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What's So Good About Calories - Eating For Growth



Posted in: Training Articles, Articles by ProSource, Supplement Articles, Protein
By Douglas S. Kalman MS, RD, FACN | Feb 21, 2007



Eating for GrowthFor many people, reducing caloric intake is a critical factor in their regimen. For most bodybuilders, however, consuming large quantities of calories on a daily basis is a key component to significant growth. But it is essential to know the good calories from the bad, especially when your intake is high. The wrong calories at the wrong time can make all the difference between optimum and awful results. Life itself is dependent upon eating, for that matter, growing is also dependent upon the intake of calories. A calorie is simply defined as a measure of energy. Specifically it is the amount of energy it takes to raise one gram of water by one degree Celsius. In essence, food is measured in "calories" because it is used as fuel for the body. For the health enthusiast, there is much to be learned about the "calorie". When considering the "virtues" of calories, there are several variables to keep in mind. The different needs, which we all have at various ages, is the first consideration. For example, a newborn baby will have different energy needs than the person who exercises for an hour, four times per week. Also, we must consider the relative quality of the foods a person eats, since this will also effect their overall needs. Remember the amount of protein that your body will absorb is very much dependent on the type of protein that you eat. In keeping with that theme, if insufficient overall calories are ingested, than no matter how many grams of protein one eats, the protein will be utilized for energy. This is called gluconeogenesis. The Beginning... A primer in basic nutrition is warranted to begin to discuss the benefits of calories and why proper selection and not total avoidance or over-consumption is what you should be looking to achieve. Calories contain or release energy. Each of the three macronutrients is assigned a caloric value, which represents how much energy is liberated upon their utilization. Carbohydrates and protein are "scored" four calories per gram, fat is nine calories per gram and alcohol contains 7.1 calories per gram. There are many facets that help dictate how many calories a day we need to maintain body weight. One of the interesting aspects of eating is that it takes energy and thus calories to digest the very food you eat. This is known as "thermic effect of food" or TEF. The importance of TEF is recognized once you take into context which nutrient has what effect on metabolism (See Figure 1). Other important factors that influence overall caloric needs are activity levels, sleep patterns, work cycle (in general, graveyard shift workers have a slower metabolism), and body surface area.
FIGURE 1
Macronutrient Source Calories Eaten Calories Used Net Retained
Carbohydrate 100 4 96 calories
Fat 100 3 97 calories
Protein 100 7 93 calories
From the perspective of determining caloric needs, age and body size dictate the greatest percentage of overall caloric needs. Would you be surprised to learn that an infant needs the greatest amount of calories per pound of body weight? Well, it's true; an infant needs as much as 238 calories per pound of body weight to promote healthy growth. Why the reference to a baby needs? The answer lies in the reason for the higher caloric needs. Growth, growth, growth! Let's compare the infants needs to a 30 year old male, the National Academy of Sciences states "a typical or average 30 year old male needs only 18 calories per pound for health" (1). Why the disparity and how does it pertain to gaining healthy weight as a health enthusiast involved with weight lifting? In many ways, let's continue this venture of caloric gorging to see. The Meal... It seems like whenever I am in the gym or teaching a exercise physiology class the questions is always asked, how do I gain lean muscle weight and not excess fat? Well the answer is two-fold. First the recipe, so to speak for gaining lean weight and not excessive fat lies in both determining your total caloric need and the timing of your meals. Secondly, the reason that some people do not gain properly no matter how much they eat is called "futile cycling". Let's break this into two sections to explore the subject further.
FIGURE 2
Your Body Weight Multiplication Factor Daily Caloric Needs
175 10 1750
175 12 2100
175 15 2625
175 18 3150
* The higher the multiplication factor, the more weight you will gain

