7 Strange Lean Muscle Building Nutrition Tricks

What’s more important when it comes to building muscle, weight training or nutrition?

Big, important question with a very simple answer.

While they both go hand in hand, and both are very necessary to have a grasp on, nutrition takes the cake. If we don’t have a solid grasp on nutrition, we’re not going to see the gains we want to see; especially for us ectomorphs (skinny guys).

Muscle Building Nurition

Before I had my muscle building nutrition figured out!

In high school I ate like it was going out of style. For breakfast: 6+ eggs with toast and peanut butter. Lunch, up to 7 sandwiches, and I don’t think I ever said no to seconds at dinner. Yet, I was still a toothpick. I ate this way through college, but still, a toothpick I remained.

This fact made me ask the question: is eating to gain muscle a simple matter of calories in and calories out?

I thought the more I ate the more I’d gain. And yes, it’s true, you eat more calories than you burn, you’re going to gain. But what are you going to gain?

I’m not concerned with gaining mass. I don’t want you to gain pure mass and then have to shed the unwanted fat – which often proves more difficult than the initial gain. No, I’m concerned with building lean muscle mass.

Is it possible to gain muscle but lose fat at the same time? Of course. The simple fact that we’re gaining muscle mass means we’re boosting our metabolism. But there are tricks that can help us achieve lean gains even further.

There are times to eat certain foods that help us on a hormonal level – in turn, helping us build muscle while burning fat, and recovering faster. This article will give you 7 strange muscle building nutrition tips. Implement them into your routine right away. If you have any questions, please as in the comments section.

1. Get right hormonally.

If you want to build muscle mass you need to get right hormonally. What I mean by this is you need to limit your cortisol levels, and dramatically increase your Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and Testosterone (test) levels. Both help us build muscle, and both help us recover.

Also, both can be manipulated with certain nutrition tricks.

If you want to increase your testosterone levels read this: Naturally Raise Testosterone Levels

For HGH levels, read on…

2. Eat more protein (for reasons other than you may think).

Duh. Protein helps us repair muscle. But protein also requires 25-30% of the energy it provides just for digestion, absorption, and assimilation. Carbs only require 6-8%. Fat requires 2-3%. This means that protein is thermogenic, leading to a higher metabolism.

Thus, by eating more protein we’re not only repairing muscle tissue, but we’re also burning more fat.

The best sources of protein: Iso Smooth, Meats (of all kinds), fish, eggs. If you have access to wild game, even better. But we’ll leave this intriguing topic for another article soon to come.

3. Have a shake within 15 minutes of your workout.

I can’t harp on this subject enough, the post workout shake is probably the most important meal we can have in our day. Other than, possibly, our pre workout supplementation (#5).

Without this shake we run the risk of wasting a workout from a muscle building standpoint. Training on an empty stomach (pre and post) can be great for fat loss. Training on an empty stomach can even be great for muscle gains (release of GH). But ending a workout without a post workout shake can be disastrous.

The two things you need in a post workout shake:

ISO SMOOTH PROTEIN: Ideally you want a 3-stage release in your protein, which is what Iso Smooth offers. There are others out there that offer the Isolate, Whey, and Casein release. Just check the ingredients on the back of the tub.

Carbs: keep it simple, have a waxxy maze blend, or fruit. Both end up being the same price, so if you can find a wxaxy maze blend, grab it. It’s filled with starches that will rush the protein to your muscles a lot faster than fruits or other carbohydrates.

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Check out this video: 3 Muscle Building Nutrition Mistakes

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After I was able to get my muscle building nutrition figured out (LOT'S of trial & error!).

4. Consume nothing during a workout.

I’m learning more and more everyday. Where I used to think we need to go carb-heavy before a workout, I now know the opposite is true (as much due to research as trial and error). That’s the thing about research, it rarely tells the full story. For example, while having carbs during  workout is a great way to replenish your muscle glycogen, the ensuing insulin spike inhibits growth hormone production.

Hormone’s are of the utmost importance with regards to muscle building and fat loss. Lesson: leave sugars out of your during workout training.

5. Have a crap load of BCAAs before a workout.

BCAAs have immense benefits for guys trying to gain lean muscle mass. For one, they require no energy to digest (which helps us maintain growth hormone levels). They are also very anti-catabolic and increase blood sugar while we train – both important factors in creating ‘the perfect muscle building environment’ in our bodies.

