Fitness nutrition is simply how to use food (and sometimes supplements) to build muscle and improve sustained energy and stamina. It is important to supply your muscles with the appropriate fuel at the appropriate time to provide them with the proper signals and building blocks to build new muscle tissue.
Three Primary Factors Involved In Effective Fitness Nutrition
- A high-protein, low carbohydrate diet. High protein, low carb diets have been repeatedly shown to be the MOST effective both for muscle building and weight loss. Be careful here as you don’t want to excessively eat protein. You should be consuming plenty of complex carbohydrates (in the form of fruits and vegetables) and healthy fats to The paleo/primal diet is a great guideline.
- A diet high in certain amino acids, especially LEUCINE. Leucine is part of branched-chain amino acid that signals the body to increase protein synthesis and builds your muscle. The best way to obtain leucine is through FOOD. The highest concentrations are found in dairy products particularly good raw cheese and grass fed whey protein. Whey derived from raw milk cheese manufacturing is the highest quality whey you can find today. Whey protein is the perfect “fitness food” as it contains not only high quality protein but also extremely high amounts of leucine. Beware of whey protein isolate as its overly processed and can do more damage than good.
- Timing is everything. You should consume your whey protein drink or high protein meal at least 30 minutes before your workout to help increase both fat burning and muscle building. After your workout there is around a two hour window that allows your body to fully use the proteins you ingest for optimizing muscle repair and growth.
Another “super nutrient” that can be extremely beneficial to athletes is ASTAXANTHIN. Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant that has been shown to help improve muscle endurance, workout performance and recovery, and reduce inflammation from workout injuries. Proteins that are high in astaxanthin include sockeye salmon, red trout, red seabream, lobster, shrimp, crawfish, crabs, and salmon roe. You can also take this in a vitamin supplement.
Supplements (don’t solely depend on them) can be beneficial but REAL food is the best source for effective fitness nutrition!