As much as exercise hits your body with a barrage of feel-good hormones, it also puts your body in a state of stress. From your gut to your heart, every cell is working hard to maintain all bodily functions while you work out. That’s why it’s so important to get proper nutrition and fuel your body with foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants. “Exercise produces stress on the body, and that increases the need for certain nutrients that the body might otherwise be able to produce enough of,” says Ashley Koff, RD, founder of The Better Nutrition Program and Espira by AVON nutritionist.
Take the amino acid, glutamine, for example. “Your body produces it, but when your body is under stress during exercise, you need more of it to repair muscle, including the digestive tract lining,” Koff says. Read on to learn what vitamins, macronutrients and amino acids are crucial for building and maintaining muscle.
RELATED: Got Milk? The 9 Best Protein Sources to Build Muscle
- 11 Key Nutrients for Muscle Building
- The 12 Best Nutrients And Vitamins For Building Muscle And Burning Fat
- 7 Nutrients That Help Increase Muscle Tone
- Fish Oil
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- These multivitamins are ideal for fitness-minded individuals!
- Multivitamin Benefits
- 1. Animal Pak Multivitamin
- 2. Evlution Nutrition VitaMode
- 3. Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men
- 4. Controlled Labs Orange Triad Multivitamin
- 5. Vita Jym Supplement Science Multivitamin
- 6. MuscleTech Platinum Multivitamin
- 7. RSP Biovite Advanced Multi-Vitamin
- 8. GAT Sport Men’s Multi+Test
- 9. Swolverine Krill Oil Omega 3 + Astaxanthin
- 10. Now Foods Adam Superior Men’s Multi
- Final Words
- 1. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
- 2. Creatine
- 3. Protein Bars and Powders
- 4. Conjugated Linoleic Acid
- 5. Glutamine
- 6. Multivitamins
- The Absolute Best Way to Improve Your Muscle Definition
- Give Me One Week In Your Inbox…
- What Is Muscle Definition?
- The 5 Biggest Muscle Definition Myths
- Muscle Definition Myth #1You Must “Eat Clean” to Look Lean
- Muscle Definition Myth #2You Must Do High-Rep Training
- Muscle Definition Myth #3You Must Use Cables and Machines
- Muscle Definition Myth #4You Must Eat a Low-Carb Diet
- You don’t lose fat faster on a low-carb diet.
- You gain less muscle on a low-carb diet.
- Muscle Definition Myth #5You Must Do Lots of Cardio
- How to Increase Muscle Definition
- What About Supplements?
- The Bottom Line on Increasing Muscle Definition
- Base your diet around foods that help to scorch unnecessary fat and tone your muscles
- Avoid the foods that store fat
- Know the foods that irritate your digestive system
- When you eat is almost just as important as what you eat.
11 Key Nutrients for Muscle Building
You already know how important it is to drink enough H2O for replenishing fluids before, during and after a workout. But staying properly hydrated also aids digestion and nutrient absorption. “Hydration is more than just quenching thirst; it means water carries nutrients to the muscles for them to do their work,” Koff says.
Best sources: Straight from the tap, or vegetables and fruits
Protein is one of the most essential macronutrients for muscle growth and repair because it’s packed with amino acids that your body does and doesn’t produce. That’s why it’s important to have protein post-workout to restore these muscle-building macronutrients. “Proteins not only helps rebuild and build lean body mass, but they’re also a core part of enzymes and hormones that help communicate with the body to repair itself,” Koff says.
Best sources: Dairy, lean meats, beans and other legumes, seafood, soy and eggs
Calcium does more than help build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis. Koff says the mineral is responsible for triggering muscle contraction. Muscles are comprised of two protein filaments: myosin and actin. When muscle contraction occurs, these filaments slide over each other to convert ATP (adenosine triphosphate), aka the way your body stores and uses energy. The more you exercise, the more ATP your body needs to keep your muscles moving.
Best sources: Yogurt, fortified milk and cereals, cheese, tofu and spinach
RELATED: 7 Ways to Naturally Boost Your Metabolism
Feeling more tired than usual? A magnesium deficiency could be to blame. As one of the best de-stressing minerals, magnesium is essential for muscle relaxation and preventing cramps, Koff says. Together with calcium, magnesium works to help reduce blood pressure and promote better sleep.
Best sources: Leafy greens, beans and other legumes, squash, nuts and seeds and whole grains
You might have heard of non-essential (meaning your body can produce it) and essential (meaning your body can’t produce it) amino acids, but there are also conditionally essential amino acids. Koff says your body needs more conditionally essential amino acids, such as glutamine, during intense workouts. “Glutamine helps repair muscle tissue, including the lining of the digestive tract, especially when the body has experienced stress during high-intensity exercise, like weightlifting and HIIT,” Koff says. Glutamine is also important for maintaining gut function and boosting the immune system.
Best sources: Chicken, fish, beef, dairy, eggs and spinach, Brussel sprouts and fermented foods
6. Vitamin D
The sunshine vitamin is probably best known for ensuring strong bones, but it’s also critical for strong glutes, biceps and everything in between. Koff says, “Vitamin D is linked to healthy hormones like testosterone, which helps with muscle maintenance and growth.” A daily dose of D can also improve your mental health and help reduce anxiety. Because not that many foods are rich in vitamin D, some doctors and nutritionists recommend taking a supplement.
Best sources: Fatty fish, like salmon and sardines, fortified yogurt, milk and orange juice, mushrooms and eggs
RELATED: Got a Vitamin D Deficiency? Dig Into These Recipes
Just like calcium and magnesium, potassium is a key electrolyte in muscle contraction. But it’s also essential for carrying other nutrients to your muscles. “Potassium brings water, along with other nutrients, into muscle cells. They work in opposition to sodium,” Koff says. Potassium helps your kidneys flush out the excess sodium in your body, Koff explains. What’s more: New studies have shown that people who don’t get enough potassium are at higher risk for hypertension and heart disease.
Best sources: Bananas, squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, chicken and salmon.
Contrary to what you might believe, carbs are one of the best building blocks of muscles. “They’re the key nutrient to support muscle growth and repair,” Koff says. As the best source of glycogen, carbs help fuel your workouts and rebuild muscles more effectively post-workout. Runners aren’t the only ones who can benefit from carb loading. Everyone from weightlifters to HIIT enthusiasts need to restore glycogen stores after an intense sweat session.
