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Thread: Compiled Nutritional and Diet Information

  1. #1
    Windex is offline Staff ~ HRT Optimization Specialist
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Arctic Circle

    Compiled Nutritional and Diet Information

    DISCLAIMER: Some of this preceding information will be common knowledge, repeated from other stickies, and/or debatable. The purpose of this thread is to inform beginners about the world of dieting and exercise

    Article 1: Build Muscle on a Budget: The 10 Cheapest Sources of Protein

    Some of you are on a tight budget, still student, living in expensive cities or just frugal. These can make it hard to get the protein you need to build muscle. This post will help you — the 10 cheapest sources of protein to build muscle.

    1. Canned Tuna. 40g protein/can. Buy tuna in spring water or brine. Don’t worry about the mercury: 1 can chunk light tuna per day is safe.

    2. Whole Eggs. 7g protein/egg. Lower your body fat rather than throwing the yolk away if you have bad cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol isn’t bound to blood cholesterol, and the yolk contains half the protein and vitamins A/D/E.

    3. Whey. 1 scoop ON whey is 24g protein/30g serving. At 2 scoops/day, a 10lbs bag will last an easy 2.5 - 3.5 months.

    4. Ground Beef. 25g protein/100g. Buy 80% ground beef and rinse the fat if lean beef is too expensive.

    5. Milk. 30g protein/liter milk. If you’re a skinny guy, want to gain weight fast and don’t bother gaining some fat, drink whole (aka - Homogenized). Don’t worry about the saturated fat.

    6. Frozen Chicken Breast. 25g protein/100g. Cook the frozen chicken breast using a BBQ or Oven. Consume the chicken breast within 2 months of freezing for optimal tenderness & taste.

    7. Cottage Cheese. 12g protein/100g. Cottage cheese is more expensive in Europe than in the US. Alternative = Quark cheese: 10g protein per 100g, cheaper than cottage cheese and a better taste.

    8. Ground Turkey. 25g protein/100g. Expensive cuts are made from turkey breast. Cheaper cuts can contain skin, which increases the fat content. Rinse the fat like for ground beef using this method.

    9. Canned Mackerel. 23g protein/100g. Canned mackerel is high in omega-3, contains less mercury than canned tuna, and tastes a lot better too.

    10. Calves Liver. 20g protein/100g. Low fat and nutrient dense. Contrary to what you might believe, liver is safe.

    Bonus Tips. Buy generic food. Buy in bulk to get discounts. Freeze everything. Get a job if you don’t have one. Increase your income if you do. Cut expenses.

    Article 2: 10 Foods You Probably Think Are Healthy, But Aren’t

    To build muscle & lose fat, 90% of your diet must consist of whole unprocessed foods. That’s anything that doesn’t come out of a box like meats, veggies, eggs, fruits, etc. Eating 6 meals/day leaves room for 4 junk meals per week.

    You’re already doing that but not getting results? Maybe you’re not eating that healthy. Here are 10 foods you might think are healthy because they’re labeled as such, but which in reality are anything but healthy.

    1. Breakfast Cereals. Cereals are labeled healthy & nutritive and recommended for weight loss. Read the labels: cereals are often high in sugar & salt and their vitamin/mineral content is chemical based.

    2. Granola Bars. Granola bars consist of healthy oats & nuts. But they’re glued together with blood sugar raising ingredients like corn syrup. Some bars even contain chocolate chips, making them as bad as candy bars.

    Healthy alternative: homemade protein bars.

    3. Yogurt with Fruit at The Bottom. Fat free doesn’t mean healthy. Labels tell you they contain added sugars, corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. Same with fat free frozen yogurts which can contain 20g sugars per 1/2 cup.

    Healthy alternative: plain unflavored yogurt mixed with fruit cut into pieces.

    4. Bread. Convenient and tastes good, but not as healthy as you think. Whole grain or whole wheat means nothing. Dark bread can still contain corn syrup & trans-fats and eating too much bread will make you fat.

    Healthy alternative: Ezekiel Bread, but lower your bread intake.

    5. Sandwiches. Often labelled “fitness” or “light”, but containing sugar-laden salad dressings, little veggies & proteins and too much white bread. Freshness is questionable and you need the foot-long to fill your stomach.

    Healthy alternative: make your own sandwiches.

    6. Fruit Juice. Even 100% fruit juice has added sugars, usually fructose. Cans of fruit juice contain up to 38g sugar per 8oz. Excess fructose causes obesity, bad cholesterol, poor appetite control, etc.

    Healthy alternative: home-made fruit juice or eat fruit.

    7. Sport Drinks. Supposed to help you replenish electrolytes, carbs, etc. But it’s actually sugar water, with up to 30g sugar/serving. If you eat healthy and don’t drink 2 gallons water in 1 setting, you don’t risk water intoxication.

    Healthy alternative: water during workout, protein + carbs post workout.

    8. Fast Food Salads. Contain sugar-laden salad dressings, croutons made from refined white flour or white floor pasta. In many cases you’re better off ordering a double cheeseburger than a chicken salad.

    Healthy alternative: make your own salads.

    9. Frozen Meals. Nothing is wrong with frozen veggies/fruits. But a lot is wrong with frozen meals often labeled “light” or “healthy”. They’re processed, high in sugar, and come with sauces & sodium. Avoid.

    Healthy alternative: cook all your meals for the day in the morning or evening.

    10. Diet Soda. Contain artificial sweeteners like the controversial aspartame. Do your research and decide if you want to take the risk.

    Article 3: Tips for Building Muscle

    1. Get Stronger. More strength is more muscle. Get into strength training. I recommend weight training because it allows you to start light and add weight endlessly. Body-weight exercises work too. Start with an empty bar. Learn proper technique. Add weight each workout to keep pushing your body out of comfort zone.

    2. Use Free Weights. You can lift the heaviest weights using barbells. More weight is more stress, thus more muscle. Dumbbells are great for assistance exercises, but not for your main lifts. Stay away from machines.

    * Safe. Machines force you into fixed, unnatural movement patterns which can cause injuries. Free weights replicate natural motions.
    * Efficient. Free weights force you to control and balance the weight. This builds more muscle than machines, which balance the weight for you.
    * Functional. Strength built on machines doesn’t transfer to free weights or real life. No machine balances the weight for you in real life.
    * Versatile. You can do hundreds of exercises with just 1 barbell. Saves a lot of money and space, especially if you want to build a home gym.

    3. Do Compound Exercises. Isolation exercises are okay once you’ve built base strength & muscle mass. But if you’re starting to build muscle, exercises that hit several muscles at the same time are better.

    * No endless Biceps Curls -> Pull-ups, Chin-ups & Barbell Rows
    * Also no Triceps Kickbacks -> Bench Press, Overhead Press, Dips
    * And definitely no Leg Extensions -> Squats & Deadlifts

    4. Train Your Legs. Squats work your whole body, they’re the most important exercise. You’ll look totally different once you can Squat 300lbs. That’s a free weight Squat with hips coming lower than knees.

    All your muscles tense when doing Squats & Deadlifts. They work your body as 1 piece and let you lift heavy weights.

    5. Do Full Body Workouts. Don’t do those muscle magazine workouts. Body part splits with isolation exercises is fine once you’ve built a foundation.

    6 Get Recovery. Pro athletes workout 5-6 times per week. But they didn’t start that way. They added workouts as they got stronger & bigger. You’ll overtrain if you jump into their routines. As a beginner you need more recovery.

    * Rest. Muscles grow when you rest, not when you workout. Start with 3 full body workouts per week and focus on intensity, not gym time.
    * Sleep. Growth hormone releases when you sleep, building muscle. Aim for 8 hours sleep. Nap post workout if your lifestyle allows.
    * Drink Water. Avoids dehydration and helps muscle recovery. Drink 2 cups water with each meal, and sip water during your workout.
    * Eat. “Eat like a horse. Sleep like a baby. Grow like a weed”. Your training is useless if you don’t eat enough calories for recovery.

    7. Eat Whole Foods. You’ll achieve a lower body fat, so the muscles you’ve built show better. And the vitamin & mineral content helps recovery. Stop eating food coming from a box. Eat whole foods 90% of the time.

    * Proteins. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, …
    * Carbs. Brown rice, oats, whole grain pasta, quinoa, …
    * Veggies. Spinach, broccoli, tomato, salad, carrot, …
    * Fruits. Banana, orange, apple, pineapple, peers, …
    * Fats. Olive oil, fish oil, real butter, nuts, flax seeds, …

    8. Eat More. Training is more important than diet for muscle building. But you do need to give your body the food it needs for optimal recovery. Most guys don’t eat enough, you got to eat more to build muscle.

    * Eat Breakfast. Get calories from the first hour.
    * Eat Post Workout. Get proteins and carbs post workout to help muscle recovery and replenish your energy stores.
    * Eat Every 3 Hours. 6 meals/day. Gives your muscles a steady intake of protein, speeds up muscle repair & recovery, boosts your metabolism.
    * Eat BW in lbs x 18kcal. Track your daily caloriey.

