Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Vitargo


Today i would like represent to you one of for me the best supplements of all...

There are many other "sports drinks" on the market, but none like Vitargo. It is specially formulated to reload glycogen inthe muscles 70% quicker after activity than other traditional sport drinks.

So what is Vitargo?

Vitargo is a unique patented carbohydrate, specially formulated for elite athletes to give an effective loading of easily accessible muscle energy (glycogen) to the body.

Vitargo has been clinically tested at the Karolinska Institute,
Stockholm and compared with other "ordinary" sport carbohydrate drinks. The results showed that Vitargo was quicker in replenishing glycogen levels* and passing through the stomach. Compared with the normal combinations of complex glucose polymers, Vitargo's results showed:

  • Recharging of the glycogen levels Vitargo - 70% quicker
  • Passage through the stomach Vitargo - 80% quicker

Read the abstract of the published article in the European Journal of Applied Physiololgy

Other sport and carbohydrate drinks are formulated on traditional carbohydrates used in the production of
normal grocery and confectionary products. Therefore
they do not meet the special demands of the athlete.

Now we are going to see what separates Vitargo from
other well-known energy and sport drink carbohydrates
on the market. We're even going to look at what you the
consumer should look at when choosing your energy drink.

  • Do you eat loads of pasta the day before a big
    race or activity, which just bloats your stomach?
  • Do sport drinks usually remain in your stomach,
    causing you discomfort?
  • Is it difficult to ensure recovery through quick
    and effective replenishment?

Vitargo has been developed to meet the needs and demands of elite athletes. Vitargo passes through the stomach quickly and allows the storing of glycogen in the body in the most effective way. The benefit of this is that you are able to eat your "normal" portions of food without being concerned that you lack the necessary glycogen and energy levels.

The study:
8 healthy men cycled to exhaustion, immediately after this, participants consumed a one- litre solution containing sugar-free flavoured water(control), 100g of a low molecular weight glucose polymer or 100g of a very high molecular weight glucose polymer(VITARGO), and rested on a bed for 2 hours. After recovery, a 15 minutes time-trial was performed on a cycle ergometer, during which work output was determined.
Result: Post-exercise ingestion of the very high molecular weight glucose polymer named Vitargo, resulted in faster and greater increases in blood glucose and serum insulin concentrations than the low molecular weight glucose polymer solution(typical for ordinary sports drinks). And most important, greater work output during the 15-minutes time trial than both the sugar-free flavoured water and the low molecular weight glucose polymer solutions.
These findings could be of practical importance for athletes wishing to optimize performance by facilitating rapid re-synthesis of the muscle glycogen store during recovery following prolonged sub-maximal exercise.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Suplements


What Nutritional Supplements Should I Use?

When it comes to gaining lean muscle mass, most people think that bodybuilding supplements are the most important part of the equation. However, this could not be any further from the truth.

Supplements are just additions to an already good nutrition and training program. Nutrition and training are the most important components of a bodybuilding program, with rest and recovery next to them. Once all of those aspects of your program are maximized, then you can start thinking of adding supplements to your program.

Please understand that supplements do not make up for improper training, or lack thereof, or a low quality diet. Supplements only work when your diet and your training program are optimal.

Why Use Supplements?
Nutritional supplements are good because they prevent us from getting any nutritional deficiencies. The increased activity levels from your new exercise program will make your body have greater demands for vitamins and minerals, which will increase the probability of you suffering a deficiency without supplementation. Even a slight nutrient deficiency can sabotage muscle growth. Can't we get all the nutrients we need from food alone? We cannot rely solely on food nowadays to provide us with all the vitamins and minerals that our body needs because the processing of foods before they get to the supermarket, cooking, air, and even light have already robbed your foods of most of the vitamins that they have to offer. If you are deficient in one or more nutrients your body may not be able to build muscle and burn fat properly.

Not all supplements are created equal though. Some your body always needs, others are more dependent upon what your goals are and what your budget looks like. Below you will learn what the different categories of supplements are and which ones you need to use at all times:

Basic Supplements
These are the supplements that you always need year round in order to gain muscle. If you have a limited budget, these are the only ones that you need to concern yourself with.