Best sources: Whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans and other legumes
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) belongs to a set of eight B vitamins known as the vitamin B complex. But what sets B12 apart is it assists in creating red blood cells, which contain hemoglobin that binds to oxygen. “ builds red blood cells, which carry oxygen to muscle, and helps metabolize protein and fats for use in muscle building and repair,” Koff says.
Best sources: Poultry, meat, fish and dairy
RELATED: 12 Energy-Boosting Recipes Rich in Vitamin B
If you want to know why Popeye was slamming down cans of spinach, it’s because the leafy green is packed with iron, a mineral that “brings oxygen to muscle tissue,” Koff says. It also helps regulate metabolism and promotes a healthy immune system. Without enough iron, your red blood cells can’t carry oxygen to your muscles and the tissues that need it.
Best sources: Leafy greens, lean beef, poultry, fish, eggs and fortified whole grains
Muscle cramps are one of the most common sleep complaints. The good news: Beta-alanine, a non-essential amino acid, has been shown to help people stave off muscle cramps from doing intense workouts, says Koff. “Beta-alanine helps produce carnosine, which balances the pH in muscles and fights against lactic acid buildup that leads to fatigue and cramping,” she says. Koff also says that vitamins C and E can help combat inflammation from excessive exercise. “Vitamin C helps with muscle repair as it supports collagen production, and vitamin E helps remove free radicals produced after a workout,” Koff adds.
Best sources: Animal protein and plant-based foods, like asparagus, edamame, seaweed, turnip greens and watercress
Carb Cycling: A Daily Meal Plan to Get Started
The Benefits of a High-Fiber Diet (Plus Best Food Sources)
How to Know If You Have an Iron Deficiency
Muscle is harder to build and maintain as we age. In fact, most of us start losing muscle around age 30, and physically inactive people can experience anywhere from a 3- to 5-percent reduction in lean muscle mass every decade thereafter.
This is due to lower testosterone levels in men and lower estrogen levels in women — both hormones that help build muscle — as well as changes in nerve and blood cells and the body not converting amino acids to muscle tissue as efficiently, among other factors. But muscle loss doesn’t have to be inevitable: For adult men and women, regular resistance training exercises are key to building and keeping muscle.
Strength Training and Health
Strength training is an important piece of the fitness equation. Men and women should participate in muscle strengthening activities that work the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and arms) at least two times each week. Examples of strength training include lifting weights, using resistance bands and doing push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups. Even everyday activities such as carrying groceries, playing with your kids and gardening can strengthen muscles.
One of the best ways to support strength building is good nutrition. Protein, carbohydrates and fat play a major role, as does getting enough calories throughout the day. Read on to find out how each macronutrient can help you bulk up — and how much to eat every day.
Protein and Muscle Building
When building muscle, the more protein the better, right? Not necessarily. While you’re working to build muscle with exercise, protein should make up 10 to 35 percent of total calories for adults.
Keeping muscle mass, on the other hand, requires a lot less protein than building new muscle. For example, the recommended dietary allowance for protein for the average adult is 0.37 grams per pound of body weight, and that equals about 56 grams of total protein for a 150-pound adult. A typical day that includes 3 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy plus 3 servings of protein foods (such as lean meat, poultry, fish or beans) will provide quality sources of protein to help reach that goal. Grains, especially whole grains, also provide some protein but may not be enough to meet dietary needs.
Protein levels of common foods:
- 3 ounces skinless, baked chicken = 26 grams
- 3 ounces of lean ground beef = 22 grams
- 3 ounces grilled salmon = 21 grams
- ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese = 14 grams
- 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt = 12 grams
- ½ cup cooked lentils = 9 grams
- 3 ounces firm tofu = 9 grams
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter = 8 grams
- 1 cup cooked quinoa = 8 grams
- 1 cup low-fat milk = 8 grams
- ½ cup cooked black beans = 7 grams
- 1 large egg = 6 grams
Carbohydrates and Muscle Building
Carbohydrates are an important group of foods for fueling your muscles. That’s because carbs are partially converted to glycogen, which is stored in muscle to power your workouts. Men and women who are strength training at least twice a week need about half of their calories from carbohydrates per day. That doesn’t mean you should be loading up on pizza and bagels. Try adding in good quality carbohydrates that are low in fat, such as whole-grain breads and cereals for the best strength-training boost. Low-fat milk and yogurt and fruits and vegetables also are good options and provide some carbohydrates in our diet. When planning your meals and snacks, it is recommended to stay away from higher fiber foods immediately prior to or during exercise.
Fat and Muscle Building
Your body relies on fat to supply energy to muscles during activity, and how much fat a person needs can vary. As a general guideline, fat should make up 20 to 35 percent of your total calories.
For overall health and muscle strength, focus on sources of heart-healthy fats, including extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, avocados and fatty fish such as salmon, halibut, mackerel, sardines and trout.
Fat contains twice the number of calories as carbohydrates and protein, so it is important to monitor serving sizes. For example, 1 tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories and 1 ounce of walnuts (about 14 nuts) has 185 calories.
The 12 Best Nutrients And Vitamins For Building Muscle And Burning Fat
It’s not only required for strong bones and teeth, but it is also vital for muscle contraction and energy metabolism. Research shows that a lack of calcium can also trigger the release of calcitrol, a hormone that causes you to store fat.
Good sources Cheese, almonds, sesame seeds, sardines, yoghurt
This plays an important role in converting carbohydrates, fats and proteins into energy. It also helps keep hair and skin looking healthy and prevents your hair from turning grey (for a while, anyway).
Good sources Peanut butter, oats, egg yolks, hazelnuts, almonds
Iron forms part of haemoglobin, the pigment that transports oxygen from the lungs to the muscles. It’s also essential for maintaining high energy levels, and it helps keep your immune system strong.
Good sources Dried apricots, sardines, bran cereals, venison
This powerful antioxidant helps metabolise carbs for fuel and protects the body from exercise-induced oxidative stress. It also helps the body absorb iron and protects against energy-sapping infections.
Good sources Green peppers, broccoli, blackcurrants, citrus fruits
This is an essential trace mineral that has been shown to boost the immune system, fight cancer and prevent heart disease. It can also maintain your mood, prevent depression and impede free radical damage from weight training.