    9. Gain Weight. You’ll never look muscular weighing 140lbs at 6″. No matter how much training you do.

    * Eat Calorie Dense Foods. 100g raw spinach is 25kcals. But 100g raw rice is 380kcals.
    * Get Stronger. Muscle size is directly related with strength gains. You got to get stronger to build muscle.
    * Drink Whole Milk. If you don’t bother gaining some fat.

    10. Get Protein. Proteins have the highest thermic effect. You need 1g protein per pound of body-weight daily to build & maintain muscle. That’s 160g of daily protein if you weigh 160lbs/72kg. Eat whole proteins with each meal.

    * Red Meat. Ground round, steaks, deer, buffalo, …
    * Poultry. Chicken breast, whole chicken, turkey, duck, …
    * Fish. Tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel, …
    * Eggs. Eat the yolk, it’s full of vitamins.
    * Dairy. Milk, cottage cheese, quark cheese, yogurt, whey, …

    Persist. Get stronger, track progress and persist until you’ve built the muscles you want.

    Article 4: 10 Nutrition Rules For Beginners: Never Ignore The Importance Diet Plays In Achieving A Great Physique

    With the dedication and effort required to stay muscular and lean, the last thing you need is for the details to be overly confusing. Take your diet, for example. We could go on and on about fat-soluble vs. water-soluble vitamins, the different types of saccharides and all the intricacies of gluconeogenesis, but what would be the point? It would just complicate the matter and get you no closer to the body you want. So let’s break it down to the nuts and bolts, to just the vital information you really need to build more muscle and become leaner than ever before.

    The key is a series of rules, a list we call the 10 Nutrition Rules for Beginners. Follow all 10 and not only will you not be bogged down with scientific jargon but you’ll also be well on your way to a bigger upper body, better abs and a massive set of wheels. How’s that for simple?

    #1 Have A Meal Every 3 Hours

    Mass-building boils down to nutrient delivery, and nothing beats eating every 2-3 hours, which works out to 6-8 meals a day. Frequent feedings ensure a constant influx of protein, carbohydrates and essential fatty acids required to maintain an anabolic state. Following the three-hour rule, you should eat at least the same amount and up to twice as many carbohydrates as protein at most meals, along with a smaller amount of healthy fats at most meals (more on specific macronutrient intake in later rules). Because you’re eating every three hours, don’t overstuff yourself; keeping each meal relatively small enhances nutrient absorption while simultaneously allowing you to sidestep gains in bodyfat.

    “Eating smaller, more frequent meals creates an environment inside the body in which blood sugar levels don’t elevate and drop as drastically as when you eat fewer larger meals,” says Justin Harris, NPC amateur bodybuilder and nutrition consultant ( “Elevated blood sugar levels cause the body to increase insulin production in an attempt to store that sugar for later.

    When insulin is present, fat-burning is blunted. Lowered insulin levels and steady blood amino acid levels (a product of eating relatively small, frequent meals throughout the day) help fight against this situation.”

    #2 Load Up On Protein

    A meal should never go by without a sufficient amount of protein being consumed. To maximize muscle-building, you’ll need to consume at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. (This means 200 grams of protein daily for a 200-pound person.) In order to provide your muscles with a continuous influx of amino acids the building blocks of protein throughout the day, you’ll divide your daily protein by the number of meals you consume. For example, if you eat six meals per day, 200 grams of protein divided by six meals would mean at least 30-40 grams of protein per meal.

    Your main protein sources should be lean animal sources, such as chicken, beef, turkey, fish, eggs and dairy (more on red meat and fish in later rules), and, as with your training regimen, variety is crucial.

    Sticking to the same one or two protein sources each day may not be as effective as mixing it up and including the widest array of protein sources available. “There’s a phenomenon in the body called the all or nothing principle, in which all amino acids must be available for proper utilization of digested protein,” Harris says. “Many proteins can be made by the body; those that cannot are called essential amino acids and must be derived from nutritional sources. You’ll need to mix various sources of protein to ensure that all essential amino acids are consumed.”

    #3 Hydrate Yourself

    The importance of drinking plenty of liquids goes beyond the obvious benefits of staying hydrated; at a much deeper level, it’s all about pushing more water into muscle cells. The more water that’s inside muscles, the better they’ll function and the greater their strength and size capacity. “The consensus in the bodybuilding community is that high water storage within muscles helps act as an anabolic factor,” says Chris Aceto, nutrition consultant to Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler and author of Championship Bodybuilding and Everything You Need to Know About Fat Loss (available at “This allows the muscles to maintain a positive nitrogen balance, which directly impacts muscle growth.”

    And if you’re supplementing creatine, glutamine and BCAAs, your muscles will have a greater capacity to store water, because when muscle cells are stocked with these nutrients, more water is actually drawn into the muscles. Consume at least 1 gallon of water every day, and drink around 8 ounces of water every 15-20 minutes during training.

    #4 Carb Up The Right Way

    When it comes to carbs, too few can shortchange your gains in mass and too many can transform you into a bulked-up softie. A good rule of thumb is to consume 2-3 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body-weight per day when trying to add mass. And as with protein, you’ll want to divide this between however many meals you eat daily, with the exception of two times during the day: breakfast and your postworkout meal.

    “Breakfast and the postworkout meal are also vital in aiding muscle growth because the higher carb content boosts one of the anabolic hormones responsible for driving nutrients into muscles, thereby producing a favorable hormonal environment that kick-starts recovery.” At most meals (pre- and postworkout notwithstanding, as you’ll learn in rule No. 7), you should consume slow-digesting carbs such as wholegrain breads and pastas, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables, rather than fast-digesting sources such as white breads and sweets. The former help build muscle and provide sustained energy.

    #5 Eat Red Meat

    Steaks and beef patties often scare people off because of the high fat content found in many cuts. But when you’re looking to build muscle, shunning red meat is the last thing you want to do: It’s high in B vitamins, including [B.sub.12], which supports muscular endurance and growth, and yields, gram for gram, more iron, creatine and zinc than any other source of protein. These nutrients play important roles in muscle recovery and growth, so if you’re sticking with chicken, turkey and protein powder, you’ll likely fall short of your hypertrophy goals. “Red meat is a great slow-digesting source of protein that can aid in nitrogen retention and sustained elevation of amino acids in the blood,” says Alan Aragon, MS, CSCS, a private-practice nutrition counselor in Thousand Oaks, California ( “Red meat can be used for all seasons, not just mass phases.”

    When choosing an appropriate type of red meat, select primarily leaner cuts such as ground round and sirloin, looking for meat that’s at least 93% lean.

    #6 Eat Fish

    A lot of bodybuilders seem to live on fowl and low-fat beef, but salmon, trout, bluefish and tuna offer advantages other sources of protein can’t namely, they’re sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can indirectly make you leaner and bigger. Omega-3s help the body make glycogen, the storage form of carbohydrates that gets socked away in muscle tissue. Glycogen is the main source of energy for training and, generally speaking, adequate levels are a marker for muscle growth and repair. Omega-3s also fight muscle inflammation in the body and spare the loss of glutamine, a vital amino acid that plays a backup role in the muscle recovery process by boosting the immune system. You don’t have to go overboard, but including fish in your diet a few days a week will go a long way toward promoting lean muscle gains. All in all, don’t be afraid of fat 20%-30% of your daily calories should consist of healthy dietary fat.

    “Fish is an excellent source of protein, with an amino acid profile very beneficial to enhancing muscle growth,” Harris says. “Omega-3s can increase the insulin sensitivity of the tissues, creating an environment in which less insulin is necessary to shuttle nutrients around the body, which benefits you getting leaner.”

    #7 Protect Muscle Mass With Pre- And Post-Workout Meals

    The catch-22 with training is that stress hormones, namely cortisol, can run amok and blunt muscle-building to the point that getting back on track is not as simple as following the basic rules. The solution? Eating and supplementing with the right foods in the pre- and post-training meals. This is where whey protein is essential it gets into the blood faster than any other source of protein, providing amino acids that muscles harness for growth and interfere with cortisol uptake. A slower-absorbing protein such as casein takes longer to combat cortisol levels.

    Throw in some fast-acting carbs those that digest quickly such as Gatorade, fat-free Pop-Tarts, cream of rice cereal mixed with jam or a toasted bagel and you benefit further. These carbs, when combined with whey protein, are extremely effective at almost immediately halting muscle breakdown. According to Aragon, “sandwiching” your workout with protein and carbs causes greater protein synthesis and inhibits muscle protein breakdown.

    Consume at least 20 grams of whey protein before and 40 grams after training, a slow-digesting carbohydrate (refer to rule No. 4 for the best sources) 30 minutes before training and a fast-digesting carb Immediately afterward, along with your whey.

    As for dietary fat, pre- and postworkout are the two times of day when you want to forgo eating foods high in fat. They’ll slow the absorption of protein and carbs, which will delay the muscle recovery process.

