"Will Brink is one "guru" who practices what he preaches... that's always reassuring to know.."
To most people, understanding nutrition is only slightly less confusing than understanding Einstein's theory of relativity. A new book or article comes out weekly espousing the latest greatest way of eating.
What this chapter concerns itself with is giving the reader a foundational understanding of nutrition with the goal of optimizing your body's anabolic environment. What does that mean exactly?
Bodybuilders and other athletes have come to use the term "anabolic" to mean the building of muscle. This is only partly true. For example, physiology texts book will normally define anabolic or "anabolism" as the phase of metabolism in which simple substances are synthesized into the complex materials of living tissue or a
process by which larger molecules are formed from smaller ones (Hole, W.J., 1990).
What does this mean to the reader in plain English?
When you are in an anabolic state you rarely, if ever, exclusively build muscle. It is unavoidable that some bodyfat will be added to the equation.
Total beginners and people using copious amounts of various drugs (i.e. anabolic steroids, growth hormone, etc.) can put on almost exclusively Lean Body Mass (LBM) at times, but it's the exception not the rule. The trick is to maximize, as much as possible, adding LBM while minimizing the addition of bodyfat. That is the ultimate goal of this chapter; to be low in jargon and high in useful "real world" information to maximize gains in muscle, while minimizing gains in body fat.
There are three major factors that will dictate whether or not a person will gain muscle mass: genetics, form of exercise (i.e. weight training), and diet. It's been debated for years as to which of the three is the most important for gaining lean body mass (muscle!).
For example, many professional bodybuilders have been quoted as saying they regard nutrition as the single most important factor to their success. It's debatable as to which of the three is the most important, and in fact, it's irrelevant.
Without any of the three being optimized, gains in lean body mass (LBM) will be minimal or non-existent. At the very least, the gains in LBM will be sub optimal at best.
Unfortunately, we have essentially no control over the first, which is your genetics. A well known quote in bodybuilding circles is, "the most important way to guarantee success in bodybuilding is to pick the right parents!" In truth, modern science is not far away from being able to turn "on" certain genes that are responsible for a variety of functions in the body.
This development would lead to more LBM - such as increasing protein synthesis via up-regulating the production of some hormone or growth factor - but that is some years off and not the focus of this chapter.
The focus of this chapter is to lay the foundation for proper nutrition when the goal is increasing LBM while minimizing increases in bodyfat. When done reading this chapter, the reader will understand the fundamentals of setting up a proper diet for gaining lean mass, macro nutrients, some basics on metabolism, calculating protein, carbs, fats and total calories, basic effects of foods on hormones, etc.
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Ever since the fitness craze in the 1980’s, we have become a nation increasingly aware of our health and physique. Millions of dollars are spent every year in the quest for a perfect body. Gyms are big business, personal trainers are making a tidy living helping people stay fit, and body building supplements are at an all-time level of performance.