So much in the health industry focuses on weight loss, but what about those of you who are naturally lean like a whippet, or who dream of having a big muscular physique. Weight gain, strangely enough is quite often more of a challenge than weight loss; especially if you hope to stay reasonably lean at the same time!
FIRST & FOREMOST: FOOD!
Lucky you! You get to increase your calorie intake as food becomes your best friend. Choose nutrient dense, high calorie foods such as nuts, seeds , eggs, wholegrain breads, pasta and rice, avocado, fish &; dairy.
If you think your eating enough now, your probably not!! 5+ meals a day plus a protein supplement is going to be needed if gaining weight is your aim this winter.
DAILY FOOD INTAKE EXAMPLE
7am– Super Smoothie… Mix a combination of some or all of the following: Protein powder, flaxseed oil, oats, fruit, Maca powder, cacao powder, coconut oil, peanut butter, LSA meal, egg whites. GET CREATIVE!
9am– Bircher muesli with raw nuts , chia seeds and a piece of fruit
12:30– Baked Sweet Potato with red kidney beans, and mixed vegetables ,
avocado, cottage cheese and chicken or turkey breast.
3pm– Wholemeal bread with Nut spread, sliced banana and honey
Dinner– lean meat with salad including feta, walnuts, olive oil, pine nuts mixed through with Quinoa.
Before bed– Protein shake with coconut oil & 1/2 cup of Oats
Of course everyone’s meal plan will be different depending on work and training times, come in for a consultation for a more personalised plan.
THE BIG NO NO'S:
· Steer clear of “stimulant” packed pre workout mixes. These will boost your metabolism and reduce appetite thereby increasing risk of loosing muscle mass
· Don’t rely on “white” and processed foods such as pasta and rice. To get your calories. Always choose nutritious foods! Also avoid Saturated fats and salty foods, they contain little nutrition and will just make you put on mass in all the wrong places!
· If you want to stay lean it doesn’t mean you have to do heaps of cardio. Cardio workouts will make it harder for you to gain muscle as they are extremely catabolic.
· Don’t eat on the run. Sit down to enjoy your food, chew it and help your body to absorb all the nutrients
· Don’t skip meals. We need MORE calories!! If you skip a meal you can’t just eat a bigger serve next time as its too hard to digest. Be organized and have food ready to go!
· Don’t be a night owl, you need a minimum 8 hours sleep a night to allow our body to rest and recover. This is an important time for testosterone and growth hormone production so good sleep is essential to weight gain!
· NEVER train hungry!! Nor should you be full, but training on an empty stomach will lead to muscular breakdown and fatigue.
HOW CAN SUPPLEMENTS HELP YOU THIS WINTER?
PROTEIN POWDERS– The main reason for taking a protein powder in conjunction to training is to aid in muscular repair so you can train at a higher intensity and more often. For those wanting to build mass it is important to have a protein powder that contains carbohydrates as these add extra calories to the shake and also help shuttle the amino acids into the muscle cells preventing muscle breakdown. Protein shakes should be taken after training and at least once more during the day; depending on how many other meals you are consuming.
BRANCH CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAA’S)- These are the most important Amino Acids for muscular development.; Leucine, Iso –leucine & Valine. Taken pre/ intra work out BCAA’s will enhance muscular development and recovery and take your growth to the next level. BCAA’s have a watery consistency, mix them in your drink bottle and sip during training. Again, for maximum growth they are best with carbohydrates, this can be added separately or come pre mixed.
CREATINE– Creatine supplementation can build muscle, improve strength and power and enhance anaerobic capacity. Creatine replenishes your ATP stores. ATP is a chemical your skeletal muscle uses for energy, therefore through Creatine supplementation you will be able to work out with heavier weights, for longer periods of time, recover quicker and... GROW!
ARGININE– Arginine has a vaso-dilating effect which basically means you are getting improved circulation to your working muscles. This gives you what is known as a greater “pump” but it also means your muscle is being delivered more blood (feeding it glucose, amino acids and oxygen) and more waste is being carried away. This all results in more muscular energy and better recovery :-)
TRIBULUS– This herb has been used for centuries to increase testosterone production. Higher testosterone levels are associated to increased energy, increased lean muscle mass and improved immunity… all important whilst training hard! We generally recommend this to men over 35yrs, or those who have high levels of stress which may impact their normal testosterone levels.
There are so many supplements available, it can be quite overwhelming; seek proffessional advice on what is most important for you and how it can fit into your lifestyle.