From MF Editors
For all of our fans who shoot us questions on our Facebook Page, this one is for you. Each week, we will tap into our pool of editors and experts to help with any questions or challenges you are having with your fitness regimen. This week, Marc Perry, C.S.C.S., ACE-CPT, and founder of Built Lean answers questions about how to improve your physique and maximize your performance through making healthier eating choices.
1) Measure Food — asked by Tom Klein
Do you recommend measuring food? Is it necessary?
“I think it really depends on the person and his goals. For guys who want to get ripped, or those who want to get the best results possible as fast as possible, it's a very good strategy. Most bodybuilders and many fitness models when preparing for photo shoots and competitions measure their food because it's such an effective method to achieve very low body fat levels. When you know exactly what you are putting in your body, in terms of calorie level, and the exact breakdown of protein, carbs, and fat, it's not a matter of if the body will change, but how much and how fast. On the flip side, I don't think constantly measuring food is a sustainable, or enjoyably nutrition strategy, nor is it completely necessary to get results.”
2) Worst Pre-Workout Foods — asked by Roger Magrine
What's the worst thing I can eat before a workout? How about after?
"The worst thing you can eat pre-workout would be something that would sit in your stomach, cause indigestion, and make you feel sluggish during your workout. Because dietary fat takes around 6-8 hours to digest, protein 3-4 hours, and carbs 2-3 hours (depending on the source), eating a meal that is very high in protein and fat right before a workout would hinder performance. An example would be having a 12 ounce rib-eye steak, or deep fried chicken 30 minutes before your workout. Eating a pure fat source after your workout would not help refill depleted glycogen stores (carbs are ideal for that) and provide protein to muscles when they are ready to suck in protein. "
3) Salt in the Body — asked by John Watterman
What does salt do in my body? How much is too much?
"Salt is an electrolyte, which is a mineral that conducts electricity in our fluids and tissues. If we have too little salt in our bodies through excessive sweating or urination, our muscles, nerves, and organs won't function properly because the cells can't generate muscle contractions and nerve impulses. In addition, salt also triggers the production of saliva and gastric juices, both needed for proper food digestion. Salt, or sodium chloride, is essential for our health because our bodies don't make salt, we need to eat it. The National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute recommends consuming no more than 2.4 grams of sodium (2400mg), which is equivalent to about one teaspoon per day."
4) Understanding Protein Supplements — asked by Terry Green
Is there anything specific I should look for in a protein supplement?
"I'm assuming you are asking about whey protein, which is the most popular of protein supplements used by athletes and casual exercisers. There are several qualities to consider when purchasing a whey protein supplement, which range from purity, to digestibility, to whether or not it’s from an organic source, to simply the taste of the protein itself. Ideally, a whey protein supplement should contain a high amount of protein, very little to no artificial sweeteners and/or hormones, all the beneficial components of the immunoglobulins, minimization of lactose, while still being palatable. Whey protein isolate typically satisfies all these components, especially the high quality ones."
5) Muscle Building Foods — asked by Steven King
What are the best foods to stock up on when trying to get bigger?
“Given the biggest challenge for most guys who are trying to build muscle is eating enough quality calories and protein, it's ideal to choose foods that have high calorie density so you can eat a lot of calories without getting too full. Stocking up protein sources including fish, poultry, organic beef, bison, eggs, and some dairy (depending on your tolerance) can help you eat enough protein to spur muscle growth. Starchy carbohydrates like potatoes, oatmeal, rice are staples that can help you add more calories to your bulking diet. Fruits and veggies will help you get the vitamins and minerals you need to maximize muscle development and improve recovery. Fat is your best friend when trying to gain muscle because it has 9 calories per gram as opposed to 4 calories for 1 gram of protein and carbs. This allows you to eat far more calories without getting too full. Almond butter, nuts and seeds, healthy oils like olive oil can help you add significantly more calories to your diet. "