Bodybuilding Without the Added Shakes

Protein shakes and supplements have a lot of benefits for bodybuilders; they are quick and easy to use and supply the type of protein necessary for a bodybuilder’s diet. This is why they are so popular and commonly used; particularly amongst those relatively new to the weight-lifting game. While shakes and supplements are for the most part safe and healthy when consumed properly, they do carry some added risks. Because protein shakes are a food supplement they are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the same way as pharmaceutical products. This means that manufacturers might not test supplements for toxins or might fail to disclose harmful ingredients in their products. Independent testing labs have previously found heavy metal contamination, including cadmium, lead and arsenic, in many protein shakes. So with this in mind, is it possible to get ripped without the shakes?

What Your Body Needs to Build Muscle

Protein shakes do not provide your body with anything that you cannot get from regular foods; they just give you a shortcut to getting it. By understanding which foods your body needs, and when and how often it needs them, you can tailor-make you own perfect bodybuilding diet. Sure this version requires more time and effort, but hey, you’re a weight-trainer, all you know is time and effort right? To build muscle and lose fat you need a variety of proteins, vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates, and healthy fats in your diet. There is of course still a key focus on protein.

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How dieting makes you fatter

An easily made mistake when dieting is thinking that all weight lost is fat. In truth diets usually cause a loss in fat, water AND muscle. After dieting and back onto normal eating some people are mystified as to why they pack on flab fast.

Why does this happen? Calories are burned by muscle. When you lose muscle your calorie needs become reduced. Metabolism is slowed. This means the amount of calories you used to have to eat to keep weight constant is now less. If you eat above this new, lower calorie threshold you gain fat.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Jim crash diets for a month and drops 8.5kg. He’s stoked. Of this weight loss 5kg is fat, 2.5kg is muscle, and 1kg is water. When at rest every kg of your muscle burns around 100 calories per day (it burns even more when you exercise). Because Jim lost 2.5kg of muscle his metabolism has dropped and his calorie requirements are now 250 calories less per day than when he started. He used to eat 2800 calories per day, now anything over 2550 calories per day will cause him to gain fat.

Happy with being 8.5kg’s lighter and ignoring the muscle loss Jim goes back to eating the amount he used to before his diet. With his slower metabolism and eating 250 calories per day more than he needs means he’ll gain fat at the rate of 1kg per month. Checking in with Jim 12 months later he’s gained a whopping 12kg of fat!

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The Effects of Diet on Testosterone Part 1


In this article we presents an overview of how testosterone is stimulated in the body, shows how calorie balance affects T production, and discusses how dietary protein intake affects circulating T levels.

The HPT Axis

An article on the effects of diet on hormones would be incomplete without a basic overview of the relationships between the organs and hormones of the axis. The term axis simply refers to the pathway in question. The glands of this pathway include the hypothalamus, pituitary, and testes. The sequence of events culminating with the production and/or release of T begins at the hypothalamus. Here specialized nerve cells release a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). GnRH is a decapeptide (chain of ten amino acids) that travels by direct blood vessel connections to the anterior pituitary where it stimulates the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) (1). LH is then secreted into the blood where it attaches to receptors on the Leydig cells of the testes. This induces activity of an enzyme, P-450scc, referred to as the cholesterol-side-chain-cleavage enzyme (1). Through a series of five enzymatic steps, cholesterol is converted into T.

The body regulates the circulating blood levels of T via several mechanisms. Once in the blood, about 44% of T is bound to a protein called either sex-hormone-binding-globulin (SHBG) or testosterone-binding globulin (TeBG), to indicate the greater affinity for T over estradiol (E2, an estrogen). About 54% of T is bound by albumin and other proteins, leaving 2% to circulate

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Deadly Diet Sins

1 Don’t Cut Calories Too Much
Eating fewer calories than you need each day creates an energy deficit causing fat loss. However, severe cuts can lead to a slowing of the metabolic rate, ultimately making it difficult to rip up.
Solution: Make moderate cuts in calories. A 10% reduction in total caloric intake will suffice.

2 Don’t Swallow The Extreme Protein Myth
It’s no myth that when you drop your caloric intake, you need more protein. The extra protein is burned as fuel, preventing a loss in muscle mass while you diet. But many bodybuilders go to ridiculous extremes, taking in much more protein than they need.
Solution: As a rule of thumb, eat no more than 11⁄2 grams (g) per pound of bodyweight when dieting. Take in more than that amount, and it will likely be stored as fat, preventing you from getting as ripped as possible.

3 Don’t Fear Carbs
Carbs are both friend and foe. They help build muscle by creating a proinsulin environment; yet, elevated insulin levels can obstruct the loss of bodyfat. The latter fact leads many trainers to opt for a low-carb diet. When carb intake falls, the body begins to burn fat as fuel.
Unfortunately, eating too few carbs will cause the body to melt away muscle mass along with bodyfat.

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