Beginners of all Ages and Needs: Must Read Basic Nutrional Info

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    Beginners of all Ages and Needs: Must Read Basic Nutrional Info


    For the past few weeks/months I have found that there have been quite a number of new members coming to AM in search of fundamental help. Questions have ranged from nutritional choices and supplemental choices to broader scales of how to effectively trim fat or bulk up. Now this is all well and good, but honestly the redundancy of answering essentially the same questions over and over is rather tedious (but although despite that many members including myself always try to help the individual out.) I'm not calling anyone out but would rather offer up a preemptive strike sort to speak to these threads.

    I hope to offer useful answers to the questions I have seen posed most frequently in both the bulking section and cutting section. Is this a end all be all to members questions? Certainly not, but it is my hope to offer up a solid foundation to those seeking help while eliminating needless threads and so forth.

    First off here is what I find to be most commonly asked in beginner advice threads (again both in bulking and fat loss sections):
    1) Diet critique, how does my diet look?
    2) What types of foods should I be eating to obtain my goals.
    3) No matter what I do I can't gain weight.
    4) I am new and looking to put on muscle fast, how do I do it?
    5) I'm looking to bulk up, what supplements should I take?
    6) I'm new here, how should I go about loosing the fat?
    7) How many calories should I consume to loose weight?

    These are just a few basic questions I find people responding to and would like to address. Again this is just overall coverage of the topics but should solidify most answers to many of your questions on getting started. For sake of efficiency and to help varying questioners I will break up into Bulking and Cutting sections.

    Bulking
    Alright so you're trying to put on weight and are wondering how to go about it. Heres the lowdown.

    Food: Overall this is where most people make their first mistake. Assuming that by eating 3000-4000 calories of nothing but empty calories will help you achieve your goal is just flat out wrong. You need to focus on foods that will help you body fuel your workouts, build and repair muscle, and provide it with the essential nutrients to get through your day. Now exactly what types of food provide these characteristics? Healthy clean whole foods consisting of lean protein choices, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Of course depending on your body type and metabolism you will be able to get away with eating additional "less healthy" foods (without fat gain,) but no matter who you are if you're diet does not consist predominantly of these basics, your gains will be hindered to some degree.

    Proteins: Chicken, beef, tuna, milk products, shrimp.
    Carbohydrates: Oats, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and breads, sweet potatoes, and beans.
    Fats: Flaxseed oil, olive oil, fish oil pills, and natural peanut butter.
    Vegetables: DON'T SKIMP!
    *For extended examples view this thread:
    not enough cals

    I am also going to address the issue of weight gainers. IMO all gainers on the market today are over priced, full of empty calories, and should be replaced. You are much better off incorporating home made gainers into your diet that consist of various foods you enjoy (examples: natty pb, fruit, whey, milk, and so on.) In this manor you know exactly what you are putting into it, saving yourself money, and providing higher quality calories to your body.

    Calories: A lot of people have little idea where to start calorie wise when it comes to building lbm. The best advice I can offer is to find your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and add an additional 500 calories to it to give yourself a jumping off point to gaining LBM. As you progress monitor your gains and adjust accordingly to how your body responds. Furthermore an effective marconutrient breakdown (protein, carbs, fats) will also help determine your success. A basic rule of thumb is to begin with 40/40/20 breakdown of p/c/f. Again like stated above everyone is unique but this is a great place to start and gauge your bodies response.

    Supplements : Everyone is looking to get big and do it fast, correct? Many individuals think that supplements will help them archive their goals instantly or at least faster than without them. Now with all the logs and supplements reviews on this forum that would seem logical and accurate, but instead is COMPLETELY FALSE. I can't even count how many individuals come on here looking at supplements as an easy way to produce satisfaction. I'm going to say this once and although it will be hard for many of you to swallow please take it to heart: You will be wasting your money at this stage of the game if you purchase supplements outside of the realm of "staples." How do I know this, because you're reading this thread thats why. Muscle building supplements to the beginner is effectively throwing money out the window. Gains will come regardless of if you have the best on the market muscle builder because your body is already primed for growth (and "noob" gains.) Believe me give yourself at least a year of supplemental free training and you and your bank account will be much better off. This includes the individuals who have been training "on and off for the past few years" and have no idea what a solid diet consists of.
    **Exceptions**: Protein powder, multi-vitamins, EFAs (essential fatty acids.)

    Putting on lean body mass and muscle is no easy task here people. It takes time, energy, and dedication. It will take time to find the right scenarios of nutrition and so forth that your body utilizes the best to build muscle. If you find yourself struggling to gain muscle bump up your calories until you see results (and vice versa if muscle is coming along with undesired fat; adjust caloric intake or macronutrient split.) Patience is key in this quest for muscle, and if you put your time into solidifying a quality nutritional plan you are on your way to success.

    Cutting
    So you have the muscle and want to drop the fat. Heres where to start.

