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Your Morning Workouts Should Be Working

Your Morning Workouts Should Be Working

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You probably already knew that, but now science agrees


Diet and exercise naysayers may always whisper, "well, you basically eat more to make up for those burnt calories," but researchers say that exercising in the morning could curb your appetite.

According to LiveScience, researchers at Brigham Young University monitored 35 women as they looked at pictures of food (using electrodes) on two separate days.

The first day? The group spent 45 minutes exercising. On the second day they did not.

The study, which will be published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, found that after exercising, the women's response to food images dropped. Women who had worked out tended to show an increase in physical activity, and did not eat more food even after burning more calories.

Instead, they ate the same amount of food as on any regular day. Naturally, the researchers say the results have to be duplicated to confirm everything, but being active and healthy is always a good thing in our book. So go ahead and feel smug about your early-morning yoga routines.

The Essential 8: Exercises That Will Get You Ripped

Resistance training is more important and far more effective than cardio for fat loss, and is an essential part of your training program. There are eight essential exercises that everyone should include in their resistance training program.

So, you want to get lean you want to be ripped! You have your nutrition targeted at fat loss you have your supplement regimen all ready. Now, you just need your training program sorted, and you will be ready to roll.

How do you train for fat loss? What are the best exercises to include? What is the best split to use? How much cardio do you do? How many recovery days do you take? The information available is varied and often contradictory, because what works for one individual does not always work for another. If that is the case, how does one go about setting up a training routine if everyone responds differently to different training program?

While everyone has their own methods of training for fat loss, there are several training methods, techniques and exercises that work effectively for everyone, no matter who they are, or what their training history is. Resistance training is an essential part of training for fat loss, and is far more effective than doing cardio—in fact, you do not even have to do cardio to get ripped!

There are eight exercises that everyone should include in their resistance training program:

Recommended Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 12 reps are recommended for each exercise, resting for 30 seconds in-between sets to maintain intensity and elevated heart rate for optimal fat loss.

Every exercise is a compound, multijoint exercise, ensuring that your training sessions are as effective and efficient as possible for fat loss, by recruiting multiple body-parts, including those that are not able to be exhausted in the same way with isolation exercises. Ironically, these exercises are the same ones that will help you build the most muscle mass—the only difference is the number of sets and reps, and the recovery period between sets used.

This article will briefly discuss each exercise, as well as provide an example of training splits for both the new and experienced trainee.

1. Squat

The squat is the king of all exercises. Squats hit most muscle groups in the body, with emphasis on the core and large lower body muscles. The more muscle mass and motor units recruited during an exercise, the better the exercise for burning body fat, and the squat is the best of them all.

You can incorporate variations of the squat, in order to target different muscles more specifically: The front squat focuses more on the quadriceps, whereas the back squat (recommended over the front squat, because it recruits more muscle activation) works the gluteals and hamstrings more.

Changing the width of your stance during squats will also affect which muscles are worked more: A narrow stance is going to hit the quadriceps more, whereas a wide stance is going to concentrate on the gluteals and hamstrings, and the sumo stance the adductors.

You can use barbells, dumbbells, Swiss balls, and even just body weight, to perform squats. Whether you use free weights (i.e. barbells and dumbbells) or machines (i.e. the Smith machine and hack squat) also determines the effectiveness of the squat, with barbells being superior to the rest.

Ideally, when performing the squat, you want to go down until your thighs are parallel to the ground however, some individuals cannot do this (i.e. taller or long-limbed individuals), and so going as far as you can comfortably is adequate, if your form is correct and the intensity high enough.

2. Deadlift

If the squat is the king, then the deadlift is the queen—although both exercises can be used interchangeably with the royalty titles. The deadlift hits not just the back, but the entire core, recruiting and strengthening the large lower body muscles, from the shoulder girdle down to your hips and legs, with emphasis on the gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, and abdominals, strengthening and stabilizing the erector spinae and lower back.

This exercise is very important, as the lower back is usually a very weak area on most, which in turn creates instability, injuries, and other issues. Depending on your forearm and grip strength, you can use straps to hold your grip to the barbell when you start moving heavier weights. Otherwise, there are several hand positions you can use—both hands pronated (i.e. overhand), an alternate grip (this helps strength) with one hand pronated and the other supinated (i.e. underhand).