Multiple Vitamin And Mineral Formula
Essential to insure that your body will operate at maximum efficiency. Why? Because on a very simplistic level, without vitamins and minerals it is impossible to covert the food that we eat into hormones, tissues and energy.

Vitamins
Vitamins are organic compounds (produced by both animals and vegetables) whose function is to enhance the actions of proteins that cause chemical reactions such as muscle building, fat burning and energy production. There are two types of vitamins: Fat soluble vitamins - they get stored in fat and therefore if taken in excessive amounts will become toxic such as A, D, E, and K. Water soluble vitamins - they are not stored in the body such as the B-Complex and Vitamin C.

Minerals
Minerals are inorganic compounds (not produced by either animals or vegetables). Their main function is to assure that your brain receives the correct signals from the body, balance of fluids, muscular contractions and energy production as well as for the building of muscle and bones. There are two types of minerals:

1) Bulk minerals - Which are called this way as the body needs them in great quantities in the order of grams such as Calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and phosphorus.

2) Trace minerals -Which are needed by the body in minute amounts, usually in the order of micrograms such as chromium, copper, cobalt, silicon, selenium, iron and zinc.

Where Can You Get Vitamins and Minerals From?
I like simplicity and because of that I tend to get most of my vitamins and minerals from multiple vitamin/mineral packs. The ones I personally use are the Prolab's Training Paks, which are loaded with potent levels of essential nutrients and bioactive compounds.

You have to be very careful with what type of vitamin and mineral formulas you choose as some don't always contain what the labels claim (thanks to unscrupulous manufacturers) and some come from such poor sources that they are not absorbed very well by the body. Other Reputable Companies On The Market That I Have Used Include: Twinlabs, EAS, Weider, Labrada, Shiff, Optimum Nutrition, Advanced Nutrition, Higher Power Nutrition, and Champion Nutrition

Types of Protein Sources

Protein Supplements
Because of hectic schedules it is impossible to eat the six perfectly balanced meals that are required to get in shape a day. Therefore, these supplements can be used as "fast food". They are easy to prepare (if it is a protein bar then no preparation is required) and most of the formulas that are available on the market today pay close attention to taste. Having said that, there are many categories of protein supplements. Before we cover the different categories of protein supplements and how to use them, let's talk about the different sources of protein found in these supplements.

Protein Sources
There are many sources of protein from which protein powders or bars are made of. Protein quality is measured by Biological Value (BV).BV is a value that measures how well the body can absorb and utilize a protein. The higher the Biological Value of the protein you use, the more nitrogen your body can absorb, use, and retain. As a result, proteins with the highest BV promote the most lean muscle gains. Whey protein has the highest BV value, rating at 104. Egg protein is only second to whey rating as a 100 with milk proteins being a close third rating as 91. Beef rates as an 80 with soy proteins a distant 74. Bean proteins, due to the fact that are plant-based proteins, only rate a 49.

Now that we have discussed BV values, let's discuss each protein source in more detail.

Whey Proteins (Whey Concentrate/Whey Isolate)
I feel that whey protein is a great protein source for the following reasons shown in a growing number of studies:

1) It improves sports performance because it reduces stress and lowers cortisol levels (hormone that destroys muscle).
2) Improved immunity by increasing glutathione (GSH), which is a water soluble antioxidant found in the body.
3) Improved liver function in some forms of hepatitis.
4) Reduces blood pressure.
5) Can help fight HIV.
6) Helps reduce overtraining (which is linked also to low levels of GSH).


In addition to the above, whey proteins are highly digestible and have a better amino acid profile even than egg whites. So in other words, whey protein has the highest biological value (value that measures how well the body can absorb and utilize a protein) of any protein.

Having said this, whey is not the steroid-like substance that many advertisers would like you to believe, but based on current research, it can be a valuable addition to one's diet for the reasons outlined above.