Good sources Fresh tuna, sunflower seeds, wholemeal bread, brazil nuts
It is essential to get omega 3 fatty acids from our diet, because the body can’t make them. Men who eat these fats have an improved blood flow and healthier hearts. The fats also suppress hunger, helping you to lose weight.
Good sources Brazil nuts, flaxseed oil, salmon, mackerel, walnuts
This helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Calcium is essential for muscle contractions, while phosphorus is involved in the synthesis of ATP, the useable form of energy in the body.
Good sources Oily fish, olive oil, eggs, yoghurt, sunflower seeds
Vitamin B12 plays a part in forming red blood cells and converting food into energy. It also ensures that the brain and muscles communicate efficiently, which affects muscle growth and co-ordination.
Good sources Eggs, marmite, meat, milk, offal
As the third most abundant trace mineral in the body, copper helps protect the cardiovascular, nervous and skeletal system. It also strengthens the tendons needed to lift weights.
Good sources Peanuts, sardines in tomato sauce, crab, sunflower seeds
Found in the muscles, soft tissues and body fluids, magnesium plays a vital part in muscle contraction and helps to boost your energy levels. It can also reduce fatigue and muscle cramps.
Good sources Green leafy veg, garlic, seeds, nuts, bran
Also known as vitamin B2, riboflavin aids the breakdown of protein, carbohydrates and fat, which are transformed into energy, and also supports the antioxidants in the body.
Good sources Cornflakes, spinach, eggs, Marmite, chicken
Zinc enables your body to produce muscle-building testosterone. It also promotes recovery from exercise, boosts fertility and increases your number of infection-fighting T-cells.
Good sources Red meat, eggs, pulses, pumpkin seeds, cheese
7 Nutrients That Help Increase Muscle Tone
How much? The National Institutes of Health recommends 75 mg daily, which you can get from a medium orange, half a red bell pepper, or a cup of strawberries.
With the ability to enhance the effects of weight training by increasing blood flow to the muscles, reducing muscle protein breakdown, and decreasing inflammation for faster recovery, Cuomo says we should think of omega 3s-the fatty acids found in fish oil-as a secret weapon for toning up. It doesn’t hurt that omega-3 fatty acids also improve insulin sensitivity, which helps prevent diabetes.
How much? The American Heart Association recommends eating two 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, or albacore tuna) each week. If fish make you gag, consider a 1,000- to 3,000-milligram (mg) supplement of DHA and EPA a daily. Vegetarians and vegans can find omega-3s in flax seed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and algae-based supplements.
“Calcium is one of the two most important nutrients our body needs for healthy and strong bones and muscles,” Dr. Popovitz says. Every time you lift a dumbbell, your muscle contracts, and this mineral gives muscles that cue to contract-and, therefore, grow.
How much? Dr. Popovitz recommends at least 1,200 mg a day. You can get your daily dose through foods like dairy products, green veggies, and fortified dairy-free milk, or a supplement. If you prefer a pill, choose one with D, which your body needs to absorb calcium. Stick to supplements with 500 to 600 mg of calcium and take them hours apart, as your body can only take in that much at a time.
While true magnesium deficiency is rare in the U.S., Dr. Popovitz says most women don’t get enough of this mineral. Not good since it keeps things humming when it comes to your muscles, in particular ensuring that your heart is thumping at a steady beat. Bonus: It’s great for helping alleviate muscle cramps and soreness, whether you’re achy from weight lifting or PMS.
How much? The National Institutes of Health recommends 310 to 320 mg a day, but Dr. Popovitz says there’s no harm increasing your intake to 400 mg if you are lifting weights three or more days a week. In addition to supplements, you can find magnesium in spinach, nuts, legumes, and whole grains, or soak it in via a relaxing epsom salt bath.
This gang includes B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), and B12 (cobalamin), each essential for overall health but become even more important when you’re actively trying to grow muscle and get stronger, Cuomo says, as Bs play a role in everything from protein metabolism and energy production to maintaining healthy nerves and breaking down fat and carbs.
How much? Most people consume adequate amounts of the Bs through their diets, as these vitamins are found in foods such as whole grains, eggs, lean meats, legumes, nuts, leafy greens, and fortified cereals. However, B12 is only found in animal sources, so vegetarians and vegans may want to consider taking a supplement or using fortified foods and drinks to obtain 2.4 micrograms (mcg) daily.
From scientists in ivory towers to your corner pharmacist, it seems everyone is touting the powers of the “sunshine” vitamin. Its list of potential powers includes boosting mood, immunity, and muscle. “Vitamin D is required for muscular contraction, function, and growth,” Cuomo says. It’s also essential for bone growth and strength, and since skeletal muscles need a strong base to build off of, you can’t neglect your D.
How much? Ideally you’d get adequate D through sun exposure, but then you’d have to worry about skin cancer. Take a supplement of 4,000 to 6,000 international units (IU) of D3 every day instead, Cuomo recommends, and if you are concerned, see your doctor for a simple blood test to measure you D levels and determine if you are deficient and need a higher dosage.
The handful of almonds you reach for after a workout not only provides protein, healthy fats, and fiber, it’s also a good source of vitamin E. “This antioxidant helps cell membrane recovery from oxidative stress, such as exercise,” Cuomo says. And the fast your muscles recover, the faster they’ll grow.
How much? This is definitely one case where more is not better, as doses above 300 mg daily may lead to nausea, stomach pain, weakness, or even death. Stick closer to the recommended 15 mg a day by skipping supplements and eating nuts and seeds.
- By Charlotte Hilton Andersen @CharlotteGFE
These multivitamins are ideal for fitness-minded individuals!
Multivitamins are a beneficial aid for active people and those need more vitamins in the diets. Vitamins are important for daily life and health functions of the body.
Some people are deficient in vitamins, others supplement to replenish them after being active, and they also make for a healthy daily supplement.
Vitamins A, C, D, E, B6/12, and K, are all essential for good health and well being. And quality multivitamin products will supply all of them in generous amounts.
But, minerals are just as important and any product worthwhile will have respectable quantities.
Now, people who weight train need sufficient nutrients to support muscle growth and strength. The body is placed under stress and muscle fibers tear down during a training session. And without adequate vitamins and mineral deficiencies can occur if nutrition is not up to par…
Check out these awesome multivitamins which have everything you need to support your fitness goals!
Vitamins are non-negotiable when it comes to health and since most are not made by the body, we must get them from foods.
