By Registered Dietitian
on October 09, 2008
Optimal athletic performance requires food and nutrient intake that is tailored to each athlete’s sport, training schedule and individual needs. The basics of performance nutrition are discussed here to help maximize your physical potential and reach your performance goals. More...
By dotFIT experts
on October 10, 2008
The athlete’s goal is to have their stomachs relatively empty while energy stores are full at the start of training or competition. Following a specific eating pattern can maximize the storage and production of energy. By properly loading your energy systems (phosphocreatine and glycogen) that are rapidly depleted during exercise, you can delay fatigue and optimize performance during activity. More...
By dotFIT experts
on October 06, 2008
Traditional whole foods are not ideal pre- and post-training snacks because of the time it takes to digest solid food including extraction then absorption of the needed nutrients (about 2-3 hours). Although nutrition bars with the proper carbohydrate, protein and fat ratios can be effectively used before and after exercise, liquid is generally better for the simple reason of speed to the muscles. More...

Maximizing Natural Muscle Growth & Strength Potential



Preface
No one has ever maximized their body’s natural muscle growth or strength potential. The proof is in the fact that we keep discovering more ways to stimulate skeletal muscle strength and growth thus creating bigger, stronger and faster athletes. And although the training/exercise regimen initiates the muscle building/strengthening process, only what goes into the body can produce the desired effect of taking size or performance to the next level. In other words, you can’t improve, grow or recover without ingesting the components that repair or add to the tissues – in fact, you can only shrink and weaken with exercise alone. So the search goes on for the perfect formula of when, how & what to put into the body so that every workout makes a difference - leading to one’s full size and/or athletic potential. Or, as I like to say, creating the perfect and continual anabolic storm.

The rationale behind the endless search for nutritional strategies to avoid training plateaus centers around recent findings that the extent of muscle damage induced by exercise appears to remain constant throughout a prolonged training regimen. Meaning, repeated exercise sessions continue to “open the door” for the building process even if no muscle or strength gains are being produced; thus something in the post-exercise period is missing. Therefore, when the benefits of training and diet on muscle mass and/or performance have stabilized, measures like properly timed ingestion of specific compounds may play a role in plateau avoidance and progressive development for serious athletes.

What we currently know about diet and supplements

It’s clear that certain amino acids and other natural compounds with unique characteristics have been successfully used to enhance certain physiological states ranging from improving athletic performance or exercise-induced muscle hypertrophy to treating disease and slowing certain aspects of the natural aging process.
In sports and fitness there are two main areas where supplementing specific combinations of isolated compounds have demonstrated success: 1) enhancing the recovery process following intense exercise with the intent to increase performance during subsequent bouts and/or skeletal muscle hypertrophy so at some point in time, either desired outcome is greater compared to the same point in time using no supplementation, and 2) increasing or prolonging energy production, thus performance, that would lead to enhanced training sessions in order to accomplish the same goals (i.e., more productive workouts lead to better results). Good examples of successful supplementation schemes are carbohydrate and creatine loading for specific athletes (endurance and strength respectively), both of which have demonstrated safety and positive results in enhancing certain types of performance or increasing muscle size when compared to a non-supplemented state.  Additionally, the proper supplementation of caffeine has been shown to dramatically improve endurance performance.
Muscle protein synthesis (MPS).

Also, it seems clear that it is the post-exercise period when the greatest changes in muscle protein synthesis and tissue structure occur.  Muscle growth can be stimulated in many ways and the various mechanisms (see below) may interact and have additive effects so it’s imperative to “cover all bases” in order to keep making gains. Associated with proven strategies, like providing the appropriate amounts and types of dietary supplements to muscle cells at the best times, are other variables such as exercise type and amount, hormonal changes, cell volume changes, and vasodilatation. All of these elements may contribute independently and/or synergistically to muscle protein synthesis and related adaptations to training. Therefore when all are activated, one may experience maximum gains.