Also, all whey is not created equal. The whey that will give you the benefits described above has to be micro-filtered. Otherwise, it is just the garbage left after pasteurizing milk. Micro-filtration than has to be done at very low temperatures in order to allow for the production of high protein contents with no undenatured protein, minimum fat, minimum cholesterol and minimum lactose.

Isolates & Concentrates
In addition, there are whey isolates and whey concentrates. Whey isolates are sub-fractions of whey that are absorbed much more rapidly into the system. This is a good thing for post workout nutrition as at this time the body is in dire need of amino acids. However, whey isolate makes a poor choice for during the day supplementation as if the body does not have a need for all of the amino acids that are released into the bloodstream, then it will use them for energy production as opposed to muscle building.

Also, it is important to mention that whey isolate does not have many of the health enhancing properties that are described above, as the expensive process required to produce whey isolate destroys many of the health/immune system enhancing sub-fractions such as the lactoferrins, beta-lactoglobulins, and immuno-globulins.

Therefore, for during the day use, a product consisting mainly of whey concentrate is your best bet while for after the workout, a whey isolate product would be a better choice.

Egg Protein
Egg protein is a super bio-available protein second only to whey, as previously discussed. It is a slower released protein than whey, which makes it perfect for throughout the day use. One thing that I like to do is mix some egg and whey protein for the most bio-available protein shake in the planet!

Milk Proteins (Calcium Casseinate/Miscellar Casein)

Milk proteins, just like egg proteins, are a highly bio-available protein source (slightly less BV than egg) that is slowly released into the blood stream.

Calcium Casseinate is the regular protein that is found in regular milk and other dairy products. Miscellar casein is the natural, undenatured form of casein found in milk. It is separated from milk by means of ultrafiltration, without the use of chemicals, which increases the amount of bioactive milk peptides that support immune function as well as enhance muscle growth.

A property of micellar casein is that it may have the ability to provide a steady release of amino acids into the blood stream, which makes it an excellent choice for a long lasting anti-catabolic (muscle protecting) protein.

Beef Proteins
Beef proteins are slow released proteins that rate an 80 on the BV scale.While I don't know of any protein supplement in powder on the market that is made from beef proteins, there are beef liver tablets out there that do provide the benefits from beef proteins. Beef proteins are abundant in blood building iron and also on B-vitamins, all factors that contribute to better nutrient utilization and energy production.

Soy Proteins
Soy has been shown to exhibit positive health benefits for both men and women. Studies have shown they may reduce the risk of hormone-dependent cancers (breast, prostate, etc), and other cancers as well. Soy's primary health benefits include reducing high cholesterol and easing the symptoms of menopause (due to the fact that it contains estrogen like substances called phyto-estrogens). Soy has also been shown to help with osteoporosis by building up bone mass. Because of this, I like to recommend 1 serving of soy protein per day for women but only for its health benefits.

However, in the muscle building department, I don't feel that soy is very useful, especially for men. First of all, its BV value is a distant 49, and second of all, since it has estrogen like substances, it could potentially reduce the utilization of testosterone through the binding of phyto-estrogens to the testosterone receptors.

Protein Supplements
Now that we have covered the main proteins present in protein supplements, lets discuss the different types of protein supplements on the market.

Weight Gainers
Weight gainers are protein shakes whose protein source consists mainly of whey proteins (mostly concentrate with some isolate as well). Some also include other proteins such as milk proteins and/or egg. These products are characterized by their extremely high carbohydrate content; typically in the form of maltodextrin (a high glycemic complex carb) and fructose (simple sugar originating from fruits).

Weight gainers were very popular back in the 90s but their popularity has died mainly because most people do not have the fast metabolism of a hardgainer; so as a result, a high carbohydrate diet applied on a person with over 10% body fat typically leads mostly to fat gains instead of muscle mass gains. For hardgainers however, and bodybuilders who are below 10% body fat, these products be very useful for getting in the amount of quality calories required to gain quality muscle.

