Milk & Bodybuilding

Milk is a controversial subject among many bodybuilders due to the health and digestion concerns.

Milk controversy:

Many believe that since milk is for babies and cow milk is for calves, than we as adult humans shouldn't be drinking it. It's actually a famous quote from Arnold Schwarzennegar. To me, that seems like silly reasoning considering that if it's good for babies, in their most sensitive time in life, why not for adults? Another argument is health concerns of IGF-1 and anti-biotics that get leaked into the milk as a result. There is one simple solution to that, you can get organic milk and you won't have a concern anymore. Organic cows are also fed grass instead of cattle feed full of toxins.

Milk & Lactose

Many bodybuilders do not drink milk for their main source of protein. One reason being, the lactose causes bad side effects for many who are lactose intolerant. Most people have problems digesting lactose to some degree. Lactose is actually a low glycemic carb and isn't as digested as easily as other carbs. Even if you are lactose intolerant, they have milk available with no lactose, or you can just take the lactaid pill.

So should bodybuilders drink milk?

Protein Powder is the better choice because you get more protein for the same amount of carbs. You also don't have to worry about lactose side effects as much. If you like milk than go ahead though. Just make sure you get organic low fat milk. Milk also contains many other beneficial ingredients such as calcium, vitamin D, and the important ALA which isn't be found in protein powder.

What is Glycemic Index

Glycemic index is a very commonly touted by nutritionist as the holy grail to losing fat.

Glycemic Index:

Glycemic Index is simply the measure of glucose concentration in the blood stream after ingesting a carbohydrate meal. High Glycemic Indexed foods raise blood sugar very fast, and as a result insulin. Low Glycemic Index foods raise them slowly and steadily, and as a result there is not an extreme insulin "spike". Glucose tablets is given the reference point with a measure of 100. Foods below 60 are low glycemid, 60 to 70 are mid-glycemic and over 70 are high glycemic.

The results of the glycemic Index have been surprising. Sugars are lower than starches and pasta.

You can find charts of the Glycemic Index all over the net.

Glycemic Index & bodybuilding:

As bodybuilders we want to maintain high insulin sensitivity for general health and for maximizing our gains. We also want to manipulate insulin levels at certain times. As a result, it is important we study the glycemic index chart.

Insulin sensitivity results in better body composition long term. In other words, higher muscle mass and lower fat is acheived better with insulin sensitive individuals. The way to help with insulin sensitivity is to avoid nasty insulin spikes. Insulin spikes usually are brought on by high glycemic foods. A diet that is mainly low to mid glycemic index foods will help keep your body insulin sensitive. Taking a lot of fat with a high glycemic carb will also slow it's digestion and reduce the insulin spike effect.

In bodybuilding for maximum muscle gains, the ideal time to have something high glycemic is post workout. The reason being, is your glycogen stores are low and your body can absorb the insulin spike without too much negative effects. Many bodybuilders feel it is not even necessary to have a high glycemic index carb post workout either.

Being that I carry the diabetic risk gene, I decided to stop having very high glycemic shakes (maltodextrin or dextrose) after my workout. Instead I will have solid food carbohydrates an hour after workout. To me my insulin sensitivity long term, is more important than maximizing my muscle gains.

Meal Before Bed & Bodybuilding

Most people among the general population are told not to eat before bed due to the concern of fat storage. However, most bodybuilders actually are taught to eat a high protein meal before bed.

Why do bodybuilders have a meal before bed?

Having protein before bed will help combat against muscle loss. During sleep when your glucose levels drop, your body will enter a catabolic state (muscle wasting state). To get the bodies energy it will burn fat, but will also burn a small amount of your hard earned muscle to get the amino acids!

What should you have in the meal before bed?

About a half hour after you fall asleep, your body releases a huge
spike of growth hormone. Unfortunately, high glucose levels will halt production of this growth hormone spike. For this reason, you should leave carbohydrates out of your late night meal. You should have about 40 to 60 grams worth of protein before bed.

In order to slow the release of your protein, you should take fat with your protein shake. Flaxseed oil or peanut butter should be taken with a protein shake before bed. You can also choose to have a slow digesting protein source instead, such as cottage cheese or meat.

Breakfast – Important for Bodybuilders

Breakfast is the one meal no bodybuilder (or even non-bodybuilders) should not neglect.