Mechanisms of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) & recovery within our control through exercise, diet & supplement modulations
  • Unaccustomed properly structured exercise (starts the process)
  • Energy substrate saturation (give the body all it can use in order to delay fatigue)
  • Volumizing (cell swelling to signal continuous muscle building)
  • Nutrient timing and composition (increase recovery and the amounts of new tissue)
  • Hormonal manipulation by diet (decrease muscle breakdown & speed the building process)
  • Amino acid MPS signaling (increase amounts of amino acid deposited in tissues)
  • Vasodilation – blood flow in & out of muscles (speed nutrient flow to improve power)
  • Training focus & capacity (improve training desire and workload abilities)
  • Better workouts lead to strength & size reciprocation

Diet, Supplementation, Exercise & Low Body Fat
The secret to naturally achieving a body’s full potential for muscle size, strength or performance without gaining unwanted body fat (or simultaneously reducing it as necessary) is matching the proper training with a food and dietary supplement plan that can promote an individual’s internal physiological environment to its highest capabilities of increasing size and/or performance. In other words, turn on your muscle-building machinery and keep it running while minimizing calorie intake.

Diet
Proper diet manipulations create and take advantage of “metabolic windows” throughout the day where muscle cells become highly receptive to the nutrients necessary to increase protein synthesis, specifically before and after training.

Manipulating diet to harness the body’s most powerful muscle building hormone, insulin, can reduce muscle breakdown and increase rebuilding, leading to greater muscle and performance gains. Accomplishing the proper hormone balance for muscle building is a function of carbohydrates, proteins and fats being supplied in proper ratios, forms and at specific times in relation to training periods while remaining within the caloric allotment dictated by body composition goals (see your personalized Athletic Performance menu in your dotFIT program).

Dietary supplements
To keep calories within an appropriate range that does not contribute to unwanted fat stores, a primary goal of supplementing the diet during a muscle and/or performance program is to supply specific compounds that can activate the mechanisms listed above. Additionally, many of these specific compounds must be supplied in greater amounts than are used so that a portion of their intake can be incorporated into tissues, increasing muscle size.

By isolating these nutrients and compounds from food form, we can supply them with very few or no calories in order to control body composition. And when manufactured in proper forms, dosing dietary supplements allows the user to deliver the needed nutrients into the body at the exact times necessary to take full advantage of the periods when the muscle cells are most nutrient-sensitive, which is established by training and meal times. No traditional food alone can accomplish this task.

Summary
Matching proper diet and the right supplements can help users create the perfect recovery and muscle building environment. This is a physiological state in which the necessary exercise-induced muscle damage is minimized while the repair and building process is maximized, thus the body will spend more time and nutrients synthesizing muscle rather than repairing it. So at the end of day, the athlete may increase muscle size or strength as opposed to simply maintaining it.

So, there you have the facts - and below you have the general recipe to create the “perfect muscle strength and building storm.” All of which is personalized based on your goals and body statistics by your dotFIT program.

Table 1: Sample Anabolic Diet Plan

Performance Menu – 3500 Calories
Meal 1 – Morning Snack

Eat this meal as soon as you wake up.

Pro (g) Carb (g) Fat (g) Calories
1 dotFIT Breakfast Bar 15 29 5 220
1 cup (8 oz) Orange Juice 2 26 - 110
Total: 17 55 5 330
Percent of Calories: 20% 66% 14%  
 
Meal 2 – Pre Training Meal

Eat this meal 2 ½ to 3 hours before workouts or competition.

Pro (g) Carb (g) Fat (g) Calories
1 (3.7 oz) Honey Whole Wheat Bagel 11 64 1 300
2 tbsp Smooth Peanut Butter 8 6 16 188
1 medium Banana 1 27 0.4 105
1.5 cup (12 oz) Skim Milk 13 19 0.9 136
1 each dotFIT ActiveMV Multivitamin - - - -
Total: 33 116 18 729
Percent of Calories: 18% 61% 21%  
 
Meal 3 – Pre Training Snack (dotFIT Shake, Any Recipe)

Eat this snack 10 to 40 minutes before workouts to maximize energy stores.

Pro (g) Carb (g) Fat (g) Calories
2 scoops dotFIT Pre/Post & Meal Replacement Formula, Vanilla 20 35 3 240
1 cup Frozen Mixed Berries - 17 - 70
Crushed Ice - - -  
Total: 20 52 3 310
Percent of Calories: 25% 66% 9%  
 
Meal 4 – Post Training Snack (dotFIT Shake, Any Recipe)

Eat or drink this snack immediately after workouts to refill energy stores and enhance recovery.

