Fitness Diet
Fitness and Wellness

Fitness Diet

The term Fitness is used to define a series of physical exercises that are performed in gyms or sports facilities and are intended to achieve optimal physical condition and improve overall health.

It is always in continuous change and evolution, new trends, materials and activities arise, but the objective is always the same, the search for harmony and balance of the whole body, through aerobic work of resistance, strength and flexibility. 

To be “fit” or fit, you must work in a global way, also performing functional and varied exercises and avoiding specialization. That is to say, someone who focuses only on aerobic activities will have a lot of endurance and cardiopulmonary capacity, but will be lacking in other equally important physical capacities.

Training to increase protein synthesis at the muscular level and thus give rise to muscle development will vary according to the experience of the person and the stage of preparation in which he/she is, in addition there are various specific training methods to work on hypertrophy, but the general guidelines for developing muscle mass are:

– 3 – 4 sessions per week.

– 6 – 8 exercises.

– 3 – 6 sets of each exercise.

– 8 – 12 repetitions.

– 60”- 90” rest between sets.

In addition, it is important to perform exercises that involve several muscle groups (e.g.: pull-ups) instead of exercises where only one muscle group is involved (e.g.: biceps curl). Pay attention and control the eccentric phase of the exercise, since working this phase correctly facilitates gaining greater muscle mass, for example: in a bench press, the eccentric phase corresponds to the lowering of the bar. And, the range of motion should be wide for best results.

Also, remember that every 2 months or so you have to give new stimuli to the muscle to be able to continue to evolve and, therefore, it is necessary to change the exercises and/or the training method.

 Nutrition for muscle mass gain

What is the importance of nutrition when you want to increase the volume of your muscle mass?

A diet adapted to the physical characteristics and activity of the person, varied and balanced, will maximize the adaptations produced by physical exercise, i.e., the results and physical performance will be better.

The caloric intake will have to have an extra contribution of between 400 and 500 kcal per day to promote protein synthesis and the increase of muscle mass.

It is essential to have a high carbohydrate intake (cereals, bread, potatoes, legumes, fruits, vegetables…), since this increases protein retention and favors protein balance, thus preventing proteins from being used as a form of obtaining energy. In women, this carbohydrate intake should be higher than 4 g/kg body weight and in men higher than 6 g/kg body weight and day. Ingesting this nutrient before, during and after exercise reduces the use of protein to generate energy, since having muscle glycogen deposits at the correct level inhibits muscle catabolism, i.e., the destruction of muscle mass.

Protein intake for muscle mass increase

Protein needs (poultry, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts…) will also be increased, the maximum need to gain muscle mass is 1.7 g/kg of weight and day at the beginning of strength training. It is also true that the body eventually adapts to stress and protein needs are reduced, and in many cases an intake of 1.5 g/kg of body weight is sufficient.  Thus, an intake of between 1.5 and 1.7 g/kg body weight and day will cover the needs, and it is also good to ingest both animal protein (poultry, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products) and vegetable protein (legumes, cereals, nuts).

If the protein intake exceeds 2 g/kg of weight and day, not only will it not be of any benefit to the body, but it will have a negative influence on it, since the levels of uric acid, ammonia and urea will be considerably increased, affecting and directly overloading the liver and kidneys, organs in charge of processing and eliminating these substances, which in large quantities are toxic for the body. In addition, an exaggeratedly high protein intake will also have a negative impact on calcium assimilation.

The intake of fats will be around 25-30 % of the total daily intake, a lower intake is neither advisable nor healthy since it puts at risk the absorption of liposoluble vitamins, among other functions. Priority should be given to monounsaturated fats (oil, avocado, nuts) and polyunsaturated fats (nuts, seeds, oily fish).

Is there anything to eat at the end of training?

Between 1 and 4 hours post-exercise and to take advantage of the metabolic window, it is important to have a carbohydrate and protein intake, having some food with a high glycemic index such as skimmed milk or juice to promote protein retention. The ideal balance is: 3:1 or 4:1 being 1 g/kg of weight of carbohydrates and 0.3 g /kg of weight of protein. In other words, an athlete weighing 75 kg should ingest 75 g of carbohydrates and 22 g of protein at the end of his training.

What other supplements can be effective for muscle gain?

In addition to hydrolyzed whey protein, there are other supplements that have shown benefits in training to increase strength and muscle mass. These are: creatine and OH-methylbutyric acid or HMB (leucine metabolite), both of which are also found naturally in foods.

Creatine allows to increase the levels of phosphocreatine in the muscle, thus facilitating the generation of more ATP, the fuel necessary to perform the exercises aimed at developing muscle mass, which can improve strength and therefore muscle mass. As it causes fluid retention, it is important that those who supplement with creatine drink sufficient amounts of water. And HMB prevents muscle breakdown and increases protein synthesis, promoting increased strength.

Supplements can only offer benefits if the training (order of exercises, intensity, speed of execution…), nutrition and hydration and rest are optimal. In addition, before taking any supplement it is advisable to receive advice from a specialized dietician-nutritionist, to know if it is appropriate to take it, and if so, to know how, when and during what period it should be taken.

Finally, it should be noted that each person has a genetic component and hormone levels (testosterone, growth hormone, IGF-1 and cortisol) that condition and vary the response to the same training from one individual to another.