I bring you a serious topic that’s very controversial and a lot of people in our in our society today don’t like to go there.
It’s a topic that many people have an opinion about but not a lot of people like to talk about it.
Yes, it’s the dirty N-word: nutrition. I know, I know, brace yourself guys. It’s going to be a doozy. But seriously, I think when it comes to training and fitness, nutrition is not something that comes to your mind first but it’s something that’s very important. Because when you’re an unconquerable soul your body is your biggest asset and your most crucial weapon. We need to make sure that we’re fueling that weapon as best as we can. So I wanted to walk you guys through my story, my journey with nutrition. Before we get started I wanted to put out a little disclaimer that, you know, despite my dashing good looks and my several Lamborghinis I’m actually not a doctor. So what I’m about to say is purely my experience. It’s not medical advice. Do your own research, consult with your physician and do what’s right for you.
Growing up as a child I was always very average as far as height and weight. When I hit the summer between junior high and high school I experienced a pretty significant growth spurt. The kind where I grew a foot and gained like 50 pounds that summer. None of my friends recognized me; that’s how big the change was. That’s when I leveled out into what most would call my “adult size”.
For the longest time I had been at about 185 pounds and about six feet tall all throughout high school and college, and I always led a pretty active, healthy lifestyle. For the most part in high school you can eat whatever you want; I would come home and eat a bag of popcorn every day and chips and go to the drive thru and stuff like that. No adverse effects. But when you hit your 30s you definitely begin to pay the price for any sort of gluttony you indulge in.
The last several years I had been quite an avid runner and I would run almost every day. It felt really good. I would just run during my lunch break and feel great the whole day. But after doing this for about a year I started to plateau as far as my physical transformation. I wasn’t necessarily getting the results I wanted; I wasn’t very toned. My quads were huge so I looked kind of like a freak but I wasn’t really looking like I wanted to and was still kind of keeping at that 185 pound weight, which is fine, but I really wanted to challenge myself.
This was right around the time where I joined Invictus Defense Academy. I was noticing that I needed to be stronger; I wanted to be stronger. I wanted to be bigger and I didn’t really know where to start. So I turned to what every male in the 21st century turns to in a time of crisis: I turned to YouTube. I started doing some research and decided to stick to the weight room instead of running everyday. So I quit running and I started lifting weights.
I read in an interview with Chris Evans, who plays Captain America, where they asked him how he got in shape for the role. He gave one of the most dignified, in-depth responses I’ve ever heard: “I go to the gym and I lift heavy things every day.”
So, I started lifting heavy things every day. And felt pretty good about it but noticed again I started to plateau. I turned my focus to my nutrition. This is not something that I think a lot of average people really focus on. I was eating three big meals a day: for breakfast I would have a big bowl of cereal. Lunch I would have some leftovers, and then I would have a big dinner and that was about it. I decided to measure my nutrition for an entire week and I downloaded an app put out by Under Armor called MyFitnessPal and decided to measure my food intake for an entire week.
The results that I got were pretty surprising.
Essentially after that week I found that I was getting about half the amount of protein that I was supposed to get. What you can do is enter in your height and weight and your exercise level and it gives you an estimate of how many calories you should be consuming every day. These include protein, calories, fats, carbohydrates all that good stuff and I found out I was severely deficient in my protein intake. I knew that I needed to have a lot more protein. What I did next was take an online quiz to figure out my macros. For those that haven’t studied nutrition, essentially macros are your big three: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Together, those make up the three main sources of energy and nutrition that your body should be getting on a regular basis. I figured out my macros and I figured out that for my build and my exercise level 40 percent of my intake should be protein. 30 percent should be carbohydrates and 30 percent should be fats.
The general rule from every kind of site that I looked into is that for every pound of body weight that you have, you should be taking in a gram of protein. So for me that meant 185 grams of protein a day; that’s a lot. One scrambled egg has about seven grams of protein. I learned that I needed to supplement my protein; supplementation means, in addition to your normal meals, getting extra of something. What I would do is every morning have two scrambled eggs and then also make myself a protein shake. This consisted of a big bag of Muscle Milk protein powder that we would get from Costco. One scoop has about 30 grams of protein. Already I’m about 1/5 of the way to where I need to be. I would mix in almond milk, peanut butter, Greek yogurt, and those also have a couple grams of protein each. For breakfast I’m getting about 50 grams of protein, which is great. That’s a great way to start your day. I learned that I needed to find ways to introduce more protein into my diet, which consisted of, like I said, the protein shake and protein bars. I probably sound like a douche bag Jock talking about all of this protein. But the truth is if you’re lifting weights on a regular basis, essentially what you’re doing is ripping your muscles apart. That’s why you’re so sore the next day; you’ve shredded your muscles and what happens is your body looks for protein to rebuild those muscles. That’s how you build lean muscle.