Importance of breakfast & bodybuilding:

What you eat for breakfast causes a chain reaction for the rest of your day. When you wake up from sleep, your body is in a catabolic state. It has high levels of cortisol (the muscle breakdown hormone). Your glycogen levels in your liver and skeletal muscle will also have been depleted after hours of "fasting" while you sleep. The only thing that can reverse the cortisol production, is insulin. Carbohydrates create the biggest insulin spike so are the most effective in halting cortisol.

Having a big balanced breakfast will give you energy throughout the day and raise your metabolism. If you don't get enough calories in your breakfast it will effect your mood and energy for your workouts later in the day.

What Bodybuilders should eat for breakfast:

As bodybuilders, what you eat in your breakfast is important. Having a large amount of carbs is crucial to stop the muscle wasting from cortisol. Insulin tolerance won't be a concern as much of a concern as your glycogen reserves will be low and your body ripe for a insulin spike.

You will also need a lot of protein to take advantage of the insulin spike. The insulin spike will shuttle your amino acids into your muscle. A large dose of protein also helps combat the high levels of cortisol by having it "eat" your ingested protein instead of your muscle!

Professional bodybuilders often use scrambled egg whites as their source of protein in the morning. Egg whites in a carton is a faster source of eggs to get the amino acids quicker into your bloodstream. Cottage cheese is another option. Protein shakes are a great choice as they are convenient and quickly get the amino acids into the body.

Oatmeal is the best source of high carbohydrates in a meal. Oatmeal gives a nice slow steady of carbohydrates. This will set the tone better for your insulin sensitivity for the rest of the day.

Soy Protein & Bodybuilding

Soy Protein is a very common protein for vegetarians and other health enthusiasts. But how good is it for Bodybuilders?

About Soy Protein:

Soy protein comes from soybeans. At one point soybean plants were used for fertilizer. In the 1970's the soy companies started to try and change its reputation. United Soybean Board (USB) has spent millions of dollars since the 70's to lobby and promote Soy, even though it is really a terrible source of protein.

Negatives of Soy Protein:

Soy Protein increases your estrogen levels through Phytoestrogens, which mimic estrogen. The Phytates in Soy also block the uptake of minerals. Soy protein also has enzyme inhibitors, making protein digestion more difficult. It also contains Haemaggluttin, which increases red blood cell clumping and inhibits oxygen uptake and growth.

As a bodybuilder the last thing you want is something that raises your estrogen levels. Estrogen promotes fat gain, feminization, and certain cancers. It also doesn't contain the dozens of immune enhancing and anti-cancer subfractions that Whey protein contains.

Casein Protein

Casein is a protein source most commonly used by bodybuilders.

About Casein Protein:

Casein is often dubbed the “slow” protein powder. It is called this because in direct contrast to whey protein, it absorbs very slowly but steadily into the body. Whereas whey protein takes 45 minutes to hit peak, casein takes 3 to 4 hours to hit blood peak levels.

Which is better, Whey or Casein?

Whey protein cannot be beat for its many immune system, health, and anti-cancer properties. However due to it's fast digesting properties it is not optimal to be the main protein source in a bodybuilders diet. Casein would be better to take for most of your meals. The ideal time for whey protein is pre and post workout. Casein or whole food proteins should be taken instead at other times. Casein is much more expensive then whey protein powder, so you may want to just opt for whole food sources of protein instead.

Whey Protein

Whey Protein is the most popular protein type in powder form for bodybuilders due to it’s high absorption and cheap price. There is also many benefits to whey protein that is unique to it.

About Whey Protein:

Whey Protein (Lactalbumin) is the name of a protein type that actually consists of smaller subfractions of peptide chains such as Beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, immunoglobulins (IgGs), bovine serum albumin (BSA),lactoferrin, and more. Whey Protein comes from Dairy milk.

Whey protein is a by-product of cheese production. The liquid that is formed during cheese production is dried and concentrated into whey protein powder.

Whey Protein and Muscle gains:

Whey protein absorbs easier into the body then any other protein. Blood levels have shown to hit peak after 45 minutes of ingestion by itself and severeley taper off after 2 hours. Unfortunately, fast absorption is not ideal for maximum muscle gains. Slow and steady release found from whole food protein sources or casein protein is ideal. Whey Protein is most ideal for pre and post workout shakes.