They are best when used for the mid-morning, mid-afternoon and post workout meals as the carbohydrate content is of a fast released nature. They can be mixed with fruit juice or skim milk, and in order to increase the calorie content the use of flaxseed oil and fruits is invaluable.

My favorite weight gainers on the market are:
Prolab's N-Large II (the most popular one on the market)
Beverly International's Mass Maker
Twinlab's Gainers Fuel 2500
Champion Nutrition's Heavyweight Gainer 900
Weider's Mega Mass 4000
Clark Bartram's X-Treme Size
EAS Mass Factor

This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but rather a list of the products that I know are good. The fact that a product is not on this list does not mean that it is not a good one.

Meal Replacements, Protein Powders, Protein Bars, & Liver Tablets

Meal Replacement Powders (MRPs)
These powders are lower in calories due to the fact that they have way less carbohydrates than weight gainers. They were created after the realization that most of the population does not have a weight gain problem and therefore the weight gainers on the market were of little use to them.

Protein-wise, most are composed of whey proteins but there are many new formulas now on the market that consist of a protein blend of whey and milk proteins. Typically, the carbohydrate component used to be maltodextrin, yielding around 25-27 grams of carbohydrate per serving, but the newer generation formulas consist of slower released carbohydrates like brown rice and oats in order to make the product lower glycemic in nature.

Also, essential fatty acids have been added as well as a vitamin and mineral profile.While these products are too low in calories for most Hardgainers, they can use these as long as they add other ingredients such as fruit, skim milk and essential fats in order to increase the caloric base.

My favorite MRP on the market, by far, is Prolab's Lean Mass Complex, as it is instantized (you can mix with liquid and a spoon), and has a unique cinnamon oatmeal flavor. In addition it contains essential fats, a slow released carbohydrate matrix and a protein blend of whey proteins and miscellar casein. Other good products I like are are:

Beverly International's Ultra Size
Champion Nutrition's Ultramet (the vanilla flavor is excellent)
EAS' Myoplex (though it is very hard to mix)
Labrada's Lean Body

Any of these products can be used throughout the day in between meals or after the workout.

Protein Powders
Protein powders are just powders that consist mainly of protein (typically whey protein is what is sold these days but you can also find blends). Typically, they contain no more than 5 grams of carbohydrates per scoop and 20-25 grams of protein (per scoop). Calorie wise they consist of anywhere from 100-125 calories.

Good sources of these powders are:
Prolab's Pure Whey (available now also in Cinnamon Oatmeal flavor)
EAS MyoPro (chocolate being my favorite flavor)
Next Nutrition Designer Protein
IronTek's Essential Protein

The powders just mentioned are mainly whey protein concentrate. The best isolates in the market are:

Natures Best Zero Carb Isopure
Prolab's Isolate

My favorite blends in the market of whey proteins with slower released proteins are:

Beverly International's Muscle Provider (whey and egg blend)
Prolab's Protein Component (also available in my favorite Cinnamon Oatmeal flavor)

I love protein supplements because of the many uses that they have. For instance in the morning I like to have oatmeal with Cinnamon flavored protein powder. One can also use them to add more protein to either a meal replacement powder or a weight gainer. Alternatively, one can also use them for creating a home-made weight gain formula.

So now, which protein product should you choose? If trying to gain weight then a weight gainer for sure. If you are looking to have a full meal consisting of carbs, proteins and some fats then an MRP is your best bet. If on a budget then the best way to go is to buy a 5-lb tub of protein powder.

Protein Bars
These are bars made out of any of the protein sources listed above. The carbohydrate mix is usually a combination of glycerin (which is not really a carbohydrate but a sugar alcohol) and sugars. They are low in calories compared to a weight gain shake and typically contain less than desirable fats. If trying to lose fat, then limit their use to once per day at the most.