3. Power Clean

Similar to the deadlift in the muscles recruited—but without the ability to lift as heavy loads—the power clean is a compound power exercise that works the lower legs, quadriceps, gluteals, upper back, and deltoids. Not surprisingly, it is the power exercises that are the most effective exercises to use, and although the power clean is a difficult exercise, if done correctly, can be a real asset in your assault on fat loss.

4. Bench Press

Another power exercise, the bench press is the primary exercise used to work the pectorals (and to some extent, the anterior deltoids and triceps). As with the squat, the bench press can be performed with many variations to target areas of the chest.

More specifically, using the flat bench will hit the middle of the chest, using an incline bench press will work the upper pectorals (and serratus anterior), whilst a decline bench press will hit the lower pectorals. Again, either dumbbells or a barbell can be used with this exercise, with the barbell preferable, even though using dumbbells requires more stability.

Changes in grip width can also affect which muscles are hit more—a wider grip will focus more on the chest itself, whereas a narrow grip will target the triceps more (making that variation an excellent exercise to do when focusing on the triceps).

5. Reverse-Grip Bent-Over Row

Next to the lower body, the back is the biggest upper body muscle group, encompassing the entire area from the top of the trapezius down to the hips. Counterbalancing the bench press, the bent over row works the back. Even better than the traditional bent over row is the reverse bent over row, as it recruits more muscles than the former.

A pronated grip should be used, and depending on the width of your grip, you can target the rhomboids or latissimus dorsi. A wider grip is going to hit the latissimus dorsi more, whereas a narrower grip will target the rhomboids. Feet can remain on the ground, or elevated on a bench to increase the intensity of the exercise.

6. Pull-Up

After reverse bent over rows, pull-ups are the most complete exercise for back development—especially for the latissimus dorsi—and you hit every part of your back, from the wide part of your trapezius and latissimus dorsi, tapering down to your waist and lower back, just by using a combination of pull-up variations.

There are so many variations of pull-ups that can be done, from using full body weight to the assisted machine, to even adding weight in the form of extra plates from a chain on a weight belt. You have close or wide-grip options, with your hands in a neutral, pronated, or supinated position. You can do half-reps (focus—although on the back—includes more emphasis on the biceps), complete pull-ups (with elbows to full extension), or sternum pull-ups (where you keep going up until your sternum touches the bar).

7. Military Press

Also called a shoulder press, the military press targets the deltoids, and is generally done in a standing position—that way it forces the trainee to stabilize their core, instead of being able to use the bench for support (as they would in a seated military press).

As with the squat, deadlift, and reverse bent over row, the core is activated during the military press barbells or dumbbells can be used, with a barbell preferable, as unilateral movements can sometimes lead to muscle and strength imbalances. There are in front of the head and behind the head presses behind the head presses are for the experienced trainee only, due to the increased risk for injury if the exercise is performed incorrectly.

8. Dips

Dips are the best exercise you can do for your triceps. Beginners can start off doing bench dips—dips with their hands on a bench and their feet on the floor. Graduate to body weight dips on the dip bars. The experienced trainee can add weight to their dips by either holding a dumbbell between their feet or hanging a plate on a chain on a weight belt.

Fast or slow, dips work your arms, and you will feel the burn during the eccentric action. You can vary your grip from the normal shoulder-width apart by having them slightly wider, or even having your palms turned in facing your body. To focus solely on the triceps, dips should be performed with the body straight up and down—having a tilt (in the upper body) causes the pectorals to work more. Dips can also contribute to your strength on the bench press.

Eating Late at Night

Eating after 8pm isn't the one-way ticket to weight gain it's been made out to be. But if you have too big a meal too late, your body has to work to digest it overnight, disrupting your sleep and releasing the stress hormone cortisol, which causes weight gain. So be mindful of both when you eat and what. Jim White RD, ACSM HFS, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios, says an effective morning workout begins with dinner the night before he recommends brown rice, steamed broccoli and 3 to 5 ounces of lean protein.

