Thursday, February 26, 2009

You think you know big? Amounts

Alright, yesterday I went into an aggressive way to gain muscle for high school age male athletes. Now, the principles still hold true, but I left out some important info. Mostly how much of everything. So here you go.

Protein:
As with anything else it always depends. But most people should be getting between .08-1.2g of protein per lb of body mass. This is a very general scale and should be taken that way. Most athletes that hit this are going to be getting just enough. If you want to grow hard and fast eat more than 1.2g/lb of body mass. Some people get upwards to 3g/lb of body mass. Divide that up among your meals and you'll be fine.

Example: Lets say you weigh 170lb and you want to eat 240g of protein per day. You're eating 6 meals a day, that means you need 40g of protein/meal. By the way 1lb of chicken has around 18g of protein.

Carbohydrates: For the high school age this is more of a type and timing issue than an amount.
  • Before and after a workout you want quick carbs to use during your workout and to replenish your stores that you just burnt, and also to begin the recovery process. This should be 1-1.5 hours before and up to 2 hours after, and include carb sources like rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, and liquids.
  • The rest of the day your carbs should be coming in the form of low glycemic, highly nutritious foods. These would include most fruits and all vegetables, oats, quinoa, amoran, stuff like that. The rest of the day should not have any breads, pastas, rice, or other sugary type foods.
  • By the way the glycemic index and the glycemic load of whole wheat breads and pastas are almost the same and the same goes for brown rice and white rice, so substituting these doesn't work like you might think it will.
Fruits and Vegetables: How much??
  • Tons!! Load them on. Eat as many of these as you want and for those that choke them down you need to eat as many as you can.
  • Fruit: 7-15 servings is good. Sound like a lot, well it is, and you need a lot cause you want to grow. Especially fleshy fruits like most 'berries'. Dark fruits are great, but you're not going to hurt yourself getting fruit (especially in high school). Avocados are a superfood as well and should be in everyones diet. You need so many of these because this needs to make up a large portion of your carbohydrate intake throughout the day.
  • Vegetables: 5-12 servings is good. Just about all are good, especially green leafy ones. Broccoli is a superfood without doubt so you can't go wrong there, unless you are covering it with crap, like 10 layers of velvetta cheese. Asparagus is also good, and for more than just making you pee smell funny.
Fat: Source is key but you have to have it. Especially if you're trying to gain muscle.

This is a subject that has mislead dieters and many so call 'nutritionists' for a long time for some reason. You have to have fat in your diet (no matter who you are). Fat and Protein are actually the only two essential macronutrients, which means your body could not survive without them (by the way there are three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrate, fat). And yes I just said that your body can survive without carbs, but that is not the topic nor would you want to live that way.

Our bodies use the fat from our diets for tons of stuff other than burning it for energy. It is where we derive our hormones for one. Does that interest you? It should, since that can make the difference in you growing or not. We actually use cholesterol to make testosterone so it is important to get that in the diet as well.

But most importantly is if we are getting enough EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids) these are the good fats, and they cannot be produced by the body so we need to get them from our diets. The problem is hardly anyone gets close to even the minimum amount that we need and their health, goals, and life are suffering from it.

EFA's would be EPA, DHA, CLA, and ALA. EPA and DHA are typically associated with cold water fish and fish oil capsules. CLA is actually associated with beef but is the concentration is much higher in grass fed beef than grain fed beef. ALA is actually a plant based fatty acid, but it has very potent antioxidant power, so much that taking too much can negatively affect your body.

You need these in your body, they will help decrease chronic inflamation, help with recovery, keep your brain and other organs operating great, improve your tissue qualities, and pretty much solve and prevent any disease you hear about regularly. They are quite incredible, but most people are not even close. You should be close to 1:1 on good fat to bad fat in your diet but I've heard reports of diets being 1:12 and other reports at 1:50-70. Now that's bad, really bad, but that's the common numbers in our population. Especially in the midwest where you're just not going to get a good quality, fresh, wild, cold water fish. 

So, how much fat do you need? If you are eating a ton of animal protein you are probably getting enough fat. But loading up on EFA's is going to improve everything you are doing even further. Sorry had to put the answer at the end so you'd dig through all that other crap first. It's good for you.
  • Most people need at least 900mg of some type of DHA/EPA source everyday. This would solve tons of problems, especially in the long term.
  • With athletics and sports we want to be as healthy as possible to live, train, and compete at our top level. This means getting all the nutrients you need during the day, of which FAT is included.
  • Sources: Salmon, Tuna, Mackeral, Sardines, Cod, and also Flax seed
By the way, I eat tons of fat and get still take 1800 mg of DHA/EPA daily, along with some ALA in the form of capsules and flax seed. 

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