Nutrition is a weapon. It doesn’t matter if you are driving a Ferrari or a moped if they aren’t fueled, and what’s more, a properly fueled moped will outrun an empty Ferrari every time. But even that metaphor is insufficient, because nutrition is much more intricate than the fuel that powers an engine. Want to gain muscle? Lose fat? Maintain muscle and lose weight? There are recipes for all these ends, the only thing that stands between you and your ideal machine is the knowledge to do so. Sadly a lot of this knowledge is still a mystery to many.
Reid Reale is an expert in combat sports nutrition. Below are some of his key points of emphasis for athletes who have to watch the scale.
Protein – Your Gas Tank is only so Big
It’s far from a secret that protein is an important part of gaining muscle, what most people don’t understand is that their mouth can handle a lot more than their guts can. The average person cannot digest 20 grams of protein in a sitting, and some 9 oz cuts of beef can hold almost 80 grams.
Protein is important, but you can only put some much in the gas tank at once. Instead of letting 75% of your protein intake go to waste, spread it out throughout the day and stay constantly anabolic (muscle building).
Stop Shaming the Carbs
If you are serious about gaining muscle, your post workout protein needs to come with about 5 times as many carbs. While sugars are rightfully vilified for spiking insulin and fat storage throughout the day, the post workout situation is different.
After a tough workout, your body has an “anabolic window” where it is bent on using it’s carbs to build and repair muscle. The carbs you take in during this time hustle to turn the protein into muscle, so if you are after real horsepower, pile on the post workout carbohydrates.
And yes, sugars are just fine.
…Start Shaming the Carbs!
Would you rather weigh in and compete with or without a few extra pound of undigested fecal matter in your gut? After you have…digested the gross image, your first reaction is probably that it’s a necessary consequence of eating, and you certainly are not going to starve yourself before a competition.
You’re both right and wrong.
The calories that fuel your body can be delivered in a concentrated or bulky form. Carbohydrates, and high fiber food sources provide energy in a low proportion compared to their weight and tend to stay in the body for a longer time. Fat based sources of calories like coconut oil, eggs, avocados and fish deliver energy in a very high proportion compared to their weight, therefore delivering the energy needed to perform without being a liability on the scale.
What does this mean?
It is NOT a revolution in the dieting process. Fiber and carbohydrates are nutritionally essential for a variety of reasons. However, in the 48 hours before a weigh-in, getting your calories from calorically dense sources can give you the opportunity to evacuate vital pounds from the intestines.
So as the weigh in closes in, eat less in quantity, get more calories, and save those valuable pounds for things like staying hydrated or just plain being bigger.