Practical Eating for Lean Muscle

Part One: The Grocery Store

Choosing the right foods makes ALL the difference!

By: Steve Colescott, Metabolic Specialist

 Magazine 12 #2

Also, part of the Achieving a Fat To Muscle Transition Key Points

When helping people design their diets, the most common weakness in their nutritional game plans tends to be a haphazard approach to grocery shopping. While many bodybuilders go into extensive detail figuring out their macronutrient ratios and supplement regimens, they attempt to wing it once they are filling their shopping carts. Trust me: what you put in your cart has a very direct bearing on the quality of your physique.

I’m going to break this article into two parts. Part One will cover the food we are going to have in our refrigerator and the dry foods and supplements that will go into your cabinets. Part Two focuses on food prep and the foods that can be made in bulk and frozen to allow you to eat healthy and delicious muscle-building, fat-melting foods with minimal time invested.

Steve healthy carb choices

Ideally, we want to consume more of the slower assimilated carbs,

as the sustainded-release nature of these foods tends to replenish glycogen stores while minimizing fat storage.

Obviously, a good standard rule for everyone reading this should be: Do not bring home any food that will detract from your physique. If you are someone that likes the occasional dessert in the off-season, I recommend that you make a separate trip to a restaurant to treat yourself. This will keep you from late-night emotional eating binges and will keep you from feeling as though you have to eat the entire pie or half-gallon of ice cream so as not to let it go to waste (or in this case, waist).

Following the restaurant-only dessert rule obviously does not mean anything is fair game – frequency and quantity must be taken into account. If the people at the local Cheesecake Factory keep a table set aside for you or if your local Applebee’s names a dessert after you, treats may be making adverse effects on your physique.

Planned treats, in limited quantities and frequency, should not make a huge impact on your body composition in the off-season. The key is to make this the exception, not the way you eat every day.

Another useful step when rehashing your eating program is to do a complete clean sweep of your refrigerator and cupboards. Gather up the ice cream, the chips, the bread and the crackers – if it is not something that will encourage the lean, muscular look you want, pitch it! We will need the room for quality bodybuilding foods.

Now let’s start our trip through the grocery store. All bodybuilding diets begin with protein intake. By necessity this must be divided into whole food and powdered sources. Let’s see what items we are going to be placing in our carts...

Whole Food Protein

Half your protein intake should be whole food sources
At least half of your protein intake should be from whole food sources. Free-range cuts and grass-fed beef provide meat with lower levels of saturated fats, greater nutrient profiles and better taste, but there is also an added expense involved so I’ll leave that choice up to you.

Beef. The benefits of beef are well established, providing most of us with our daily allotments of protein, zinc and iron. Old school powerlifters consumed king-sized sirloin steaks the day before big lift attempts because they knew it made them stronger. Now we know it is because every pound of beef contains roughly two grams of creatine. Since we want to limit saturated fats, pay slightly more for the leaner (90 or 95% lean) ground sirloins rather than the high-fat (70% or so lean) ground beefs or ground chuck. Your leanest cuts of beef include: round tip, tenderloin, top round, top loin, sirloin and eye of round.

Chicken. Few groups of people pack away as much chicken as bodybuilders. As always, trim your chicken well and remove the skin, which contains a majority of the fat. Of course most of us buy skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Convenience Option. Chicken tenders, fresh or frozen in a bag are great and make the prep work a cinch. Tyson also has oven roasted skinless chicken breasts ready to heat in your microwave.

Turkey. One of the best proteins you can find for precontest dieting is 99% lean ground turkey breast. This is becoming available at more and more groceries. 90% lean ground turkey contains slightly more fat, but is perfect if you are following Beverly’s 50-20-30 nutritional guidelines. Convenience Option. Another convenient item is the ready to heat roasted turkey breast (they’re called fully cooked entrees and you’ll usually find them in the meat section of your supermarket.) Pork loin is also available in this heat and eat format. As always, check the nutritional info. If there are less than 5 grams of fat per serving it’s good to go. One caution is these ready-to-heat-and-eat items are fairly high in sodium so use them once or twice a week for convenience, but not at every meal.