Addressing the issue of meal timing is our next obstacle. It is true that a "window of opportunity" exists as to when you should eat certain meals. This is partially the answer to gaining healthy weight. What is the window? Well, simply put, if you eat certain foods at certain times throughout the day you can influence the hormonal milieu tilting the anabolic hormones in your favor. For example Drs. Ivy and Chandler demonstrated that after an exercise session which consists of mainly resistance exercise, if a person eats a carbohydrate/protein meal or shake within one hour of completing the workout and again four hours later, he (only shown in males) will have higher testosterone and growth hormone levels than if a person just ate protein or carbohydrate alone (2). In this landmark study the ratio of carbohydrate to protein (CHO:Pro) was 2:1. This is not so easy to translate into foods, but picture for every 1 chicken breast (~32 grams) you also consume 1 big sweet potato (~64 grams carbohydrate). This can also be accomplished by having a meal replacement shake that has a 2:1 ratio of CHO/Pro or by using a protein powder like NytroWhey Extreme and adding watered down apple juice instead of water. NytroWhey Extreme is a CFM whey isolate protein powder engineered to include the potent arginine AKG which helps to open up the blood vessels and flood the working muscles with the fuel for serious growth. While we're on this topic, it's critical to point out that all protein powders do NOT deliver the same muscle-building results. I urge you to be aware of inferior brands that currently flood the marketplace. To pack 5 or 10 pounds of protein into a container or bag and practically give it away should put up some serious red flags. Sure, I agree that the price is nice and who doesn't want to save some money, but think about it. What good does it actually do if your body is using only a fraction of what you are drinking? To go with a premium brand like ProSource is to feel confident that what you are paying for will actually work, and deliver results. The whey isolate in NytroWhey has been a critical element in the construction of bodybuilders for years, and provides the most potent protein known to man, period. Simply put, don't sacrifice quality for quantity. It will show when you step in front of the mirror. Enough said on this topic, let's move on. One of the keys to gaining weight is to eat several high quality meals per day. The following meal plan is an example of a heart-healthy, high-calorie meal plan: Carbohydrates are composed of carbon and water. Atoms of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen combine to form carbohydrate compounds. There are three kinds of carbohydrates. These are monosaccharides, oligosaccarides, and polysaccharides. These carbohydrates have either a plant or animal origin. The main function of a carbohydrate is to serve as an energy fuel for the body. The energy derived from the breakdown of glucose (monosaccharide) and glycogen (polysaccharide) is ultimately used to power muscular contraction as well as other forms of biological work. Carbohydrates also provide a "protein sparing" effect. Under normal conditions protein serves a vital role in the maintenance, repair, and growth of body tissues, and to a small degree, as an energy source. When carbohydrate reserves are diminished metabolic pathways exist for the synthesis of glucose (blood sugar) from protein and the glycerol portion of the fat molecule. Carbohydrates also serve as a "primer" for fat metabolism. If insufficient carbohydrate exists for whatever reason, the body will start to mobilize fat faster than it can be handled. This can result in the formation of ketone bodies, which in itself can lead to acidosis. One other major role of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the central nervous system. The brain almost exclusively uses glucose as a fuel. The best dietary sources for carbohydrates in ranking order are: oatmeal, whole grain pasta, brown rice, sweet potato, white potato, multigrain bread, shredded wheat, beans, legumes, fresh fruit, and all vegetables. I touched on it in the above sample meal plan but will dive in a bit more now. In today's world, which is far from perfect on the time management side for athletes looking to take their physique to the next level, every one is in a rush. That being said, seems like we all at times have an excuse why we missed a meal, had to hit the drive through, or were just too plain lazy to whip up some eggs. Not to mention couldn't muster up the strength to choke down another chicken breast. This is where the protein bar comes into play. When you're looking for a bar you need to seriously consider a few important things. First and foremost, is the thing good enough to eat day after day, meal after meal, without wanting to throw it out the window? I've been there so believe me I understand. The Supreme Protein bar contains the same quality protein found in the NytroWhey Extreme along with real dry roasted peanuts, caramel, and it's enrobed in real milk chocolate. It's amazing because the product development team hunted for, and actually found the person who formulated the three top-selling candy bars on the market today. Yes, I said candy bars. This candy genius was tasked with making a protein bar that tastes exactly like a Snicker bar except it builds muscle. After months of trial and error and hundreds of samples, the Supreme Protein bar was brought to market. It's been the top selling bar ever since. Now you have the best protein possible mixed with the best source of complex carbs and once again enrobed in chocolate. With bars like this available, and a variety of flavors available in NytroWhey Extreme, there are no more excuses to not eat for lean mass gains. Proteins are similar to carbohydrates and fats in that proteins contain atoms of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. But, unlike these other macronutrients, proteins contain nitrogen from constituent amino acids. This fact makes proteins quite unique. There are 20 different amino acids required by the human body. Of these amino acids, there are two classifications: essential and non-essential. Essential amino acids cannot be synthesized in the body, whereas non-essential amino acids can be synthesized from various compounds ordinarily available. Two of the non-essential amino acids, taurine and histidine, may be essential for infants. Amino acids provide the major substance for the synthesis of cellular tissue as well as for new tissue. This synthesis is termed anabolism. Proteins, which make up about 15% of the body mass, play many roles in the human body. They serve as enzymes, hereditary material, structural and globular proteins; they also regulate acid-base quality of body fluids and are necessary for muscle contraction, hormones, and activation of selected vitamins in metabolic /physiological regulation. Ideal protein food sources in descending order: extra lean red meat, eggs, fresh fish, chicken, turkey, lean veal, and soy. Of the protein supplements, CFM-Whey isolate as found in NytroWhey Extreme is considered the best and easiest for the body to absorb. In other words, within the forms of whey protein, CFM whey isolate (NytroWhey Extreme) is the best with concentrates and hydrolysates falling behind in distant second and third place. BCAA's are also critical in your mass-building quest. ProSource offers a high-grade BCAA specifically formulated for this purpose. In addition to the NytroWhey Extreme, Supreme Protein bar, the BCAA's leave no stone unturned in the search for true rock hard muscle growth. Fats possess the same structural elements as carbohydrates. The linking of the specific atoms, however, is markedly different. The ratio of hydrogen to oxygen is considerably higher in the fat compound. Fats have three classifications: simple, compound, and derived. These are found in both plants and animal origin. Fats' most noteworthy functions in the body include providing the body's largest store of potential energy, serving as a cushion for the protection of vital organs, and providing insulation from the thermal stress of cold environments. Dietary fat also serves as a carrier and transport medium for the fat soluble vitamins. Interestingly enough, just twenty grams a day can serve this purpose. Fats also contribute about 50% of the energy required during light and moderate exercise; this percentage rises during prolonged work. Ideal food sources of fats include: fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna) for omega 3's, canola oil, flax seed oil, olive oil, sesame oil, walnuts, macadamia nuts and peanuts. One of the most effective ways of obtaining fats in the form of omega 3's is through the use of supplements such as Omega 1250. As with every other product in the premium ProSource line, you are assured high quality combined with high potency and true efficacy. Omega 3's are so effective that the FDA allows companies to make heart health claims! Omega 1250's are a must in your supplement program. Did you know that meal timing and eating the right types of fats may impact your hormone levels (testosterone) and that the impact may also have a long-term profound impact on your energy and body composition? Yes, that is right, learn to eat (or drink a protein based shake) within one-hour of exercise and it enhances your recovery, have a diet that includes monounsaturated fat and your testosterone levels are supported, eat frequently and you will also support "anabolism" ? thus eating every four hours plus taking the right types of supplements will lead to a bigger and possibly a better you. As you can see, there is more to calories than meets the eye. In fact, defining "what to eat" is not an easy topic. It is evident from the above-abridged writing that the topic of calories covers quite a bit. Consider that the key in obtaining good calories is to make the right food choices, time and plan your meals ahead, know how to make healthy food choices when dining out, and keep a food diary. Often, keeping a log of what you eat and how you feel after certain foods or meals is one of the keys to finding what works best for you. Try this out for a few months, keep a log, weigh yourself twice each week, avoid overtraining, and keep a close eye on your progress. In this way, you will master your optimum caloric intake in no time.

