#2 - Consume the right types of calories from the proper food sources every 2-3 hours throughout the day.
We just established that in order to build muscle, you’ll need to always ensure that your caloric intake exceeds your caloric expenditure. That’s all fine and dandy, but it really only tells us half of the story.
You see, you could easily exceed your caloric expenditure by feasting on big macs, ice cream cones and potato chips, but do you think this would be an intelligent approach to building muscle?
Of course not.
You need to realize this…
All calories are NOT created equally!
The raw number of calories determines whether you’ll lose weight, maintain your weight or gain weight, but it is the type of calories that will determine what kind of bodyweight is lost or gained (lean muscle mass, fat, water etc. )
Your goal is obviously to build lean muscle mass while keeping body fat gains at a minimum, and therefore you’ll need to focus on consuming the right types of calories from the proper food sources.
The 3 main food groups you should concerned with are…
1) High Quality Protein – Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue and is the most important nutrient for those trying to increase their lean mass. Stick to high quality, easily absorbed sources such as lean red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, skim milk, cottage cheese, peanuts/natural peanut butter and whey.
2) High Fiber, Low Glycemic Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates aid in the absorption of protein, provide your muscles and brain with energy throughout the day and also help to maintain an optimal hormonal environment within the body.
Stick to slow-release, low-glycemic sources that will provide you with a steady stream of sugars throughout the day such as oatmeal, yams, brown rice and whole wheat products.
3) Healthy, Unsaturated Fats – Not all fats will make you fat, and unsaturated essential fatty acids fit that profile. EFA’s are highly beneficial to the muscle growth process by increasing testosterone levels, improving the metabolism and volumizing the muscle cells. Some good sources of EFA’s include fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocados and liquids like flaxseed and olive oil.
These 3 food groups should make up the bulk of your diet, and should be spread out over the course of 5-7 small meals daily. That may sound like a lot of meals, but the reasons behind it are quite simple…
It all boils down to your body’s natural, hard-wired mechanisms.
The body’s primary goal is to keep you alive and healthy, and whenever you go without food for 2-3 hours your body begins to enter into a “starvation mode” as a natural survival response. Your body has no idea that you’re sitting 10 feet away from a fridge full of food, and for all it knows you may have to endure a long period of time without any nutrients. It responds to this by slowing down the fat burning metabolism and entering into a “catabolic state”, where lean muscle tissue begins wasting away so that the protein can be used for other survival functions within the body.
This is NOT a good thing!
If your goal is to build and maintain as much lean muscle as possible, you must always keep your body in an anabolic, muscle-building state throughout the day. This can be accomplished by consuming a small meal containing high quality protein and carbohydrates every 2-3 hours.
It may seem like a lot of work at first, but over time you’ll get used to it.