    #8 Schedule A “GET BIG” Day

    While eating a sound diet by implementing the steps above is the foundation for growth, taking one out of every 7-10 days and eating far above and beyond your typical dally food intake increasing protein, carbohydrate and overall calorie intake can trigger new muscle growth by driving up your body’s levels of growth hormones. Some people call this a “cheat day.” When you occasionally overeat, the body responds by increasing the release of naturally occurring growth agents, such as growth hormone, insulinlike growth factor-1, thyroid hormone and possibly testosterone . Since even a small boost in one or all of these can impact recovery and muscle growth, it makes sense to harness them, and temporarily eating “really big” can do just that.

    “Eating relatively clean all the time can lead to boredom and compromised adherence to a bodybuilding diet,” Aragon says. “Periodic spikes in calorie consumption are a great way to achieve a net caloric surplus that can speed muscular growth and strength. To avoid large gains in bodyfat, make sure ‘once every 7-10 days’ doesn’t turn into cheating on most days.”

    #9 Supplement The Big Three

    As you become more advanced in your training and nutrition knowledge, try a variety of supplements to help improve strength, size, energy, fat loss and overall health. But for now, just stick to the basics: creatine, glutamine and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), three of the most effective and affordable supplements on the market. Creatine has been shown in numerous studies to boost muscle power, strength and size; glutamine is a key amino acid in preventing muscle breakdown and boosting the immune system; and BCAAs also thwart muscle wasting and delay the onset of fatigue during training.

    Take these dosages both before and after working out: 3-5 grams of creatine, 5-10 grams of glutamine and 5-10 grams of BCAAs. Adding these supps to a diet full of protein and complex carbs will ensure that you reap all the benefits from your training.

    #10 Don’t Fear Late Night Feeding

    In the 7-9 hours you sleep every night, your body is more or less in a fasting state, taking aminos from your muscles to fuel your brain in the absence of food not an ideal situation if your goal is to pack on muscle. However, you can offset this by eating right before you turn in for the night. The key is eating a slow-digesting protein source along with a moderate amount of fat so amino acids feed your muscles gradually throughout the night. At bedtime, consume approximately 30 grams of casein protein or 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese along with 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter, an ounce of walnuts or mixed nuts, or 2-3 tablespoons of flaxseed oil. Casein is a slow-digesting protein (as is cottage cheese) that comes in powder form, and the healthy fats found in peanut butter, nuts and flaxseed (almost exclusively unsaturated, by the way) will help slow the absorption of protein even further.

    Aceto also recommends consuming protein, and even carbs, in the middle of the night if you happen to get up to use the bathroom. “That’s the perfect time to have a shake,” he says. “If gaining bodyfat is no issue, have 50 grams of protein mixed with 50 grams of liquid carbs such as a meal replacement shake that contains both protein and carbs, or mix the protein in fruit juice. If you’re struggling to control bodyfat, though, skip the carbs. This round-the-clock nutrient delivery will keep the body in an anabolic state.”

    Author: Joe Wuebben
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  2. #2
    Windex is offline Staff ~ HRT Optimization Specialist
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    Mar 2011
    Arctic Circle
    Article 5: Bulk Without The Bulge: Avoid These 10 All Too Common Mass Gain Mistakes

    Mistake #1 Eating To Much At Each Meal

    This error is all about portions. When you eat a lot in hopes of gaining mass, your body can make use of only a certain amount of nutrition including calories at one sitting. What happens to the excess? It’s converted to bodyfat. That’s why I’m in favor of eating five to eight “meals” a day. A meal could be as small as a protein shake, a small turkey burger on a whole-grain bun or a chicken breast with a heaping cup of cooked pasta.

    Eating frequent meals of smaller portions of food promotes protein synthesis and prevents an upgrade in fat-storing enzymes and hormones.

    Mistake #2 Ingesting An Extreme Number Of Calories

    Do you really need 6,000 calories each day in order to build mass? Is 5,000 appropriate? What about 4,000? No, no and maybe. For many bodybuilders, building mass requires 17-20 calories per pound of bodyweight, depending on metabolic rate and daily activity level. For a 200-pounder, that comes out to 3,400-4,000 calories a day. For those with a mediocre metabolism, the total should be a little less. In other words, if your metabolism isn’t on par with that of Darrem Charles and you’re eating 5,000 calories a day, you’re going to get extremely fat. Start with 16 or 17 calories per pound of bodyweight and check a mirror after a week or two. If you’re gaining in your midsection, your calories may be too high.

    If you’re adding bodyweight and still looking decent around the middle, bump up your calorie intake a bit and experiment with incremental increases until you come across a level that works best for you.

    Mistake #3 Not Knowing The Most Important Meal Times

    To support muscle growth without adding bodyfat exaggerate the size of the two important meals: breakfast and the postworkout meal. Take in more carbs and more protein; a little fat is OK, too. These are the two most important meals of the day, and they determine whether you will gain mass for the day or simply move sideways.

    When you eat a lot for breakfast, the first meal of the day, you boost anabolic (muscle-building) hormones, which in turn suppress catabolic hormones that try to break down muscle tissue. After training, muscles act like a vacuum, sucking up nearly all incoming nutrition that causes muscle growth while impeding the body’s ability to store bodyfat. The opposite not eating enough at breakfast and after training can compromise recovery, which can downgrade your metabolic rate. Do you know what happens when your metabolic rate is downgraded? It’s easier to get fat.

    Mistake #4 Not Consuming Enough Carbs

    Protein is the most important nutrient for muscle growth, but carbs also play a critical role, especially after training. You won’t be able to get enough calories when attempting to put on mass if your carb intake is low; when mass is your aim, take in 2-3 grams (g) of carbs per pound of bodyweight daily. Carbs help blunt cortisol levels cortisol can interfere with testosterone ’s anabolic actions in muscle and lead to muscle breakdown, especially immediately following a workout. A mass seeker’s postworkout meal should include 40 g of fast-digesting protein, such as whey, and 80-100 g of fast-digesting carbs, such as white bread, Powerade, baked potatoes, sugar, honey and fruit.

    Carbs at this time spike the anabolic hormone insulin , which helps to drive glucose, amino acids and supplements such as creatine into muscle cells, spurring muscle protein synthesis.

    Mistake #5 Relying On “Diet” Foods

    To get ripped to the bone, you need turkey breasts, chicken breasts, fish and egg whites. Those are the protein sources with the fewest calories. You also need a lot of veggies to curb your appetite. The problem for many misguided mass seekers is that they eat diet foods during a mass-gaining phase in hopes of maintaining low levels of bodyfat. What really happens? They often fail to add any significant amount of muscle mass. Why? Testosterone. Eating minimal fat (as from the aforementioned lean protein choices) can cause a drop in testosterone levels . Surprisingly, high-fiber veggies can actually interfere with testosterone metabolism as well, which leads to “so-so” rather than “wow!” gains. Ditch the diet proteins for lean beef and whole eggs mixed with egg whites (eat half whole eggs and half egg whites if you eat six eggs at breakfast, toss out three of the yolks).

    Don’t be afraid to include low-fat yogurt, milk, cheese and cottage cheese in your diet. Your recovery ability, growth and results will be happy you did.

    Mistake #6 Avoiding Important Aminos

    There are three amino acids that are more important than others. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) help prevent muscles from falling into a dreaded breakdown state that accompanies hard training. By taking BCAAs before and after training, you protect muscles from being catabolized, torn apart and burned. This indirectly promotes growth. Of the three BCAAs, leucine appears to be the most important. It not only stimulates the anabolic hormone insulin, which acts as a catalyst for muscle growth, but it directly turns on messengers in muscle cells that promote growth.

    Try a combo of 5-10 g of BCAAs before and after training, or simply take 5-8 g of leucine before and after training.

    Mistake #7 Skimping On Vital Recovery Time

    Hardcore training requires knowing how to eat properly. One of the biggest mistakes bodybuilders make is believing that even the best nutrition plan can override the need for proper rest. Rest allows catabolic hormones to recede. Although good nutrition also suppresses catabolic hormones, there’s a limit to its effectiveness. From there, it’s all about rest. If you steer clear of the gaffes I have outlined and still fail to add quality beef, you need more rest days. Instead of triggering your body to grow, you are hammering it too hard, and not even the ideal nutrition scenario can save you.

    Take a closer look at your training schedule and add another rest day or two to your current regimen.

    Mistake #8 Not Eating Before Working Out

    Researchers have found that it is crucial to provide the body with protein and carbs in a preworkout meal. The nutrients will be used directly as energy, saving your muscles from drawing on their own stores for fuel, and they will induce the activation of your body’s postworkout anabolic processes much sooner and more effectively.

    In the 30-minute window before your workout, take in 20 g of whey protein and about 40 g of carbs.

    Mistake #9 Missing The After-Midnight Meal

    The real name of the game in mass building is maintaining an anabolic state, in which the body is constantly delivering amino acids to muscles and creating growth. During sleep, the body can fall out of this precious state, but there’s an easy way to get around it. Drink 20-36 ounces of water before bedtime. That should cause you to wake up during the middle of the night. At that time, drink a protein shake with 3 g of the amino acid arginine added.