That’s why I needed to introduce so much more protein into my diet. Even to this day it’s still quite a bit of struggle to get to my body weight in grams of protein but I try my best.
I was doing a little more research and I came across this substance known as creatine.
You may or may not have heard of it. If you have heard of it you may think that it’s some kind of weird steroids or something that jocks use. I was a skeptic as well. I had my doubts about creatine. What I knew about creatine is that it was something that the meat head bodybuilders used in addition to steroids to get really jacked and pumped. I had a lot of negative perceptions about it. But the more research I did, the more those perceptions were de-bunked with facts and science.
Creatine is essentially a supplement used to give you an energy boost while you’re working out to help you lift more reps. If you’re just a normal person and don’t lift weights and you take creatine, it’s not going to do a darn thing. But if you’re lifting weights and you take creatine what it’s going to do is help you lift more. It’s going to give you more sustained energy to lift more weight. On its own, unlike a steroid which will make you jacked and shrink your balls, it only works if you’re lifting weights. It relies on that repetitive movement and muscle building. What it does is repair your muscles a lot quicker and it helps synthesize the protein process to rebuild your muscle.
After doing all the research I did I decided I would try out creatine, so I ordered a packet online. It comes in a completely tasteless powder form that you can add to water or coffee. The recommended dosage is about five grams a day and the the general rule is that you should take creatine every single day.
Believe it or not, creatine is a substance that you’re probably already taking and don’t even know it. It’s found in a lot of beef and meat, but the you’re not necessarily getting as much creatine as you could through a normal serving of meat. So a creatine supplement will give you extra creatine in your diet to help with that protein synthesis.
I started taking creatine and almost immediately started noticing results.
I gained about four to five pounds that first week; that first weight gain is water that your muscles are absorbing. I noticed that immediately but also noticed that I was able to lift more often. That was my first indication that maybe this was working. Maybe there’s some truth to this. Creatine is a substance that a lot of professional athletes take and is not a banned substance at all. A lot of Olympians and athletes will take creatine on a regular basis to help them with their exercise routines.
I started taking it on a daily basis in addition to going to the gym and increasing my protein and I would say after about six months really noticed a significant difference. After making those changes to my diet in addition to my creatine supplementation within about six to eight months I gained about 15 pounds. I went from 185 pounds to 200 pounds and that was my goal, so I was very happy with that.
My goal was to fill out a little bit and get a little bigger. For the past six months or so I’ve leveled out at about that 200 pounds, which is my goal weight and where I want to maintain. Similar to what happened with my running where I plateaued, the same thing kind of happened with my this transformation. What my next phase is going to be is to remove the creatine from my diet and continue working out, then reintroduce it to my diet. The human body is an incredible thing in that it will adapt to whatever sort of physical exertion you’re putting it through, so if I was running every day, my body was going to notice that I was that I was putting myself through this physical stress. It was going to compensate eventually and catch up to that and level itself out. In the same way that’s happening with my weight gain; my body is regulating itself and leveling out. You can’t over stimulate yourself with creatine and gain more weight. Your body’s going to regulate itself and monitor itself and eventually level out and plateau. What I’m going to do is wean myself off and then reintroduce that probably in about a month.
The reason that I tell you all of this is because I want to encourage you as you go about your physical journey to become a better athlete and a better person. Think about your nutrition. A car is only going to work as well as its owner maintains it. If you’re driving a car 100 miles a day but you’re not changing its oil, eventually the engine is going to burn out. You have to maintain that car internally, and the same goes for your body. You’re only going to get out of it what you put into it.
What I’m encouraging you to do is to look at what areas you want to grow in and push yourself there. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t be afraid to try a pre-workout before you go to the gym or a post-workout to repair your muscles. Don’t be afraid to try creatine. I know that it’s got a lot of stigma around it but I would encourage you to do your research and find out what works for you and be intentional about what you’re putting into your body.
If you’re interested in purchasing a good source of creatine, we’ve provided the following link on a great deal:
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