Five Basic Steps To Lean Muscle Nutrition

EATING TO MAXIMIZE MUSCLE AND BURN FAT

You’ve heard it a million times – you can’t out train a bad diet. You know that all the hard work, the guts, the sweat and the tears that you pour into your training will mean zip if you don’t eat smart. But eating smart isn’t that easy. After all, there is so much conflicting advice out there, especially when it comes to how much protein, fats and carbohydrates you need to strip off body fat while packing thick slabs of muscle on to your frame. That’s where we come in. Follow our five steps to lean muscle nutrition to the letter and your body will have no choice but to grow.


Step One: Eat Frequently

Your muscles need a regular flow of amino acids in order to build muscle tissue. Eating your entire day’s allotment of calories in one pig-like sitting isn’t going to cut it. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that our bodies will only assimilate a certain amount of protein per sitting. Any excess will be stored as fat.

Research also indicates that if you feed your body balanced meals that contain quality protein and carbohydrates throughout the day - as many as six small meals spaced out every three hours - you’ll enjoy a number of spectacular benefits, including:

    1. Enhanced metabolism
    2. Less stomach discomfort
    3. Stable energy levels throughout the day
    4. Controlled appetite
    5. Enhanced energy for your workouts
    6. Increased Muscle growth

Step Two: Balance Your Macronutrients

Sensible eating requires taking in a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat. Contrary to recent media reports, carbs are not your enemy. They are, in fact, your body’s preferred source of energy. You’ll need them to fuel your workouts.

Protein requirements for weight trainers are higher also. Those who regularly engage in weight training exercise are routinely breaking down muscle tissue. They need extra protein to repair all of this damage. What’s more, they need it at specific intervals. In fact, timing of protein is very important. We need it straight after a workout, about 30 minutes later when muscle protein synthesis is at it’s highest - and even before bedtime to control cortisol levels and ensure that we’ve got a plentiful supply of amino acids coursing through our bloodstream while we’re sleeping.

Pro Tip: To meet all of your body’s protein demands, aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of lean bodyweight.


Step Three: Avoid Refined Carbs & Sugar

Concentrate on eating natural, unprocessed carbs. Reduce processed refined carbs as much as possible. Cut out white sugar and flour completely. Include a mixture of both starchy carbs and fibrous carbs on your plate.

Pro Tip: Eat fruit every day. Aim to take in 50% of your daily calories from carbs, with 30% coming from lean protein sources and 20% from healthy fats.


FOODS TO AVOID
 1  French fries and other deep fried foods
 2  Ice cream and milkshakes
 3  Doughnuts and pastries
 4  Sweets and confections
 5  Sugar sweetened soft drinks
 6  Sugar sweetened juice drink & energy drinks.
 7  White bread and flour products
 8  Crisps
 9  Bacon, sausage and processed meats
10 Hot dogs and fast-food burgers
11 Thick crust pizza
12 Sugary breakfast cereals
FOODS TO REPLACE THEM WITH
 1  Fresh fruit
 2  Fibrous vegetables
 3  Yams
 4  Potatoes
 5  Unsweetened oats
 6  Brown rice
 7  Beans and pulses
 8  100% whole wheat or whole grains
 9  Low or fat-free dairy products
10 Chicken and turkey breast
11 Eggs and egg whites
12 Lean cuts of red meat

Step Four: Drink Water

Pro Tip: Drink more water! Shoot for 2.5 liters of water per day.

Without it nothing in your body works properly. With it everything in your body works optimally. If you ever find yourself dragging your way through a workout, it’s probably because you’re dehydrated. When you lose just 5% of water weight, your strength level can drop by as much as 30%. And thirst is not a good measure of hydration. So carry a water bottle with you all the time. Sip from it regularly - especially if you suddenly develop a between meal food craving.


Step Five: Supplement Post Workout

You’ve nailed it in the gym. You managed to pump out extra reps, pile an extra plate onto your squat and achieve a massive pump in your front quads. As you stagger out the door, you mutter to yourself, “Best work-out ever!”

Your body is now primed to grow. What you put into it in the next hour is going to determine whether that mind blowing workout is going to translate into dense slabs of beef on your frame or whether all of your effort is going to end up being one big waste of time. This, you see, is the critical time for muscle recovery and growth. It’s your body’s optimum muscle building window. You have to get it right!

To optimally fuel your body for growth after training, you need a supplement stack that includes:

  • BCAAs
  • Whey & Casein Protein
  • Creatine

Learn more about the basics of supplements in our beginners guide to sport supplements.


Summary

When it comes to packing on muscle and stripping off fat, you simply have to get strict with your diet. By applying our six lean muscle nutrition steps to the letter, you will ensure that every ounce of energy that you’re expending in the gym translates into striated, mass on your frame.


 

Author: Steve Theunissen
Author Bio: Steve Theunissen is the Nutrition Souq Bodybuilding and Workouts Editor. He is a former gym owner and personal trainer. Steve is the author of 5 hard copy books and dozens of e-books on the subject of fitness, bodybuilding and weight loss.