    The shake will provide amino acids to support around-the-clock delivery of protein, and arginine supports growth-hormone (GH) production that impacts muscle growth. If you dislike the nasty taste of arginine, use glycine instead.

    Mistake #10 Being Consistently Inconsistent

    There’s a book called The Automatic Millionaire, about how “typical” Americans become millionaires simply by consistently contributing to their savings. To become an “automatic mass monster,” simply implement the tips outlined here. You’ll automatically get to where you want to go, in this case with more mass and very little bodyfat.

    That’s one of the “secrets” to getting ahead. You have to take small steps, but take them every day and, over time, you’ll make the gains you really want.

    Author: Chris Aceto
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  3. #3
    Windex is offline Staff ~ HRT Optimization Specialist
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    Article 6: Alcohol and Bodybuilding: Do They Mix

    Thank God its Friday. That's right, the weekend has begun, and for the average teen, what do we do on weekends? PARTY! And let's face it, despite what you tell your parents, what do parties center around? Beer! In college, social lives pretty much revolve around alcohol. Just about everyone in college drinks, many go into college saying they won't, few uphold that promise.

    As bodybuilders, our bodies are our lives. We eat right throughout the week, get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, stay as healthy as possible, and of course, workout. We put all these efforts into ourselves throughout the week, but on weekends we drink like fish and get sh!t faced.

    How Alcohol Diminishes Muscle Gain

    -> Empty Calories:

    Alcohol is empty calories. It doesn't have any nutrients, but does have a caloric value of 7 calories per gram. In just one shot (1.5oz) of 80 proof vodka there's nearly 100 calories. For those of you trying to lose fat, forget it if you are drinking. Not only will the high calorie content of alcohol have a negative effect on your total calorie intake, but it also slows down your metabolism by disrupting the Kreb's cycle.

    Since the Kreb's cycle isn't working correctly, fats cannot be broken down. In short, your body is trying so hard to digest and metabolize the alcohol, that fat burning stops all together.

    -> Dehydration:

    Alcohol consumption also hurts muscle growth. Not only due to hangovers lowering your workout intensity, but it actually lowers protein synthesis by 20%. Twenty percent! There are several reasons why it does this. For one, it dehydrates your muscle cells. As many know, hydrated and even over hydrated muscles (like when you take creatine) allows for a much higher anabolic environment.

    Because your cells aren't holding as much water, it becomes much harder to build muscle. The second reason why alcohol can severely hurt muscle growth is because it blocks the absorption of many important nutrients that are key to muscle contraction, relaxation and growth including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and potassium.

    -> Slows Down Protein Synthesis:

    OK, so above I lied, there's actually a third way that alcohol slows down protein synthesis, I just wanted to dedicate a big part of this article to it. For those of you that don't already know this, ALCOHOL LOWERS TESTOSTERONE AND INCREASES ESTROGEN! Yes, you read that right. In one particular study, men's testosterone levels were measured before and after consumption of alcohol.

    Protein Synthesis
    The process by which nitrogen from amino acids is linearly arranged into structural proteins through the involvement of RNA and various enzymes. Protein synthesis is muscle growth. The more efficient you can make this process the more efficiently you can build muscle.

    -> Lowers Testosterone Levels:

    At the most intoxicated state, testosterone levels had dropped to an average of 25% lower. It was also interesting to note, that when blood alcohol levels were the highest, testosterone was at its lowest. Alcohol has also been shown to cause a quicker aromatization of androgens into estrogens, which would explain why heavy drinkers often get gynecomastria (bitch tits) over a period of time.

    For those of you taking andro (and I'm sure you already know my views on andro) I would absolutely avoid alcohol since you already are in risk for gynecomastia with the high androgen levels in your blood. By drinking, you are further putting yourself in risk for aromatization. We should also note, that in a study done with rats, alcohol reduced Insulin like Growth Hormone -1 (IGF-1) by up to 42%. That's a huge drop in IGF-1.

    One thing I found unusual due to the drop in testosterone while drinking is that most guys get really horny. Beyond getting beer goggles, why is it that drinking makes you horny? What I found out is that because alcohol lowers testosterone levels so significantly, the body is struggling to bring them back up by releasing LH, in very large quantities.

    What's also interesting to note is that LH is just as responsible for arousal as testosterone. Unfortunately alcohol reduces testosterone levels at the Leydig cell, not the pituitary, so the LH is ineffective in raising testosterone levels.

    A Personal Problem

    Rather than just spitting facts at you, I'd like to take the time to talk about how drinking has affected my lifting. Before coming to college I had drank maybe 3 or 4 times in my entire life. My diet was always perfect, every day of the week, even on weekends. On the first night of college how ever, I discovered just how tasty (and fun) beer was.

    After that I'd drink every weekend, never on the night before a workout, but none-the-less every weekend. My diet was decent during the week (well, the best I could do with college food), but on weekends I'd wake up late missing at least 2 meals, and often only get 3-4 meals in on those days. Because of the lack of protein, reduction in test levels on those drinking nights and the catabolism due to the alcohol my gains suffered.

    I went into college last year at about 185 lbs and came out around 205. After cutting up for the summer, I was a lean 195. Had I not drank every weekend, I think I could have added about 10 more pounds of mass.

    This year I refuse to make the same mistake. As bodybuilders we are always learning. One thing I've learned is that alcohol does effect your gains, and in a negative way. This year I will stay sober. I still plan on drinking, but I'll limit myself to a beer an hour, and no more than 3 or 4 a night. I suggest those of you in college who are serious about improving your physiques do the same. Maybe once a month I'll allow myself to get trashed.

    Five Helpful Tips

    So, what if it is that time of the month where you hand the keys to someone else and get bombed? Here are some simple hints as how to keep as much muscle as possible from that week while still having fun:

    1. Leave at least 2 liters of water by your bedside to drink when you get home before you go to bed.

    Not only will this prevent a hangover, but it will also help to hydrate your muscles.

    2. Drink a protein shake or eat something dense in protein before climbing into bed as well (if you can still stand). This will help curb the catabolism occurring inside your body, not to mention you always need protein.

    Hottie in bed!3. When you wake up the next morning and roll over, pray the girl next to you looks as good as she did last night.

    If not, shuttle her out of the room as quick as possible before your friends can find out and bust your balls.

    4. 45 minutes to an hour before breakfast have a serving of ZMA and 5-10 grams of glutamine. The ZMA will naturally raise your testosterone levels that were lowered from your night of drinking, and the glutamine will help stop catabolism.

    5. Eat a big breakfast filled with foods that are rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus and iron. Your body is craving these key nutrients since the alcohol diminished them the night before.


    Let's face it, alcohol is fun, real fun. It makes fat girls attractive, gets ugly guys laid, gives the skinny, shy kid confidence to stand up and make a fool of himself, and helps uncoordinated, white guys like me dance. Unfortunately, it also reduces testosterone among all the other negative things mentioned earlier in this article. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have fun, don't be afraid to go out and have a good time. I've seen way too many bodybuilders who stay in on weekends. Go out, drink a few beers, have a good time, just keep it in moderation.

    Article 7: Body Type Information

    Body Types - Which One are You? The Ectomorph, the Mesomorph, the Endomorph, or a Combination?

    We have known for quite some time now in bodybuilding that different body types respond differently to both training and nutrition. As a result, it is incredibly important to be aware of what your body type is so that you can design a training and workout program accordingly. In this article, the history of body types and some interesting pieces of information to help you identify them will be mentioned.

    William Sheldon

    William Sheldon (1898-1977) was an American psychologist who spent his life observing all the variety of human bodies. He taught at several universities and spent his career doing valuable research. As a child he was an avid observer of animals and birds, and as he grew up, this hobby turned into a strong ability to observe the human body.

    The basics of body types are listed below:


    * Definitive "Hard Gainer"
    * Delicate Built Body
    * Flat Chest
    * Fragile
    * Lean
    * Lightly Muscled
    * Small Shouldered
    * Takes Longer to Gain Muscle
    * Thin

    The extreme ectomorph physique is a fragile and delicate one. The bones are light, joints are small and muscles are slight. The limbs are relatively long in proportion and the shoulders droop. The ectomorph is a linear physique. Straight up and straight down, and may appear longer than he or she really is, due to the length of limbs coupled with lack of muscle mass developed on those limbs. The ectomorph is not naturally powerful and will have to work hard for every ounce of muscle and every bit of strength he or she can gain.

    Other Ectomorph Traits

    The extreme ectomorph may have long fingers, toes and neck are long. A pencil neck you could say. The features of the face are sharp, and the shape of the face is triangular. The lower jaw is somewhat receding. The skin tends to burn easily. Extreme ectomorphs may suffer from extremes of temperature. Due to the great body area in relation to muscle mass, the ectomorph may suffer from great heat, and due to low body fat, the ectomorph may suffer from great cold. The hair is fine and grows quickly and is sometimes difficult to keep in place.

    Famous Ectomorphs

    Lisa Kudrow, Kate Moss, Brad Pitt, Seth Green, Edward Norton.


