It’s the same for many gymrats, our diet can often be the weak link in our training regime. Without direct access to nutritionists and dieticians, we have to do our own research. This can see us taking recommendations from internet “experts” and reaping the wisdom of potbelly, singlet-wearing dudes down the gym.
This reliance on broscience can often leave us with thin pockets and a fat ass. We avoid carbs like the office Christmas party hook-up, eat more protein than a starving lion in a chicken farm and spend the equivalent of a third world country’s budget on supplements. Still, our look screams hot wings instead of hot body.
Let’s be honest, we’re not crushing it in the gym because we hate our bodies; we’re there to become beasts better. While performance is always key, no one wants to look like they don’t train, or worse still, like a cardio bunny. We need to understand how to eat to maximize muscle growth while keeping fat in check. It’s the only way to look like beasts when we’re naked. Sexy, naked beasts!
Understanding Carbs and How They Affect Us
Not all carbohydrates are equal, some are tasty and the rest are good for us. Simple carbs tend to be the ones we have on our cheat day and include sugar, cakes, cereal, cookies, pizza, white bread, beer and wine. Complex carbs are the ones we know and associate with healthy eating like brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, beans and lentils. Most vegetables, legumes and whole grains fall into the fibrous camp.
When eaten, simple and complex carbs break down into sugar—namely glucose—and this rise of sugars in our blood triggers the release of insulin. Insulin signals to our cells to either take glucose from our blood for energy or to store, as fat. The more simple carbs we eat on a daily basis, the more insulin we need to produce to control blood sugar levels. This leads to becoming desensitized to insulin, weight gain and problems with fat loss.
Within bodybuilding however, insulin is highly regarded for muscle growth. Inside muscle fibers are insulin receptors. When insulin reaches these receptors it signals to the muscle cells to open up which allows such as amino acids, creatine and glucose to enter and increases muscle growth.
Insulin sensitivity is the foreplay of eating for muscle growth and fat loss. Most people (men) don’t understand it, you think you can do without it, but… if you do it, it will make your life ah-mazing! So here are the best ways to manipulate your insulin levels and eat your way to swolecity!
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1. P and F Before C, Except Before and After W
If you’re still reading, it’s obvious gym is life and you’re willing to do what it takes to make food your b*tch. Carbs aren’t the enemy anymore than skinny jeans that won’t come past our thighs. It’s simply knowing how to make them work for you instead of making you work them off. Proteins and fats before carbs, except before and after workouts.
Eating protein and fats have little to no effect on the blood sugar, which means no insulin spikes. To avoid storing those pesky, tasty carbs as fat on our beautiful sculpted thighs, simply eat them after the protein and fats.
Except for before and after workouts. This is precisely when you want your muscles to be filling up with nutrients, to encourage those bad boys to grow. Sure, you may well look a freak when out for dinner, but it’s what you look like when you get your clothes off that matters.
2. A Spoonful of Vinegar Helps the Body Fat Go Down
Remember when you believed drinking vinegar after sex would stop a girl from getting pregnant? There was some truth in that; while vinegar won’t stop you from having to spend your supplement money on a baby, it will stop you from getting fat. Tests have proved vinegar can lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
The acetic acid in vinegar, which is responsible for it’s eye-watering taste, has a suppressing effect on the enzymes, which digest carbohydrates. With vinegar is present in the intestines, some sugars and starches are able to pass through without being digested.
To reap the benefits, have two tablespoons before a meal or on a salad before carb rich meals. Stay away from the sweet fruity ones; for best results use apple cider, balsamic or red wine vinegar.
3. Get Fishy With It
There is a wealth of scientific studies showing the benefits of fish oil due to its make up of omega-3 fatty acids. The fats from the oil make the cells more insulin sensitive by increasing cell membrane permeability. This also increases the metabolism.
In one study, the participants who took fish oil for 6 weeks showed remarkable results of losing body fat, increasing muscle mass and all without exercising! If that doesn’t persuade you to add them to your diet, you must already be a genetic freak beast. Lucky you! For the rest of us, find a quality supply and reap the benefits.
4. Don’t Be Silly, Use Psyllium
Best known as a bulk forming laxative, studies show psyllium husk supplements help to lower blood sugar levels. As a water-soluble fiber, it acts as an anti-nutrient. A bit like granny panties of food, these fibers block the absorption of carbohydrates, which reduces glucose and insulin levels.
Commonly used by diabetics, it reduces daily blood sugars by as much as 11 % when taken twice a day. For those of us wanting to build muscle mass, it’s best not to take it before or after workout meals. Consuming adequate water when supplementing with psyllium is a must.
5. Head to the Dark Side and Supplement C3G
You may not have heard of Cyanidin 3-Glucoside, C3G for short, but if your goal is to build muscle and burn fat, you need to learn about it. Especially, where to get it. It’s the pigment found in the skins of dark fruit such as blue and blackberries. Research into C3G, shows its effects at a cellular level as well as on insulin, glucose and nutrient uptake.
To keep it simple, in the right amounts, C3G redistributes nutrients causing what we eat to turn to muscle instead of fat. Yep, there really is a God and apparently, he loves lifters! If the thought of eating 35 cups of berries a day seems slightly tedious, relax. There are companies making potent forms of C3G that are getting great reviews.
With the recommended dosage at 2400 to 3600 milligrams, it’s the most expensive option. However, if you’ve tried all the other methods, perhaps it’s worth a try.
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