But, sometimes we don’t get enough from foods and supplements are a beneficial aid in this case.
It’s important to understand that supplements should never be a replacement for food. Multivitamins are good only in combination with a good diet.
“Supplements are never a substitute for a balanced, healthful diet, and they can be a distraction from healthy lifestyle practices that confer much greater benefits,” explained Dr. Joann Manson, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Vitamin A is crucial for maintaining healthy vision. It’s also important for immune function, cell growth, heart, kidney, and lung health. (1)
Vitamin C is necessary for a healthy immune system, and it plays a role in connective tissue health (Important for wound healing). (2)
Vitamin also has antioxidant properties and is needed for protein metabolism and the biosynthesis of collagen and L-carnitine.
Vitamin D plays a big role in the absorption of calcium for bone health. But Vitamin D is also essential for cell growth modulation, immune function, and it has anti-inflammatory properties. (3)
Vitamin E is used by the body in the form of alpha-tocopherol and it’s a vital antioxidant which protects the body against free-radical damage which can cause diseases and cancers. (4)
Vitamin E is also important for heart and skin health. (5)
Vitamin B6 is an enzyme which plays a big role in many chemical reactions in the body. B6 is essential for brain health, immune function, nervous system, and blood cell health. (6)
Vitamin B12 is vital for creating red blood cells, nerves, and DNA. Plus, it’s important for cellular energy and even mental health. (7)
B12 deficiency is a problem in a lot of adults and 20% are borderline deficient according to research.
But for people who lead a vegan lifestyle, supplementing B12 is highly recommended for health. Meat and dairy are a main source of B12 so this is something to be aware of.
Vitamin K is necessary for making proteins which support healthy bones and tissue. And K also makes proteins for blood clotting. (8)
1. Animal Pak Multivitamin
Animal came out with the “Animal Pak” in 1983 and has since evolved into a leading multivitamin manufacturer for the hardcore fitness addicts.
Their name (Animal) and packaging will no doubt hype you up before you even take your first serving, and that’s another reason “beasts” choose Animal!
With this pack (Pak), there’s no shortage of vitamins and minerals plus you’ll get a top-notch liver blend, antioxidant, and digestive enzyme complex.
Price: $26 for 15 servings
2. Evlution Nutrition VitaMode
EVL Nutrition pumps out some quality products at an attractive price point. This formula is pretty complete with well over 100% of most of the added vitamins. There’s 5,000 IU of D3 just to give you an idea…
It has a phytonutrient complex with green tea powder for energy and a fruit complex. Plus, there’s an enzyme blend to aid in healthy digestion and disease-blocking antioxidants.
Majority of users are extremely satisfied with this product and it’s a top choice compared to other multivitamins.
Price: $20 for 60 servings
3. Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men
Optimum Nutrition is a leading brand because they have always delivered products which stood above the rest.
Now, Opti-Men is nothing incredibly special but it’s a good quality multivitamin which will meet your needs. It has a complete vitamin and mineral profile so there’s nothing to miss there. And it interestingly has a Phyto blend similar to the EVL multi with green tea extract.
The “Viri Men Blend” has some nice additional ingredients to support men’s health as well. Saw Palmetto may be beneficial for improving urinary symptoms of an enlarged prostate. And Ginkgo Biloba extract is added for its antioxidant properties. (9, 10)
Price: $14 for 30 servings
4. Controlled Labs Orange Triad Multivitamin
Orange Triad is an effectively complete multivitamin as we’d expect it to be…
But, this multi is an ideal option for those who want their vitamins and joint support on top of it. Each serving has a joint (Glucosamine and Chondroitin) and flex (MSM) complex.
These are safe ingredients for healthy joints and Orange Triad also has a digestive and immune complex with a notable herb being ginger root extract which has so many great benefits with digestive health being the main one. (11)
There’s much more than just a multivitamin here…
Price: $32 for 45 servings
5. Vita Jym Supplement Science Multivitamin
Vita Jym is like your average top quality multivitamin except that it has 20,833% of the recommended daily B12 supply.
Everything else about this product makes it an ideal option for someone who trains hard. There’s a focus on Vitamin K which is nice!
Price: $25 for 30 servings
6. MuscleTech Platinum Multivitamin
MuscleTech is a preferred choice for bodybuilders and people who train hard6 in the gym!
This multivitamin is packed with 18 vitamins and minerals, 865mg of amino support (Amino acids), and an herbal complex including green tea extract, green coffee bean, and turmeric which has anti-inflammatory properties.
If you want high-potency ingredients then look no further.
Price: $10 for 30 servings
7. RSP Biovite Advanced Multi-Vitamin
A complete vitamin and mineral supplement, RSP included a “reds” and “greens” blend which consists of healthy fruits and vegetables. The added blends support hydration, energy, and they have antioxidant properties from the whole food sources.
Price: $15 for 30 servings
8. GAT Sport Men’s Multi+Test
GAT makes hardcore supplements. And the Multivitamin plus testosterone support is ideal for the active man…
It has everything a nice spectrum of vitamins and minerals, in addition to Tribulus Terrestris (TT) which may help raise testosterone slightly in those with low test levels. (12)
However, the evidence is scant regarding TT resulting in any significant changes in body composition and strength.
Price: $39 for 75 servings
9. Swolverine Krill Oil Omega 3 + Astaxanthin
This Krill Oil product from Swolverine isn’t actually a multivitamin supplement. However, it does have essential Omega 3s from krill, fish oils, and Asthaxanthin.
Krill oil shows promise for delivering Omega 3s to users who cannot do Omega 3 supplementation. The benefits may even be equal in comparison. (13)
Each serving has 500mg of krill oil, 100mg of phospholipids, EPA (Eicosapentaenoic) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic) fats. Omega 3s are not made by the body so they should be consumed through foods and/or supplementation.
Omega-3s are an essential component of cell membranes and the function of cell receptor function. They’re also essential for heart health, lowering triglycerides, and reducing inflammation. (14)
Astaxanthin is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant which has benefits for skin health. (15)
Price: $30 for 60 servings
10. Now Foods Adam Superior Men’s Multi
Now Foods is a popular health brand because they produce nothing but quality.