    * Athletic
    * Hard Body
    * Hourglass Shaped (Female)
    * Rectangular Shaped (Male)
    * Mature Muscle Mass
    * Muscular Body
    * Excellent Posture
    * Gains Muscle Easily
    * Gains Fat More Easily Than Ectomorphs
    * Thick Skin

    The Mesomorph Body

    The mesomorph has well-defined muscles and large bones. The torso tapers to a relatively narrow and low waist. The bones and muscles of the head are prominent. Features of the face are clearly defined, such as cheek bones and a square, heavy jaw. The face is long and broad, and is cubicle in shape. Arms and legs are developed and even the digits of the hand are muscled.

    Other Traits of the Mesomorph

    The skin of the mesomorph is thick and the mesomorph tans well. The hair is heavy in texture.

    Famous Mesomorphs

    Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, the majority of Mr. Universe winners.


    * Soft Body
    * Underdeveloped Muscles
    * Round Physique
    * Weight Loss is Difficult
    * Gains Muscle Easily Like the Mesomorph.


    The body of the extreme endomorph is round and soft. The physique presents the illusion that much of the mass has been concentrated in the abdominal area. This may or may not be true. The arms and legs of the extreme endomorph are short in length and taper. This may give the appearance of stalkiness. The hands and feet of the endomorph are comparatively small, and the upper arms and thighs are often more developed than the lower parts of the arms or legs. The body has a high waist.

    Other Traits of the Endomoprh

    The skin is soft and smooth, and the hair is fine. The head of the endomorph is spherical. The head is large and the face broad.

    Famous Endomorphs

    John Goodman, Roseanne, Jack Black.

    Combinations of Body Types

    Very often, people cannot be easily classed as one of the three main body types. Although there are some people who are purely ectomorphs, endomorphs, or mesomorphs with little or no characteristics of the other body types, very frequently, people fall into mixed categories, such as ecto mesomorphs, or endo mesomorphs, where largely, they are like the mesomoph, but with traits of the ectomorph (such as small joints or a trim waist), or traits of the endomorph (such as a tendency to gain fat easily).
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    Windex is offline Staff ~ HRT Optimization Specialist
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    Article 8: Weight Loss Tips and Breaking Down Proteins

    Look in the mirror... what do you see? Not happy? You do realize that summer is around the corner, right? The time is now to get yourself ready for the beach and the nice warm summer weather. Show off all the hard work you put in at the gym by shedding off those extra pounds you added over the winter.

    Below you will find some helpful tips to help you get ready for the summer.

    1. Cut The Crap!

    Say goodbye to McDonalds and Burger King and say hello to homemade cooking. This should be a no-brainer but people still think that if they go to the gym they can eat whatever they want. WRONG!

    If you seriously want to shape up for the summer, you need to kiss all fast food joints goodbye. Not only are these places loaded with calories but also the fat content in them is enough to stop your heart instantly.

    If you haven't watched the movie Super-size Me, you need to go rent it today and watch it. If you don't get sick watching that movie and seeing for yourself that McDonalds French fries can last well over three months without sprouting any mold, then you honestly don't have all systems firing in your brain.

    2. Cook At Home.

    When eating out you never really know how your food is prepared. Therefore, your best bet is to prepare and cook your own food. When you eat out many of the foods you are ingesting are cooked in butter or other fattening ingredients, which is exactly the stuff you want to stay away from.

    Do we even need to get into all the fried foods that are out there? You want to talk about a heart attack waiting to happen... fried foods throw up the red light. STAY AWAY! Your best bet for cooking at home can be anything from grilling your foods, steaming your foods, and even baking your foods.

    Portion sizes are another issue with eating out. When you eat out and see the food on your plate, your natural instinct is to finish everything on it. Did you stop to think about how many calories you just took in eating that whole plate? Probably not.

    This is a quick and easy fix by simply preparing all of your food at home. Not only will you know exactly how your food is prepared, but you can make sure everything is portioned out correctly.

    The American Cancer Society created a great visual to ensure proper portion control by naming objects that correspond with correct portion sizes:

    1 oz. meat: size of a matchbox
    3 oz. meat: size of a deck of cards or bar of soap-the recommended portion for a meal
    8 oz. meat: size of a thin paperback book
    3 oz. fish: size of a checkbook
    1 oz. cheese: size of 4 dice
    Medium potato: size of a computer mouse
    2 Tbs. peanut butter: size of a ping pong ball
    1 cup pasta: size of a tennis ball
    Average bagel: size of a hockey puck
    Medium apple or orange: the size of a tennis ball
    1 cup chopped raw vegetables or fruit: baseball size
    1/4 cup dried fruit (raisins, apricots, mango): a small handful
    lunch-box size container of unsweetened applesauce
    cup of lettuce: four leaves
    1/2 cup cooked or canned legumes (beans and peas)
    5-6 baby carrots

    Also, when you are eating at home, make sure you aren't eating from a bag. The worst thing you can do is continually reach into a bag and keep eating and not know much you consumed. After no time at all you can throw down a couple hundred calories and not even know it. Always take products out of the bag and portion it so you can track how much of something you ate.

    3. Where's The Beef?

    When looking to lose weight the best thing you can do (especially when weight training) is to increase your protein intake while cutting out some of your carbs. This protein source can be anything from natural foods to protein drinks and bars.

    Types Of Protein Supplements

    Whey protein is highly absorbable and provides the highest concentration of the leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They play a key role in the muscle-building process and also boost immune function.

    Whey Concentrate:

    Whey concentrate is one of the least expensive forms of protein powder you can find on the market today. Some people have a hard time digesting concentrates, which leave them bloated and gassy. Some people live with it, and some people look for something else.

    Whey Isolates:

    Whey isolates are one of the quicker absorbing proteins available on the market today, although pricey, it isn't the most expensive. You will find almost all of the containers of isolates have very low if any amounts of carbohydrates in them.

    Hydrolyzed Whey:

    Hydrolyzed whey protein has some of the benefits of whey while providing highly absorbable peptides that can have anabolic effects. This is by far the most expensive protein you will be able to find.

    Casein Protein:

    Casein protein is a slow digesting protein. It can be slowly absorbed for 5-7 hours which makes it a great choice for a pre-bed supplement.

    Casein protein is also a good idea to use during the day to keep you full and to keep a constant supply of protein available between meals or snacks if you have a long period of time between them. The glutamine content in casein is very high which can maintain immune function.

    Milk Protein Isolate:

    Milk protein contains both whey and casein proteins. This protein is full of amino acids from both whey and casein protein.

    Soy Protein Isolate:

    Soy protein is a vegetarian source of protein. It has been shown to support thyroid hormone output, which helps increase the metabolism and aids in fat loss. The isoflavones found in the soy can help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Soy is also loaded with glutamine, arginine, and BCAA's.

    There are forms of soy protein concentrate found in soybeans, tofu, and soymilk. Theses are not the same as soy protein isolates. Soy products can be estrogenic in men and can cause water retention and bloating.

    View Soy Protein Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

    Egg Albumin:

    Cooked egg whites are a good source of egg albumin. Egg albumin which has been known as the traditional protein has an amazing amino acid profile and is still one of the best whole food protein sources that you can get. Not only are they good for you, but eggs are relatively inexpensive.

    You will also find some protein blends containing egg albumin due to its great profile. It is not uncommon to find it in meal replacements or sold solely as a protein powder.

    Some Great Whole Food Protein Choices:

    Chicken Breast:

    Chicken breast is a relatively low-fat, high quality protein source. It contains high doses of BCAA's and has a good potassium-to-sodium ratio (which can positively influence water balance).

    It is always best to try and get in as many whole foods as possible before using protein supplements. You can make many different platters with chicken, which makes it very versatile come meal time.

    Top Sirloin Steak:

    Top sirloin is a lean protein source with an excellent potassium-to-sodium ratio, it provides iron and good amounts of the amino acids alanine and lysine, which can help support energy and lean body mass. It also contains a great amount of B12, selenium, zinc, and phosphorous.

    Again, if you have it available, whole foods are a much better choice than protein supplements.


    This is another lean protein source that provides an excellent amount of BCAA's. Canned versions are not only convenient, but they are also inexpensive sources of protein. They also sell tuna in sealed packages as well.

    Tuna can be put on crackers or in a salad or even ate straight out of the can/package. Tuna is a very nutrient dense choice having several minerals and vitamins found in it including niacin, selenium, B6, thiamin, phosphorous, potassium, and magnesium. It also has omega-3 fatty acids in it, which are the good fats that we all need in our diet that support cardiovascular health.


    Salmon has a high amount of BCAA's in as well as being loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is a great source of protein and one of the better fish you can eat in terms of health benefits. It is great for maintaining cardiovascular health. Salmon is also loaded with minerals and vitamins such as selenium, niacin, B12, phosphorous, magnesium, and B6.


    Nuts such as cashews, walnuts, and almonds (just to name a few) are not only a great snack full of protein, but they also have many health benefits. They are also loaded with vitamins and minerals, which add to their already outstanding profile.