If you’re trying to gain lean muscle mass and can only afford one supplement, BCAAs are the best way to go. Also, if you’re sensitive to dairy, you can toss out your whey protein and just use BCAAs (unless you have lactose free protein powder).

The Best BCAAs <——-

6. Focus on energy levels first.

Energy levels are very important with our training. As are hormones. By going carb-heavy before a workout, we can experience an ensuing crash in energy levels during our workout. We’re also going to lower our growth hormone levels like I explained in #4. To find the perfect balance, we need meats, nuts, and veggies before our workouts. This will help us create rising energy levels, not declining one’s.

For a complete guide of what to eat, and what not to eat before a workout, read this:

Pre Workout Nutrition

7. Would a caveman eat it?

Muscle Rule: If it doesn’t fly, swim, or walk or it isn’t green, don’t eat it. It’s a pretty basic way of thinking, but if you’re ever wondering if you should eat this or that, ask yourself, “would a caveman eat it?”

If it’s processed or created by man, then stay away from it. Meats, fish, fruits, veggies, and nuts are all great for us to eat. They either help us recover and stay healthy, help us burn fat, help us repair muscle tissue, or in the case of meats and nuts, they also help us boost testosterone levels.

It’s a simple rule, but a must for anyone starting out with their quest on ‘learning how to eat’.

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If you in any way benefitted from this article, and want to learn more about muscle building nutrition, you need to check out this awesome video: 3 Muscle Building Nutrition Mistakes

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  • Jim

    Hey Chad, under your third tip you said that training on an empty stomach can be good for muscle gains? Would this be like skipping your pre-workout meal, because I would think you wouldn't have the energy if you're trying to lift withought any fuel?

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      I'm going to change this one in the article. I've done it, but I was on a schedule and my energy levels really weren't effected at all (especially with the help of a cup of coffee pre workout). The GH raised levels benefit is what I was highlighting. But with BCAAs + a no carb pre workout meal, you'll still see the same benefits.

  • http://www.fastermusclegain.com James Vee

    I like the extra info on protein. I am trying to reduce the amount of red meat in my diet. I am going down the more fish route. Wild game though? Man, I wish I could but I couldn't dig the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. I am too much of a city boy!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      haha, oh well, fish is one of the best things we can have in our diets. We should all be eating more of it!

  • Ryan

    Hey Chad, I was wondering what is your stance is regarding protein mixes since most would contradict the idea of not consuming manufactured or processed goods?

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      You're talking about powder's correct? I like them for the simple fact that they're a high quality source of protein that can be consumed in an instant. I only have a shake after a workout. Other than my post workout shake, my diet consists of whole unprocessed foods (within reason). I'm not an incredibly strict eater. I enjoy beer, pasta, and cheat meals on occasion, but for the most part, it's unprocessed, dairy less foods that make up my diet.

  • Frank Sparticus

    Just a note, fruit for post-workout carbs is not a good idea. It will go straight to the liver as it is all fructose, the sugar to avoid. Try dextrose.

  • David Webb

    Chad-is organic whole milk okay to have with dinner composed of a P&F meal? For the post workout French toast, is Ezekiel 4:9 bread either cinnimon raisin or original.? Can I do agave or honey or is maple syrup the best? I am do IF so that post workout meal will be my first meal of the day around 1pm.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Yes, yes, and yes.

  • gurprataap

    Chad..iam a 120 pound 5’8 trying to gain lean muscle mass
    although i eat a weigh gainer ultimate nutrition 2600 i think it has BCAA’s..
    So what do i need a weight gainer which has whey casein n a lil bit of BCAA’s..
    Or Bcaa specific stuff…
    Nd what shd b the carb protein ratio per pound

  • umberto

    Hi chad, what do you think about gluten?? is pasta bad?? is rice better? what are your favorite sources of carbs??

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Gluten is all good man. The percentage of people that actually have a reaction to gluten is so small its incredible. It’s trumped up because of marketing, nothing else. Go for taste and have it post workout – I like pasta but that’s what I grew up on.

  • umberto

    fantastic!
    Do you know something about the diet of daniel craig and hugh jackman in casino royale and wolverine??? is it similar to the man diet?? Because I’m really thinking about purchasing it… but I don’t know if that’s gonna make me any leaner (I’m 12percent body fat- visible six pack but not shredded to the bones). Thing is , I really like to eat and hate counting calories…..

    PS if you’re in florence, send me a mail, I’d be glad to meet u!!!!!!!!