Archive for November, 2007

Muscle Building Nutrition

It has been said that nutrition is responsible for 80% of your muscle building results. I think that is dramatically overstating it but nutrition is critically important to your muscle building efforts. Without proper nutrition you will never build the physique you desire. Below are a few easy to follow nutrition rules that will help you get bigger and leaner. Follow these rules and you will reach your goals, ignore them and you could be in for years of frustration.

• Eat every 2-3 hours. Doing this keeps your body in an anabolic state and keeps your metabolism running along at high speeds so that you don’t get fat. If you need 3,000 calories per day to build muscle, it is much more effective to have five 600 calorie meals or six five hundred calorie meals than it is to have three big 1,000 calorie meals. Doing that leads to fat accumulation and also has you going too long without eating which only leads to muscle loss.

• Build your meals around a base of lean protein. Protein is what builds muscle, so every time you sit down to eat you should be consuming some kind of protein. That should be the main focus of each meal. Once you have that covered you can add in starchy carbs, vegetables and good fats. As far as daily protein requirements go, you should shoot for one gram per pound of bodyweight per day. The only time you would need more than this is when you are dieting and your carbs are extremely low.

• Eat vegetables at every meal except breakfast. Not only are vegetables incredibly healthy because they provide tons of nutrients and fiber but they also slow down the absorption of your meals leading to less bodyfat accumulation.

• Eat organic foods whenever possible. There is so much artificial crap in the food we eat these days that it is really a very wise decision to eat organic as often as you can. This includes meats, fruits, veggies and grains.

• Avoid sugars, artificial sweeteners and saturated fats as much as possible. The consumption of sugar and saturated fat is what leads to numerous health problems and diseases. Too much saturated fat and sugar consumption also leads to inflammation in the body and can actually worsen nagging injuries and lead to other aches and pains. Many people actually notice a reduction in back pain once they cut saturated fat and sugar from their diet. Some saturated fat in meats is ok from time to time, but you should really try to cut out the sugar and artificial sweeteners. Although they don’t talk about it much in this country there is plenty of evidence that artificial sweeteners are not the least bit healthy.

• Eat most of your carbs at breakfast and immediately before and after your workout. Those are the times when your insulin sensitivity is highest and when you will use carbs most efficiently with the least risk for body fat gain. Don’t be scared to eat carbs at this time because most of them will be used for building muscle and will not usually add to body fat accumulation.

• Drink at least a half gallon of water per day. Doing this keeps you well hydrated which keeps your performance levels high. Even a slight drop in hydration will cause a drop in performance. A half gallon is a good start but a gallon is usually better, especially in the summer.

• Pay strict attention to your sodium intake
. When I say that I mean it in the opposite way that most people and doctors would think I mean it. I mean that you must be sure that your sodium intake is adequate. This is especially true for athletes who play in the summer time when it’s hot out and you are sweating a lot. Without adequate sodium intake, your performance can suffer drastically. Adequate sodium levels also help to maintain strength levels while dieting.

Jason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more muscle building nutritional tips, check out

Less Time Equals Better Results?

Why is it that almost everyone you see working out in the gym does high volume bodypart splits? Today is Monday and in just about every gym in America that means it’s chest day. Tomorrow is back, Thursday is legs and Friday is arms…or something like that, I guess.

Why the lack of variety or rational thought? What is the need for all that training volume?

You need to understand that most forms of training have just been passed down for decades from one generation to the next, without the inclusion of rational thought. Sometime in the 60’s, sensible training programs started becoming less and less prevalent with the rapidly growing usage of anabolic steroids.

In the days of old, men like Steve Reeves and Paul Anderson trained with far more sensible, lower volume programs but these started to disappear during the 60’s. By the time Arnold got to Gold’s Gym in Venice for the first time, high volume, bodypart splits were the widely accepted way for everyone to train for size and strength.

This type of training is not based on deductive reasoning but just on the fact that “it’s what everyone else is doing.” The proponents of these training methods will always blindly tell you that “higher volume training is needed for hypertrophy gains.” Says who? I can tell you for a fact that the University of Chicago isn’t wasting time examining the effects of Jay Cutler’s marathon workouts. There are no studies saying that you need 8-12 sets per bodypart to grow. In fact there are studies that show the opposite; that one set is just as effective as three.

The proponents of this type of training will also tell you that higher volume training is associated with higher levels of growth hormone secretion. What they don’t tell you is that the level of GH increase is not enough to make any difference at all. In fact, almost anything you do elevates GH. Extreme temperatures elevate GH but my biceps don’t get bigger every time I take a shower. The increased GH secretion from training is so minimal that it is not enough to make the slightest difference whatsoever.

For the drug free lifter who does not possess muscle building genetics quite up to par with the Austrian Oak, training this way is a huge mistake. Not only does it drain your amino acid pool and glycogen stores but it dramatically enhances your recovery time between workouts. If you do 8-12 sets for chest on Monday you can not recover from that workout and be able to train again for seven days. So you are only getting one growth stimulus per week or fifty two per year. Now if you reduce your volume to the point where you can recover faster and more efficiently without draining your amino acid pool and glycogen stores so greatly, you can train bodyparts twice per week instead of once. Now instead of 52 growth stimulating workouts per year for each bodypart, you can now do 104. In fact, if your volume is kept low you can even get away with training bodyparts three times a week in certain situations. Now, which do you think will be more effective; 156 growth stimulating workouts per year or 52?

To train more often you absolutely have to lower your training volume. The total sets per workout should be kept low and the total sets per exercise should be even lower. There is no need to hit four sets of incline presses, flat bench presses and decline presses for your chest workout. Doing that is a form of neuroses; you think that you need to hit every angle and do and endless amount of sets to stimulate every last muscle fiber, but this is simply not the case.

The reason these training programs remain popular is because nobody wants to be told that they are wrong. Admitting your mistakes is something many people can’t do. It is why when something radically different is proposed, the high volume proponents get upset and offended. Nobody likes to have their ego bruised so they keep on doing and promoting the same old high volume workouts that they always have.

That’s fine, let them continue to do what they choose; personally I have way more important things to do than spend all of my waking hours in the gym. If I can get better results in a fraction of the time I will choose that option every time.

Cut your volume down, up your weights and intensity and get ready for the “what are you on” questions to start rolling in.

Jason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more great muscle building information, please visit:

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