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THE MEAT & Potatoes

Nutrition

Pre & Post Workout Essentials

Piecing together an effective meal plan is a challenging but rewarding task. All of our bodies are unique and require nutrition to be specific to your body and goals. There are no cookie cutter plans that lay it all out for you and can guarantee the results you’re looking for. There are a number of formulas and calculations that can be put in place in order to help you discover the perfect breakdown, one of which you would like to start with would be to calculate your overall caloric intake for the day. This formula is described in depth in our article How to Bulk: The Right & Wrong Way. When you have your total caloric intake daily goal, we will apply that information in this article to break down the importance of nutrient timing. Below you’ll learn more about the optimal times to take in proteins, carbs, and fats to maximize lean muscle growth. Prior to training you will want to ensure your muscles are loaded with glycogen that is readily available to be burned for fuel to power your training. When carbohydrates are ingested, the body breaks them down into a form of sugar known as glucose. In most cases, the pancreas responds when blood glucose levels are elevated, and it signals for insulin to be released to shuttle this glucose to be stored as glycogen inside skeletal muscle as well as the liver. The majority of glycogen is found inside the liver, and is distributed throughout the entire body while the minimal amounts of glycogen stored inside skeletal muscle are used to fuel those specific muscles. The body can store just about 2,000 calories of glucose as glycogen.Consuming carbohydrates prior to your training can be greatly beneficial for your performance. While all of our bodies are unique and require different macronutrients for optimal performance, there are some general guidelines to follow. It’s recommended to aim for your pre training intake to be around one to four grams per kilogram of bodyweight. So if you weigh 200lb (90kg) and you train for one and a half hours then you would want to aim for around 135g of carbs pre training. This is a general rule of thumb and certain individuals may require different macronutrient needs. Some recommended carb sources that are nutrient dense to help fuel your training are brown/white rice, cream of rice, russet/sweet potatoes, oatmeal/buckwheat, and fruits. You may need to experiment to find what works best for your body. White rice and white potatoes digest faster and are readily available to be burned for energy and are often the top choice when it comes to pre training carbs. The remainder of your pre workout meal should consist of moderate protein and lower fats. When high amounts of fats are ingested, digestion drastically slows down. This can often leave you feeling overly full and bloated during your training session. Following your training when glycogen has been depleted, it’s important to replenish these storages in order to jump start the recovery process. Depending on your goal, your carb:protein ratio may vary. A standard guideline targeting maintenance and cutting goals would recommend a 1:1 ratio of carbs:proteins. Carbohydrates will spike insulin levels inside the body to drive nutrients into the muscle cells. Depending on your bodyweight and after you’ve calculated your macronutrient needs, this post workout shake/meal may consist of 25-50g of protein and carbs. For those on a mission to bulk, the carb count may greatly vary from this being double or triple the protein count. Choosing your food sources can make a world of a difference when it comes to seeing results. Ideally you want to aim for a protein source rich in amino acids, where the protein is derived from an easily absorbable source, and it can be rapidly absorbed to start the recovery process inside the body. Protein powders have been proven to truly shine post workout. Their convenience and rapid absorbability for most makes them an optimal choice for post training nutrition. There are a number of types of protein powders, each with their own set of pros/cons. Whey protein is a good protein source but its biggest drawback for many is its lactose content. Nearly 70% of people have lactose intolerance and have a negative reaction to drinking whey. Typical symptoms include gas, bloating, and other digestive issues. An an athlete, this stomach distress can affect your performance and the absorption of nutrients. One perfect solution to avoid lactose and provide your body with high concentrations of amino acids to support muscle building and recovery in beef protein isolate. MuscleMeds Carnivor bioengineered beef protein isolate has been proven for over a decade to be a powerful muscle builder with clinical research to support it. Fit for any goal, Carnivor delivers 350% more concentrated amino acid content than steak and is more concentrated than whey protein. This is key to post workout nutrition to maximize muscle growth and recovery. Hydrolyzed beef protein isolate is easily digested and utilized by the body with no stomach discomfort typically associated with whey proteins. To learn more about Carnivor protein, check out this full breakdown.
Nutrition