During your workout:

During short bouts of exercise (think: less than a half hour), it usually isn&apost necessary to take in any fuel while working out. However, for longer stretches of movement, it can be really important. Along with staying hydrated, these foods can keep your electrolytes in check and keep your muscles moving the way you want.

Honey: To boost your energy during endurance activities, recent research suggests that carbohydrate blends (foods containing fructose and glucose) may be superior to straight glucose. But before you reach for a sports drink, consider honey: like sugar, it naturally has equal parts fructose and glucose, but it also contains a handful of antioxidants and vitamins. (The darker the honey, the more disease-fighting compounds it contains.) If you are going to be on the go for a while and need something portable (say, for a long distance run), go for the single use packets of honey, sold at most major grocery stores. This will allow you to take your fuel on the go without having to spend the money on expensive sports gels.

Water: For most of us, plain water is plenty to keep you hydrated (minus a very long or intense bout of exercise). More often than not, you do not need to splurge on sports drinks or coconut water. Try drinking 7 to 10 ounces for every 20 minutes of exercise, per the American Council on Exercise. However, if plain water doesn&apost do it for you, drinking flavored water while you&aposre working out might make it easier to stay hydrated. In one study, people given flavored water while exercising drank more than exercisers given plain water. Choose wisely though: some brands can deliver as much added sugars as soft drinks while others use artificial sweeteners to cut the calorie load.

What To Eat Before Your Morning Workout

The quality of your morning workout depends on what you eat before hitting the gym. Here's what to choose—and what to avoid!

Riiiiiiiiing. It's 6 a.m., time to hit the snooze button. You're still half asleep, but the plan—which sounded great last night—was to knock out your workout before heading to the office.

But before all of that, before even your first warm-up set, your belly needs something. Should it be cereal, a bowl of oatmeal, or eggs? What about an easy-to-prepare smoothie?

Or is it better to eat nothing at all?

Portion control and macronutrient ratios are difficult enough, but this time of day is tricky. Consume too much, and you'll likely see it again shortly after your workout begins. Consume too little, and your performance may suffer as a result.

Protect Your Muscles With Protein

If you race out the door in the morning without so much as a bite, you're training in a fasted state. This is a missed opportunity to protect precious muscle mass from significant breakdown.

Roughly three hours after a protein-rich meal, your body returns to a negative protein balance. So after eight hours of sleep, your body's liable to very catabolic. Preventing this extreme negative balance is simple: Consume protein prior to training. Amino acids (what proteins are broken down into) directly instigate muscle building and also assist with recovery and growth over time.

What to Choose and How Much

Any low-fat source of protein is a great option. Examples: egg whites, chicken breast, and lean deli meat. However, you may prefer a faster-digesting protein source, such as a BCAA supplement or whey protein, to minimize any risk of stomach discomfort heading into your workout. The choice is yours, but choose a whey protein supplement in place of a BCAA supplement if you drink rather than eat this first meal.

Regardless of your protein source, consume at least enough protein to provide 2-3 grams of the amino acid leucine, which is the key amino acid responsible for instigating muscle building).[1] This amount is referred to as the leucine threshold, and it varies based on age and size.

Think of this threshold as a light switch: Failure to move the switch entirely up results in no light—similar to not taking in enough amino acids. Once that minimum threshold is reached, however, the light (and muscle building) is turned on.

Make Carbohydrates Your Primary Fuel Source

Carbohydrates are your muscle's primary energy source, so it makes sense to grab a few bites of oats or a banana on the run before you hit the gym. Or does it?

Your muscles and brain rely on glucose (what carbs are broken down into) as fuel. Carbs that aren't immediately used as fuel are either stored in the liver or muscle as glycogen, where they can be harvested at a later time, when energy demands are high (such as during exercise).

Overnight, your liver glycogen is significantly depleted, as the brain and central nervous system require fuel to carry out essential functions throughout the night. Waking up and jumping right into a workout without any carbs can be problematic, because liver glycogen is also the first source of energy during low-intensity exercise.[2]

Starting with a depleted fuel tank may lead to early-onset fatigue and a paltry workout. Yet eating too much, eating the wrong type of carb, or eating at all, may slow you down and sabotage performance.

