Timing is everything.
What is the first thing most people think about on the topic of building lean muscle? Probably hitting the gym – pushing yourself harder and further each day with the commitment to improving and creating incredible gains. While important, there is another aspect of muscle building that is often much more overlooked. Something that any bodybuilder or trainer will tell you. Bodybuilding is over 50% nutrition.
You can lift over and over until the morning, but if you’re not putting the right nutrition in your body you probably won’t see the results you were expecting. Sure, you will probably still gain some muscle – but not lean muscle. You’re probably also gaining weight in the form of fat.
Yes, you have to eat more to gain mass but here is an important tip: Timing and portion control is everything.
Most people know these rules of thumb: At least one gram of protein and about 2-3 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight on a daily basis. This is important information to know – but it’s also important to know how to portion these stats throughout the day.
You should aim for about 40-60 grams of protein and 50-80 grams of carbs per meal. Of course, this depends on your size. Take note: this does not include post workout or breakfast. In the morning after a night’s rest your body is depleted of nutrients, same goes for after a workout – your body is stressed an in great need for replenishment. That’s why breakfast and post workout meals should have a boost of caloric intake. At these key times all the protein and carbs you eat will go towards muscle growth. Evenly distribute the rest of your meals into small portions and you will maximize muscle growth and minimize weight gain in fat.
“How long after a workout should I eat my meal?” You might ask. Well the answer is very simple – immediately. The minute you finish a workout your muscles are at their most depleted. Take advantage of this. Even eating as little as an hour after a workout will significantly lower the nutrient intake of your muscles.
Of course, you can’t just keep the exact same diet schedule every single day. The truth is that there will always be days where you rest. And on rest days you should NOT have the same calorie intake that you do on days when you work out. Remember those heavy breakfasts and post workout meals we were talking about? You simply can’t do the same thing on the days you rest.
Here’s a quick rule that can help you manage your “on” days vs. “off” days: Workout days should have about 16-20 calories per pound of body weight, but on your rest days you only need around 12-15 calories per pound.
Remember, if you eat more calories and carbs than your body and muscles need – that will transform into fat. And if you don’t eat enough, your muscles won’t be getting the nutrients needed to build mass. So take that rigorous workout schedule you are so committed to and apply that same dedication to a well timed and portioned diet. Don’t worry, once you start noticing the difference – you can thank us later.
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