If doing a competition then I would not touch them. The ones I like most in the market today are:

Premiere 1 Odyssey Bars
Labrada's Lean Body Bars
Met Rx Protein Plus Food Bars
Worldwide Pure Protein Bars
EAS' Myoplex Deluxe Bars

Beef Liver Tablets
These tablets are a great source of beef liver and bodybuilders have been using them for decades in order to obtain the values offered by beef proteins. The key thing for liver tablets to be useful is that they need to be manufactured with the highest grade of beef liver and they also need to be purified from the fat, cholesterol and other impurities that are contained in the liver.

When it comes to beef liver tablets the best ones in the market, in my opinion, are Beverly International's Ultra 40 because they contain the highest grade of beef liver and have been purified and processed to contain forty-five times the nutritional amount of whole beef liver.

The way to use them is to add 3-4 tablets per meal. Each tablet adds an additional 2 grams of protein from beef liver to your meals.


Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), Vitamin C, Chromium Picolinate

Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids, Alpha Linoleic Acid (Omega-3s) and Linoleic Acid (Omega-6s), are fats that need to be consumed through one's diet as the body cannot manufacture them. They are most important as they are involved in several key body functions such as energy production, fat burning, brain and nerve tissue development, mood regulation, insulin metabolism, hemoglobin production, etc. In addition, these fats have some interesting properties such as anti-inflammatory properties, anti-lipolitic properties (prevention of extra calories being stored as fat), reduction in allergies, and immune system strengthening.

Where Can You Get EFA's From?

Having said that, where can one find EFA's? Salmon and flax seeds are high on the Omega-3s.f you do not consume any of these items, then either flax seed oil, flax seed oil capsules or fish oil capsules would be a good idea to add to your supplements program. Omega-6 fats typically do not need to be supplemented as they are easily found in poultry, eggs and whole-grain breads. Typically, one's diet is abundant on the Omega-6 but lacking on the Omega-3's.

My favorite EFA product is manufactured by a company called Pride Nutrition which has a blend called Premium EFA. In addition to Essential Fats, this blend also has CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and GLA (gamma linolenic acid). These two fatty acids are showing very promising studies for weight loss and joint lubrication.

What's great about this product is the fact that they added the Lipase enzyme, which helps with the absorption and digestion of the fats. This product is the only one I have ever tried where you do not end up burping the oil a few minutes after you take the capsules.

Other good products are Serrano Labs Alpha Omega-3s, which is also an excellent product. For CLA only capsules I like Prolab's Enhanced CLA which also has some flaxseed oil in order to provide some Omega 3's.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that improves your immune system and helps you recover faster from your workouts by suppressing the amount of cortisol (hormone that kills muscle and aids in the accumulation of fat) that is released by your body during a workout.

Vitamin C is the only Vitamin that I recommend to be taken in mega doses quantities. Remember that since it is a water-soluble vitamin, it will not get stored by the body. Research shows that if taken an hour before a workout (1000mg dose) it significantly reduces muscle soreness and speeds recovery after a workout.

I recommend a total of 3000 mg per day of Vitamin C. If your multiple vitamin pack already has 1000 mg, and you take this in the morning, then all you need is an extra 1000 mg at lunch and 1000 mg at dinner.

A good Vitamin C that comes in 1000 mg capsules at a super awesome price (250 caps at $10.49) are produced by Higher Power Nutrition.

Chromium Picolinate
Chromium Picolinate is a mineral that may enhance the effects of insulin, the hormone that pushes amino acids (protein) and carbohydrates into the muscle cell. As we have previously discussed, insulin is one of the most anabolic hormones in the body; it determines if the food that you eat is going to be used for muscle production, energy production or fat production. When insulin is secreted in moderate levels, it aids in muscle and energy production. In excessive levels it only promotes fat storage. Chromium Picolinate may upgrade insulin's capability to produce muscle and energy by making the cells in the body more prone towards accepting this hormone (in other words, enhancing insulin sensitivity). In doing so, it may help you to gain muscle and lose fat faster as insulin will now be able to deliver the desired nutrients to the muscle cell.

Chromium may also keep blood sugar levels stable, thereby preventing insulin levels from going high enough to begin promoting fat storage. Again, chromium only works if we follow a proper diet. Also, while it is not the magic bullet that it was claimed to be for building muscle back in the early 90's I still feel that it is useful for ensuring that our insulin sensitivity is at its peak.