Fish. A great source of omega-3s and protein, fish provides a light main course while its flaky texture makes it filling (and therefore great while on a reduced calorie diet). Those that like fish with a mild flavor should stick with halibut, orange roughy, red snapper, cod or trout.

Tuna/Salmon. Although canned tuna is a bodybuilding staple, consider switching to (or alternating in) canned salmon, as it is higher in omega-3 fatty acids. Both are convenient carb-free protein sources. They can be grilled as salmon or tuna patties, added to salads, stuffed in pitas or baked inside of tomatoes or peppers for a healthy snack. Shrimp is another good source of protein and the cocktail sauce that goes with it is fine in moderation. Convenience Option. Tuna (and chicken too) are now available in vacuum packed bags so you don’t even need a can opener. You can also get the better tasting but more expensive albacore in vacuum packed bags.

Eggs. Some hatcheries (such as Egglands Best or Land-o-Lakes) feed their hens special whole-grain diets so that they produce eggs high in omega-3 fatty acids. If your grocery carries omega-3 eggs yoshould definitely pick up a couple of cartons.

Convenience Option

One of the most exciting changes in grocery stores over the past decade is the addition of bodybuilding staples. One of these is pre-prepped egg whites in cartons. Now there is no need to feel guilty about dumping the yolks. The manufacturer handled the shell cracking for you and provides them in a pasteurized and convenient container. Each cup is the equivalent to four eggs (24 grams of protein).

Before heading off to the grocery store, it is important to quantify your weekly protein needs. By way of example, I have filled out the following chart based on a diet in which I would consume three whole food servings of protein a day to go along with my two to three Beverly protein shakes (depending on if I was training on that day or not).

Breakfast

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Total

Amount to buy

Lean ground beef

6 oz

 

6 oz

6 oz

 

6 oz

6 oz

30 oz

2 lbs

Ground Turkey

 

8 oz

 

 

8 oz

 

 

16 oz

1 lb

Omega-3 eggs

2

1

2

2

1

2

2

12

1 dozen

Egg whites

¾ cup

1 cup

¾ cup

¾ cup

1 cup

¾ cup

¾ cup

46 oz

3 – 16 oz cartons


Lunch

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Total

Amount to buy

Chicken Tenders

10 oz

 

 

10 oz

 

 

10 oz

30 oz

2 lb bag

Tuna (cans or pouch)

 

 

2

 

 

2

 

4

4 cans or pouches

Ground turkey

 

8 oz

 

 

8 oz

 

 

16 oz

1 lb


Dinner

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Total

Amount to buy

Chicken Breast

 

 

8 oz

 

8 oz

 

 

16 oz

1 lb

Beef Tenderloin

 

 

 

8 oz

 

 

8 oz

16 oz

1 lb

Pre Roasted Turkey Breast or Pork Loin

 

10 oz

 

 

 

 

 

10 oz

1 package

Fish filets

12 oz

 

 

 

 

12 oz

 

24 oz

1.5 lbs

My whole food protein grocery list for the week is:
1. Lean ground beef: 2 sixteen-ounce packages
2. Steak: 1 pound of beef tenderloin
3. Fresh skinless chicken breast: 1 pound
4. Chicken Tenders: 1 two-pound bag
5. Ground turkey: 2 pounds
6. Pre roasted turkey or pork loin: 1 package
7. Fish filet: 1.5 pounds
8. Tuna: 4 cans or pouches
9. Omega-3 eggs: one dozen
10. Liquid egg whites: 3 sixteen-ounce cartons

Powdered Protein

Getting in five to seven meals a day, with thirty to sixty grams of protein in each of them would be close to impossible without being able to drink some of our protein. Two or three shakes a day make a high-protein intake possible while freeing up enough time for you to have a real life. Since many of you take in different protein shakes on workout and non-workout days, a chart similar to what I filled out below might be useful.


