The Muscle Growth Diet – Food Timing
Any experienced bodybuilder will tell you that a properly designed muscle growth diet is a critical element in the muscle growth process.
While intense workouts at the gym trigger muscles to grow bigger and stronger, the ultimate determining factor behind new muscle growth will be your diet.
Having said that, just eating the correct foods is not
enough to build bigger muscles. As an effective muscle growth diet is equally dependent on the timing of your meals. Meals that are “timed right” will help you pack on muscle mass faster while at the same time boosting your metabolism.
Therefore, as with almost everything else in life, the timing of your meals will account for nearly everything as far as muscle growth is concerned.
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to get into a daily muscle building eating plan that will support your goals.
How To Design Your Muscle Growth Diet For Maximum Results
First, it all begins with waking up in the morning and feeding your body with the right nutrients to fuel your body's calorie needs after sleeping 7 to 9 hours.
Drinking a whey proteinshake is an excellent way to reverse the imposed catabolism that’s caused during sleep.
The protein form the shake will provide your muscles the necessary amino acids they require for growth or anabolism.
Also at breakfast, make sure to include some type of complex carbohydrates with a glycemic index or GI rating of 70 or less, such as bran cereal, rye bread, or non-instant, slow cooking oatmeal, which will ensure that you’re starting your day off with enough energy.
The next critical feeding time in a serious muscle growth diet is about 1-2 hours before a workout. Once again, you should consume plenty of complex carbohydrates which will give you plenty of energy to fuel your workouts as complex carbs digest slowly compared to simple carbohydrates.
Choosing carbohydrates low on the glycemic index, including some of the ones that I’ve mentioned above, not only provides long-lasting energy, but also promotes a fast metabolism along with supporting muscle tissue growth.
Other than the importance of pre-workout eating, what you eat after your workouts is also critical for anyone following a proper muscle growth diet.
Since an intense workout will use stored carbohydrates (glycogen) for fuel, your muscles need rapid replenishment afterwards to start the recovery process which will initiate the growth phase.
Thus, within 45 minutes to an hour after a workout, you should have another protein shake, along with high-glycemic carbohydrates.
Fast digesting carbohydrates consumed after training will cause a spike in insulin, which will help deliver protein into your muscle tissue faster.
If the used-up carbohydrate supply is not replenished, the muscles can not repair themselves as fast or as efficiently; thus you might lose muscle mass.
You’ll want to make sure that you consume at least 40 grams of fast digesting carbs form sugar and at least 20 grams of protein from whey. You do not have to consume sugar, if you prefer, go for high-glycemic whole foods such as bananas, raisins, pineapple, dates and white bread.
An important fact to note is that during the rest of the day, other than post-workout, high-glycemic carbohydrates should be avoided to prevent the insulin spikes that highly processed and sugary, high-glycemic-index foods are know to cause.
Avoiding high glycemic carbs throughout the rest of the day will force your body to use your fat stores for energy instead of using quick-digesting, high-glycemic carbohydrates.
The next critical time to feed your muscles for growth is before bedtime, as sleeping is considered a fasting period. During sleep, the body takes advantage of the “slowdown” to repair and re-build muscle tissue that has been torn and damaged through exercise.
However, since the slowed metabolism that accompanies sleep also promotes fat storage when a large meal is consumed before sleep, it’s much better to eat a light meal consisting of slow-digesting protein along with a small amount of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats about 2 to 3 hours before bed.
A good example is cottage cheese for protein, topped with some easily digested fruit. Also, mixing milk and protein powder is effective as milk provides slow-digesting protein from casein.
A few carbohydrate sources that I recommend before bed as well as late in the afternoon include apples, low-fat milk, plain yogurt, custard, tomato soup, strawberries, and grapefruit.
Simpler in structure, yet not overly high on the glycemic index, these carbohydrates do not take as long to break down as the more complex carbohydrates such as oats and wheat bread.
If you’re trying to minimize fat gain while you’re in mass gain mode, after 6:00 p.m you should avoid eating high-glycemic and sugary carbohydrates that cause insulin levels to peak, as well as the lower-glycemic, but complex, “dry” carbohydrates like bread, potatoes, rice, and pasta that promote excessive fat gain during sleep.
To sum up, a proper muscle growth diet has a few basic rules that require you to know not only which foods you’re eating, but also at what times to eat them.
Once you get into the habit of consuming smaller more frequent meals every few hours, it becomes easier to consume the required nutrients needed for muscle growth.
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