Sources
Again, I like Higher Power's Chromium Picolinate due to the quality and awesome price.
Quantity: 200 mcg with the post workout meal and with breakfast on days off.

Supplement Recommendations Summary

Essential To Take

  • MultiVitamin/Mineral Complex taken with breakfast.
  • Essential Oils, at least 14 grams per every 100lbs of bodyweight.
  • 1 gram Vitamin C taken with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Weight Gain, Whey Protein Powder or Meal Replacement Powder for mixing with skim milk or water in order to make protein shakes. (Needs vary depending on diet).

Nutrition facts


A key component of the formula for bodybuilding sucess is nutrition. Nutrition is what gives us the raw materials for recuperation, energy, and growth. Without a good diet, your dreams of achieving your ideal body will never be reached.

We'll now discuss the characteristics of a good nutrition program and we'll also go over nutrition basics.

Characteristics of a Good Nutrition Program

1) It should favor smaller and frequent feedings throughout the day instead of large and infrequent ones. Why? Because when you feed your body several times a day, your metabolism increases. Therefore, you burn more fat. Frequent feedings are of particular importance since after three to four hours of no food your body switches to a catabolic state (a state in which you lose muscle and gain fat!).

The body believes that it is starving and it starts feeding itself on lean muscle tissue and it prepares to store calories as fat. Bad scenario! Therefore, in order for your program to work, you will eat between four to six meals (depending gender and goals) a day spaced out at 2-1/2 to 3 hour intervals.

2) Every meal should have carbohydrates, protein and fat in the correct ratios. Having a meal that is not balanced (for example is all carbohydrates) won't yield the desired results. Every macronutrient has to be present in order for the body to absorb them and use them properly. Without boring you with the effect of food on the body's biochemistry, let's just say that if you only eat carbohydrates in one meal without anything else, your energy levels will crash in about 30 minutes and your body will be storing any carbohydrates that were not used into fat. Conversely, if you only eat protein, you will lack energy and your body will not be able to turn the protein into muscle because it is difficult for the body to absorb protein in the absence of carbohydrates. In addition, the ratios for each particular macronutrient have to be correct in order to get the results that you want. The ratio of our diet will look like the following:

40% Carbohydrates
40% Protein
20% Fats

Note that for every serving of carbohydrates, you get a serving of Protein. You can use Bill Phillips' Method of creating meals which is to count a portion of carbohydrates as the amount of food the size of your clenched fist and a portion of protein as the amount of food the size of your open palms.

3) The calories should be cycled. I strongly believe in caloric cycling as this will not allow the metabolism to get used to a certain caloric level; something that leads to stagnant results.

Therefore, bodybuilders in search of just muscle mass should follow 5 days of high calories (lean body mass x 15) with two days of lower caloric intake (lean body mass x12). Bodybuilders in search of losing fat while building muscle at the same time should follow 5 days of lower caloric intake (lean body mass x12) with 2 days of higher calories (lean body mass x 15). (Note: If you build muscle and lose fat at the same time you will not gain muscle as fast as you would if you just concentrated in muscle mass. However, you get to get both goals accomplished at the same time).

People interested in bodysculpting should alternate between two weeks of lower calories (around 2000 for men and 1200 for women) and two weeks of higher calories (around 2500 for men and 1500 for women). These caloric intakes assume a normal activity level that only includes Body Sculpting training. Those of you involved in activities like marathon running or heavy physical labor jobs need to adjust your calories upwards accordingly mainly in the form of carbohydrates in order to support your higher levels of activity.

Carbs and Protein

Nutrition Basics
There are 3 macronutrients that the human body needs in order to function properly.

#1 Carbohydrates:
Carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy. When you ingest carbohydrates your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin is very important because:

1) It grabs the carbohydrates and either stores them in the muscle or stores them as fat.

2) It grabs the amino acids (protein) and shelters them inside the muscle cell for recovery and repair.

