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Articles Tagged: protein

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 »

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 »

3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 1

Intro by Coach B: Small guys gotta eat big to get big. One of the biggest hurdles hard-gainer guys face when it comes to gaining and retaining mass is simply eating enough without feeling like they’re going to explode like the Michelin tire man sitting on a pin.

Luckily for you guys, recipe-maker-extraordinaire and resident coach Tracy has drummed up a series of high calorie recipes that taste awesome, are easy to hork down and have macros designed for maximum performance and accumulation of lean mass—in other words, high carbohydrate, moderately-high protein and moderately-high fat.

Also, these recipes pack a nutritional wallop so they’re exponentially better than eating a bunch of crap like Pizza Hut, McDonald’s or another form of fast food that tends to make up the majority of the hard-gainer’s diet.

Without further ado, here’s the first three recipes. We will update the blog with many more recipes in future weeks so you guys have a large variety to choose from and can still be confident that you will get the calories in each day that you need.

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

Continue Reading 3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 1 »

The 5 Steps of the Nutrition Principle Pyramid, Pt. 3

So far we’ve discussed the first—and most important—two steps of the nutritional pyramid—habits and calories. These two steps must be implemented successfully before we can worry about steps 3, 4 and 5, so if you haven’t already implemented both of those successfully, I strongly recommend starting at Part 1 and going from there.

For those of you who are already caught up (both with the reading AND the implementation), today we’re going to talk about the 3rd step, macronutrient ratios.

Tip 3. Optimizing macronutrient ratios.

In a way, the term “ratio” is somewhat of a misnomer, only because we don’t really take that approach when initially determining what the macro amounts should be. A better term might be “grams of each macronutrient” but that doesn’t really seem to flow off the tongue quite as well, so “macro ratios” it is. Continue Reading The 5 Steps of the Nutrition Principle Pyramid, Pt. 3 »

Top Recommended Supplements and Their Uses

I’m not big on supplement use. I feel like most supplements are either utterly useless, supported only by hype-filled marketing tactics, or are misused, either in situations they’re not intended or useful in, or used as a crutch for poor nutritional habits.

As such, my general recommendation is to focus on diet and exercise first, and avoid getting drawn into the supplementation trap.

However, there are exceptions to that rule, and once someone DOES reach that point, I will admit that there are a few supplements that can help performance and/or results that you can take a look at. Just remember, all the extra-credit in the world won’t help your grade if you never do your homework. The analogy applies to diet/supplementation directly if you think about it.

So, which supplements do I recommend, and when? Continue Reading Top Recommended Supplements and Their Uses »