Eat 5-6 Times Per Day
What did you just say? Eat 6 times per day? Yes, that's right!
Don't think that you are going to gain quality size eating 3 square meals per day. The only type of mass you will put on eating this way will be the fat type, and this is not our objective. There is
no way that you can reach your caloric or your macronutrient needs eating 3 meals per day. If by some magical reason you can eat them in 3 meals, than you will be so full and bloated, you won't be
able tie up your own shoes let alone pound out some heavy deadlifts.
Get rid of the mentality that powerlifters can optimize their
performance on three meals per day, it's scientifically impossible. Eating 5-6 times per day will also keep your blood sugar levels stabilized and your metabolism elevated. Eating several times per
day instead of the "Big 3" that most are used to, will provide your body with a constant supply of nutrients that you need to recover from your hard workouts. This will cause you to increase your
lean tissue, while reducing your body fat percentage. Our goal here is to put on lean muscle mass, not take our body fat level to new heights.
Water is very important for many reasons. Water is good for you believe it or not. It has many health and performance benefits.
It keeps your organs functioning properly, clears toxins, reduces excess sodium from your body, and it hydrates your muscle cells. It even liberates fat stores on your body so they are burned off as
an energy source. Dehydration will cause a major decrement in performance. Even a 2% state of dehydration will cause your performance to go out the window.
Just because most powerlifting events aren't out in the heat, it doesn't mean that proper hydration isn't important. Water
plays a major role in cell volumization. This is where nutrients are pulled inside of the muscle cell causing a multitude of reactions that leads to muscle growth. Water is very important in many
processes including digestion, transportation and the absorption of nutrients. So how much water should you drink on a daily basis? You should drink on average at least 1oz of water per kilogram of
This is a figure that can be increased depending on many factors
that affect your hydration level. This amount will start as your baseline from which you can build upon. A 220-pound (100kg) powerlifter would need to drink 100 ounces or slightly over 3 quarts of
water per day as his minimum daily water intake. There are also many benefits to drinking water. They include lowering your chances for high blood pressure and kidney stones. Both of these nice
little health problems can really cause havoc on your training. Try banging out some box squats when you're passing kidney stones the size of jawbreakers. It's not going to happen
Sleep is not considered a food group so why am I talking about it in my nutritional column you ask? The reason why
sleep is going to be discussed here is that it is essential in gaining lean mass. Your body repairs and recovers from your workout as you sleep. During this time, your muscles grow! Remember this, if
you aren't sleeping you aren't growing and getting stronger. Think back to a time when you couldn't get optimal sleep either during university exam time, or another time when sleep was of the
Think back how your strength level was, or how you were actually losing size. So how much sleep do you need
per day? You should be getting at least 8 full hours of sleep per day. If you can get a 1-2 hour nap per day on top of this it would be even better. Getting proper sleep is a must for muscle growth.
Without it, you can kiss gains in strength and size goodbye!
Consume Enough Protein
"I eat enough protein. I probably ate around 50 grams today." Now if this sounds like
you, we are in some serious trouble. That is unless you are a 60-pound child whose major energy expenditure for the day is playing with your Tonka Trucks. Ok, down to the serious stuff here. If you
don't eat optimal amounts of protein, you will never put on the muscle mass that you so much desire. You are also hindering your strength gains as well. If you are going up a weight class and you
aren't eating the proper amount of protein, guess what?
You will put on a nice extra layer of fat around your waist,
instead of gaining lean muscle tissue. When trying to put on size, you have to make sure you constantly supply your body with essential amino acids throughout the day. You should consume at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. I have some
of my athletes consume between 1.25-1.5 grams of protein per pound when trying to pack on size. If you just jack up your carbs and fat without supplying your body with the protein that it needs, you
will end up looking like "Mr. Marshmallow" instead of a strength athlete.
Click To Enlarge!
Amino acids are the building blocks that you will need to gain lean
muscle tissue and to ensure that going up a weight class will be muscle, not fat. Protein helps in the recovery of your muscles from the intense training you perform as a powerlifter. As you probably
already know, protein is the main nutrient responsible for increasing lean muscle tissue. You can work out all day long but if you don't eat the right amount of protein for your specific needs and
activity expenditure, than you will never reach your peak in strength, that's guaranteed!
Maximize Your Carbohydrate Intake
Carbohydrates…you got to love them. Yes we all know that they are
definitely the tastiest of all the macronutrients, but how do we incorporate them in putting on size. Make sure that when you are trying to gain solid weight, you consume plenty carbs. Now don't
think that there is only one way to do this. I have had great success with my clients using diets that include both carbs on a daily basis, and plan that restrict them for a certain number of days
and then are super compensate for a specific number of days. What you need to know is that there is more than one way to get the job done.
Now when trying to put on size with a nutritional plan where carbs
are going to be consumed on a daily basis, you should consume 1.5-3 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight per day. You must be thinking, how can I eat all that? This doesn't all have to come from
food, as there are many good glucose polymer drinks available that can help you fulfill your daily requirements. One glucose polymer drink can supply 100 grams of carbohydrates in as little as
12-16oz of water. I just made this a lot easier didn't I?
The majority of carbohydrates that you should consume when you are trying to go up a weight class should come from complex
carbohydrates. These include oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, potatoes, yams, brown rice, ancient grains including quinoa, amaranth, millet, and teff. I gave you an in depths look into these ancient
grains in the last issue of PL USA. What's nice about these grains is that they provide variety in your diet and are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates.
Let's not forget your fibrous carbs including your salads and
vegetables. These are very important and should be consumed with at least 3 of your daily meals. Fiber is very important in the digestion process and eliminating toxins from the body. If you are not
getting adequate amounts of fiber in your nutritional plan, it is now time to increase your daily intake. It's hard to pack on size if you have a severe case of constipation. You may laugh, but this
is one of the first things that happen to someone trying to gain weight. Many individuals increase their caloric and protein intake yet; they forget to do the same with their fiber and water.
Bump Up Your Fat Intake
If you read my article in the June Issue of Powerlifting USA
"Fatten Up Your Total", then you already know the importance of fat in the powerlifter's nutritional program. Fat is where it's at, especially if you are a strength athlete. I know you get as sick
and tired as I do of all those aerobiczers telling you that you should eat 10grams of fat per day. Your fat intake is definitely associated with how strong you will be. Now don't get the wrong idea
here. This doesn't mean put extra Mayo on your tuna sandwich, or a quart of gravy on your turkey breast.
does it mean to put some extra non-dairy creamer in your coffee, or load up on fatty cuts of bacon and sausage. Yes, you want to increase you saturated fat intake slightly when trying to pack on size
for your new weight class, but the majority should come from your polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Fats should consist of 30% of your total caloric intake. This is not written in stone, as I
have had my clients on programs that were higher and lower than the above. By the way, fat has 9 calories per gram, so this will help you out with your calculations.
Good sources of Omega 3
fats are salmon and other cuts of fatty fish. In the past, athletes
and bodybuilders avoided these fatty fish. Now, they realize the benefits of these fish fats and understand how beneficial they are not only for your health, but your performance. You can get some
good sources of monounsaturated fats from various nuts and avocados. With this all said and done, you now know that fat is a very important nutrient in your quest for strength and size. Without it
optimized in your plan, you are giving your competition more than a "Fat Chance" of beating you on the platform.