    Nut - 100 grams Calories Protein Carbs Fats
    Almonds 578 21.3g 19.7g 50.6g
    Cashews 566 18.2g 27.1g 46.9g
    Macadamias 718 7.9g 13.8g 75.8g
    Peanuts 567 25.8g 16.1g 49.2g
    Pecans 691 9.2g 13.9g 72g
    Pistachios 557 20.6g 28g 44.4g
    Walnuts 654 15.2g 13.7g 65.2g

    4. Watch Your Carbs & Watch Your Spare Tire Disappear.

    This is pretty much common sense... if you eat a bunch of carbs you can sit back and watch your stomach grow. There are good carbs and then there are bad carbs. Feel free to eat fruits and vegetables and not feel bad about it.

    The red flag should appear when you start drooling over cakes, white flour products, pasta, and things of that nature. Those products can pack on the calories in a hurry.

    You want to concentrate on carbs that are low glycemic rather than high glycemic. Low glycemic carbohydrates will raise and lower your blood sugar slowly while the high glycemic carbohydrates will make your blood sugar spike quickly and then crash.

    Low glycemic diets will:

    Reduce hunger and keep you fuller for longer
    Help people lose and control weight
    Increase the body's sensitivity to insulin
    Improve diabetes control
    Prolong physical endurance
    Help re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise
    Reduce the risk of heart disease
    Reduce blood cholesterol levels

    Here is a list of some great choices from the low GI list:

    Yogurt low-fat (sweetened)
    Green beans
    Lettuce, all varieties
    Low-fat yogurt, artificially sweetened
    Peppers, all varieties
    Snow peas
    Young summer squash
    Soya beans, boiled
    Peas, dried
    Milk, chocolate
    Pearl barley
    Milk, whole
    Spaghetti, protein enriched
    Kidney beans, boiled
    Lentils green, boiled
    Soya milk
    Apricots (dried)
    Milk, Fat-free
    Milk ,skimmed
    Milk, semi-skimmed
    Spaghetti, whole wheat
    Tomato soup, tinned
    Haricot beans, boiled
    Carrots, cooked
    Apple juice
    Wheat kernels
    Black-eyed beans
    Chickpeas, tinned
    Lentil soup, tinned
    Carrot juice
    Pineapple juice
    Grapefruit juice
    Multi grain bread
    Baked beans, tinned
    Whole grain
    Barley, cracked
    Orange juice
    Kidney beans, tinned
    Lentils green, tinned
    Kiwi fruit
    Sweet potato
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    Windex is offline Staff ~ HRT Optimization Specialist
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    Article 10: Eleven Fat Loss Tips

    This article will offer you a list of critical suggestions of what to do and why you need to do it to lose weight (fat) and build or retain muscle mass. Here are the 11 critical rules you must learn to lose fat!

    By: Josh Bryant

    1. Cardio Before Breakfast:

    Fasted cardio in the morning is optimal because insulin levels are bottomed out, hormone sensitive lipase (the fat cell releasing enzyme) is fully active while lipoprotein lipase (the fat storage enzyme) is dormant. GH is still coming off its overnight high, a major fat burning hormone.

    At this time there is less glucose in your blood stream to be burned, vs. after having just ate a meal, leaving fats as the go-to substrate. Keep the session under 60 minutes long, 45 minutes is ample, too long and you eat up muscle tissue when your body perceives starvation.

    Be Aware Of Your Carbohydrates:

    Do not consume carbs when you don't need them! The best times to give yourself larger portions of carbs is when you first wake up and before and after workouts, as you can be sure it will be put to use and be burned off, not stored as fat.

    Consume no more than 25-35 grams in other meals if you must have more carbs based on your job and or lifestyle and even then, make them high fiber vegetable based carbs.

    Give yourself the proper carbohydrate fuel to get the day started, get through a workout and the carbs to recover from the workout, that's it! Any other carbs taken in should be trace carbs or sources that are not true carb sources like starches and sugars.

    Don't Get Hungry:

    Letting yourself get hungry causes loops to enter the diet; you get impatient and look for anything to eat. It's human nature when you feel starved.

    Even if it's the right thing to eat, you end up eating way too much of it. Eat often enough to stay full even if it's lots of veggies and water.

    Do Not Consume Large Amounts Of Fat And Carbs Together

    This is a controversy in many fitness circles right now, but it is my belief based on human metabolism and peoples over-reliance on carbs. Carbs of any kind will release insulin (high GI more so then low GI) which acts to store anything in your blood stream.

    Fats normally get booted to storage since they don't need chemical processing or active transport to become body fat. Plus the body prefers to use carbs (glucose) as energy.

    So my message is don't eat them together in huge amounts. A few grams of healthy fat with complex carbs are ok (about 15g fat for every 50 grams carbs eaten at a sitting). Assuming you always eat a protein at every meal of course!

    Take Your Fish Oil:

    They increase your sensitivity to carbs (allowing you to use more vs store more) and they assist with fat loss via PPAR-delta stimulation (a mitochondrial activator found in muscle).

    Use Thermogenics Correctly

    Taken at the right time with the right ingredients and you can gain an edge with such products. Look for supplements to take before cardio that are known to assist with fat burning. Ingredients to look for are:

    Caffeine: PDE inhibitor, beta 1,2,3 adrenergic agonist, acetylcholine antagonist.

    Yohimbine HCL: Alpha 2 adrenergic antagonist.

    Aspirin: Inhibits alpha-glycerol-phosphate, the re-esterification enzyme of free fatty acids.

    Green Tea Extract: Iinhibits the breakdown of norepinephrine.

    Synephrine: Known as bitter orange, this plant extract works much like caffeine without the jittery side effects.

    L-Carnitine: Acts a fatty acid transporter to get fats into the mitochondria where they get burned as energy.

    Forskolin: Helps activate hormone sensitive lipase.

    Capsaicin: Chemical in chili peppers that supports the metabolic rate.

    Guggulsterones: Thyroid stimulator that helps this gland pick up iodine from bloodstream.

    Protein Before Bed

    45 to 60 minutes before bed eat 1-1.5 cups cottage cheese (2% fat or less) or casein protein powder to fight late night hunger cravings and give your body some slow digesting casein protein to breakdown and use during the night; it's void of sugar, low carb (lactose) and high protein, plus it's got calcium which can help you sleep. No, it won't get stored as fat!

    Your body does not just turn off your digestive system at night people! If calories are controlled during the day and exercise is intense enough, you will process and use foods like this even at night.

    Eat Citrus Fruits

    Eat citrus fruits if you must eat fruits as they are acidic and raise insulin less than most typical fruits (exception of pineapple). Plus they contain flavonoids such as naringin, found in oranges and more so in grapefruit which also help with fat loss by extending caffeine's effects.

    Do not eat grapefruit with prescription meds as it may have negative side effects. Kiwi, mango and strawberries also fit the bill as good citrus fruits.

    Weight Train To Hold Lean Muscle

    Maintain some form of weight training at least 3 times a week or your body won't have a single reason to hold lean muscle, it will burn muscle faster than the recession is burning away at the stock market, even more so if you're doing substantial amounts of cardio each week. Too much cardio and no weights means a soft skeleton body in no time.

    10. Interval Train To Burst Through Plateaus

    If long duration steady state cardio (45+ minute session) stops working, throw in a shorter 30-minute interval (hard/easy work rest periods), 1-2 times a week and go with that as a plateau buster. Works every time for most!

    Refeed Rather Than Cheat:

    Lastly, when you really feel like you're hungry all the time and weight loss is not keeping up, "refeeds" are far more effective then cheat meals or cheat days at kick starting your metabolism.

    Refeed's are just 1 single very-high carb meal of slow and medium digesting carbs. Eaten before bed (yes 2-3 hours before bed) it tricks your body into sucking up all these carbs all night long causing it to blunt any hint of starvation or metabolic slow down.

    T3, leptin, and a couple other hormones related to hunger and metabolic rate go through the roof because of the overnight presence of insulin (you won't store much at all if your diet has been spot on over the week). This does have a limit however. The amount and type of carbs needs to be titrated to your bodyweight.


    These rules only work when adhered to in the strictest sense. If you give the rules 100% compliance you will get 100% of the effect.

    If you give a sad effort then you get sad results. I don't mean to be blunt but I do mean to be honest and straight forward. Results only come to those who do what it takes to get them, not to those who look for short cuts and magic pills.

    8 Secrets To Gain Lean Muscle

    1. Egg Whites

    There's a reason why every successful bodybuilder in the world incorporates egg whites into their diet. With a protein to fat ratio of 60:1, egg whites are unquestionably one of the purest forms of protein in the world.

    This magnificent muscle-building food also possesses an extremely high biological value - meaning that a large proportion of the protein absorbed from egg whites is readily utilized by your body for protein synthesis. Egg whites also contain very few carbohydrates and are a source of vitamins and minerals.