The Keto Cutting Plan

The keto diet. This new dieting trend has continuously gained popularity throughout the past several years. Is it all hype? Or could it potentially be your next guideline for cutting season? Let’s dissect this new technique to cut fat and separate the facts from myth. The standard diet practices usually call for a moderate to high protein and carbohydrate intake, while keeping fats low. The keto diet aims to keep fats high, moderate protein, and low carbs. The idea behind this diet is to limit carbohydrate intake and force your body to burn fat for fuel. Sounds too good to be true right? The keto diet isn’t for everyone. Removing one of the three macronutrient groups from your diet nearly in its entirety can pose a challenge for most for an extended period of time. The science behind the keto diet is unique and fascinating in a number of ways. Typically, the body relies on carbohydrates to be ingested and broken down into glucose. From here, the glucose is converted into energy and utilized by the body. This process is known as glycolysis. When following a ketogenic diet, this process will no longer apply as the primary source of energy for your body to utilize. When carbohydrate intake is limited, the body must make an adjustment in order to stay energized. The process of ketosis begins inside the liver. When sufficient carbohydrates are not present, the liver will begin to break down fats into ketones that are pushed into the blood stream.The body will adapt to the new situation and become reliant on fat for energy.Since all of our bodies are unique in many ways, there are no numbers set in stone when it comes to target macronutrient intake. One body may require more or less proteins, carbs, and fats than another. The typical carb intake while following a keto diet is between 30-50g a day. This is the first step to adapting to the diet. Dropping your carbs won’t cut it though. You may be accustomed to a higher protein diet, your next step will be to drop that intake to consist of about 25% of your diet. The reasoning behind this is because high amounts of protein can be converted into glucose, therefore preventing the body from entering ketosis. This leaves us with our new key source of energy...Fats. These will make up about 70% of our diet. So who can benefit from the keto diet? Those who are focused on shredding body fat down have potential to benefit greatly from adopting this dieting technique when they’re able to stick with it in the long run. This isn’t a quick fix by any means. Those who struggle with portion control have been known to reap the most benefits from keto. Typically carbs and overeating have gone hand in hand since the beginning of junk foods. Eliminating the intake of these empty calories alone can be a tremendous step in the right direction of a weight loss journey. There’s several reasons why someone on a journey to gain more muscle may want to hold off on adopting the ketogenic diet. Fats slow digestion, therefore such a high intake of fats can help keep you satiated for longer. This is not ideal for someone striving to gain weight, as hunger will need to be your friend in order to pack in calories. A higher protein intake consisting of 40% of your diet is the ideal range for those looking to pack on size.The ketogenic diet can be a powerful tool for those aiming to shred down body fat for aesthetic, health, or other reasons. The restrictive aspects of this eating plan are the biggest obstacle to overcome for those who choose to try it. Being accustomed to eating carbohydrates our entire lives, it’s not easy to cut them down to minimal trace amounts. The shift from burning carbohydrates to fats for fuel can be taxing on the body and mind. If you can adapt, the rewards can be well worth the sacrifice.
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How to Bulk the Right & Wrong Way

So you want to pack on some weight. Eat more and lift heavy weight...simple as that, right? Wrong. There’s an art to this. With no plan in place you can do more damage than good with your bulk. Increasing your caloric intake is the game plan, but at what rate is the question. Let's talk strategy to pack on size at the proper pace to avoid unwanted body fat. You’ve probably heard the term “lean bulk” before, let’s dissect what the term truly means and how it can save you time and effort throughout your journey.  Slow and steady wins the race. You’ve heard the saying before, and it couldn’t apply better to a bulking phase. Packing on pounds at a rapid rate is unhealthy in many ways. It’s taxing on your system to process an enormous surplus of food when it’s unprepared. Multiplying your intake by 1.5 or even 2x the amount of food compared to what you have eaten the day prior is a common approach for those who lack proper guidance. More calories equals more muscle is not always true when your system is overloaded. This will quickly result in lethargy, high blood sugar levels, increased blood pressure, and digestive issues. In the long run you will pack on weight at an accelerated weight, but it won’t be desirable weight. Excess calories will be stored as fat and when you transition into a cutting phase, it will be more work for you to get the weight off. To avoid the compilations, let’s take things one step at a time.Let’s start with your caloric intake and how to properly calculate this precise number with proven formulas backed by research. This particular formula is known as the Mifflin St Jeor Equation will help us determine your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). This is the amount of calories your body burns when at rest throughout the day. Men: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) - 5 x age (y) - 161 Women: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) - 5 x age (7) - 161 Next we’ll calculate your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). This is the amount of calories you burn throughout the day including all activity from exercise and lifestyle. Using the guideline below, you’ll select which Activity Level best suits you.  Sedentary = BMR x 1.2 (Little or no exercise/ desk job) Lightly active = BMR x 1.375 (Light exercise 1-3 days/week) Moderately active = BMR x 1.55 (Moderate exercise 6-7 days/week) Very Active = BMR x 1.725 (Intense exercise every day, or exercising 2 xs/day) Extra Active = BMR x 1.9 (Vigorous exercise 2 or more times per day) BMR x Activity Level  = TDEE Now that you have an accurate count of your total calories burned throughout the day, we can calculate your goal intake to ensure lean muscle is built with minimal excess body fat. Multiplying your TDEE by 1.1 will give us a 10% caloric surplus. This minor bump in calories will ensure you are gaining weight at a safe rate, but the results will be very gradual. Patience will be your biggest asset when attacking a lean bulk protocol.Your macronutrient breakdown is important when it comes to packing on mass. Each gram of protein and carbohydrates is 4 calories. Every gram of fat is 9. Aiming for 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight will be the target on this program. This leaves you with a carb/fat ratio to determine to dedicate your remaining calories to. Carbs are an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to muscle growth. Providing energy for inside & outside the gym. Committing 50% of your total calorie intake a day to carbs will ensure you have the energy necessary to power through your training and push the limits to achieve new muscle growth. The remaining calories will be taken in as fats. This is your foundation for a lean bulking program. Supplements, cardio, and training styles are all other factors that will need to be weighed in. MuscleMeds Stemtropin is a powerful recomposition tool that goes hand in hand with a lean bulk protocol. Stemtropin naturally boosts Growth Hormone levels by 20% in as quickly as 2 hours. Elevated growth hormone levels result in lean muscle tissue growth, lipolysis, and elevated natural energy levels. The other powerful function of Stemtropin is boosting stem cell count.
Nutrition