Mid Morning shake

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Total

Ultimate Muscle Protein

scoops

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

14

 

Post-workout shake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muscle Provider

scoops

2

 

2

 

2

 

2

8

Mass Maker

scoops

3

 

3

 

3

 

3

12

 

Evening pudding/shake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ultra Size

scoops

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

14


We add up the scoops of protein from the chart to determine how many scoops of each is required for a one-month supply:

SERVINGS PER CONTAINER

MYREQUIREMENTS FOR 1 MONTH

Muscle Provider: 32 scoops per can

32 scoops ̧0.32 = 1 (1 jar)

Ultimate Muscle Protein: 35 scoops per can

56 scoops 0.35 = 1.6 (2 jars)

Ultimate Muscle Protein: 30 scoops per can

56 ̧0.30 = 1.86 (2 jars)

Mass Maker: 51 scoops per can

48 ̧0 51 = 0.94 (1 jar)

So my Beverly protein order for the month period is:
1. Muscle Provider (chocolate): 1 jar
2. Ultimate Muscle Protein (vanilla): 1 jar
3. Ultimate Muscle Protein (cookies & créme): 1 jar
4. Ultimate Muscle Protein (chocolate): 2 jars
5. Mass Maker (vanilla): 1 jar

While you might think, What are supplements doing on a grocery list? protein definitely expands beyond supplement status to become core elements in your eating plan. As such, they require you to make them a part of your meal plan.

Starchy Carbs

On almost any bodybuilding diet we will be limiting our starchy carb intake, with those servings being placed in the morning, mid-day or near our weight training session. Depending on your goals at a particular time, you might be consuming anywhere from two servings of starchy carbs a day (for fat loss) to four servings (off-season muscle gain), with the serving sizes determined by your metabolism and how you train.

As you may know from previous articles, a primary determinant of the value of a carb is how quickly it is broken down (and therefore its Glycemic Index). Ideally, we want to consume more of the slower assimilated carbs, as the “sustained-release” nature of these foods tends to replenish glycogen stores while minimizing fat storage.

When it comes to grains, the method of processing can greatly affect the Glycemic Index of the food. Grains such as rice and oats have been altered for modern convenience, which has affected their value. For example, groats (raw, unprocessed oat kernels) are a hearty, fiber-rich grain that is extremely filling. The downside is that they take about twenty minutes to cook in a steamer.

While you may feel that your schedule does not allow you to slow-cook your rice and oatmeal, I recommend you at least try whole grains out. These can be purchased in bulk at many health food groceries. By using a slow cooker (a $25-30.00 investment) you can simply drop in the measured ingredients, set a timer, go about your morning prep and return when they are ready to be eaten.

Breakfast Grains. My personal favorite breakfast blend involves a mixture of: 1) Groats, 2) Amaranth, 3) Kamut, 4) Spelt and 5) Quinoa. I find that mixing two parts groats with one part of each of the other grains creates a great texture. When steamed together, these grains provide a variety of nutrients, a great dose of fiber and a great wholesome flavor. I season with Splenda, some Olivio butter substitute and a dash of cream. Give it a try.

Oatmeal. Oatmeal can be prepared in a variety of ways to enhance its flavor. A tablespoon of cashew or almond butter dropped in before cooking provides rich flavor and healthy fats. A scoop of Ultimate Muscle Protein protein makes oatmeal a great full-spectrum nutritious meal. Want apple and cinnamon oatmeal without all the sugary junk found in the instant packets? Simply add one or two tablespoons of no-sugar added applesauce, a sprinkling of Splenda and a half-teaspoon of ground cinnamon. “Quick” oats are okay if you are on a time budget but avoid the instant oatmeal packets. For variety, try Cream of Rice, Cream of Rye or grits but oatmeal or the whole grain breakfast blend mentioned earlier, should be the base of your regular diet.

Rice. Rice is easily digested and safe for those concerned with food allergies. Brown rice is an excellent choice here. Refined white rice has had the bran and germ removed, which reduces its nutritional value and fiber level. Wild rice and brown rice are better than white rice for bodybuilding purposes.

Convenience Option – you can now find both wild rice and brown rice (along with the less desirable white rice) in microwaveable pouches. One brand I’ve used is Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice. It takes just 90 seconds to prepare.

