Beyond Chicken and Rice

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I frequently get asked for advice on people’s diets, especially young people who are hoping to gain muscular size and bodyweight. No, I am certainly not a “guru” or any other term like that, but I do know a few things about putting on muscle and getting into shape.

When I look at their diets, some people have part of it right. Let me give an example: breakfast will be a bowl of porridge, lunch will be chicken and rice, another chicken and veg meal later, then a couple of protein shakes. What’s wrong with that I hear you ask? Well, if you seriously want to grow, you have to eat some serious calories!!! I’m not just talking about protein either (which is obviously crucial for muscle growth). This diet is seriously lacking in real nourishment and proper food with too much reliance on protein shakes. It requires more complex carbs, good fats and essential protein.

Let’s go back to this example diet: there is virtually NO protein in the first meal of the day since it is only porridge. This person would need to put on several eggs on there too and maybe a couple of slices or toast or maybe a piece of steak if they can.

Everybody seems to be mad about chicken and rice because it seems to be the ubiquitous “bodybuilding food.” I have had plain chicken and rice today, simply because it was the only food I had left and it was seriously hard work, even smothered in BBQ sauce! Trust me, if you want to gain, you need more than just chicken and rice. I use this primarily before a competition.

Off season, you need to be eating lean steak, chicken, fish, oily fish, eggs and WHOLE eggs at that! You need to eat potatoes, porridge oats, bread, sauces, gravy, small amounts of natural butter, nut oils, anything that is going to give you a lot of calories and energy.

Let’s face it, you also want to be eating stuff that tastes nice as well. Have roast dinners, homemade favourites like shepherd pie, lasagne, pasta dishes, curries spaghetti bolognese, just include lots of meat with it. Yes, dairy is fine too- natural yoghurt, cheese in moderation, and yes, milk if your body can handle it. Don’t forget though, if you’re going to be eating all this food, you need to be consuming plenty of roughage, vegetables by the cartloads and some fresh fruit.

Well, that’s it basically if you are looking to add muscular bodyweight and size. Too many people try and get bigger and leaner at the same time, which basically is extremely hard to do unless you are a complete genetic freak. Add the size without adding to much bodyfat, then trim down any excess in the future. That’s how bodybuilders have done it for generations.