What to Choose and How Much

Given you're hard-pressed for time, you'll also be hard-pressed to digest enough of your meal to avoid stomach discomfort. This is especially true if you're choosing high-fiber portions such as oats or whole-grain breads. To maximize energy availability and minimize stomach discomfort, choose low-fiber, quick-digesting carbs.

Rice cakes, Fig Newtons, pretzels, dried fruit, and bananas are all excellent options. You can also mix your whey protein or BCAA supplement with a sports drink or dextrose powder. Begin sipping on this drink as you head to the gym, and continue it throughout your workout.

There's no one-size-fits-all pre-workout portion size for carbs. Maybe you have an iron stomach and can tolerate a cup or two of oats. Maybe half a banana is all you can handle. Try a few different amounts and a few different foods. See how you feel and perform during your training. Over time, you'll find that sweet spot and go-to source to maximize energy during training.

Save Fats for Later in the Day

Fat slows digestion. Since you're most likely pressed for time, a high-fat meal won't do you any good. Small amounts won't hurt, but choosing high-fat proteins or dollops of peanut butter may work against you.

Morning Pre-Workout Combinations

Let's wrap this up with some combinations that reflect the principles I just explained. These should leave your body primed for excellent performance early in the morning!

  1. Rice Cakes and Whey Protein Icing: Mix 1 scoop of whey protein with a drizzle of water and stir until viscous. Spread atop a few rice cakes.
  2. Lean Deli Meat Wrap: Place 6-8 slices of your favorite lean deli meat (chicken breast, turkey breast, ham, roast beef) atop a low-fiber tortilla.
  3. Breakfast Sandwich: Quickly scramble a few egg whites, roast up a few slices of Canadian bacon, and throw each atop a plain mini bagel.
  1. Norton, L., & Wilson, G. J. (2009). Optimal protein intake to maximize muscle protein synthesis. AgroFood Industry Hi-Tech, 20, 54-57.
  2. Baldwin, K. M., Fitts, R. H., Booth, F. W., Winder, W. W., & Holloszy, J. O. (1975). Depletion of muscle and liver glycogen during exercise. Pflügers Archiv, 354(3), 203-212.

About the Author

Paul Salter, MS, RD

Paul Salter, MS, RD, CSCS, received his BS in dietetics from the University of Maryland and his MS in exercise and nutrition science from the University of Tampa.

#4 You'll Be Motivated To Eat Better Throughout The Day

Knowing how hard you worked in the morning makes you want to avoid “blowing it” throughout the day by eating junk because you won't want to undo all of your effort.

One of my tips for staying motivated to eat well is to think about how many miles you'd have to walk to burn off the unfavorable food in question. Want another slice of pizza? Well you'd have to walk more than 4 miles to make up for it.

Using a heart rate monitor to track how many calories you burn during workouts can make this motivation even stronger since you have an actual number to attribute to how hard you worked.

So, What Is the Best Time to Workout?

Considering all this information, should you workout in the morning or night?

There are some clear benefits to both, and ultimately it'll come down to your schedule, as mentioned before. However, if you can, you should try working out at night. Not only will it help you boost your metabolism, but it's a great way to unwind after a long day, and it won't affect your sleep schedule as long as you give yourself some time before bed.

If you can't work out at night, find a time that works best for you. As long as you're working out, you should be proud of yourself for making the effort.

If you're looking for a low-sugar, zero-calorie energy drink for your workouts, try Pure Lyft. We have tons of flavors for you to fall in love with.

Night Before Workout

Since your dinner the night before may be the last full meal before your morning workout, it is important to have some carbohydrates to give your muscles stored energy. Include plenty of complex carbohydrates, such as rice, whole-grain bread or a baked potato. A serving of lean protein and some vegetables provides nutrients and keeps you full throughout the night so that you don’t wake up hungry at 2 a.m. Eat until you're satisfied but not stuffed, since overeating before bed can disrupt sleep patterns.

10 Ways Your Workouts Could Actually Be Causing Weight Gain

Regular exercise is a necessity for a healthy body, but it can thwart your weight loss goals if you don't do it right.

