Saturday, 2 May 2009

The Baseline Diet, Part 1: Meal Frequency, Caloric Intake and Water Intake

I'm going to begin this article with a few questions. How much mass suffer you gained in the last few months? If you are as if the common lifter, the solution is 'Not as much as I'd like'.

Ok, next question: how still money undergo you spent on exotic supplements hoping they'd be the secret to freaky mass? Again, if you are the typical lifter the answer is probably 'Way a good deal more as opposed to I should have?’

Next is a series of questions: How many meals are you eating per day? How many calories? How many grams of protein? Carbs? Fat? When's the last time you ate fruit or vegetables? How even water are you consuming on a daily basis. If you are an regular lifter (and look for to stay such), your answer is possibly 'Umm, I don't know.'

Which brings us to the topic of the next two articles. I'm sure people are hoping that I'll discuss all manners of new nutritional strategies in this column in the upcoming months. While I might share a few, there's really not much new underneath the sun when it comes to bodybuilding nutrition. Sure, we recognize a lot more now than lifters did 30 years ago, but overall the same uncomplicated plan apply. In the forecast and the next, I want to gobbledygook throughout some of individuals uncomplicated rules.

A quick word on supplements

I would say such a more than half of the questions I get for my Q&A column hold to do with supplements. Most deal with basic stuff: protein powders, the ECA stack, creatine but a total sum additionally purchase with the more esoteric stuff on the market. I will say this for the bodybuilding magazines, properties have many lifters (especially new lifters) convinced that one ought to spend a buttload of money on supplements to make gains. I'm tempted to rant about it, but I'll save that for a later article.

It's time to deal with a simple fact: lifters got damn big and damn strong before any supplements existed. Another obvious fact: your diet (and of course your training) might determine 95% of your success in bodybuilding (or any sport). At most, supplements can add 5% to the level. Unless you're planning on competing, and that 5% may hint the difference between winning and losing, spending a small-fortune on supplements is a waste. As well, until you get the 95% of your training and diet in order, you're wasting your money and gas on supplements.

Now, do not get me wrong, I'm not anti-supplements. To echo the words of a wise man, I'm anti-anything so detracts trainees from the stuff that in fact concerns (training and diet). Protein powders have their use, but one can easily fulfill a day's protein requirements without them. I think a multi-vitamin/mineral is not a bad idea either, because no-one eats perfectly each day. Creatine plans to make you stronger and you'll gain Other water weight, which might mean a little bit faster gains down the road.

I'm torn on MRP's. On the one hand, food is cheaper, greater number of nutritious, and tastes better. On the other, if your schedule is very busy, MRP's may be an easy way to carry on up your nutrition. Then again, spending an hour on Sunday cooking up chicken breasts, eggs, pasta, rice, etc in preparation for the next week works well too. That's all I'm going to say nearly supplements for now. Maybe at some height I'll spit out an article on the ones that I think might have some benefit.


What is the baseline diet?

Most simply defined, the baseline diet is what every lifter needs to determine before they go mucking about with any supplements, or any goofy diet interpretations. That is, you may substantiate AND emulate a baseline for at least a few months, to track your body's response, before you try anything else. Along with this, it is necessary to own some technique of measuring changes in body composition (hint: get a cheap set of calipers and get into the habit of taking skinfold measurements).

Much of how I'm ready to discuss has been stated multi times before. However, I get enough mail from people who are making mistakes in their clear nutrition to believe which it bears repeating again. The baseline diet can be divided into 7 categories: meal frequency, overall calories, water intake, protein, carbohydrate and fat intake. In such a article, I'll discuss the first 3 topics. In the next article, I'll discuss protein, carbs and fat.

Meal frequency

Although discussed to death, serious bodybuilders should be eating 4-6 times per day, period. Three meals per day simply will not cut it for mass gains. The biggest half of this is because it's difficult to exhaust an adequate amount of calories for mass gains in only three meals. As well, numerous smaller meals keeps a steadier flow of nutrients to the body. Studies have also substantiated positive benefits of multiple, diminished meals on cholesterol and bodyfat levels (and I'm ensured larger number of indices of health). If nothing else, multiple meals typically makes it simpler to consume the type of high-calorie diets needed to sustain mass gains.

In practice, lifters should be putting something in their mouths food-wise constantly 3 hours or so. While I've observed more frequent feedings suggested, I have trouble thinking that eating every 2 hours is going to be significantly better than eating every three. That's about how long you'll maintain blood glucose, insulin after a meal. Most proteins take 2-3 hours to fully digest (if not longer) so I see minimal trouble to eat protein more often than that.

