Have you ever wondered how fitness models get so lean and toned? Would you like to achieve a body like theirs, but your gym sessions aren’t achieving the desired changes in your body? Without proper nutrition and sleep to support your training, catabolic (breaking-down) hormones will be secreted and much of your hard work in the gym will be wasted. In order to see results you need to get the most from your anabolic (building) hormones.
Eat every 2&1/2 to 3 Hours (that’s 6 or more meals a day)
Eating every 2&1/2 to 3 hours will prevent blood sugar dips. When this is low, our body goes into a stress response and secretes cortisol from the adrenal glands. When this catabolic stress hormone floods the system, muscle tissue is broken down and the immune system is compromised. Every time you eat a meal you raise your metabolism. Thus, if you eat the same number of calories across 6 meals, rather than 3, you will burn more calories.
Control your Insulin Levels
Insulin is secreted from the pancreas when blood sugar levels are raised. High insulin levels block fat burning. Additionally, high insulin levels have a negative effect on other hormones, including the anabolic hormone testosterone. Testosterone is primarily produced by the testes in males and ovaries in females and is responsible for muscle growth.
By avoiding high glyceamic carbs (e.g. white bread and sugar), blood sugar levels and consequently insulin spikes are prevented. If you want to burn fat and gain muscle raising your insulin levels should be avoided (except post-workout, see rule 4).
Eat Protein at Every Meal
Protein supplies the amino acids necessary for muscle growth. By including a protein source (meat, fish, chicken, eggs) in every meal, the constant ‘feeding’ of amino acids keeps the body in a positive nitrogen balance. This is ideal for anabolic muscle growth.
Protein also has the highest thermic effect, i.e. protein digestion burns more calories, than carbohydrate and fat digestion.Protein requirements when weight training: , Females need 1.8 to 2.4 g of protein per kilo of body weight , Males 3 to 4 g of protein per kilo of body weight
Post-Workout, Consume a Whey Protein Shake with a High Glycemic Carb
Heavy training breaks down muscle fibre and releases cortisol. However, heavy training is necessary to provoke a growth response for new muscle synthesis. By ingesting a high glycemic (quick energy release) carb (e.g. banana) along with a quality whey protein – both of which raise insulin levels – the insulin response will help to move the protein into your muscles where it is needed for repair and growth.
Muscles are more insulin receptive directly after a workout, so consuming this combo is ideal for repair and growth and enables insulin to be ‘used’ as an anabolic hormone.
Get 8 to 12 Hours of Deep, Uninterrupted Sleep
Sleep is not exactly a diet principle but I’ve listed here because it’s the time for maximum growth and repair. During the night the pituitary gland releases growth hormone and at this time the anticatabolic hormone is at its highest and cortisol is at its lowest. This is the ultimate anabolic period. All you have to do is shut your eyes!
“The pre-contest diet usually starts 6-12 weeks out from before the show”
The pre-contest diet usually starts 6-12 weeks out from before the show. Its purpose is to chisel off the last layer of body fat to expose the toned muscles that lie beneath. More muscle can still be built during this time, but most growth will have been achieved during the off-season, so muscle maintenance is now the focus. During this time strict period ‘cheats’ (e.g. desserts, alcohol) are eliminated completely, all food is measured and weighed and the 5 diet rules are followed.
CONTEST DIET COACH
When Eleni Plakitsi hired me as her contest coach (see page 106), 5 months before the FAME show, her diet was dangerously low in carbs and fat. And she was also not consuming enough quality protein to support her heavy gym sessions. Since Eleni’s diet was so deficient she was holding onto fat, which she couldn’t shift and had cravings that she was giving into.
70% of the population does very well on a low-carb diet but if an individual consumes too few carbs for their needs their body can go into a stress-response. When this happens the body will hold onto fat and the immune system will suffer.Too many carbohydrates on the other hand can result in fat storage.
When a competitor comes to me, I use a combination of ‘Bio Signature Testing’, ‘Metabolic Typing’* and some good old-fashioned body building diet principles to figure out their macronutrient ratios and supplement needs. I increased Eleni’s fats and carbs.
I got her eating every 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours, with quality organic protein sources at every meal and eliminated soy from her diet. Her body responded and she lost body fat, built more muscle and took first prize!