Most people that are overweight and are in low fat/high carbohydrate diets got into that condition because they are eating an overabundance of carbohydrates. Too many carbohydrates cause a huge release of insulin. When there is too much insulin in the body, your body turns into a fat storing machine. Therefore, it is important that we eat no more carbohydrates than necessary and that we eat the right amount of carbohydrates.

Now that we have talked about the importance of having just the right amount of carbohydrates, let's talk about which are the best sources of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are divided into complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates. The complex carbohydrates give you sustained energy ("timed release") while the simple carbohydrates gives you immediate energy. It is recommended that you eat mainly complex carbohydrates throughout the day except after the workout where your body needs simple carbohydrates in order to replenish its glycogen levels immediately, something that will aid faster recuperation and rebuild of the muscle. Below is a list of good sources of carbohydrates:

Complex Carbohydrates:

There are two types:

Complex Carbohydrates:

1)Starchy: Oatmeal (1 cup dry), sweet potatoes (8 oz baked), potatoes (8 oz baked), rice (1 cup cooked), pasta (8oz cooked), corn (1 cup canned), peas (2 cups cooked). Each serving approximately equals 40-50 grams of carbohydrates.

2)Fibrous: Broccoli (1/2 cup raw), carrots (1 cup raw), cauliflower (1/2 cup raw), green beans (1/2 cup raw), lettuce (5 cups raw), mushrooms (3/4 cups raw), pepper (1/2 cup raw), spinach (3-1/2 cups raw), zucchini (1 cup raw). Each serving approximately equals 6 grams of carbohydrates.

Simple Carbohydrates:

Apples (1 apple), bananas (1 banana), grapefruit (1 grapefruit), grapes (22 grapes), oranges (1-1/2 orange), pears (1 pear), pineapple (3/4 of a cup).
Each serving approximately equals 20-25 grams of carbohydrates.

#2. Protein

Every tissue in your body is made up from protein (i.e., muscle, hair, skin, and nails). Proteins are the building blocks of muscle tissue. Without it, building muscle and burning fat efficiently would be impossible. Its importance is paramount. Protein also helps increase your metabolism every time you eat it by 20%! It also makes the carbohydrates timed release, so you get sustained energy throughout the day.

Everybody that is involved in a weight training program should consume between 1 gram of protein to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass (meaning that if you are 100 lbs. And have 10% body fat, you should consume at least 90 g of protein since your lean body mass = 90 lbs.). Nobody should consume more than 1.5 grams per pound of lean body mass as this is unnecessary and the extra protein may get turned into fat.

Good examples of protein are eggs (I use Egg Substitute: 1-1/2 cups liquid), chicken breast (cooked, skinless and boneless: 6 oz), turkey (cooked, skinless and boneless: 6 oz), lean (90% lean) red meats (6 oz), and tuna (6 oz). Each serving size equals approximately 35-40 grams of protein.


Healthy Fats

#3. Healthy Fats
All the cells in the body have some fat in them. Hormones are manufactured from fats. Also fats lubricate your joints. So if you eliminate the fat from your diet, then your hormonal production will go down and a whole array of chemical reactions will be interrupted. Your body will then start accumulating more body fat than usual so that it has enough fat to keep on functioning. Since testosterone production is halted, so is muscle building. Therefore, in order to have an efficient metabolism we need fat.

There are three types of fats: Saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated.

a) Saturated Fats: Saturated fats are associated with heart disease and high cholesterol levels. They are found to a large extent in products of animal origin.However, some vegetable fats are altered in a way that increases the amount of saturated fats in them by a chemical process known as hydrogenation. Hydrogenated vegetable oils are generally found in packaged foods. In addition, cocunut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil, which are also frequently used in packaged foods and non-dairy creamers are also highly saturated.

b) Polyunsaturated Fats: Fats that do not have an effect in cholesterol levels. Most of the fats in vegetable oils, such as corn, cottonseed, safflower, soybean, and sunflower oil are polyunsaturated.

c) Monounsaturated Fats: Fats that have a positive effect on the good cholesterol levels. These fats are usually high on the essential fatty acids and may have antioxidant properties. Sources of these fats are Fish Oils, Virgin Olive Oil, Canola Oil, and Flaxseed Oil. We like to refer to these type of fats as good fats.