Beyond that, arguably the most sizeable meals are breakfast (to stop overnight catabolism) and post-workout. Post workout nutrition is a place I see lifters making major mistakes. I've watched guys at my gym finish their workouts and hang out operating (or flirting) for another 30-60'. There is a window of opportunity where nutrients are more effectively absorbed after a workout. By the hour mark, you have already lost some of the benefit. In my opinion, you is planning to take something with you (or buy it there) to drink best after your workout. As I'll discuss in a subsequent article, there may be certain benefit to consuming nutrients before or halfway for the duration of the workout as well. Although guidelines are sparse, typical recommendations for post-workout are 1-1.5 g/kg of carbs and about 1/3rd as much protein.

A concluding place to consider meal frequency is right before bedtime and in the core of the night. Between your last meal and breakfast can be a long time to go without nutrients and anabolism might be better maintained if nutrients are consumed. There is additionally some information that the gut needs time to 'rest' itself and that round-the-clock eating may hamper that. Another contemplation is that sleep serves to not be compromised to get more nutrients into the body. Since I usually wake up in the middle of the night nonetheless (to go to the bathroom), I'll regularly hold some milk or something while I'm up. If you don't usually wake up in the middle of the night, a shake before bed (containing protein, carbs, fat and fiber) will aide to continue a continuous flow of nutrients to your bloodstream.

Total calories

Although macronutrient composition surely plays a role in dietary deed or failure, caloric intake is arguably as important. Invariably the lifters I've met who wanted to gain mass (but couldn't) got either overtraining or easily not eating enough. A few years back, we saw the rise (and subsequent fall) of the lean mass gainer, a low calorie drink which magically lead to you to gain mass. In all cases, these products contained creatine that causes rapid water weight gain.

On top of that, there is a pervading opinion (perhaps we should call it a desire) to gain mass additonally costing fat at the same time. While beginners can pull this off, as can those going back on a layoff, anyone past the beginner stage will earn this generally impossible without the use of repartitioning drugs. The strategy I regularly advocate is the alternation of mass gain (accepting fat gains) with fat loss (trying to minimize muscle loss). This avoids the buildup of extreme bodyfat levels, additonally allowing one to gain mass.

So the subsequently question is "How a multitude of calories for mass gains?" to which the simplest key is "Enough." In principle, for mass gains calories ought to be high sufficient that a small fat raise is seen (as measured by calipers) every couple of weeks. This providing be additionally than sufficient to support muscle mass gains. In practice, a caloric level of 16-18 calories per pound is implied as a starting place for mass gains. I've known individuals who had to consume 25 cal/lb. to swell weight/mass.

I suggest trainees implement at overly calorie level and make adjustments depending on biweekly body composition measures. So begin at say 18 cal/lb. and see how your caliper measurements (men should probably use abdominal, women thigh as these tend to be many representative of bodyfat levels) tweak after 2 weeks. If properties went up a little (maybe a couple of millimeters), you are fine. If not, add another couple of hundred calories per day to your diet. Eventually you'll find which calorie level that starts putting weight on you. Obviously, as you get bigger, you'll have to add more calories as well.

Water intake

While it should be a no-brainer, water intake is another place at which trainees make uncomplicated mistakes (I am guilty of this myself). The effects of dehydration range from what i read in minimal (at 2% dehydration, strength and performance decrease) to painful (can anybody say kidney stones) to worse (at 10% dehydration, death can occur).

While there are several generalized water intake equations (such as 8 glasses per day), these may not be correct for everyone. To poach a guideline out of a friend of mine, a good law of thumb is 5 clear urinations per day, and 2 of those should come after your workout. This provides trainees a way of individualizing water intake. Obviously one who property in a hot, humid environment (or trains in a non-air conditioned gym) will need more and more water than someone who lives in moderate temperatures and trains in a posh gym.

Water intake if ideally come from water and water alone. However, other sources these kinds of as milk, fruit juice, or fruit and vegetables can count towards total water intake as well. Anything with caffeine in it doesn't count because the caffeine may act as a diuretic. As well, alcohol has a tendency to a greater amount of dehydrate you so beer after a workout sucker a good way to increase your fluid intake. Oh yeah, thirst is a poor indicator of hydration state. By the time you're thirsty, you are already a bit dehydrated.

Your assignment

Your assignment between now and subsequently period is to determine (by keeping records) your the most recent meal frequency, caloric and water intakes. This means keeping a food log of everything you eat and drink within the day. You when keep such a log for a minimum of 3 days (including one weekend day, where most of us let dietary discipline lapse) up to a full-week. You'll too need a basic calorie counter to determine caloric intake.

After you've kept your record, check it against my guidelines for the basic diet. Are you eating 4-6 meals per day, getting enough calories to support mass gains, getting a sufficient amount of water? If the answer is yes, you're ahead of the game. If the answer is no, spend the coming month correcting the deficiencies. Psychologists estimate the present it takes 3 weeks to develop a habit. So by the long time you read part 2, you should experience corrected any difficulties you were having.

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