Beans. Although beans might seem as if they fit better into the vegetable section, they behave in many ways like the starchy carbs listed here. Beans are also often served with rice because, while incomplete proteins when consumed on their own, rice and beans complement one another, filling in the missing amino acids in each other’s nutrient profile. They are rich in fiber and give a slow, sustained release energy source. Convenience Option – Bush’s canned black beans takes just two minutes to heat in your microwave. Black beans, brown rice, and ground turkey makes a terrific bodybuilding lunch you can prepare in minutes.

Sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes have gained popularity with bodybuilders because of the fact that they are an ideal slow-burning carb source. Baked or boiled, they provide a delicious, naturally sweet part of your meal. Convenience Option: Try Bruce’s canned yams, but be sure to get the not packed in syrup version.

Potatoes. Baked white potatoes are broken down quickly, relegating them to post-workout carb replenishing status. Redskin new potatoes break down slowly making them the preferred option.

Fibrous Carbs

Fibrous vegetables are the secret weapons of every bodybuilder that has ever dieted for contest leanness. Not only does the added fiber increase fullness, challenge the metabolism and provide a feeling of fullness, but also it decreases the Glycemic index of the rest of the meal when added to starchy carbs. In order to stay lean, two to three servings of fiber should be a part of your everyday eating, including your off-season intake. In order to obtain as broad a spectrum of nutrients, try your best to eat the rainbow by including red, white, yellow and orange vegetables along with the standard greens that make up most of the produce department. Include steamed veggies along with raw salads and cut vegetables like celery, carrots, peppers, broccoli and cauliflower.

Salads. While dieting, a mixed salad (various types of lettuce or spinach) can be an indispensable addition. While lettuce might seem lower in nutrients than many vegetables, it contains large amounts of cellulose and water, making it very filling while on low carbs. Convenience Option – Prewashed salad in a bag, of course.

Spinach. Although a great source of iron, chlorophyll and carotenoids, I think the greatest value of spinach lies in its flavor. When lightly cooked in olive oil with diced garlic, it makes a great additive to omelets. Baby spinach also is a good alternative to lettuce salads. Convenience Option ≶ Prewashed bagged spinach. Frozen spinach that you can heat in your microwave is another practical option.

Broccoli and Cauliflower. These cruciferous vegetables are a staple in every bodybuilding diet because they are filling and contain plenty of fiber. Convenience Option – Steamfresh fresh frozen vegetables. No prep time, you can steam them right in the bag.

More Fibrous Carb Options.

  • Asparagus. Rich in folate and B-vitamins, asparagus also has a mild diuretic effect making it an excellent pre contest vegetable.
  • Green Beans. Because of their convenience, green beans are the canned veggie of choice when you don’t have time to steam fresh veggies.
  • Mushrooms. They add texture and taste when grilled with onions or chopped into brown or wild rice.
  • Zucchini and Summer Squash. These seasonal veggies are filling and taste great when steamed with a touch of lemon and some light herbs.
  • Tomatoes. Although technically a fruit, they tend to normally be grouped with veggies in the produce section.
  • Bell Peppers. Available in green, orange, red and yellow. While grilling can sometimes bring out the flavor of peppers and onions, there may be some loss in nutrient value. Raw or steamed veggies should make up most of your intake, but light grilling or baking is a good way to add variety.
UMP Berrry Pudding
Once considered fruta non grata in bodybuilding diets, fruit has been shown to be an essential part of a lifter’s year-round eating program.
The nearer the top of the list, the more you can eat.

More Recipes: http://www.bevnut.com/recipes/

Fruit

Grab one or two bags of frozen berries to be diced into hot cereal or blended into your Beverly protein shakes as well as at least one piece of fresh fruit to be eaten each day. Canned pineapple, peaches or mixed fruit (never in syrup) can be mixed into cottage cheese and yogurt. This will allow you to avoid the heavy sugars, syrupy juice concentrates and pseudo-healthy preserves found in typical supermarket yogurts.

I’ve listed in priority order what I consider to be the best fruits for the lifter who is interested in improving his/her body composition, i.e. more muscle and less fat.

Grapefruit. This low-calorie fiber source contains naringin (the flavanol that gives grapefruit its tart taste). Naringin has been shown to slow the breakdown of caffeine and to extend the active life of testosterone in the bloodstream. There are also theories that something in grapefruit may reduce insulin secretions and improve fat burning.