    Nutrient Values
    Food Calories Protein Carbs Fat
    Egg whites 50 84% 8% 0%

    2. Chicken/Turkey

    To pack on pounds of serious muscle, lean meats such as chicken and turkey breasts should be a staple in every bodybuilder's diet. Aside from providing an excellent source of high quality protein, they are also extremely low in saturated and trans fats

    Because of the low fat count, chicken and turkey can be incorporated into multiple meals throughout the day for an excellent source of protein. They are also easily available food sources that can be prepared a number of different ways - providing the opportunity for a variety of meal options.

    Nutrient Values
    Food Calories Protein Carbs Fat
    Chicken breast 172 48% 0% 48%
    Turkey 119 73% 0% 22%

    Although the recurring theme so far has been to eat foods that are low in fat, fish is one exception to this rule. Of course you want to stay away from saturated and trans fats, but your body still needs essential fatty acids such as omega-3 to help support the muscle-building process.

    Cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, trout and sardines are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. Canned fish packed in water also comes in very handy because it provides a quick source of protein when on the go.

    Nutrient Values
    Food Calories Protein Carbs Fat Details
    Salmon 116 69% 0% 27%
    Tuna 116 88% 0% 6%
    Trout 148 56% 0% 40%
    Sardines 208 47% 0% 50%

    4. Beans & Legumes

    If you are serious about building muscle, you can't ignore the power of beans and legumes. When people typically think of bodybuilding foods, they immediately refer to various lean meats, but what they don't realize is that the bean is a delicious and highly nutritious source of protein and fiber.

    Fiber is essential to maintaining a regular and normal healthy bowel movement as well as proper insulin response - which is critical to muscle growth as both functions aid in absorption and use of various nutrients and supplements ingested by bodybuilders.

    Kidney beans in particular are a very popular choice as they provide nearly 14 grams of both protein and fiber per cup! That's why you should never ignore the power of the bean!

    Nutrient Values
    Food Calories Protein Carbs Fat
    Kidney Beans 29 58% 57% 17%
    Lima Beans 113 24% 71% 7%
    Navy Beans 67 37% 78% 9%

    5. Lean Red Meat

    Lean ground beef and cuts of red meat are excellent mass building food sources rich in protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins. Red meats have a high calorie per serving ratio, making it an excellent choice for hard gainers looking to pack on some serious size.

    However, because red meats do possess a higher level of saturated fats, they should not be consumed on an everyday basis. Lean red meats are best incorporated into a weekly diet of chicken, turkey and fish - adding a little variety to your weekly nutrition plan.

    6. Slow-Burning Carbs Or Low Glycemic Carbs

    Muscle isn't built with protein alone. You also need a good source of slow-burning carbohydrates to fuel and sustain your muscles. Slow-acting carbohydrates found in foods such as oatmeal and sweet potatoes make the best pre-workout snack. Why?

    Well, when you exercise, muscle glycogen (carbs stored within your muscle) becomes the main source of fuel. As glycogen levels decrease from hard training, your intensity begins to decrease and more importantly, your body begins to tap your muscles for a source of energy thereby causing them to degenerate!

    That's why it's so important that no matter what your goals are, in order for your muscle-building machinery to run at maximum levels, you need a consistent source of fuel such as a serving of slow-digesting carbs.

    7. Water

    When it comes to musclebuilders, the first thing to come to mind is meat. But the number one item that should be in your arsenal is water. Just think about it - 70 percent of your body is made up of water. Your muscles, tissue cells and ligaments all contain water. And most importantly, your life force - blood - is made up substantially of water.

    When it comes to building a massive physique, you need to keep yourself in the most anabolic state possible and that is why many bodybuilders recommend drinking 10 liters of water a day. Staying hydrated also keeps your muscles full looking.

    8. Whey Protein

    Now, we've talked about various food sources that can be found at any grocery store, but there is one extremely important supplement that is more than worthy of being included on this list - whey protein.

    When it comes to packing on pounds of muscle, it is generally recommended that your protein intake be approximately 1.0 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.

    So for example, if you weigh 175 pounds, you need to consume between 175 to 210 grams of protein per day. That's a lot of protein to be consuming from whole food sources only. That is why a whey protein supplement is an excellent way to increase your protein intake throughout the day. It is also easy to prepare and consume.

    To get your anabolic furnace going, you can make a shake as soon as you pop out of bed, immediately after your workout and before heading to bed to ensure that you are getting the required protein into your system - allowing you to achieve some serious gains in muscle.

    Without a doubt, if there was one supplement that should be incorporated into every aspiring bodybuilder's diet, it should be whey protein.


    If your goal is to pack pounds of pure muscle onto your frame, you can't be eating "empty" calories that do nothing but add mass to your waistline. You need to carefully select the right foods and supplements and incorporate them into your daily diet. By adding the musclebuilders mentioned, there is no doubt that you will be on the right path to achieving the physique of your dreams.

    Article 11: Supplement Survival Guide

    Let me preface this article by saying this is my own opinion on how to approach supplements available in today's market. With so many options I feel alot of people starting out waste too much money on supplements. Obviously, when anyone first starts working out gains come quickly. However, it is unfortunate when a person plateau's they assume it's the supplementation that is the problem rather than the diet because they were taking 6 different things from Day 1. This article will outline what I feel are the difference "Phases" of supplementation. As well, I'll include what I feel you should keep in your Supplement Toolbox, what should be avoided, and what can be used conditionally. Finally, and MOST importantly, supplements are there only to aid in your nutrition. Never should you be consuming more powders than foods or be popping pills/capsules like it's a recreational drug at a rave.

    Phase 1: The Beginner Bodybuilder

    Personally, I'd classify anyone who has been weightlifting consistently for 8 months straight or less would be a beginner. If you fall under this category it is imperative to keep supplements to a bare minimum. You first and foremost want to get your diet in check and personally reflect on how your body is developing. Asking yourself these kind of questions are critical:

    - Is my body sensitive to carbs ?
    - Am I having a hard time putting on weight ?
    - What's my overall energy level ?
    - By the time I get in the gym the next time, do I feel refreshed and recovered ?
    - Am I making the most of my workouts ? (Making every rep of every set count)

    Figuring out how your body is designed early on, specifically by analyzing your diet will help enlighten you that diet and proper nutrition is the pinnacle to success.

    Supplements I'd Recommend to the Beginner Bodybuilder:

    (1) A very basic multivitamin: Anything from CVS, Costco, Wal-Mart, etc is more than enough. You don't need to spend $40.00 on a multivitamin with joint complex, glucosamine, milk thistle, etc etc in it. Focus specifically on dieting and train.

    (2) A Whey Protein Powder: Specifically, you should take Whey protein post-workout ONLY. Do not start replacing chicken breasts with protein powder it will not be effective. You only need 1 - 1.5 scoops postworkout. The rest of your diet should be whole foods. Look for samples or try your friend's flavors

    Phase 2: The Novice Bodybuilder

    Anyone who has been training 8 - 20ish months I would classify as a novice bodybuilder. They may have a basic or above average understanding of dieting and be aware of concepts such as pre/postworkout nutrition, many small meals over the day, and the like. This kind of individual may have a set diet plan of 6 meals/day following a macro setup established individually, via the forums, or personal trainer. Answering the above questions from Phase 1 would be significantly easier to a Novice Bodybuilder.

    Supplements I'd Recommend to the Novice Bodybuilder:

    (1) A basic Multivitamin as outlined above

    (2) Whey Protein Powder. Following the same principles as above. In a perfect world, never should you need protein powder except postworkout.

    (3) Creatine Monohydrate: Creatine is often exported from two places : Germany and Japan. The creatine exported from Germany falls under the umbrella company "Creapure". This is what you want to look for when selecting a creatine. The ONLY ingredient in your Creatine should be : Creatine Monohydrate. Do not waste your money on "propriatary blends", "Creatine Matrix", or Creatine mixed with a lot of sugar such as from Muscletech.

    Phase 3: The Hobbyist Bodybuilder

    An individual who has been training for 2+ years consistently I believe would fall under this category. The individual more than likely has a relatively thorough understanding of dieting as it pertains to himself/herself and is familiar around the gym.

    Supplements I'd Recommend to the Hobbyist Bodybuilder:

    (1) An "advanced" Multivitamin. Any of the following are good choices: Controlled Labs Orange Triad, AnimalPak Multivitamin, ON Opti-Men, AllMax Vitastack, and Dymatize Super Multi.

    (2) Whey Protein Powder

    (3) Creatine Monohydrate

    (4) Branched Chain Amino Acids : There are a variety of protocols on when to take BCCA's so to best elaborate I have quoted Gbrice :

    Quote Originally Posted by gbrice75 View Post
    BCAA = Branch Chain Amino Acids. They are some of the essential amino acids - essential meaning 2 things:

    > we need them to function
    > our bodies cannot make them (just like EFA's), so we must get them from our diet

    So yes, absolutely for male and female. If you are eating complete protein sources, you are getting these already. In fact, the 9 essential amino acids are what dictates a protein source being considered complete vs. incomplete. There are many many amino acids, but only 9 essential (fitting the 2 requirements listed above).