Maximizing Digestion

It’s no secret that following a balanced meal plan is the driving force behind results geared towards any goal. What does pass under the radar far more often than it should is the digestibility of your foods. A hot topic in this day and age is If It Fits Your Macros, the dieting technique that gives you full flexibility to eat the foods you enjoy, as long as they fit your macros. This dieting style has gained more and more traction over time due to the appeal of not having to restrict yourself in any sort of way and cut out the foods you enjoy. While there is some science behind this, you can’t pass over the fact all foods are not made equally. The macronutrient profile always holds the spotlight, but what must be considered is the micronutrient content of these foods as well. For example, to say that you believe your body will digest fried chicken which is a mix of high fats, carbs, and protein the same way as it would digest baked chicken mixed with a bit of rice and macadamia nut oil to match the macronutrient profile would digest equally would be a false statement. Most people have experienced the stomach discomfort associated with fried foods and can clearly notice a difference in how their digestion is affected with their food choices. So other than making obvious choices such as passing on fried foods, what else plays a role in the digestibility of your foods? Not all foods are made equally, and neither are supplements. When it comes to protein powders, there are some options your digestive system will thank you for in the long run. More and more people are developing sensitivity to lactose, this is due to a deficiency in an enzyme known as lactase. If you’ve ever experiences stomach discomfort following the ingestion of dairy, this may be the cause. Your best choice is to choose a new protein powder that better suits your body. Carnivor is bioengineered hydrolyzed beef isolate protein that is less stressful on your digestive system than even whole foods. Hydrolyzed protein in a way is “pre-digested” meaning that the amino acid bonds are cut into shorter pieces so your body doesn’t have to work as hard to break them down. The end result is the smoothest and fastest digestion possible. With no lactose, sugar, fat, or cholesterol and 350% more concentrated amino acid content than steak, Carnivor provides all of the benefits of red meat with none of the downfalls. Diving in deeper into the mechanics of the digestive system, let’s take a look into some of the smallest organisms that play a big role. Healthy bacteria, is there such a thing? Most would assume not, but inside of our stomach are living organisms known as probiotics that are a key piece to gut and immune health. These bacteria are primarily found inside the digestive tract as well as the intestines. They help synthesize vitamins, prevent infections by balancing pH levels, and most importantly they help to produce certain enzymes that are essential to the digestive process. These are your systems natural defences against the unhealthy bacteria that can lead to declines in health. Foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and kefir are some of the most probiotic-dense foods suggested to include in your diet. The other route to take would be to include a probiotic supplement into your daily routine.  Digestive enzymes are a vital piece to the puzzle when it comes to ensuring the highest nutrient uptake of your foods. These enzymes aid your body by mimicking natural enzymes that are in your stomach, small intestine, and even in your mouth. When there is a lack of digestive enzymes available inside the body, that can stem into a number of digestive issues down the line such as bloating, weight loss even with proper nutrition, cramping, gas, and more. There are digestive enzymes found in foods such as pineapple, honey, mango, and avocado but with a wide spectrum of digestive enzymes out there, it’s hard to ensure you get a blend of all types to aid with all areas of digestion. For example the digestive enzyme lipase helps with breaking down fats, while the enzyme protease helps with protein breakdown. One without the other won’t cover all your bases, and eating a different type of food for all types of enzymes is not sustainable for most people on a regular basis. Supplementing with digestive enzymes is an easier, more efficient way to ensure you get a proper intake.When attempting to pack on muscle mass, you must put your body in a caloric surplus day after day. This can be taxing on your digestive system, and supplementing with digestive support can greatly benefit you. MuscleMeds Feast Mode is a convenient and effective solution to ensure you maximize your nutrient uptake. Each serving contains a blend of 11 digestive enzymes to ensure you make every calorie count. On top of that, Feast Mode is a powerful appetite stimulator with a unique one of a kind blend of natural hunger regulating herbs. This formula works to boost the hunger hormone inside the body, known as ghrelin. In response to these elevated ghrelin levels, the body sends hunger signals to the brain.

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