Maximize your muscle with this list of dietary maxims.
The following compilation of sound nutritional tips is for those who already know the difference between carbs, fat and protein and who are looking for a dietary edge that will help them to maximize their muscle gains. That, we're guessing, is you.
1. EAT BOTH FATTY AND LOW-FAT FISHFish is an excellent source of protein that should be consumed regularly by bodybuilders. Varying in fat content, some types of fish are high in healthy fats while others are low in fat altogether. Unlike other tissue proteins, though, fatty fish provide a host of benefits to bodybuilders.
Salmon and sardines, for example, are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which support the immune system and assist with muscle recovery and growth, in addition to many other benefits. Fish that are lower in fat, such as tuna, also make an excellent source of protein. All bodybuilders, regardless of their phase of diet or training goals, should strive to take in eight ounces of fatty fish at least twice a week.
2. EAT YOUR VEGGIES!Vegetables are one of the most overlooked components of bodybuilding nutrition. Many bodybuilders are rigorous about their protein and complex carbohydrate consumption, but lax about eating a sufficient quantity and variety of vegetables. Bodybuilders should strive to take in five or six servings every day.
To meet your needs, include more than one serving at a meal. Not only do vegetables provide nutrien
ts that other bodybuilding foods may lack, but they also provide bulk and fiber, helping your body more efficiently process a high-protein diet.
3. TAKE GLUTAMINEKnown for its immunity-enhancing properties, glutamine is not only one of the most prevalent aminos in the body, but also one of the most important for bodybuilders. If you're overly stressed from dieting or training, supplementing with glutamine allows your body to maintain its storage supply of glutamine in muscle tissue, enhancing overall muscular growth and recovery. Take 10-40 g of glutamine a day.
4. MIX YOUR ANTIOXIDANTSTake a mix of antioxidants; a good cocktail has an anticatabolic effect by quenching free radicals formed during and after intense exercise. In your antioxidant regimen include 400-800 international units (IU) of vitamin E, 500-1,000 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, 200 micrograms of selenium (from selenium yeast). Get the rest from five or six servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
5. ADD ARGININETry adding arginine to your supplement mix. Arginine, a conditionally essential amino acid, seems promising in the muscle-building department, although not by aiding growth-hormone release, as previously believed. Studies suggest it speeds wound healing, which isn't too far removed from what happens in the body after a workout.
Arginine also improves blood flow and enhances the growth of muscles lengthwise (new contractile units are built onto muscle at a faster rate when arginine is given to developing rats). Arginine may also enhance immune function in athletes, especially when combined with glutamine.
6. MAXIMIZE YOUR MINERALSTake extra calcium and magnesium. If you look at the label of any once-daily multivitamin, you'll notice a "mineral gap"—a place where certain minerals should be listed. Even if they're included, most multis contain only a small percentage of the Daily Value (% DV) of calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Calcium is important for fat-burning metabolism, magnesium for training performance and potassium for muscle cell volume. A once-daily multivitamin simply doesn't cut it. Correct the situation by taking 1,000 mg per day of supplement-source calcium (or two to three cups of fat-free dairy products), 450 mg of magnesium, and five or six servings of fruits and vegetables per day (for potassium as well as other micronutrients).