Ask just about anyone and they&aposll tell you that diet and exercise are the two most important components of losing weight. But unfortunately, both healthy eating and regular exercise can actually cause you to gain weight if you&aposre not careful.

Here are 10 ways your workout can actually cause the scale to creep back up:

1. You're Consuming More Calories Than Your Body Needs

Incorporating a few days of exercise into your weekly routine is likely to increase your appetite-especially if your body is burning more calories than it&aposs used to. Unfortunately, this can cause many of us to trip up and consume more calories than we really need.

If running burns 100 calories per mile on average, a two-mile run will only leave you with a 200-calorie deficit. You could easily make up for that (and more!) at your next meal if you&aposre not careful. It might be worth tracking your food and exercise in a free app (like MyFitnessPal) for a few weeks to see if this is where you might be missing the mark.

2. You Refuel With Unhealthy Snacks

There are dozens of nutrition bars, snacks and beverages geared towards athletes and gym-goers looking to refuel after a workout. Most of our staff has a favorite nutrition bar for on-the-go snacking, but many of these products are loaded with more calories, sugar and saturated fat than your body needs after a long walk or elliptical session.

Drinking a 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade will add 140 calories and 34g added sugars to your daily diet in as long as it takes you to drive home from the gym, while a Clif bar adds around 250 calories and 20g added sugars. You&aposre better off opting for a container of plain Greek yogurt with berries, hummus with carrots and pita bread or another healthy snack that isn&apost so high in calories and added sugars.

3. You Don't Hydrate Properly

Besides running to sports drinks to hydrate after a workout, there are other hydration mistakes you could be making that will thwart your weight loss goals. Our bodies easily confuse our need for hydration with hunger, so we can consume more calories than we need simply because we aren&apost drinking enough H2O.

It&aposs also worth mentioning that water isn&apost the only way to replenish after a workout. Rehydrating your body after an intense sweat session should also include replenishing electrolytes like sodium and potassium. If you&aposre sweating a lot during your workout, you may want to snack on a banana or sip on coconut water afterwards to get a healthy electrolyte boost-without the added sugars sports drinks offer.

4. You Use Your Workout As an Excuse to Be Sedentary the Rest of the Day

This is a major problem for exercise newbies who think their 30 minutes at the gym allows them to sit the rest of the day. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis-NEAT, for short-is a simple way to burn up to 200 extra calories a day without breaking a sweat. Things like taking the stairs, gardening, walking your dog and cooking are all examples of sneaky activities that can boost your calorie burn without going to the gym.

Additionally, there&aposs nothing like a post-workout walk to alleviate muscle soreness and fatigue to help you feel better (plus, you won&apost have an excuse to skip tomorrow&aposs workout!) Continuing to move throughout the day allows that lactic acid buildup in your muscles to be released and loosen you back up.

5. You Only Do Cardio

We&aposre not saying you have to join the nearest Crossfit gym to start reaping exercise&aposs weight loss benefits, but a little weight training will do your body-and metabolism-some good. Lifting weights helps you build muscle-which burns calories more efficiently than fat-and can help give you the weight loss boost you need. It can even boost your metabolism by five percent!

Not only are weight and resistance training great for burning calories, they are great for your overall health. Research shows they help build strength and endurance to help you perform better in cardio exercise and can boost your heart, bone and mental health.

6. You're Too Obsessed With the Scale

Sometimes the scale doesn&apost tell us the whole story, and that can especially be the case when it comes to getting more active. Our weight can fluctuate up to six pounds just throughout the course of a day, and exercise can have a direct effect on that.

Sweating during a workout can cause us to temporarily retain water, which can make us feel bloated and cause the scale to look higher than it did yesterday. Also, you may be losing fat, but you&aposre also building muscle at the same time, which can cause the scale to stay the same or even increase. Focusing on the way you feel, your energy level and the way your clothes fit are better determinants of weight loss than the scale a lot of the time.

7. Your Workout Regimen Cuts Into Your Sleep Schedule

Everyone always talks about the importance of a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen for weight loss, but there is another component we often leave out of the equation-sleep! Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night is essential for losing and maintaining weight because it affects our cravings, gives us energy to power through a workout and ultimately helps us make better food choices.

