The Ultimate Nutrition Q&A

Expert answers to 25 of your most pressing bodybuilding diet and supplement queries.
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16. Should I be taking anything during my workouts?

The essential amino acids include leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and histidine. Our bodies cannot make these nine aminos; we must get them from our diet. They are critical to building muscle. Taking them during your workouts will push muscle growth because they will get to the muscles even faster than the aminos from whey. Research shows that taking EAAs around workout time significantly enhances muscle growth. Add 20 g of EAAs to a water bottle and sip during your workouts.

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17. What’s the best postworkout meal?

Immediately after workouts, you need 40 g of fast-digesting protein (like whey) and fast-digesting carbs (Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler’s formula is 0.65 g of carbs per pound of bodyweight) in the post-training meal. This will rapidly provide amino acids to your muscles for recovery and growth. It’ll also spike insulin levels, which will drive the aminos and glucose from the carbs into the muscles, blunt the catabolic hormone cortisol, enhance testosterone’s anabolic actions and increase muscle growth.

18. Should I just stick to whey protein after workouts?

This fast-digesting protein is critical after workouts for stimulating recovery and growth. Yet, paradoxical as it seems, slow-digesting casein can boost whey’s postworkout benefits. Research shows that when bodybuilders add casein to their postworkout whey shakes, they gain significantly more muscle mass than when they use whey alone.

19. What should my first major meal after training be?

An hour after your fast-digesting postworkout meal, you need to down a second postworkout meal of slower-digesting whole-food selections. Research shows that a second postworkout meal rich in protein and carbs keeps the muscle growth process turned on longer after your workout. Go with 30-50 g of lean protein like beef, poultry, eggs, seafood or dairy, and 60-100 g of slow-digesting carbs such as sweet potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice or other whole-grain options.

20. What should I eat before bed to fuel bodybuilding gains?

Before you go to bed, you need to consume 20-40 g of a slow-digesting protein such as casein or cottage cheese. While you sleep, you fast for seven to nine hours. During this time, your body will turn to your muscles to break them down for fuel, because the amino acids that make up muscle protein can be converted into glucose. If you ingest a slow-digesting protein that delivers a steady supply of amino acids throughout the night, these aminos will be converted to fuel, sparing your muscle mass.

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