by Team ON Athlete Shaun Stafford.
Team ON Athlete Shaun Stafford achieved a record-breaking win this year in Las Vegas when he won the WBFF Pro Fitness Model World Championship for a second time. He is an ex-professional rugby player, a successful international cover model and owner-operator of City Athletic Gym.
When people first embark on a training regime, they always set out with a very specific goal in mind. Whether it’s that they want to feel fitter, look better naked, or even just perform better at work or on the football field, much of what goes into achieving this goal focuses around building lean muscle!
If you’ve been hanging out in the gym a bit, you will have heard talk of “bulking up” or “cutting down”, which is in reference to increasing and decreasing your calorie intake as a process for stimulating change with your physique. Although these are both tried and tested ways to get results, I also think they are extreme measures and not the healthiest approaches. Putting huge caloric swings into your diet will not only play havoc with your hormones, but may also impact the longer term health of your metabolism.
As covered in my Nutrition for Physique article, you need to incorporate the five basic nutrition rules:
1. Stay hydrated, especially pre-workout, otherwise your workout intensity will be reduced.
2. Include protein from a combination of animal and plant sources in all your meals and snacks.
3. Time your carbohydrate intake pre-training and plan to consume complex carbs e.g. sweet potato, basmati rice and vegetables.
4. Unprocessed fats provide your body with essential nutrients, so don’t cut them out – just choose your fats wisely e.g. avocado, mackerel, coconut oil. A focus on portion size and a reduction in poor snack choices are where the biggest wins can be made.
5. Plan your rest and recovery between workouts to ensure you always perform at your best.
There’s no question that to build muscle you need a combination of sound nutrition, regular resistance based workouts, and a solid supplementation plan. You’ll find it easier to stay on track and save time if you plan your workouts and prep your meals in advance. I also recommend keeping a food and training diary so you can monitor how much you’re consuming from whole foods daily, as well as track your progress in the gym.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but it is going to be worth it!