Whey Protein for health:

In studies it was found to prevent or reduce tumours. Whey protein anti-tumour effects are more powerful then Soy and other proteins. Whey protein was found to deplete cancer cells of glutathione (GSH) making them less likely to be resistant to chemotherapy. Depletion of tumor GSH in vivo decreases the rate of cellular proliferation and inhibits cancer growth. Whey's important effect on GSH is more then just cancer too. GSH also plays a role as the bodies detoxifier and cellular protectant against toxins and carcinogens. Reduced GSH in the body has been tied to Parkinsons's disease and Alzheimers and AIDS.

Whey protein seems to be the only animal protein that is anti-atherogenic. In other words it prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is what leads to atherogenesis, the formation of plaque and lesions associated with atherosclerosis.

Whey protein was also found to increase bone growth and health.

Whey protein is a powerful immune-enahcing protein. Animals fed whey protein had significant improvement against salmonella, streptococcus pneumonia 9 and very toxic cancer-causing chemicals. This effect on immunity was not seen with other proteins.

Types of of Whey Protein:

Whey protein concentrate is roughly 80% protein by weight. Many people believe that protein concetrate is inferior to protein isolate, because the isolate contains a higher amount of protein per amount of powder. This is not true, because many of the subfractions found in whey protein are eliminated when making whey protein isolate powder. Whey protein concentrate is not for everyone due to the higher lactose levels.

Most good concentrates contain much higher levels of growth factors, such as IGF-1. They also contain much higher levels of phospholipids, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), and immunoglobulins and lactoferrin. Some of these compounds will help with muscle gains such as CLA, and others will provide the powerful health effects in Whey.


Whey protein as the result of being run through an ion exchange column. It creates a very high concentration of protein, but at the cost of filtering out many important bioactive peptide subfractions.

Micro-Filtered Isolates:

A class of filterations including Cross Flow Micro filtration (CFM®) ultra filtration (UF), micro filtration (MF), reverse osmosis (RO), dynamic membrane filtration (DMF), ion exchange chromatography, (IEC), electro-ultrafiltration (EU), radial flow chromatography (RFC) and nano filtration (NF). CFM® is the most common of all of these. The CFM process allows for very high protein content (more then 90%) while keeping all the precious subfractions natural to whey. CMF also eliminates most lactose, fat, and sodium.

Best Whey Protein Type:

A good quality whey concentrate or Micro-filtered protein is the best. They both will contain all the precious subfractions vital to the special properties of whey protein. CMF would be the best of the two for purity, for having less lactose,fat, and sodium.

Side effects of Whey Protein:

There is no research supporting any long term hazards to your kidneys for ingesting whey protein, provided you have no current kidney ailments. Drinking plenty of water is ideal on high protein diets to keep your kidneys flushed. Researchers don't recommend more then 2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. Whey protein like all proteins increases your risk of dehydration so you will need more water in your diet. Large amounts of protein in the diet is a risk for bone loss as protein takes out calcium from the body. Luckily whey protein contains significant amounts of calcium in the body.

Caffeine and Bodybuilding

Caffeine is the world’s largest consumed “drug”. Many bodybuilders haven’t realized that caffeine is a powerful performance enhancer. It is even banned by the olympics!

Caffeine as a performance enhancer:

Caffeine has been proven through scientific studies to have the ability to reduce fatigue, increase strength, and endurance. This can all lead to a great workout. Not only that ,but you will be more motivated for your workouts with the energy provided from a good ole cup of coffee.

According to a study by Doherty and Smith 2004, some of the subjects did high intensity training, some did endurance, and another group did graded excercises. The overall average among the subjects showed a 12% increase in performance over placebo.

Caffeine and bodybuilding:

Due to the fact that caffeine improves endurance and strength, it would make a great pre-workout ingredient. Long term strength gains equate to long term muscle gains. This is the premise behind creatine too.

During a cutting cycle Caffeine will also energize and reduce the feeling of fatigue so you will be able to finish your long boring cardio sessions. Anything to help motivate you to do your cardio sessions during a cutting cylce is a huge bonus!

Green Tea & Bodybuilding

Green Tea is a very popular tea for people into health and Fitness and even the general public. Green Tea can be beneficial to the goals of bodybuilders as you will see in this article.