While it&aposs awesome to get up early and squeeze in that morning workout, that also means you should be going to bed earlier. Missing out on sleep will prevent your muscles from repairing properly and will make it that much easier to choose fast food for lunch or polish off that pint of Ben & Jerry&aposs.

8. You're Not Challenging Yourself Enough

Jillian Michaels says taking it too easy on your workouts and never switching up the intensity are two of the biggest weight loss mistakes she sees her clients make. Michaels says switching up the type of exercise you&aposre doing, as well as challenging yourself to do more reps or run a little longer, prevents you from being bored and significantly impacts calorie burn.

She recommends switching up your regimen every two weeks and ensuring your heart rate gets up to 80% of your max at some point during your workout. If you&aposre a die-hard power walker, maybe try running for one minute every three to five minutes on your next walk, and try upping the weight, adding in a few new moves or increasing reps in your go-to strength routine.

9. You Have an Undiagnosed Health Issue

While this is a much less likely reason than the others, it could be possible your weight loss efforts are being thwarted due to a health condition. Hormone-related conditions-especially when it comes to your thyroid-can lead to unwanted weight gain, even if you&aposre eating healthy and exercising multiple times a week. It&aposs probably worth talking to your doctor if this is happening to you, or if you think your thyroid medication could be causing a higher number on the scale.

10. You're New to Exercise

If you&aposve just started working out regularly-either for the first time ever or have just been out of your routine for a while-you should be proud of yourself for developing this important habit for a healthier, happier body and life.

Your body may not be used to the extra calorie expenditure, as well as sweating more often, and it may retain fluids for a temporary period of time until it adjusts to your new regimen. It&aposs important to ease your way into a fitness routine, so your body can gradually adjust to all the changes going on. This will help prevent overeating, improper hydration and negative changes to your sleep schedule as well. It&aposs OK to start off your fitness journey with walks around the neighborhood instead of jumping right in to an Orange Theory membership.

The Bulking Diet

To gain muscle, you need to consume more calories than you use. And this will result in some fat gain. Now the amount of fat gain depends on various factors.

Think of your body as a car that you have to fill up with gas (food), before you start it. Any unused gas is wasted (stored as fat).

How much gas do you put in the tank? Well you can estimate that you'll only be driving to the grocery store, which is 10 miles roundtrip. However you don't know how bad traffic congestion is today. Will you also want to make a stop at the post office? What about a friend's house? Since you do not know the exact distance you will be driving, you will have to estimate and put in a little more just in case.

This is the exact same thing you must do for your body. If you just eat blindly, without somewhat knowing what you are eating, then you will either not consume enough food or will consume too much. The first thing to do when planning your bulking diet is to find your daily calorie expenditure.

Tip: Use our online calculator.

Once you have that number, add 800 to it. This new number is what you will aim for each day in terms of total caloric intake. For this article, let's assume our number came out to be 3500.

We have our total calorie intake, but it does not help us much if we don't know how to correctly distribute these calories. If we somehow conjure a meal that is 3500 calories and eat this whole meal in the morning, the results would not be pretty. 600 or so would be used for normal functions, while the other 2900 calories would be excreted or stored as fat.

This is a huge mistake that many people make. They will go to a restaurant, order a main course that has around 700 calories then get dessert at the end, which adds 500 calories to their meal. While the main course may have all been used to build muscle and function the body, in essence eating the dessert was the same as eating a slice of body fat.

Calories Per Meal

So how do we find out how many calories we should eat each meal? Simple, just divide the total number of calories with the amount of meals you get in a day.

Remember that one of the ten commandants of bodybuilding is "Thou shall eat more than 3 meals a day." So let's assume we eat 7 meals a day, remember this includes post workout shakes. 3500 (total calories) / 7 (meals a day) = 500 calories each meal.

Now of course there is no way to count your calorie intake to a perfect tee, so just estimate. If you eat a meat pie that the box says has 410 calories a serving with a glass of milk that has 80 calories per serving, then 490 is close enough of a number. You do not have to search for a tootsie roll to fill in the other 10 calories.