Each serving has more than enough vitamins and minerals with 10,000 IU of beta-carotene (Converts to Vitamin A), plus Saw Palmetto (Prostate support), the antioxidant Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), and CoQ10 which is also an antioxidant, that’s beneficial for heart health. (16, 17, 18)
Adam’s Superior is an incredibly high-quality multivitamin which supplies all of the essentials.
Price: $25 for 120 servings
Multivitamins are effective in replenishing lost nutrients after intense training sessions. But, they also make a good daily supplement for maintaining good health.
And of course, different products will vary in what they offer, although not significant. A good multi won’t skimp on quality and these products are a good example of that.
Now, don’t expect huge results with any nutritional supplements as they’re only an aid. A proper diet is a must and cannot be replaced.
So, choose a multivitamin which will suit your needs and budget, as there are several options you
cannot go wrong with!
1- “Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin A”. ods.od.nih.gov.
2- “Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin C”. ods.od.nih.gov.
3- “Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin D”. ods.od.nih.gov.
4- Boston, 677 Huntington Avenue; Ma 02115 +1495‑1000 (September 18, 2012). “Vitamin E”. The Nutrition Source.
5- “Vitamin E and Skin Health”. Linus Pauling Institute. November 7, 2016.
6- “Vitamin B-6”. Mayo Clinic.
7- Skerrett, Patrick J. (January 10, 2013). “Vitamin B12 deficiency can be sneaky, harmful”. Harvard Health Blog.
8- “Vitamin K”. medlineplus.gov.
10- “Ginkgo”. Mayo Clinic.
12- “Tribulus: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning”. www.webmd.com.
16- PubChem. “beta-Carotene”. pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
17- “Alpha Lipoic Acid – Health Encyclopedia – University of Rochester Medical Center”. www.urmc.rochester.edu.
18- “Conenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): Should You Take Supplements?”. WebMD.
Let’s say you’re looking to lose a little fat and pack on some muscle. You’ve already got a healthy diet, a steady cardio routine, and some reliable weight-training workouts, so you head down to the nutrition store to pick up some new supplements—only to be stopped in your tracks by aisles and aisles of unpronounceable tubs filled with who knows what. How’s a guy supposed to know where to start?
Don’t sweat it: Here are six research-backed supplements you should strongly consider on your quest to reach peak levels of health and fitness.
1. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Do you find yourself experiencing post-workout muscle soreness and fatigue, but not seeing the fat-loss results you expect? If so, consider taking BCAAs. People who took BCAAs before and after exercise had a significant reduction in muscle soreness, according to a University of Birmingham study. Furthermore, a Brazilian study discovered BCAA supplementation helped reduce fatigue and burn more fat in glycogen-depleted participants.
Want to build strength and lean muscle mass? Try creatine. When lifters supplement with creatine, their levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 can increase by more than 20%, which produces anabolic effects like increased muscle mass, according to an eight-week Canadian study. Just be sure not to take excessive amounts, as various side effects have been reported. Three grams per day is a safe amount of creatine, according to the European Food Safety Authority.
3. Protein Bars and Powders
Ask any expert and they’ll tell you the importance of consuming protein before and after workouts to stimulate muscle growth. Unfortunately, few guys can schedule meals around workouts—and that’s where protein supplements, like powders and nutrition bars, come in handy. Need to eat and run? Forget the unhealthy, greasy fast food and grab a nutrition bar that’s high in quality protein, and essential fats and carbs. Have a little more time on your hands? Mix yourself a protein shake.
4. Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Think all fat is bad? Think again. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) has omega fatty acids, also known as “good fat.” CLA could help you lose fat and help preserve your muscle tissue, according to research published in the Journal of Nutrition. In the study, 71 participants who consumed CLA lost an average of six pounds; CLAs make you more inclined to gain muscle, not fat. Be sure to get omega fatty acids through your diet or supplements.
Is all that training making you feel run-down or even sick? If so, glutamine could help reduce inflammation and the risk of infection, according to research from the University of Trieste in Italy. Glutamine might also help stimulate muscle growth by regulating glycogen within your body, thereby boosting performance and muscle growth, according to research conducted at the University of Dundee in Scotland.
Can you hear your body talk? Presumably not—but if you could, it would probably tell you that working out takes a lot out of you, including the loss of vitamins that you need to sustain your health. Unfortunately, research indicates that many who train hard while desperately trying to maintain a specific body weight are often vitamin-deficient. Multivitamins should help remedy that loss. Start your day off with this supplement and be sure to take only the recommended amount.
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The Absolute Best Way to Improve Your Muscle Definition
If you’re like most people, you don’t just want “big muscles”–you want defined muscles.
For example, if you’re a guy, whose physique would you rather have?
In other words, would you rather be big and “fluffy,” or smaller but ripped?
And if you’re a gal, what’s most appealing to you?
Skin and bones or lean and toned?
Well, if you chose the second option, then you’re in the right place, because in this article, I’m going to teach you the simple science of not just gaining muscle, but gaining muscle definition.
We’re going to cut through the myths and lies, too.
“Clean eating” isn’t the key, and neither is exercise choice, rep ranges, or supplementation. Genetics aren’t the answer, either (fortunately!).
You may not have the genetics to look exactly like your favorite Instagram model, but you don’t need singular genes to be a shining example of muscle definition.
You have the same types of physiological hardware as the rest of us, and your body (and muscles) will respond fantastically if given the proper stimuli.
So, if you’re ready to learn what muscle definition is, and what doesn’t increase muscle definition and what does, then keep reading.
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What Is Muscle Definition?
Let’s start with cutting straight to the bone, shall we?
Muscle definition is the combination of developed muscles with a low(ish) body fat percentage.
As you gain muscle and lose fat, your muscle definition increases.
Simply having a lot of muscle isn’t enough. For example, this guy has a lot of muscle:
But because his body fat percentage is somewhere north of 15%, he doesn’t have much in the way of muscle definition.
And this guy has much less body fat:
But not enough muscle to complete the look.
On the flip side, many guys chasing muscle definition have aspired to Brad Pitt’s iconic Fight Club look:
Well, for the average guy to get there, he would need to gain about 15 pounds of muscle in the right places (upper body, mainly) and reduce his total body fat to very low levels (7 to 8%).
And for those that want Pitt’s Troy physique…
…more muscle is needed, closer to 25 pounds more than the average dude, with more or less the same low body fat percentage.
Now, this isn’t exactly a revelation to most guys, and doesn’t discourage us.
We got into weightlifting to get bigger and leaner and we just want to know how to do that most efficiently.
