First let me say if you're taking niacin on a regular basis you should get your liver checked.
The muscle-building ideal is 20 grams of protein, half before and half after your workout. Bring these convenient snacks to the gym to fuel growth.
Chicken, Turkey, or Tuna (3 oz)
14-22 grams protein
Wrap one of these standbys in a piece of whole grain bread. Four slices of chicken or turkey provide 14 grams of protein, while half a can of tuna has nearly 22 gram
19 grams protein
Hard-boiled eggs are most convenient, Don't sweat the fat: It's healthy and filling.
Whey Powder (30 g scoop)
24 grams protein
This milk-derived product continues to rule the gym. Mix it with milk instead of water if you want a bit more protein. it has whey isolate for quick absorption, and casein, which is digested slowly.
Greek Yogurt (5.3 oz container)
15 grams protein
Greek-style yogurt is a lifter's dream: It's easy to carry and packed with protein. Skip yogurts with fruit and sugar; to add flavor, drop in a few berries or nuts.
You must try not to eat simple carbs! only complex carbs!!
You Need More
Think big. Most adults would benefit from eating more than the recommended daily intake of 56 grams, says Donald Layman, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois. The benefit goes beyond muscles, he says: Protein dulls hunger and can help prevent obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
How much do you need? Step on a scale and be honest with yourself about your workout regimen. According to Mark Tarnopolsky, M.D., Ph.D., who studies exercise and nutrition at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, highly trained athletes thrive on 0.77 gram of daily protein per pound of body weight. That's 139 grams for a 180-pound man.
Men who work out 5 or more days a week for an hour or longer need 0.55 gram per pound. And men who work out 3 to 5 days a week for 45 minutes to an hour need 0.45 gram per pound. So a 180-pound guy who works out regularly needs about 80 grams of protein a day.
Now, if you're trying to lose weight, protein is still crucial. The fewer calories you consume, the more calories should come from protein, You need to boost your protein intake to between 0.45 and 0.68 gram per pound to preserve calorie-burning muscle mass.
And no, that extra protein won't wreck your kidneys: Taking in more than the recommended dose won't confer more benefit. It won't hurt you, but you'll just burn it off as extra energy,
It's Not All the Same
Many foods, including nuts and beans, can provide a good dose of protein. But the best sources are dairy products, eggs, meat, and fish,. Animal protein is complete—it contains the right proportions of the essential amino acids your body can't synthesize on its own.
It's possible to build complete protein from plant-based foods by combining legumes, nuts, and grains at one meal or over the course of a day. But you'll need to consume 20 to 25 percent more plant-based protein to reap the benefits that animal-derived sources provide, And beans and legumes have carbs that make it harder to lose weight.
So if protein can help keep weight off, is a chicken wing dipped in blue-cheese dressing a diet secret? Not quite: Total calories still count. Scale down your fat and carbohydrate intake to make room for lean protein: eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt, lean meat, and fish.
But remember, if you're struggling with your weight, fat itself is not the culprit; carbs are the likely problem. Fat will help keep you full, while carbs can put you on a blood-sugar roller coaster that leaves you hungry later.
Timing is Everything
At any given moment, even at rest, your body is breaking down and building protein, Every time you eat at least 30 grams of protein, you trigger a burst of protein synthesis that lasts about 3 hours.
But think about it: When do you eat most of your protein? At dinner, right? That means you could be fueling muscle growth for only a few hours a day, and breaking down muscle the rest of the time, Instead, you should spread out your protein intake.
Your body can process only so much protein in a single sitting. A recent study from the University of Texas found that consuming 90 grams of protein at one meal provides the same benefit as eating 30 grams. It's like a gas tank, says study author Douglas Paddon-Jones, Ph.D.: "There's only so much you can put in to maximize performance; the rest is spillover."
Eating protein at all three meals—plus snacking two or three times a day on proteins such as cheese, jerky, and milk—will help you eat less overall. People who start the day with a protein-rich breakfast consume 200 fewer calories a day than those who chow down on a carb-heavy breakfast, like a jam-smeared bagel. Ending the day with a steak dinner doesn't have the same appetite-quenching effect.
Workouts Require Fuel
Every guy in the gym knows he should consume some protein after a workout. But how much, and when? When you work out, your muscles are primed to respond to protein, and you have a window of opportunity to promote muscle growth.