What Do We Eat?

We now have our diet for the day planned out, eat 500 calories per meal for 7 meals. But this raises the question: what do we eat? To understand what the best food for a bulk is we must learn the basics of nutrition.

There are three types of calories that apply to our needs. They are:

We need each of these in different amounts.


Carbohydrates are what our body uses for energy. Carbohydrates are available for immediate use when needed. In excess though, they are stored as fat. This is why you hear about some popular diet fads that recommend cutting out carbohydrates completely from your food.

The problem isn't the carbohydrates, but the amount of them that people eat at a sitting. Out of the three types of calories, carbs are the most eaten by far in average people's diets.

Why do people eat so many carbohydrates? The answer is because the ones that eat so much often don't know what they are or how they work. Almost all food has carbohydrates in it.

The two most prevalent forms of carbohydrates are sugar and grains. Now think of all the food that has sugar and grains in it. Some of the obvious sources are candy, soft drinks, breads, pasta, rice and cereals. Now some of the least obvious sources are milk, barbecue sauce, fruits and juice to name a few.

We like to say that the food we like most is the food with the most fat. This is not always true, often the food we like most does not have high fat content, but carbohydrate content. It's important to understand the amount of carbohydrates you consume, because they can catch you quickly . just take a look at the nutrition facts for a bag of rice or pasta. Incidentally rice and pasta are also examples of simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are unhealthy forms while complex are the healthy forms.

Simple carbohydrates include sugar, white rice and white bread while complex carbohydrates include wheat bread, brown rice and whole grain cereals. Usually when dealing with carbohydrates, "If it's white it's bad, if it's brown it's good."

As a bulker, carbohydrates should consist of 40% of your total calorie intake . Next we will discuss proteins.


Protein is what serves as structural support for our body, which is known as our muscles. Protein is used to repair our muscles after a workout and to build them further. Remember that our muscles repair themselves most during sleep, however some during the day.

This is why it's important to spread out your protein intake over the entire day. It is recommended to get around 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. This number can vary up or down, as some people recommend 0.8 grams of protein per pound while some recommend up to 2 grams per pound.

Protein is abundant in foods such as fish, red meat, poultry, milk, nuts and eggs. Unlike carbohydrates, there is no "healthy" and "unhealthy" form of protein. However what you eat that has protein in it determines if it's a good food or not.

A Pizza Hut pizza may have protein in it, but it's also loaded with saturated fats and simple carbohydrates. This is generally where bulkers go wrong. They assume that if it's loaded with protein and calories then it is a good bulking food, in reality it's a good fat gaining food.

Now on the other hand a chicken breast or a grilled fish fillet has a great deal of protein in it, and they're lean sources too which makes them great bodybuilding foods.

There are two main types of protein, whey and casein. Whey protein is absorbed fast by the body, which makes it great for post-workout nutrition. Casein protein is absorbed slowly, which makes it great for long periods when you will not have anything to eat, such as when sleeping. As a bulker, proteins should consist of 40% of your total calorie intake.

Fats have their bad forms and good forms. Saturated fat, which is mainly found in cooking oils (coconut oil, peanut oil) and butter, is the unhealthiest form of fat. The healthier fat is called monounsaturated fat. This fat is found mainly in olive oil, sesame oil, nuts, avocados and fish oil.

Another type of healthy fats is the EFA's (Essential fatty acids). These are found mainly in flaxseed oil, leafy vegetables, fish, shellfish and nuts. EFA's should always be a part of your diet, as they maintain healthy skin and hair, maintain body temperature, promote healthy cell function, and are the only way your body can absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Sample Layout

Now the trick to bulking is gaining the most muscle while being efficient with fat gains. If you start eating 6000 calories a day you may gain a little more muscle than eating 3500, however your fat gain would be insurmountable. Bulking is the art of eating just the right amount of calories for your body to build muscle, not any over.

Like mentioned before, the goal of this diet is to get around 40% carbohydrates, 40% protein and 20% fat. This means for every meal, you will try to eat that ratio of carbs, protein and fats. A sample layout of a day's meals could look like this .