Berries. A handful of fresh or frozen berries diced into your oatmeal or blended into a protein shake, are a low-carb way to make your diet more enjoyable.

Lemons and Limes. A great low-calorie flavoring squeezed over fish, chicken or veggies.

Cantaloupe. Half a cantaloupe works great at breakfast, even on a precontest diet.

Peaches. Peaches, like berries, are lower carb and great to add to your Ultimate Muscle Protein pudding or protein shake. Just don’t go overboard when trying to achieve maximum leanness as they do contain a greater proportion of simple sugars.

Pineapple. Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps with the digestion of protein. (For this reason, add pineapple to your cottage cheese, yogurt or on top of your chicken breast right before eating).

Apples and Pears. A little higher in carbs but filled with fiber. These fruits work on a gain muscle lose fat diet, but not all the way up to the contest. Apple juice (or actually any fruit juice), should be avoided because, without its inherent fiber, it quickly jacks up blood glucose levels.

Bananas. Although a great source of fine fiber and potassium, bananas contain too much simple sugar for us to eat them by the bunch. Depending on your metabolism, you may wish to limit them to half a banana at a sitting (those sensitive to carbs may only be able to eat them pre- or post-workout). They can be eaten as a snack, diced into your oatmeal or mixed into an Ultra size pudding as a treat.

Oranges. Oranges are rich in fiber, vitamin-c and beta-carotene. The pith and segment walls contain powerful bioflavonoids that increase the activity of vitamin-c. A great self-contained snack.

Healthy Fats, Fiber and Fluids

These are the all-important, but often neglected superstars of nutrition. The human body is a complex, interactive system. Muscle growth and fat loss tend to best occur when the body operates optimally – fats, fiber and fluids are an essential part of this. Medical journals are flooding us with evidence of the health-promoting effects of healthy fats. Pay special attention to increasing your consumption of omega-3 oils (linolenic acids), most commonly found in fish oils. Fiber supplements, particularly some of the nutrient-rich varieties available will further improve general health. Lastly, lots of clean filtered water will provide that final ingredient necessary to perform at your best.

EFA Gold. EFA Gold capsules are crucial because they contain the specific fats that are most commonly deficient in the diet and will help you balance your fat intake. Divide capsules into two or three daily doses with meals for optimal health, improved body composition and recuperation. This supplement should be a part of everyone’s daily intake, even those that choose not to work out.

Olive oil. This should be a staple in your diet and a part of your everyday calorie intake. Olive oil contains a very high quality monounsaturated fat, which has beneficial effects on your cholesterol levels. Olive oil is also a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory effects. Stick to extra-virgin olive oil, (which means it was extracted from olives without the use of heat or chemicals). Olive oil based salad dressings like Newman’s Own oil and vinegar provide an easy way to get your allotment without cooking.

Nuts. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and other nuts make excellent sources of protein and healthy oils. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Nut butter (especially cashew or almond). Look for an all-natural brand without added sugar salt or hydrogenated oils. These are great simply eaten by the spoonful, added to your oatmeal, mixed in a protein shake, or smeared on a sliced apple.

Avocados. This vegetable is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. Sliced onto a salad or mashed into a dip, it can add moisture and flavor to your diet. Also great in omelets or whenever you want to add a south of the border flair to grilled chicken or steak.

Olive oil-based butter substitute. Olivio –Send huge props out to Lee Iacocca for coming out with this trans fat-free olive and vegetable oil butter substitute. It tastes great and is high in Omega-3s. Another option is... Smart Balance Omega-Plus Buttery Spread – Similar to Olivio, designed to lower cholesterol levels.

Butter Buds. This granulated butter substitute is made from maltodextrin, rice starch and butter. Butter Buds are good for when you need to add a small amount of flavor to warm, moist foods, such as sweet potatoes, rice or veggies.