I recommends splitting your dose of protein, eating half 30 minutes before the workout and the other half 30 minutes after. A total of 10 to 20 grams of protein is ideal. And wrap a piece of whole grain bread around that turkey, because carbs can raise insulin; this slows protein breakdown, which speeds muscle growth after your workout. Moreover, you won't use your stored protein for energy; you'll rely instead on the carbs to replenish you.
One study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, pinpointed 20 grams as the best amount of postworkout protein to maximize muscle growth.
You're doing this because resistance exercise breaks down muscle. This requires a fresh infusion of amino acids to repair and build it. If you're lifting weights and you don't consume protein, it's almost counterproductive. Protein also helps build enzymes that allow your body to adapt to endurance sports like running and biking.
Powders are for Everyone
Everyone—not just muscleheads—can benefit from the quick hit of amino acids provided by a protein supplement, bar, or shake. Your best bet is a fast-absorbing, high-quality kind like whey protein powder (derived from milk): It appears in your bloodstream 15 minutes after you consume it.
Whey protein is also the best source of leucine, an amino acid that behaves more like a hormone in your body: It's more than a building block of protein—it actually activates protein synthesis. Whey contains 10 percent leucine while other animal-based proteins have as little as 5 percent.
Casein, another milk protein sold in supplement form, provides a slower-absorbing but more sustained source of amino acids, making it a great choice for a snack before you hit the sack. Casein should help you maintain a positive protein balance during the night,. Building muscle while you sleep.
Your body won't change unless your workouts do. "Your need to find new ways to stimulate your body to boost your strength," says Mark Philippi, C.S.C.S., a former America's Strongest Man. Use Philippi's techniques to overcome these common barriers.
You're Unable to Bench More Weight
Fix It with Heavier Loads
Try "eccentric lifting," in which you focus on lowering the weight during a bench press rather than lifting it. Load the barbell with 80 to 120 percent of your 1-rep max (for example, 110 to 160 pounds if your 1-rep max is 135), and take 4 to 5 seconds to lower the weight while keeping tension in your chest. Have your spotter help you press the bar back up as fast as possible, and then repeat. Do 2 to 4 sets of 3 to 5 repetitions each.
Why it works: Your body can handle more weight as you're lowering the bar than as you're pressing it up. Repeated lowering of a heavy weight will slowly help your body adapt and learn to handle more weight in general. Eventually, you'll be able to press a heavier load too, says Philippi. The slow lowering also creates a lot of tension in your muscles as they work hard to keep the bar stable. That builds more size.
Your Legs Need a Boost
Fix It with Partial Reps
Set up a box about 2 inches behind your body. As you squat back, sit on the box so your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Then stand back up. Complete 1 to 3 sets of only 1 to 3 reps each. As you become stronger, use higher boxes and add weight, which creates more tension.
Why it works: The box removes all momentum where the lift is most challenging, which forces your muscles to work harder to start back up. And by limiting your range of motion, you learn to handle heavier loads.
Your Program Needs an Upgrade
Fix It with New Rep Counts
Elimi nate the 10-rep, 3-set routines.
Why it works: Your body quickly adapts to the number of reps you perform, but it takes a while to adjust to the exercises you do. (That’s why you can keep using the same exercises.) By changing your rep ranges on a weekly basis, you’re gaining benefits from the repeated movements while always pushing your body in new ways—and that helps you increase strength. When you improve in each workout, you add new muscle.
You're Building Strength but Losing Flexibility
Fix It By Lifting Through a Full Range of Motion
Stretching isn't the best way to improve flexibility—lifting weights through a full range of motion is, according to a recent study at the University of North Dakota. Pausing for 2 to 3 seconds at the "down" position of the lift (where you feel the stretch) without relaxing your muscles is even more effective.
Why it works: During resistance exercise, your muscles first contract, and then stretch to their full range between each repetition, increasing overall flexibility, says study coauthor James Whitehead, Ed.D.
Your Strength Gains Have Plateaued
Fix It By Leaving a Little in the Tank
Training to failure slows your results, say Spanish researchers. They found that lifters who performed each set of a workout until they couldn't complete a repetition had smaller gains in strength than those who left a bit in reserve. End each set when your lifting pace starts to slow, suggests Men's Health fitness advisor Mike Robertson, C.S.C.S.