 

FIGURE 3
Time Meal Food
Wake up (6am) 1 1 cup oatmeal (quick cooking) 4 egg whites or a protein shake 8 oz. juice and 12 oz. water Coffee, 1% milk, sweetener
10 am 2 Low fat yogurt Add 2 scoops NytroWhey Extreme 12 - 16oz. water
1 pm 3 1 cup tossed salad, light dressing 6 oz. grilled chicken breast or protein shake. Also consider a protein bar like the Supreme Protein bar which consists CFM whey isolate protein. This with a glass of water can be a meal within itself for those on crazy schedules. ? cup steamed broccoli ? cup brown rice 12 oz. water
4 pm 4 Apple
6 pm Workout 75 minute workout (60% weights/40% aerobics)
8 pm 5 Protein shake mixed with fruit ( NytroWhey Extreme mixed with a banana)
10 pm 6 2 slices light whole wheat toast 3 egg whites
*Note: Some people, when wanting to put on extra weight, or get additional calories, will wake up in the middle of the night and have a small meal. Typically this is a protein shake consisting of high quality CFM whey isolate protein such as the protein in NytroWhey Extreme. After eating, go back to sleep. This will allow the body to ingest extra calories and can work for some people, while making others gain too much fat. So, be careful with this trick and pay attention to your body.

Editor's note: The key to a successful mass-building program lies in the blueprints you bring to the table. As much as training is a critical element to your success, it's fruitless unless it is supported by a well-planned nutrition program coupled with high quality supplements. An easy way to be sure you are meeting your protein needs is to use protein shakes, no question about it, they work. The NytroWhey Extreme contains only the highest-grade protein available (CFM whey isolate) and is the cornerstone to any mass-building program. While looking to consume quality carbohydrates one can turn to the Supreme Protein bar, which is powered by the same highly effective protein source found in NytroWhey Extreme. And last, but certainly not least, when looking to consume heart healthy fats turn to none other then the Omega 1250 supplement from the premium ProSource brand. For almost a decade, ProSource is known for using only the highest quality and most effective sources of raw materials found anywhere in the world. Now you can count on getting the results you've been looking for!


 

References 1) National Academy of Sciences. Recommended Dietary Allowances 10th ed. National Research Council, Washington, DC. 2) Chandler R, Ivy J, et al. Dietary supplements affect the anabolic hormones after weight training exercise. J Appl Physiol 1994;76(2):839-845.





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