    Food: Contrary to the above many individuals are also under the belief that if one is to severely restrict caloric intake than fat loss will be inevitable. Unfortuently unlike many things in this world completely dropping your food intake to next to nothing is only going to hinder your gains. Sure fat loss will occur but along with muscle loss and a metabolism slowed down to the pace of a snail. Not only do you have to eat enough food to loose weight, but meals have to be frequent. Eating every 2-3 hours will ensure your body is constantly being supplied with nutrients while at the same time sustaining a metabolism like a furnace. Furthermore you need to focus on foods that will help you body fuel your workouts, build and repair muscle, help burn the fat, and provide it with the essential nutrients to get through your day. So exactly what types of food provide these characteristics? Healthy clean whole foods consisting of lean protein choices, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Of course depending on your body type and metabolism you will be able to get away with eating additional "less healthy" foods (without fat gain,) but no matter who you are if you're diet does not consist predominantly of these basics, your gains will be hindered to some degree.

    Proteins: Chicken, beef, tuna, milk products, shrimp.
    Carbohydrates: Oats, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and breads, sweet potatoes, and beans.
    Fats: Flaxseed oil, olive oil, fish oil pills, and natural peanut butter.
    Vegetables: DON'T SKIMP!
    *For extended examples view this thread:
    not enough cals

    Calories: Like stated above the level of calories to begin with should be based off of your BMR (*bottom of page provides link to one of many BMR Calculators.) Find your daily caloric expenditure and subtract 200-500 calories from it to determine your daily calorie needs to obtain fat loss. Along with finding a calorie intake for keeping muscle while loosing fat you have to determine the correct macronutrient breakdown as well. Some people can go with a standard 40/40/20 breakdown of protein, carbs, and fats while others find it reasonable to lower carbs and up their protein and fat intake. Again everyone is unique and the only way to find what works for you is through trial and error. Find a system that works for you and stick with it. Lastly I want to reiterate that you can not deprive yourself of calories (ESPECIALLY IN THE BEGINNING.) You have to start at a point where you will be able to drop calories lower as you body adjusts to fat loss. If you start at 1500 calories a day and plateau with fat loss you will be forced to dive deeper into a unhealthy caloric restriction. Break the fear of eating on a fat loss period and you will be already ahead of the game.

    Supplements: Ahh good old fat burners, appetitive suppressants, and so forth. I see it all the time, people looking for the fast track to fat loss through magic pills. Just like above, as you start your journey of fat loss there is no reason to even be considering fat loss supplements (unless of course you like to spend money on needless things!) People seem to forget that supplements are just that a supplement to a high quality nutritional and training program. Until you have had your diet and training in check (and sticking to it for at least 6 months) then supplements should be an afterthought. Fat burners and stimulants should be saved for the later stages of your cutting progress as your body really starts to sabotage your fat loss effort. The only thing you need to start off a newly formed cutting plan is protein powder, multi-vitamins (to make sure any deficiencies in the diet are addressed,) and healthy fats.

    Re-Cap on both Areas:
    -Supplements are not necessary, you are fooling yourself if you think/say you need them because you don't at this time.
    -The key to clean muscle growth is clean healthy foods with a reasonable calorie surplus.
    -The key to fat loss is not starving yourself, but fueling your body to ensure 110% in the gym and thus effective fat loss.
    -This isn't a sprint people. Gains will come with due time and hard work. Don't be discouraged if you feel you are progressing slowly (results are results.)
    -Remember everyone is unique. You have to find what works for you and your body.
    -Never give up on your goals of muscle building and fat loss. Keep motivated people.

    Overall I feel this covers the majority of what I and others have been answering in the past. Please by all means anyone that feels that I missed something or something should be added speak up.

    Good luck to everyone reading this and keep on lifting.



    Basic BMR Calculator
    Last edited by OCCFan023; 04-01-2008 at 04:42 PM.

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    Apologies for any grammar/spelling mistakes I may have made. Also going to post this in the cutting forum hopefully for people to see. If anyone misses it and starts a similar advice thread I hope they can be directed here.
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    amazing thread...good work there man

    reps to u
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    that's a good fundamental post. i myself, have posted a thread on weight loss, which may seem redundant, but is not.

    i don't know if you had me in mind with others when making this thread, but i assure you, that i know these things, but the anabolic diet is a completely different thing for me. i do appreciate the reminder, though. re-reading/re-learning the fundamentals are great for strengthening will.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manimalia View Post
    that's a good fundamental post. i myself, have posted a thread on weight loss, which may seem redundant, but is not.

    i don't know if you had me in mind with others when making this thread, but i assure you, that i know these things, but the anabolic diet is a completely different thing for me. i do appreciate the reminder, though. re-reading/re-learning the fundamentals are great for strengthening will.
    No one in particular in mind when righting this man. Just wanted to offer up a quick reference for people looking for answers to some pretty prominent questions when starting out. Also it provides a quick link for people to throw up if someone misses it instead of having to respond to every post the same way.
  

  
 

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