Many women, on the other hand, are skeptical or downright incredulous of advice to gain muscle because they’ve been told that it’ll just make them “bulky,” not “defined.”
This is completely false.
Gaining muscle doesn’t make you bulky. Having too much body fat does.
Ironically, women have to do more or less the same thing as men to have the athletic physique that they really want, with curves and lines in the right places.
They have to gain a significant amount of muscle and maintain a relatively low body fat percentage.
Specifically, most women need to gain about 10 to 15 pounds of muscle and get to around 20% body fat to have the whole package: shapely legs, curvy butt, tight arms, and flat stomach.
That’s how you look like this:
Take that same woman and add 15 pounds of fat to her frame, however, and you might be surprised how “blocky” she would look.
You see, fat accumulates inside and on top of muscles, and the more you have of both, the larger and more amorphous your body looks.
Your legs turn into logs. Your butt gets too big for your britches. Your arms fill up like sausages.
Bring that body fat back down, however, and the muscle you’ve built shines. Instead of looking flabby and malnourished, you look lean and toned. Your butt is round and perky. Your legs have sleek curves. Your arms look defined.
So, that’s what muscle definition is.
The next question is how to actually achieve it?
Well, before we talk about that, let’s dispel some of the biggest muscle definition myths.
The 5 Biggest Muscle Definition Myths
If you’re struggling to improve your muscle definition, you’ve probably bought into one or more of these myths.
I made all these mistakes myself (and many more), and didn’t straighten it all out until I had successfully wasted years in the gym, spinning my wheels.
C’est la vie. 😉
Anyhow, let’s take a look at the five biggest reasons most people fail to move the muscle definition needle…
Muscle Definition Myth #1
You Must “Eat Clean” to Look Lean
How many times have you heard that you have to “clean up” your diet to “tone up” your body?
Fitness magazines have been dinning this into our heads for decades now, and it’s one of the first (and only) things a personal trainer will tell you about dieting.
Well, it’s simply not true.
When it comes to body composition, how much you eat is far more important than what.
Yes, the nutritional value of your diet matters, but as far as gaining muscle and losing fat goes, calories and “macros” are king, not the individual foods that you eat.
The primary mechanism in play here is energy balance, which is the relationship between the amount of energy that you consume versus burn, and which ultimately dictates whether you gain, lose, or maintain weight.
This is why losing fat requires eating fewer calories (energy) than you burn, regardless of the foods that you get those calories from.
In that sense, a calorie is very much a calorie.
Your goal shouldn’t be to merely lose or gain weight, though. It should be to lose fat and not muscle, and to gain muscle and not fat.
And when those are the goals, you have to go beyond mere calories in vs. calories out.
You need to factor in where those calories are coming from in terms of protein, carbohydrate, and fat, which are also known as “macronutrients,” because your body requires them in large amounts to remain alive.
So, know this:
The idea that the “cleanliness” of a food determines whether you gain or lose fat is nonsense.
It could be said that certain foods are more conducive to fat gain due to high caloric density and palatability, which encourages overeating, but that’s a far cry from the prevailing belief that one food “makes you fat” whereas another “makes you lean.”
The same fundamentals apply to gaining muscle, by the way.
To gain muscle efficiently, you must eat enough calories (slightly more than you’re burning), and make sure that your macronutrients are properly balanced (high protein and carb is the key).
(If you want to learn more about this, check out this article on “clean bulking.”)
Muscle Definition Myth #2
You Must Do High-Rep Training
You’ve probably heard this one a lot, too.
You know, to get defined, you need get huge pumps and really “feel the burn” to “bring out the cuts” in your muscles.
Dropping the weights and increasing the reps doesn’t do anything more than increase workout volume.
It doesn’t automagically result in more muscle separation, density, or vascularity.
In fact, if you’re like most people, you need to do the exact opposite of this myth to maximally improve your muscle definition.
In other words, you need to focus more on heavy weightlifting for fewer reps.
The reason for this is simple:
- To increase your overall muscle definition, you need to, first and foremost, gain more muscle.
- The best way to gain muscle is progressive overload, or increasing tension in the muscle over time.
- The easiest way to progressively overload your muscles, and especially if you’re new to weightlifting, is to train with heavy weights.
Furthermore, you want to make sure that you don’t lose muscle while cutting fat, and heavy weightlifting is the best way to do that.
This is why I preach the importance of increasing whole-body strength, and why I recommend that you make sure that your training programs more or less always include various types of heavy compound weightlifting.
Muscle Definition Myth #3
You Must Use Cables and Machines
This is a natural extension of the last myth.
It’s a really bad idea to do “burnout” sets on exercises like the squat, overhead press, and deadlift, so if you’re going to chase the pump, then you’re probably going to turn to cables and machines.
Well, machines and isolation exercises can have a place in your training, but for stimulating muscle growth, they play second fiddle to free weight exercises, and to compound exercises in particular.
(Compound exercises involve several major muscle groups. For instance, the squat engages your quads, glutes, hamstrings, core, , and even your calves.)
So, this brings us back to the takeaway in the last myth:
Most people need more muscle to have more muscle definition, and grinding away on cables and machines simply aren’t the best way to get there.
Instead, focus on the harder stuff–the big, barbell movements that involve your entire body, as opposed to the “fun” stuff that pumps up your biceps and chest.
Muscle Definition Myth #4
You Must Eat a Low-Carb Diet
Low-carb diets are all the rage these days.
If we just cut the carbs, we’re told, the heavens will part and bless us with the body that we’ve always dreamed of.
Too bad it doesn’t work like that. And especially not for us fitness folk.
Ironically, low-carb dieting will not only fail to help you improve your muscle definition, it’ll actually make it harder.
You don’t lose fat faster on a low-carb diet.
Study after study after study have shown that so long as protein intake is high, people on low-carb diets don’t lose fat any faster than those on high-carb diets.
In other words, so long as you eat the right amount of calories and protein, how many carbs you eat has no effect on how much fat you lose or how quickly you lose it.
You gain less muscle on a low-carb diet.
When you cut your carbs, you reduce the amount of glycogen stored in the muscles, which is an important source of fuel for your workouts.
This, in turn, reduces both your muscle endurance and strength, which results in lower quality workouts and slower progression in your training.
Naturally, this means slower muscle growth.