Twenty percent of your calories should come from good fats. Any less than 20% and your hormonal production goes down. Any more than 20% and you start accumulating plenty of fat. The way that I get my fats is by taking 1 teaspoon of Flaxseed Oil three times a day (I put them in my protein shakes).

Good sources of fat are canola oil (1 tablespoon), natural peanut butter (2 tablespoons), olive oil (1 tablespoon), flaxseed oil (1 tablespoon), and fish oils (1 tablespoon). Each serving size contains approximately 14 grams of fat.

D) Water
Water is by far the most abundant substance in our body. Without water, an organism would not survive very long. Most people that come to me for advice on how to get in shape, almost always underestimate the value of water.

Water is good for the following reasons:

1) Over 65% of your body is composed of water (most of the muscle cell is water).

2) Water cleanses your body from toxins and pollutants that would get you sick.

3) Water is needed for all of the complex chemical reactions that your body needs to perform on a daily basis. Processes such as energy production, muscle building, and fat burning require water. A lack of water would interrupt all of these processes.

4) Water helps lubricate the joints.

5) When the outside temperature is up, water serves as a coolant to bring the body temperature down to where it is supposed to be.

6) Water helps control your appetite. Sometimes when you feel hungry after a good meal this sensation indicates a lack of water. Drinking water at that time would take the craving away.

7) Cold water increases your metabolism.

In order to know how much water your body needs a day, just multiply your lean body weight by .66. This would indicate how many ounces of water you need in a day.

Weight Training Routines

It must be short (between 45 to 75 minutes maximum; 60 minutes being best)
After 75 minutes, the levels of muscle building and fat burning hormones that your body produces (such as testosterone) begin to drop. What this means is that training more than 75 minutes will prevent you from gaining muscle and losing fat fast! It will also prevent you from fast recovery. As crazy as it sounds, that is the way it is.

The rest in between sets should be kept to a minimum (90 seconds or less)
Keeping your rest in between sets and exercises down not only helps you to perform a lot of work and still finish within the 75 minutes, but it also helps improve your cardiovascular system. In addition, it has also been shown that this kind of training stimulates growth hormones output the most.

Generally, the sets should be between 8 - 15 repetitions each
There are many reasons for this:- You get the best pump (blood flowing into your muscle cells) in this repetition range. This is important since along with the blood come nutrients that nourish the muscle cells and help them recover and rebuild bigger faster.- Since you are doing so many repetitions, there is less probability of injury since you'll be using a weight that you can control.- Again, studies show that muscle building and fat burning occur more efficiently at these repetition ranges.(Note: For bodybuilding, however, I also recommend periods of 5-8 repetitions as well. This is of crucial necessity for a bodybuilder as an increase of strength is required in order for continued muscle growth to occur.)

Training must be varied and cycled
Please, don't get stuck with the same routine day in and day out. If you are a bodybuilder, and you do this, this guarantees zero muscle growth. This is without even mentioning boredom and lack of enthusiasm. For bodybuilding cycle periods (3-4 weeks) of high volume (8-15 reps/set) with periods of higher intensity (5-8 reps/set).

Get your ass up and get started

You have decided to start bodybuilding. So you have your own expectations of how it will be and what you will get. May be your primary goal is just to get rid of unwanted fat to look more attractive and younger? Or you are interested in competitive bodybuilding? This sport - the bodybuilding - is good for everybody.


Here are some points before you start.
Be realistic - set up your goals and follow them. To see significant changes in strength and mass takes time, probably two - three months, but persistence and dedication is what you need. There is no program that's right for everyone. Every training person has different motivations, desires and genetic potential, and each must make his or her own adjustments in putting together a particular program. You should consult your physician if you are over 40 or have had any sort of previous injury or impairment.