health and hormone levels as long as you balance it out with other types of fats from oils, vegetables, and other plant sources.

Also, there are plenty of vitamins which are fat-soluble. If you live on a diet nearly devoid of fat, your body will not be able to digest important nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, or K. That’s bad news if you want to get big! Your body has priorities, and if its basic health “concerns” aren’t being met, it’s not going to want to embark on the hard, energy-demanding process of building NEW muscle tissue!

Finally, one of the great things about fats is that they are extremely energy-dense. You can eat tons of breads, grains, and low-fat meats and dairy and never get enough calories to grow. However, just one tablespoon of most oils has well over 100 calories! Of course, those who tend to gain weight easily will have to keep an eye on things, but this energy density is great for hard-gainers!
Mistake 2: Not Getting Enough Protein

Just about everyone knows how important protein is for building muscle, but most lifters still don’t get enough. If you think of building muscle literally as a “building” process, then think of protein as the “bricks” – it’s what the muscles are being made of! Carbs and fats give your body the energy it needs to train hard, but without adequate protein, it’s got nothing to “work with.”

One of the most important things you can do for your protein intake is to think of protein as the “main” part of every meal you eat. Every meal needs some type of meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or in some cases, dairy or protein powder. You can add on to that, but the protein is the main event!

Another thing you should do is get a quality whey protein powder. Whey is cheap, convenient, mixes well, and is almost pure protein. You can drink protein shakes plain when you’re in a pinch, or you can add whey to a blender shake or meal to boost your protein intake. However, don’t rely on powders – whole food sources, especially meat, are best.

Finally, if you’re on a budget, you’ll have to be tactical about which protein sources you consume. It’s surely the most expensive nutrient in your muscle-building diet, but you don’t have to break the bank! Focus on whole eggs, cheap cuts of beef and chicken, and the occasional on-sale fish when money is tight.
Mistake 3: Eating Too Few Calories

There seems to be an endless array of different muscle-building diets out there, and they often seem to be in conflict. However, nothing can change the fact that to build muscle, you have GOT to consume more calories than you burn. This surplus of energy is the only way for your body to build NEW muscle tissue (get bigger)!

So, how should you get all of these extra calories? If you’re eating enough protein, then you’re probably already getting quite a few calories from that, as well as from the fats that naturally occur in protein sources like eggs and meat. To make up the difference, you’ll have to eat quality, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.

Does this mean you need to eat five, six, even seven times a day like so many bodybuilders do? Not necessarily. A big reason why so many guys trying to gain weight eat so often is that that is simply the only way to get that much food in during the day! However, not everyone needs such a mass of calories, and not everyone has as hard a time getting lots of food down.

You should focus first on getting lots of calories and especially carbs in around your workout time – this is when your body is most primed to take advantage of the extra nutrients. Big pre- and post-workouts meals combined with a few more, protein-focused, smaller meals throughout the day should have you gaining quality mass – that is, muscle without a bunch of extra body fat.