Moreover, research shows that low intramuscular glycogen levels impairs post-workout signalling that contributes to muscle growth.
In other words, low-carb dieting causes your muscles to respond less anabolically to your workouts, making them less effective for muscle building.
As if all that weren’t all enough, low carb dieting also raises cortisol levels and reduces testosterone levels.
As cortisol is a powerful catabolic hormone and testosterone is the primary hormonal driver of muscle growth, the downsides here are clear.
Muscle Definition Myth #5
You Must Do Lots of Cardio
You’re going to love me for this one.
You don’t have to grind your joints into dust with cardio to get lean.
In fact, you can lose gobs of fat doing absolutely no cardio if you’re so inclined because, as you now know, energy balance is what drives fat loss, not food or exercise choices.
That said, cardio can help you lose fat faster because, surprise surprise, it burns energy. Research shows that it can also help you control your appetite, making it easier to stick to your diet.
The key, though, is not doing too much cardio.
Going overboard with it can cause you to lose sizable amounts of muscle along with the fat, bringing you ever closer to the “skinny fat” look that so many people dread.
Instead, you should focus the majority of your fat loss efforts on resistance training, which will not only burn calories (and thus fat), but preserve, if not build, muscle as well.
Think of cardio as optional and supplementary.
Personally, I prefer high-intensity interval training (HIIT) when cutting, and I do no more than 1 to 2 hours per week.
How to Increase Muscle Definition
As we’ve already discussed, the name of the game in increasing muscle definition is adding muscle and dropping fat.
If you’re like most guys, you’re going to need to add 15 to 25 pounds of muscle to your frame and get to or below 10% body fat to get the look that you really want.
And if you’re a woman, you’re probably going to need to gain 10 to 15 pounds of muscle and sit around 20% body fat to have that Instagram-worthy “bikini body.”
The question, then, is how to best get there, and specifically, what to do first: gain muscle or lose fat?
Well, if you don’t have at least a year of proper strength training under your belt, you should be able to build muscle and lose fat at the same time.
You don’t have to do anything special, either. You simply set up your diet to cut fat, train hard, make sure you’re recovering, and let your body do the rest.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced weightlifter, though, you’re going to have to choose one or the other: cut fat or gain size.
And if you’re a guy over 15% body fat or a gal over 25%, then you want to focus on cutting fat first.
(If you’re not sure what your body fat percentage is, check out this article.)
I explain why in detail here, but the long story short is your body’s muscle building machinery just works best when you’re lean, and keeping your body fat levels generally lower makes it easier to manage your body composition over the long term.
Once you’ve cut your body fat levels to the 10 to 12% (men)/20 to 22% (women) range, then you want to focus on gaining muscle.
This is also where you want to start if you’re already at those body fat levels. You should get right into maximizing muscle gain.
I have good news, too.
That doesn’t mean you have to gorge yourself or drink a gallon of milk every day and pile on the body fat.
In fact, this is exactly what you don’t want to do when you’re “bulking.”
Instead, you want to see a slow and steady gain of both fat and muscle and strength over the course of several months.
I break it all down here, so if you’re not sure how to “lean bulk,” definitely give it a read.
What About Supplements?
I saved this for last because, quite frankly, supplements are far less important than proper diet and training.
Unfortunately, no amount of weight loss pills and powders are going to give you the body you want.
In fact, most fat loss supplements are completely worthless.
But, here’s the good news:
If you know how to drive fat loss and muscle gain with proper eating and exercise, like we’ve just covered in this article, then certain supplements can help speed up the process.
Based on my personal experience training for over 10 years, and working with thousands of people, I’m comfortable saying that a proper weight loss supplementation routine can increase fat loss by about 30 to 50%.
In other words, if you can lose 1 pound of fat per week through training and diet (which you can), you can lose 1.3 to 1.5 pounds of fat per week by adding the right supplements.
So, let’s quickly review the supplements that are going to help you get the muscle definition that you want faster.
Creatine is a substance found naturally in the body and in foods like red meat.
It’s perhaps the most researched molecule in the world of sport supplements–the subject of hundreds of studies–and the consensus is very clear.
Supplementation with creatine helps you…
- Build muscle and improve strength
- Improve anaerobic endurance
- Reduce muscle damage and soreness
If you workout, you should take creatine, and you’ll find it in my post-workout supplements RECHARGE, which helps you gain muscle and strength faster and recover better from your workouts.
RECHARGE is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored and each serving contains:
- 5 grams of creatine monohydrate
- 2100 milligrams of L-carnitine L-tartrate
- 10.8 milligrams of corosolic acid
This gives you the proven strength, size, and recovery benefits of creatine monohydrate plus the muscle repair and insulin sensitivity benefits of L-carnitine L-tartrate and corosolic acid.
You don’t need protein supplements to gain muscle, but, considering how much protein you need to eat every day to maximize muscle growth, getting all your protein from whole food can be impractical.
That’s the main reason I created (and use) a whey protein supplement.
(There’s also evidence that whey protein is particularly good for your post-workout nutrition.)
WHEY+ is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored whey isolate that is made from milk sourced from small dairy farms in Ireland, which are known for their exceptionally high-quality dairy.
I can confidently say that this is the creamiest, tastiest, healthiest all-natural whey protein powder you can find.
The reality is most “fat burners” are junk, but there are a handful of natural, safe substances that have been scientifically proven to accelerate fat loss.
And that’s why I created PHOENIX.
PHOENIX is a fat burner that I developed that contains seven natural compounds proven help you lose fat faster, including synephrine, green tea extract, and forskolin.
The bottom line is if you want to lose fat faster without taking a bunch of stimulants or harsh chemicals, then you want to try PHOENIX.
There’s no question that a pre-workout supplement can get you fired up to get to work in the gym.
There are downsides and potential risks, however.
Many are stuffed full of ineffective ingredients and/or minuscule dosages of otherwise good ingredients, making them little more than a few cheap stimulants with some “pixie dust” sprinkled in to make for a pretty label and convincing ad copy.
Many others don’t even have the stimulants going for them and are just complete duds.
Others still are downright dangerous, like USPLabs’ popular pre-workout “Jack3d,”which contained a powerful (and now banned) stimulant known as DMAA.
Even worse was the popular pre-workout supplement “Craze,” which contained a chemical similar to methamphetamine.