Powdered fiber supplement. Some of the better fiber products, such as Udo’s Wholesome Fast Food Blend or Greens+ derive nutrients from dozens of concentrated sources. Even if you are consuming three servings of veggies a day, there is no way a person could have the time, access, appetite or money to consume enough food to provide the broad array of phytonutrients possible with one of these specialized fiber supplements. Personally, I use both brands, alternating them daily to provide even greater variety. Start slowly with these (1/2 tablespoon a day the first week) so that your digestive system can adapt to the higher fiber levels.

Filtered water. Anyone trying to build a lean, muscular body needs to drink at least a gallon of water daily. If you are not buying pure, filtered bottled water, I recommend purchasing a Brita water filtration pitcher at the very least. This will minimize any impurities in the water and allow you to keep yourself safely hydrated.

Green Tea and Coffee. If you don’t consider yourself a tea-totaler, you may want to reconsider that status. Green tea has been clearly established as both an effective fat burner and a source of powerful antioxidants. It makes a great addition to any lifter’s grocery cart. If you prefer java, avoid the sugary, whipped cream and chocolate shaving-coated specialty drinks. The caffeine in regular coffee is a great fat burner. Just stick to calorie-free sweeteners like Splenda and keep the cream to a minimum. Convenience Option. Look for ready to drink diet green tea by Arizona or Lipton.

Spices, Sauces and Marinades

In the documentary movie, Raising the Bar competitive bodybuilder Dave Pulcinella, after being incessantly berated by family members for his bland pre-contest bodybuilding diet, declares, Flavor is bad! I hate flavor!

While there is a certain amount of value to simplicity while on a strict diet, there are some simple additives that can not only take your diet from bland to gourmet, but also improve your health and physique in the process. Best of all, these additives will elevate your bland muscle-building diet to enjoyable gourmet meals that will have you looking forward to the next healthy meal.

If you are a spice novice, try some of these pre-made spice blends:

  • Italian Herb Blend: One common brand comes from McCormick and includes basil, rosemary, garlic, and sea salt and other herbs in a convenient grinder.
  • Chinese Five-Spice: This blend of ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, pepper and thyme (with star anise sometimes also included) is a great addition to any dish you want to give an Asian flavor.
  • Grillmates Montreal Chicken: McCormack makes this great mixture of roasted garlic, black pepper, onion, parsley, coriander and paprika blend. I use this liberally when grilling chicken.
  • Emeril’s Original Essence: Similar to the Grillmates Montreal Chicken blend since it is high in paprika and black pepper, garlic and onion but when you use this stuff you get to yell, BAM! every time you sprinkle some on.
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning: (various brands) This is great for chicken or fish.
  • Chef Paul Prudhommes’ Magic Seasoning Blends: These well-crafted herb mixtures are available in blends for poultry, meat, veggies and seafood. Try them out.

Other great flavor enhancers include salsa (great with eggs or almost anything you used to put ketchup on), hot sauce, and barbecue sauce (look for very low carb varieties). For your salads, try red wine vinegar and olive oil with herbs for added flavor (lemon or limejuice and garlic are also options).

Hopefully, this article has opened your mind to new food items that can expand your current selections and improve your physique. The key to getting the most out of your trip to the grocery store is in pre-planning. The info in this article and the included shopping list will help you make the most of your nutrition program.

In Part Two, I will share secrets of efficient food preparation and tell you techniques for bulk food production. Why not cook twelve meals at once so that you can, with only a reasonable amount of time invested, eat a variety of delicious bodybuilding meals with all the convenience of a TV dinner?

REFERENCES:
Gold, Rozanne. Cooking 1-2-3. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2003.
Hill, Tony. The Spice Lover’s Guide to Herbs and Spices. John Wiley and Sons, 2004.
Kleiner, Susan. Power Eating (second edition). Human Kinetics, 2001.
Miller, Jan. Better Homes and Gardens Make-Ahead Cooking. Meredith Corp. 2001.
Nestle, Marion. What to Eat. North Point Press, 2006.
Schmidt, Arno. Chef’s Book of Formulas, Yields, and Sizes (second edition). Wiley Publishing 1996.
Tribole, Evelyn, MS RD. Eating on the Run. Human Kinetics Publishers, 2004.
Van Straten, Michael and Barbara Griggs. SuperFoods. Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2006.