Why it works: As your muscles fatigue, they use fewer fast-twitch fibers, which have the greatest potential for size and strength gains. Using a weight that allows you to finish all of your repetitions will focus your training where it counts the most—on those fast-twitch fibers.
Truly, the best thing ALA will do for you is protect your liver from the creatine you're taking. Long term use of it is dangerous to both the kidneys and liver. Excess protein taken for long periods is also toxic to the kidneys. Most of the people with the big muscles, the competitive bodybuilders, do it by taking steroids and growth hormone and uppers and other illegal drugs. They don't get there naturally because humans aren't supposed to be that big. The reason is that, for one, huge muscles inhibit flexibility, and flexibility is much more important to human survival and reflex movement than huge muscles, and, second, muscle requires too much nutrition, which makes survival harder. So if you want muscles that go beyond what your genetics will allow, you have to cheat one way or the other, including eating too much protein or taking substances not meant to be taken such as creatine or steroids. If it's important enough to you, go buy Arnold Schwarzenegger's old magazines -- I think he divested himself of them when he became governor. They're actually quite good at recommending sound lifting routines from different experts, and will tell you how to procure the most effective supplements. They'll also tell you how to get the illegal stuff, if it's that important to you. Because at some point, and it may be a point at which you're unsatisfied, hard work alone will peak because you're as big as nature will allow. The exercise will still be making you stronger and burning off fat, but it will stop building bigger muscles because your body is maxed out naturally. Because there's a big difference between utile strength, which is strength you can use because you're flexible and quick and can get your whole body into your movements (this is how martial artists maximize their strikes), and just looking strong or being able to lift something up and down, which is cool but not particularly useful., and nature prefers useful to looking cool.
I just need to clarify -- I meant the creatine is harmful over the long term, not the ALA. ALA is great, but has no real recommended dosage that has been scientifically established. And I don't mean to demean weight lifting -- I did it until recently, when my arms started hurting for some reason, and if I get it fixed I'm going back to it. I just know from managing health food stores for many years that you have three kinds of weight lifters -- those who just want to be fit and toned and strong, those who want to look a certain way, and serious athletes. The latter two cheat, so you have to recognize that and know they're doing things they're not telling you, including the guys quoted by the above post. First they get huge using steroids and such, then they pretend they did it naturally and teach others how to supposedly do it without the drugs, only to leave them frustrated.
Hi, thanks for your reply. I'm aware of what I'm doing, don't think I just hopped in this ride and went for everything they told me to do... I'm not planning on using any illegal drugs or anything that can make some harm to my body. In fact, I look for the best alternatives to keep my body healthy while still getting good results out of my diet and workout. I try to eat less than a gram of protein per bodyweight in lbs., I find it outrageous to eat more than that, it's just too much, I follow the 22% protein, 23% fat and 55% carbs on a daily basis for my calorie intake. I'm trying to get bigger, but I'm not planning to be a huge athlete with the over pumped muscles, I just wanna have an athletic look with some hard and big muscles, but nothing too unnatural like today's bodybuilding athletes 'cause I realize that to get there you have you do something out of the ordinary that won't bring any good to my body in the long term... I guess I'll give ALA a try for a few weeks in a low dose while taking the creatine which I cycle all the time, I let my body rest from supps hoping it will be better. Thanks a lot for the advise and hope you hit the gym sometime too, it's a beautiful sport, I really got into it and I wanna succeed without cheating or risking myelf in any way
Thanks for the encouragement. Seems my cervical spine is impinging on my arms, and they just hurt too much to lift. I like the feeling of it, though I'm too old to get big. Still, it did make me stronger and leaner. Before I just did aerobic types of sports. Sounds like you've got it in control. You might want to elevate your protein intake some, as Gym recommended; it will help with muscle building. And do look at those magazines -- I had to because I had to serve my clients, and you'll find so many contradictory theories it'll drive you nuts, but you can learn a lot about rotating different exercises. I never went in for it in that big a way, but I did see people who got benefit. Of course, a lot of them were doing 'roids...
Thanks I might look at the magazines if I can get them, I'm not from the states. I don't eat so much protein because of that fear of having health issues later, I forgot to mention I suffer from anxiety too which was triggered partially thanks to my GERD and the endoscopy I had... that really made me tense and since then I've tried to do things better, thanks a lot for your advice and no 'roids for me at least!