The reality is it’s very hard to find a pre-workout supplement that’s light on stimulants but heavy on natural, safe, performance-enhancing ingredients like beta-alanine, betaine, and citrulline.
And that’s why I made my own pre-workout supplement.
It’s called PULSE and it increases energy, improves mood, sharpens mental focus, increases strength and endurance, and reduces fatigue…without the unwanted side effects or crash.
It accomplishes this by providing you with 6 of the best performance-enhancing ingredients available:
- Caffeine. Caffeine is good for more than the energy boost. It also increases muscle endurance and strength.
- Beta-Alanine. Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that reduces exercise-induced fatigue, improves anaerobic exercise capacity, and can accelerate muscle growth.
- Citrulline Malate. Citrulline is an amino acid that improves muscle endurance, relieves muscle soreness, and improves aerobic performance.
- Betaine. Betaine is a compound found in plants like beets that improves muscle endurance, increases strength, and increases human growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 production in response to acute exercise.
- Ornithine. Ornithine is an amino acid found in high amounts in dairy and meat that reduces fatigue in prolonged exercise and promotes lipid oxidation (the burning of fat for energy as opposed to carbohydrate or glycogen).
- Theanine. Theanine is an amino acid found primarily in tea that reduces the effects of mental and physical stress, increases the production of nitric oxide, which improves blood flow, and improves alertness, focus, attention, memory, mental task performance, and mood.
And what you won’t find in PULSE is equally special:
- No artificial sweeteners or flavors..
- No artificial food dyes.
- No unnecessary fillers, carbohydrate powders, or junk ingredients.
So, if you want to feel focused, tireless, and powerful in your workouts…and if you want to say goodbye to the pre-workout jitters, upset stomachs, and crashes for good…then you want to try PULSE.
The Bottom Line on Increasing Muscle Definition
Increasing muscle definition is pretty simple, really.
If you want more defined muscles, then you need one of two things or both:
- More muscle.
- Less body fat.
If you already have an above-average amount of muscle, then you probably just need lower body fat levels (~10% for men and ~20% for women).
If you don’t, then you’re going to need to get the muscle needed (15 to 25 pounds for most guys starting from scratch, and 10 to 15 pounds for most gals) and then settle your body fat into the right range.
That’s all there is to it. Happy training. 🙂
Exercise is important if you’re trying to be stronger, or you know, just maintain a healthy lifestyle. What you do at the gym is crucial for getting toned and fit, but what you do in the kitchen also counts. Beyond just eating healthy and not eating too much (aka the ways you’ve learned how you should eat since your mother was making you all eat your broccoli at the dinner table), there are certain tricks and tips to getting more muscle tone and strength just from what (and how) we eat.
Certain foods can either hinder building muscle (and ruin all the hard work you did at your 8am spin class), or bring blood flow to the muscles, which increases their efficiency and helps them repair faster (so that 8am spin class just got a lot more productive). Read on for tips on how to eat to promote toned muscles and lose unnecessary body fat through your diet.
Source: Chelsea’s Messy Apron
Base your diet around foods that help to scorch unnecessary fat and tone your muscles
Introducing certain nutrient-rich foods to your diet can help your muscles grow more defined and shed pounds in stubborn problem areas like belly fat. Millet and quinoa have a high magnesium content that enhances blood flow to your muscles and gives your body longer lasting energy (so you can do an extra rep or two). Seeds like hemp and chia have the ideal combination of omega-3s and fiber, which work together to strengthen muscles, and produce like bananas, beets, mushrooms, and avocados are superfoods in strengthening muscles and toning the body. For more foods, click here.
A muscle-toning diet doesn’t mean you can stop exercising altogether (since exercise is crucial for your wellbeing), but you can be rest assured that if you skip a leg day because you’re feeling too tired to make it to the gym, you can snack on some quinoa instead, knowing you’re still getting toned.
Avoid the foods that store fat
Our bodies digest by delivering the nutrients from the food to our entire body, in order to do everything from sustaining our energy to helping our hair grow. But when foods don’t have beneficial nutrients, they’re not digested properly and end up being stored in our body as fat. It’s no secret that fried foods, processed snacks, or refined sugar have no nutritional value, so these foods are the first to pack on extra, and unhealthy, fat.
Diet sodas are also loaded with chemicals that tell your body to store the fat, especially around the midsection. Statistically, diet soda drinkers have a higher percentage of belly flab than non-drinkers (according to a study done in the Obesity journal). So next time you find yourself reaching for a can of Diet Coke, pick up a sparkling water or iced tea instead.
Know the foods that irritate your digestive system
If you often feel bloated, uncomfortable, or have stomach pain, it might be worth it to check out a low FODMAP diet. FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates that aren’t easily absorbed in the small intestine and can be found in foods like onions, garlic, broccoli, and cherries. Some people have more tolerance to FODMAPs than others, but it is one of the most common reasons for undiagnosed stomach pain, indigestion, and even IBS.
But no digestive system is like any other. Our bodies respond differently to certain foods, so while dairy or gluten may be fine for most people, it might be what’s causing excess gas and bloating in your body. Keep a journal for a few weeks to track what you’re eating and how you feel after each meal. Try to identify the foods that are making you feel sluggish, uncomfortable, or cause irregularities in bowel movements. Eliminating the foods that are specifically bad for your body, or at least reducing them, might make the biggest difference in how your body looks and feels.
When you eat is almost just as important as what you eat.
I love a late night pizza delivery just as much as the next girl, but our bodies, unfortunately, do not love it as much. Whatever we eat late at night, healthy or not, is realistically unnecessary because our body does not need any more energy. On top of that, our digestive systems are not entirely up to par when we’re asleep, because our digestive systems (and muscles) have to reset and repair for the next day. Experts recommend to avoid eating anytime after two hours before bedtime. However, deprivation is never a good idea, late night or not, so if you’re feeling too hungry to sleep, reach for a small bowl of high fiber cereal or oatmeal, which contains the good complex carbs that your body releases slowly, and can be found to even aid in sleep quality.
Not eating breakfast might seem like a way to save calories, but not having a high-protein breakfast every day weakens muscles and causes crashes in energy, as well as more cravings throughout the day. Make sure to eat within one hour of waking up to fire up your digestive system, and you’ll have enough energy throughout the day that you won’t even have to question whether or not to go for a run after work, and your muscles will be efficiently working throughout the day. Say hello to a stronger and more toned you (no gym necessary).