    Widely available in supplement form. Most people use them intra workout - i.e. powder form mixed in water or a sports drink. I (and many others) use them before fasted cardio to blunt muscle loss. Leucine in particular (I believe that's the one!) is mainly responsible for kick starting protein synthesis. I relied heavily on BCAA's/EAA's when I was running my intermittent fasting diet, since I was training heavily in a fasted state. In a way, you can look at it like getting your protein without consuming calories (there are actually a few calories since they ARE protein essentially; but they are minimal, i.e. nothing compared to a full protein shake).

    If you want to read more, below is taken straight from Wiki:

    A branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) is an amino acid having aliphatic side-chains with a branch (a carbon atom bound to more than two other carbon atoms). Among the proteinogenic amino acids, there are three BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine and valine.[1]

    The BCAAs are among the nine essential amino acids for humans, accounting for 35% of the essential amino acids in muscle proteins and 40% of the preformed amino acids required by mammals[2] . BCAA’s have been used clinically to aid in the recovery of burn victims[3] . They are also used in the treatment in some cases of hepatic encephalopathy[4] . Some weightlifters such as Johnnie Jackson and Jay Cutler believe that consuming a higher percentage of BCAAs is better for increasing lean muscle mass than consuming proteins containing relatively fewer BCAAs.
    As many as 80% of patients with type 2 diabetes see a marked improvement after gastric bypass surgery. A recent study suggested that the reduction in blood BCAAs may be associated with the improvement in blood sugar regulation. The mechanism remains unknown.

    Conditional Supplements

    The following are a list of supplements I do not think are needed what so ever to achieve success regardless of what your goals are. However, in specific cases they may be beneficial to some degree.

    Fish Oil Pills: At the end of the day, I think you're better off getting all of your fats out of your diet and it is cheaper too. If you do choose to buy these to help you sleep better at night and put you at ease, picking a quality Fish Oil is critical.

    Casein Protein Powder: If you cannot digest/tolerate cottage cheese or have trouble eating late at time sometimes liquids may be the only way to go. If this is the case then you could look into a scoop of casein or protein blend such as Myofusion before bed. However, lean meat, cottage cheese, eggs, etc will be a better choice if you can tough it out.

    Pre-Workout Stimulants: Anything with 1,3 dimethylamylamine ; caffein ; or Schizandrol A in it I would classify as a stimulant. Some examples would include Jack3d, 1 More Rep, and BSN's NO Explode. Personally, I think with proper dieting and sleep you do not need any preworkout boosts. I would rather increase my calories by 100 - 200 (probably carbs specifically) before taking a stimulant. However, the one time I think it would be appropriate to take one of these products is if you are working out first thing in the morning and a preworkout meal is not sufficient to train with highest intensity possible.

    Zinc/Magnesium Aspartate (ZMA) What supplement companies claim is ZMA before bed increases Growth Hormone secretion, increases frequency in REM sleep, raises testosterone levels , etc. I personally think it's a load of crap and your pissing away your money. I get bloodwork done bi-monthly and saw no chance biologically after taking ZMA every night for a two month period. Furthermore, I saw no chance in my sleep. Take this supplement if you would like, but be aware of placebo effects.

    Additional Vitamins: Depending on your budget, along with the actual content of your multivitamin, you may require an additional specific vitamin. For example, my old multivitamin I used before switching to AnimalPak only had something like 200mg of Vitamin C so I would take an additional 500mg chewable tab each day. However, DO NOT get carried away and start taking like 5g of Calcium, 10g of Vitamin C, 20, 000 IU Vitamin A, 200mg of Zinc otherwise you can seriously cause problems to your body. Overdosing on Vitamins although is more uncommon, it's not unheard of. Read the label of your multivitamin carefully. Conversely, sometimes people create their own multivitamins. For example you can buy a bone complex vitamin (Glucosamine, Vitamin D, Calcium), an immune system vitamin (Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin A), and a Vitamin B complex capsule and stack the 3 together. Often going with an option like this is more expensive in the long run. Finally, if you have a specific condition then you could supplement additional vitamins. One such example is my Aunt with osteoporosis and she takes an extra 2000mg of Calcium and Vitamin D a day.

    Supplements to Avoid

    Testosterone Boosters: Usually the ingredient advertised in these products is Tribulus. Any product claiming to boost testosterone is a waste of money. It's the equivalent of snake oil for the bodybuilding industry. Do not spend your money on any of this crap. Short of injecting yourself with Test or using an Androgel Patch you will not raise your Test levels.

    Weight Gainer Powder: The amount of crap the companies put in these is absurd. As well, most if not all of the carbs found in these powders are sugar ! If you are a hardgainer and want that extra caloric surplus make your own weight gainer shaker. It will be cleaner and probably taste better.

    Here is a popular example:

    - 1-2 Scoops of Protein Powder (Blend or Whey)
    - Peanut or any other Nut Butter (Typically 1-3 Tablespoons)
    - Ground Oats
    - Whole (Homogenized Milk)

    Blend away and drink.

    Protein Bars: If for any reason you think Protein Bars are healthy or a wise choice, grab any chocolate bar and the protein bar you're about to eat. Compare the ingredients. Notice the similarities ? Protein bars are merely chocolate bars with whey added in along with several ingredients most people without a Bio/Chem major would uneducated about.

    Any "Cell Volumizer" or "Protein Synthesis Enhancer": Basically any supplement that claims to increase protein synthesis or transport more glycogen to your muscles BSN Cellmass and Muscletech Celltech are great examples of these.

    Fat Burneres: If Fat Burners actually worked, doctors would be prescribing them to obese patients. Take a moment and think about that. Fat Burners are nothing more than over-marketed diuretics with a lot of herbal hocus pocus ingredients thrown in like ginseng, green tea extract, pine bark, etc. The only way you are ever going to get that beach body is from proper nutrition, busting your butt in the gym, and doing some form of cardio multiple days a week. If you do lose weight its all water because your using the washroom so much which often gives people the illusion they are losing fat.

    Article 11.5: Making Your Water Taste DELICIOUS

    A few years ago I was diagnosed with a Renal condition that forced to me to no longer drink anything except milk, juice, and water. Naturally, after drinking pop for so long I switched to juice and saw a huge stomach appear quite quickly. I was constantly searching for a way to justify all the "healthy juices" out there. Fact of the matter is, they barely have any of juice in there, most of it is artificial flavoring and sugar water. Have you ever noticed each carton of the same juice tastes the same ? Yep, artificial flavoring.

    It finally dawned on me it would be cost-effective and significantly more nutritious to just mix water with fruit and drink the water. To reiterate, I do NOT eat the fruit - it's merely for flavoring. You're looking at less than 5 grams of sugar for drinking the entire pitcher provided below.

    Steps to Make Your Water Taste Delicious:

    (1) Get a huge pitcher
    (2) Fill with Ice & your favorite fruits
    (3) Add water and drink.

    If you can't finish it then put the jug back in the fridge and let it sit. In actuality, the longer the water sits the more it will absorb the flavors. Try to drink the pitcher in 72 hours or less. DON'T add more fruit after you've let it sit for a while - it would be like mixing fresh vegetables with old ones.

    Fruits to Avoid:

    From my experience, I've found these fruits don't work to well and get too soggy or don't add much flavor alone, or when paired with other fruit the stronger ones overpower these choices:

    - Watermelon
    - Banana
    - Pineapple
    - Cherries
    - Grapes

    A fresh batch I just made ! For all your macro lovers : Per 1 Pitcher = 0 Protein / 0 Fats / <5 Carbs

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  6. #6
    Windex is offline Staff ~ HRT Optimization Specialist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gucks View Post
    pretty nice article, especially cheap protein sources for people on a budget. one of the better beginner articles ive seen. ur own work?
    Not really my own work. I just took numerous articles/shorts in regards to nutrition from website articles, journal articles, interviews, independent authors, and put it all together in a collaboration of information. I can't take any credit for the above information. I just figured not everyone has time to go out and do research so having some basic information all jammed in 1 thread might be helpful to some.
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  7. #7
    Windex is offline Staff ~ HRT Optimization Specialist
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    Quote Originally Posted by girlgymrat View Post
    Windex. I am looking through the thread again and wondering what you would recommend differently for a woman, other than just adjusting/decreasing portion sizes?
    Most of the principles remain consistent and your right about adjusting/decreasing portion sizes. I'd probably be most weary of supplements and look for gender specific options. For example, I know ON makes an Opti- multivitamin specifically for women. Things like Jack3d and ECA stacks would have to be adjusted or even avoided in my opinion because women naturally weight less than man and having that much caffeine or ephedrine or whatever else seems fairly hazardous for someone at 120 lbs compared to a 200 lb male. Women also naturally have higher bodyfat percentages (due to breasts). For this reason I think in a cutting diet you'd want to favor as high as protein as you could get away with, without ending up being lethargic all the time due to the lack of carbs/fats for energy. Finally, since you have so fewer calories to work with I think 1 or even 1/2 a scoop of Whey Protein PWO is enough in terms of food supplementation. I'd stay clear of casein powder, waxy maize, etc.

    You've given me some research to do because apart from the above I'm not entirely sure what other specifics you'd want to incorporate.
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