Pro (g) Carb (g) Fat (g) Calories
2 scoops dotFIT Pre/Post & Meal Replacement Formula, Chocolate 20 35 3 240
1.5 (12 oz) Skim Milk 13 19 0.9 136
Total: 33 54 4 376
Percent of Calories: 35% 56% 9%  
 
Meal 4 – Post-training Meal

Eat this meal within 1.5-hours after workouts

Pro (g) Carb (g) Fat (g) Calories
1 Subway Footlong Turkey Sandwich 37 92 9 560
1 bottle (20 oz) Gatorade - 35 - 130
1 dotFIT SuperiorAntioxidant - - - -
Total: 37 127 9 683
Percent of Calories: 24% 62% 14%  
 
Meal 5 – Starch/Grain with Meat, Veggies & Fruit

Eat this typical dinner within 3-4 hours of previous meal

Pro (g) Carb (g) Fat (g) Calories
6 ounces New York Steak, Lean, Broiled 50 - 11 310
1 large (10.5 0z) Baked Potato 8 64 0.4 290
1 tbsp Whipped Butter - - 8 67
2 tbsp Light Sour Cream 1 2 3 38
1 cup Green Beans, Boiled, Drained 2 10 0.4 44
1 cup Diced Melon 1 13 0.3 53
1 each dotFIT ActiveMV Multivitamin - - - -
Total 62 89 23 802
Percent of Calories 30% 44% 26%  
 
Meal 6 – Late Snack

Eat any time before bedtime

Pro (g) Carb (g) Fat (g) Calories
1 cup Low Fat Frozen Yogurt 8 46 6 280
Total 8 46 6 280
Percent of Calories 14% 83% 3%  
         
Menu Totals: 211 537 68 3510
Percentage of Total Calories: 23% 60% 17%  

Other Nutrients: 7% Saturated Fat 304 mg Cholesterol 34 g Fiber

 

Optimal Dietary Supplement Program

Follow your pre- & post-workout feedings as described in the above menu plan, use a multivitamin and mineral formula daily, and include the following recommendations:

  • dotFIT™ CreatineXXL™ (click here for product information video)
    • A supercharged creatine formula to improve upon the well-known size and performance enhancing effects of creatine-monohydrate. Designed to deliver increased strength-endurance, intensity (β-Alanine) and much greater cell volume effects (glycine and glutamine) than creatine alone, all leading to greater strength, size and performance gains
  • NO7RAGE™ (click here for product information video)
    • Contains a blend of compounds that increase muscle blood flow, cell volume (“the pump”) and mental focus. Greater blood flow to muscles increases the delivery of oxygen, energy and rebuilding nutrients as well as speeding up the removal of waste products. This leads to improved strength, less muscle breakdown and increased muscle size and performance
    • Contains creatine, caffeine, etc.
  • AminoBoostXXL™ (click here for product information video)
    • This product has the ideal mix of essential amino acids shown to enhance muscle gain and recovery
    • Delivers the ideal blend of nutrients to take advantage of post-training “metabolic windows of growth” adding to the muscle building results produced by the pre- and post-exercise feedings. The unique blend of AA are quickly assimilated into muscle tissues

Directions for Use

Table 2: Maximal Protein Synthesis Periodization




Economical Anabolic Diet & Supplement Program
Follow the same menu plan as above. Follow your pre- & post-workout feedings as described in the above menu plan, use a multivitamin and mineral formula daily, and include the following recommendations:

  • dotFIT™ CreatineXXL™
    • A supercharged creatine formula to improve upon the well-known size and performance enhancing effects of creatine-monohydrate. Designed to deliver increased strength-endurance, intensity (β-Alanine) and much greater cell volume effects (glycine and glutamine) than creatine alone, all leading to greater strength, size and performance gains
      • Take as shown below (dosage shown is for anyone under 200 LBS and can be adjusted upward for heavier athletes, or dotFIT CreatineMonohydrate added as desired)
  • dotFIT Recover&Build™
    • Provides the branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), leucine, isoleucine and valine in an ideal ratio with the goal of reducing exercise-induced muscle damage while enhancing recovery, minimizing soreness leading to increasing muscle, especially during low calorie or intense training phases (take as directed with your pre-workout snack)



CreatineXXL™ Strategy

Table 3: CreatineXXL™ Strategy

 

* For the maximum effect of creatine supplementation and increases in cell volume, all dosages should be taken with 25-45g of carbohydrate.

 

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