FOOD CHOICE IS A BIG PART — THE BIGGEST PART — OF ACHIEVING THE PHYSIQUE YOU’RE LOOKING FOR, AND FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH. IT’S WHY YOU DON’T SEE A BODYBUILDER WHO’S PREPPING FOR A SHOW, SNACKING ON BON BON’S.
Although it COULD make sense at certain times, in general they’re looking to keep an environment of favorable insulin sensitivity, allowing for lower blood glucose levels, and a fat-burning/muscle-saving (otherwise known as anti-catabolic, for those keeping score at home) environment. Of course, if you’re not competing in bodybuilding, but you still want to eat for muscle growth and maintenance and stave off body fat (and most importantly, BE HEALTHY!), the foods you eat will play a large role in that.
“But sir, I want to keep the pump going for the chicks, you dig?” Who says, “You dig” anymore? That’s so 1975 (not that I have a problem with the ’70s. Willie Stargel, Jaws, Rocky, and the Golden Age of Bodybuilding were a “thing”. Viva La ’70s!). Anyways, sure, I acknowledge that you risk a certain loss in “pump” when you finally decide to eat clean. That is unless you employ critical nutrient timing and utilize select, healthy foods that will aid — even under the most strenuous circumstances — tremendous cell volumizing results. In other words, you’re eating clean, doing cardio and even “burning fat” while still being able to experience a “pump”! You see, there’s no reason NOT to look full and pumped, while being healthy, eating clean, and being lean. This goes for men AND women!
HERE ARE 7 THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW THAT WILL GIVE YOU THE “PUMP” YOU’RE LOOKING FOR….
1). Drink Water. It sounds simple enough, right? Water is God’s hydrating, cell quenching nectar! Look, it’s just smart to make sure you’re hydrated throughout the day, but take solace in knowing your muscle tissue is made up of amino acids and water — so don’t deplete yourself of what takes up 75% of your muscles.
2). Eat Berries1, especially Blueberries and Maqui Berries. I know, I know, you guys and gals are chuckling at this one, aren’t you? Well stop right there, you chucklin’ Cheshire’s. Blueberries and berries in general are LOW GLYCEMIC carbohydrates, so they don’t spike your blood glucose levels- therefore maintaining an ideal environment to burn fat. Also they’re rich in cell repairing antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory, potentially PUMP inducing anthocyanins and delphinidins. “Sir, Anthocya-what-ins?” Anthocyanins2 and delphinidins, have insulin mimetic (mimic the behavior/ expression of insulin) properties, and not only lower blood glucose, but can possibly aid in favorable glycogen storage into the muscle cell. Insulin is the body’s most anabolic hormone, and also a storage hormone. Taking nutrients that aid in this expression are only going to help you in your quest for the pump!
3). Drink Coffee3. I’m sure I’m going to have to twist a lot of arms here, right? Didn’t think so. You got it — the coffee bean has many interesting studies (though Im more infatuated with the Coffeeberry and its amazing potential), and also has caffeine, which can be an ergogenic aid in moderation.
4). Eat Rice, Potatoes, Pasta, and Sip on Intra Workout Carbs. Don’t adjust your screen, you read it right. Did I just contradict everything I’ve been preaching? Well, not exactly. You see, eating a clean diet- protein, greens, and low glycemic sources of carbs (per meal, carb portion should be the size of your fist) is something that will aid in providing a fat burning environment in your body, and as a result, get your body’s “table” set. Set for what? For muscle engorging, pump loving, sleeve burstin’, jaw droppin’ GLYCOGEN! You see, your body, when under a state of glycogen depletion, is now ready to have insulin levels brought back up to store. With favorable fruits like maqui berry and blueberries (Remember those anthocyanin and delphinidin storing powerhouses in those berries? They are ready to store, when your glycogen levels are low!) that can help drive nutrients to the cell, you should, at your most depleted state- carb up with the rice, pasta, and/or bread! If you are REALLY working out, and by working out I mean with weights and doing cardio, carbohydrates will be your friend in burning fat AND filling up those muscle bellies with pumpalicious glycogen, as long as you take it AT THE RIGHT TIME!
