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Articles Tagged: carbohydrates

Putting on the Brakes: Why Your Prep Needs a Reverse Diet!

Competitors–have you ever felt like you’re on a permanent prep diet? Do you have trouble remembering the last time you consciously increased your calories for an extended period of time, outside of a post-show binge?

Do you also feel like your energy levels, strength and stamina have decreased while your stress levels have increased over time?

Is getting lean and staying there becoming more and more difficult, requiring you to drop calories further and further and/or increase cardio more and more each time you cut?

Bikini athletes in particular tend to suffer this scenario due to the fact that high levels of muscle are not as emphasized of a requirement as other divisions of fitness competition, and thus many women never go into a “bulking” stage that is foundational to programs for bodybuilding, physique and figure divisions. Continue Reading Putting on the Brakes: Why Your Prep Needs a Reverse Diet! »

Why the IIFYM Approach to Dieting Isn’t Enough

It’s human nature to appeal to labels and neat packaging of ideas. In the fitness and nutrition industry, this is readily apparent.

If you look at most workout programs, they have a name, a brand: Body Pump. Jazzercize. CrossFit. P90x.

The same thing is true with nutrition: the Paleo Diet. Atkins Diet. Clean Eating. IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros).

Labels are convenient because we can wrap said labels around a bunch of ideas and make the ideas appear more cohesive than if we had to track each idea individually. It allows us to understand relatively complex concepts more easily.

In competition prep, nutrition has primarily focused around two pre-packaged ideas: clean eating and IIFYM.

Let’s take a historical trip together down competition prep’s “memory lane.” Continue Reading Why the IIFYM Approach to Dieting Isn’t Enough »

4 Elements of Basic Nutrition

Before you can run, you must walk. Likewise, before you can optimize and perfect your diet, you must fully understand the basic elements of nutrition and how they affect your health and results.

The good news is that basic nutrition is both simple and effective. It’s true that the fitness industry has hopelessly over-complicated nutrition in an effort to justify product differentiation (e.g. “my nutrition system is SO effective because it covers these 3 ‘secret tricks’ that nobody else knows!!!”) that many people feel like they need a master’s degree just to take care of themselves at a basic level.

This is not the case. The fact is I can teach you everything you need to know to cover basic nutrition in about 10 minutes, which I am going to do with this very article. Continue Reading 4 Elements of Basic Nutrition »

Think You can Starve Your Way to Weight Loss Goals? Think Again!

Eating for weight loss can be tricky. Everywhere you look, there’s different advice being given. Some articles/authority figures say eat more to lose more, others tell you to go on a juice fast, yet others recommend eating nothing but specialized meal replacements, or to eat low carb/high fat, go Paleo… the list goes on and on.

Frustratingly, every piece of advice seems to directly contradict that which came before it. So who is right?

In this article I’m going to break down one of the main claims–that eating as little as possible (whether in terms of calories, carbohydrates, fats or otherwise) is the best way to lose weight–and I’ll give you a better method that will help you get vastly superior results. Continue Reading Think You can Starve Your Way to Weight Loss Goals? Think Again! »

Troubleshooting Weight Gain

A couple of years back I wrote an article series on troubleshooting weight loss that was quite popular with my clients who were struggling with identifying the reason they’re weight loss efforts had stalled.

I have been meaning to write a companion article for some time now on the other side of the coin–weight gain, for my hardgainer athletes who find themselves in plateaus on the other end of the spectrum: where they feel like they should be gaining weight but are either maintaining weight, or even losing weight.

I unfortunately got distracted by other obligations but now I am getting this article out there once and for all.

When I talked about the issues with weight loss plateaus, they mainly centered around unwittingly eliminating the calorie deficit that weight loss requires through one or more factors.

These same factors are typically responsible for stalls in weight gain for those looking to put on size, so it behooves us to review them, but from the perspective of someone desiring to add mass rather than reduce it. Continue Reading Troubleshooting Weight Gain »

Easy Nutrition Category Food List

Do you have trouble when it comes to making meal plans for yourself that include enough variety?

When you list out your meals, do you draw a blank and sit there until you get frustrated and give up?

Coming up with a healthy diet approach shouldn’t be difficult or stress-inducing; it should be an easy, pleasant experience.

To help make that the case for you, here’s a list of recommended foods we’ve put together by nutritional category to help make it easier for you to plan your meals out quickly and efficiently.

Note: This list also includes fat content of specific foods for those who are following our 28 day nutritional system. Continue Reading Easy Nutrition Category Food List »

3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 5

Intro by Coach B: Finishing our 5-part our bulking recipe series (see part 1 here, part 2 herepart 3 here and part 4 here), this week’s installment includes 3 all-new recipes for your mass-gaining pleasure. Enjoy and be sure to share this recipe series with anyone else you know who needs to put on size and needs to learn how to eat appropriately for their goals.

