Everybody wants to get jacked, but nobody wants to put in the work. That’s the problem with fads and wild supplements. It’s all about how little you can do and still gets big. Well, unfortunately, there is no shortcut. Yeah, yeah, you’re probably tired of reading that statement. But it’s going to keep getting repeated until you slap on the chalk and start lifting. As we all know, abs are built in the kitchen. But how exactly? What are the mechanisms that make it all happen? Here’s a science-based breakdown of what’s going on and how you can apply that knowledge.
Easy Meal Planning
Post-workout meal is the most important meal of the day. Forget breakfast. Sure, it helps you stay anabolic, but there’s nothing inherently special about it unless it’s after a workout. It’s good to have a nutrient-dense meal packed with protein and carbs, the former being 1g per pound body weight. The problem is, this can get boring without a guide. Spend time researching food ideas for muscle recovery and energy replenishment. This is going to be a lot of lean meats and clean carbs. As much as possible, stick to home-cooked meals. Do you know why restaurant food tastes so much better than your meal planning? Added sugar and fat, that’s why. So find 3-5 simple recipes you like and stick to that for a week or two.
Water and Sleep
The two things you absolutely cannot ignore are sleep and water. Sleep and water are part of the maintenance of the human body. Water facilitates the diffusion and transport of a lot of these nutrients. It’s the way you get nutrients into the cells. Sleep? None of these anabolic processes happens when you’re awake. While you’re awake, your body is focusing on so many things. It’s got to keep your brain awake, it needs to get your body moving, it even needs to control your bowels. When you’re asleep, your body can go into maintenance mode. That’s what sleep is, after all. It’s like a system update while you’re out cold.
Protein and carbs. Those are the building blocks of skeletal muscle–what we refer to as “muscles”. When you take a piece of skeletal muscle and break it down to its very core, you get something called glycogen. Glycogen is a complex molecule made of protein with repeating links of carbs all around it. You take that and you pack it and wind it together and you get biceps. Glycogen is also stored in the liver. That’s your storage shed full of muscle. When we work out, we need glycogen to repair muscle. That glycogen comes from the liver. We then have to replace the glycogen in the liver. We do this with nutrient-dense foods.
When you want to recover from a hard workout, you have to keep food, sleep, and water in mind. Outside of the calories, the amount of protein, carbs, sleep, and water you get is crucial. Don’t kill your gains. Make sure you stick to the plan. Pretty soon, you’ll be bigger, stronger, and ripped.