You’re most insulin sensitive when your body is in a fasted state and when under INTENSE physical stress. With that said, eat your carbs early in the day after you’ve slept a whole night without eating a meal (even if you just had a protein shake and flax oil before bed or even… in the middle of the night… also a great tune by Billy Joel — much love to the Piano Man!), which this guy HIGHLY recommends! So THEN your body’s insulin is ready to drive those carbs to the cell, for that fuller, more pumped look.
Also when you’re lifting, you SHOULD be working out to make progress, and not texting your pals on the bench…what I’m getting at is — if you’re working hard and lifting either A) Heavy weights, or B) Working at an intense pace/ little rest in between sets- you’re creating an environment for optimal muscle feed. Take those aminos (Peptide bonded aminos are what I recommend, for optimal muscle skeletal absorption) with a carbohydrate source and sip in between sets. Again, you’re taking God’s nectar (that’s water- again for those keepin’ score at home) and combining it with aminos and carbs, during a very prone state (subject to catabolism and glycogen depletion), muscle growth and PUMPS can occur. I’ll get into what carbohydrates I recommend during a workout in a future blog- but I shall address that!
So timing has a lot to do with nutrients having a positive effect in engorging muscle with glycogen and water to achieve that pump.
5). Spinach, Beets, Fermented Cabbage (sauerkraut, etc). Do you really think Popeye got jacked after eating a can of spinach by mistake? Spinach, cabbage and beets all contain naturally occurring nitrates and antioxidants that could have a cleansing effect on your body, fight free radical damage (immune health), and bring about vaso dilative effects as well. These foods would also be a great attribute to most people’s diets (always consult your dietician and doctor) from a healthy and clean perspective, because of the fibrous advantages they give, but also their contribution to overall vascular health can help your cause for the pump!
6). Supplements that enhance delivery of volume to the cell. There’s a few right off the top of my head that I like- a good carb source, water, and a few others:
A). Creatine Monohydrate. Perhaps the most studied ingredient of all to prove its efficacy, creatine monohydrate helps increase ATP, which has been shown in studies to improve power output, strength, and muscle cell volume (pump). There are multiple forms of creatine on the market- monohydrate is the least expensive and the most efficacious.
B). Glycerol4. Glycerol is the real deal- floods fluid to the muscle cell and in the process takes subcutaneous fluid away from your skin, giving that leaner, “dryer” look, while hydrating your cells and giving the muscles some good fullness. The big issue with glycerol is “how much” to take. There’s no question in MY mind, glycerol is a superior hydration and volumizing ingredient. Studies show some sodium helps aid in glycerol upkeep and retention.
C). Berberine5. Berberine has been shown in studies to reduce blood glucose levels, thus suggestive in positively impacting glycogen stores.
D). Anthocyanins, Gallotannins6, and Delphinidins. These complex nutrients look mightily attractive in not only impacting insulin expression, but also could have some great muscle storing capabilities.
E). Pomegranate7. Pomegranate is one of my favorite ingredients- very effective vaso dilative properties such as ellagic acid and punicalagins, as well as gallotannins for insulin response to muscle.
F). Coffee Berry. Great healthy ingredient with great antioxidant power, and studies suggestive of powerful blood glucose/ muscle response ingredients such as tannins8, and chlorogenic acid.
7). Healthy Fats. Besides a very optimal supplement that may help with heart and brain health, healthy fats like fish oil, flax oil, and Udo’s Oil, may help with insulin sensitivity as well. There’s been studies suggesting it aids in recovery and endurance as well…just an all around great choice for your supplement program.
Bon appetite, and remember, these are suggestions on food sources, not medical claims or suggestions. Please always consult with your doctor to make sure any food is safe for you.