Muscle Power- The Protein and the Pump

Published: 06-23-2007
No matter how healthy and physically fit a person is, the main goal of any personal training program is improved body composition.

Tips for optimal muscle power:

1. Drink plenty of water! Your muscles are 75% water. When you are well hydrated your muscles are able to perform at their peak. A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces each day plus an addition 10-16 ounces on heavy workout days. That means a 180 pound man should consume 90 to 100 ounces of water each day. And be sure to stay away from sports drinks that are full of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Don't be fooled by the name- food manufacturers can be very misleading. For example, Vitamin Water sounds healthy but it has 13 grams of sugar for an 8 ounce serving and there are 2.5 servings per bottle (that's 32.5 grams of sugar). By comparison, a 12 ounce can of coke has 40 grams of sugar.

2. Fuel your muscles before a workout! Think that you'll burn more calories by starving yourself before a workout? Do you notice a feeling of lightheadedness halfway through a tough session? Your muscles need fuel and they prefer glucose. Consuming a small amount of complex carbohydrates before your workout will ensure a sustained release of glucose so your muscles can do the hard work you are demanding of them. Try a piece of fruit, a yogurt, mozzarella cheese stick and Triscuits, or sandwich on whole wheat bread about 60 minutes before your workout. Again, stay away from high- sugar sports or granola bars. If the bar has more than 8-10 grams of sugar or contains high fructose corn syrup, do your muscles a favor and pick a different one.

3. Rebuild with protein! After a workout, give you muscles protein for the repair and building phase. The building blocks of muscle are amino acids. And the best way to get a complete ratio of the 9 essential amino acids (ones your body cannot manufacture on their own) is by eating high-quality, concentrated protein. Choose lean cuts of meat like turkey, chicken, eggs and fish. Other good choices include pork or beef tenderloin, fat free cottage cheese or reduced fat mozzarella cheese, soy veggie burgers- you get the idea. Try to eat some protein about an hour after a workout. But be careful not to get confused- consuming huge amounts of protein alone does not build muscle. It is the combination of resistance training and replenishing with protein that builds muscle. How much protein does the average person engaged in a personal training program need? The general recommendation is 0.6-0.9 grams per pound of body weight. For example, a 120 pound woman should get 72-108 grams per day while a 200 pound man should get 120-180 grams per day. 1 ounce of meat contains 7 grams and 8 ounces of milk has 8 grams of protein so it is pretty easy to get exactly what you need from a well-balanced diet.

4. Get your B vitamins! Studies show that getting adequate vitamins B6, B12, folate, riboflavin and thiamin help people work out longer and repair muscle faster by keeping lactic acid levels in check. The only natural source of B12 is in meat products- choose lean versions like turkey. Vitamin B6 is plentiful in bananas, tuna and whole grains. Dairy is full of riboflavin and folate and thiamin are fortified in breakfast cereals. Folate is also found in green leafy vegetables and orange juice. Almost everyone can benefit from a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement to ensure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs to function optimally in today's faced paced world.

So go rev up that metabolism and build some muscle- with the protein and the pump.

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