About Green Tea

Green Tea drinking goes back thousands of years. Green Tea
has more powerful anti-oxidant protection then Vitamin C and E. It also has been proven in studies to reduce risk of many different cancers including: stomach, small intestine, pancreas and colon. Lung cancer prostate, bladder and skin cancer.

Green tea also reduces blood sugar so should be a necessary part of a diet for those susceptible with the diabetic gene or with a family background of Diabetes. It also reduces blood pressure and aiding recovery of people from heart attacks. In addition, Green Tea reduces cholesterol levels and protects against arthersclerosis and heart disease, making it an all around heart healthy additive to one's diet.

Green tea also fights against spread of disease as Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents. It also helps relieve the symptoms of the Flu diarrhea. It also protects the body
against dangerous blood clots, arthritis, osteoporosis, preventing parkinsons disease, and much more. It even improves your cognitive function. No wonder why I feel so creative after drinking a cup of Green Tea! 🙂

Green Tea and Fat Loss

Green Tea has a dramatic effect on increasing metabolism. According to studies it can increase your metabolism by as much as 1/3! Many of today's fat loss stacks already include powdered green tea in them. Green Tea also may give you that extra energy you need to motivate you to want to do your endurance excercises during cutting cycles.

Green Tea before Workouts

Due to the fact that each cup of Green Tea is equal to 1/3 of a cup of coffee it can be worthwhile to drink pre-workout to your weight training. Caffeine is a performance enhancer according to studies causing a significant increase in strength. That extra strength from the caffeine can lead to overall better muscle gains long term.

Green Tea Daily intake recommendations

Green Tea is recommended to be taken 3 times a day. One in the morning, afternoon, and one early evening. On weight lifting days have one cup before your weight lifting workout.

Green Tea Side Effects

Although Green Tea is very safe for most people, it does have side effects in large amounts, so you must be careful. Check with your doctor if you have hypoglycemia or diabetes before taking. These are some of the common effects if you drink more then 5 cups a day.

Stomach upset
Heart arrhythmias
Loss of appetite
Ringing in the ears
Elevated blood sugar
Elevated cholesterol
Liver toxicity

Also Green Tea will interact with some medications. Green tea should not be taken with asprin as both are blood thinners. Adenosine for irregular heart rhythm is also reduced by Green Tea. MAOI inhibitors used for depression and Phenylpropanolamine can cause a severe spike in blood pressure when either is taken with Green Tea. If you are taking beta blockers green tea will increase your blood pressure.

Omega 3 & Bodybuilding

There is a huge myth going around in the mainstream media that you must avoid fat if you want to lose fat.

This is completely false

There are “good” fats and there "bad" fats, and those of us involved in fitness and bodybuilding are aware that we need some fat in our diets, as some fats are good for you.

Omega 6's and Omega-3's are the good fats. The western diet is heavy on omega-6's, but not on the good fats omega 3's. To make matters worse too much omega 6 to 3 ratio causes a deficiency in omega 3's. Omega 3's have a wide range of benefits that are crucial to bodybuilders. Here are some of the following:

Positive effects of Omega 3's:

Increased metabolic rate

Increased insulin sensitivity by delaying stomach emptying time(thus carbs are digested slower making less of a insulin spike)

Natural blood thinner, resulting in decreased risk of vascular disease, clotting, and strokes

Improved stamina and endurance

Aid in fat loss by suppressing appetite

Decreased blood pressure due to it's blood thinning properties

Are converted into prostaglandins (natural anti-inflammatory chemicals produced in the body) that help decrease inflammation and pain, reduced muscle soreness after workouts and shorter recovery time

Increased brain function, better mood, the brain is 60 percent fat and needs omega-3's to function correctly.

Helps make soft velvety skin

Healthy source of energy without increasing bodyfat

Increased production of hormones including the most important for bodybuilders, testosterone.

Rich sources of omega 3's:

Omega-3's can be found supplements. They also are commonly found in many types of fish (salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, shrimp, and crab).

The general recommendation for omega-3's has been about 3g a day for a 2000 calorie diet. However, this recommendation is for regular sedentary average person and not for bodybuilders. Bodybuilders should increase their amount to reflect their current calorie and workout routine requirements.

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