Article Series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5

Coach Tracy here, I hope these recipes have helped increase your repertoire, and most importantly, helped you start putting on some size!

Here are the key points that I wanted you to learn as we took you through this article series:

  1. For maximum performance and an optimal lean mass gain to body fat mass gain ratio, meals must have more than just lots of calories; they must have optimal macros, which for the typical hardgainer is going to be high carbohydrate, moderately-high protein, and moderately-high fat.
  2. Choosing low volume foods with higher carbohydrate content like white rice, potatoes, and white pasta will help prevent that extremely full feeling compared with eating very volumous, fiber-rich carbs. Remember, 2 cups of hash browns have almost the same amount of carbs as 9 cups of green beans!
  3. Choosing full fat dairy products like whole milk, ice cream, cheeses, sour cream and heavy cream gives you a big boost to calories without having to drench things in oil.
  4. Creating flavorful sauces that are high in calories and take up a good portion of the meal’s calories will make you feel less full. For example, Alfredo sauce uses milk, cream, butter, garlic, and parmesan cheese and can pack a caloric wallop.
  5. Eating a “bro-diet” of chicken, sweet potato and broccoli every 2 hours, six times a day is not ideal for lean mass gain (or anything, other than pushing you to jump off a cliff in nutritional boredom and misery).
  6. Having fun and be patient are key to long-term success!

Here are the last three recipes of the series, bringing you a total of 15 mass-gain recipes. All very different, very delicious, and very easy to pack away. Continue Reading 3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 5 »

3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 4

Intro by Coach B: Continuing our bulking recipe series from last week (see part 1 here, part 2 here and part 3 here), this week’s installment includes 3 all-new recipes for your mass-gaining pleasure.

Article Series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5

Coach Tracy here again! I must say, despite being hard-gainers, you are some pretty lucky guys. This is now a total of 12 recipes for you, and still one more part on the way! 12 recipes and a whole lot more gains. I don’t think there’s a single hard-gainer blog out there with recipes that taste as good as these. Lots of them are either generic or pretty gross. I wouldn’t want to eat a pound of potatoes and beef stew meat OR cottage cheese mixed with fruity yogurt. Yuck.

I also say you’re lucky because I’m not a hard gainer and I can’t make this fantastic food fit my measly macros. Maybe if Coach B allows it, I’ll bulk hard during the winter and give these a try. 😉

Remember gents, eating a pound of chicken and broccoli every two hours is not going to get you the HUGE results you’re looking for. I imagine after your fourth hour, you will be sick of food anyway if you tried to eat that way. These recipes are packed with flavor AND low volume which will make you wish you doubled the recipe.

Here’s a tip for you guys, especially if you’re the type that works all day and uses the “I don’t have time to cook” excuse: pick ONE day out of the week, do your shopping, and just make a bunch of food for the week. A lot of the recipes can be made in bulk and will taste even better the next day or two. The only exception would be the shake recipes, previous pizza fries, and these “tatchos” here.

Alright guys, no more time for games. Only GAINZ. Continue Reading 3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 4 »

3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 3

Intro by Coach B: Continuing our bulking recipe series from last week (see part 1 here and part 2 here), this week’s installment includes 3 all-new recipes for your mass-gaining pleasure.

Article Series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5

What’s up all… Coach Tracy here! How has being a passenger on the “gain train” been treating you so far? Here we are, already on part 3 of our bulking recipes series, and luckily for you, I’ve created three new amazing recipes that are easy to make—and even more importantly—easy to eat!

Remember, these recipes are designed to fuel you for growth without making you explode out of your pants if you know what I mean. Why sit down and eat almost 9 cups of green beans when you can have just 2 cups of hash browns for the same amount of carbs and calories? If you’re a hardgainer, you have a fast metabolism, which is a blessing, so let’s use that to our advantage.

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me! OK, enough talk! Pick your fork back up and let the gainz begin. Continue Reading 3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 3 »

3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 2

Intro by Coach B: Continuing our bulking recipe series from last week (see part 1 here), this week’s installment includes 3 all-new recipes for your mass-gaining pleasure.

Remember, if you want to get big, all the weight lifting in the world won’t amount to anything if you’re not in a calorie surplus. Many guys spend so much effort trying to find that magical combination of exercises, sets, reps and/or weekly routine splits, while completely ignoring their calorie intake and falling short of a surplus each day (or at least, many times per week).

They then scratch their head wondering why they can’t grow. But if you think about it logically, it makes sense. Without excess calories, your body has nothing to make new tissue with. It can’t spontaneously appear from the ether… muscle gain (like fat loss) is a byproduct of energy balance and without the energy balance in your favor, you’re on the road to no gainz, baby.

So grab your fork, do a few jaw stretches and get ready to put away some serious calories.

Article Series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5
Continue Reading 3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 2 »