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When it comes to gaining size, I don't prioritize any one macronutrient over another or consume any of them in significantly greater quantities than the next. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are all crucial for putting on mass. There are many bodybuilding foods that can satisfy your macronutrient and calorie requirements, but I recommend focusing on these 12.
What may sound good in theory doesn't always work best in application—and could cost you gains. For example, traditional wisdom held that bodybuilders should skip the white rice and eat brown rice, shy away from white potatoes in favor of yams, and eat egg whites instead of whole eggs to avoid the cholesterol; however, anyone who has ever eaten for maximum size will tell you that brown rice can fill you up too much, eating too many yams can give you gas and make you bloated, and avoiding egg yolks and going for the whites is like throwing away a barbell but keeping the plates.
| Beef |
Red meat has always been hailed as the king of muscle-building foods, and that isn't wrong. Beef is rich in creatine, B-vitamins, and saturated fats, so you may wonder why you shouldn't just supplement with lean proteins, take some creatine, rely on the B-vitamins in your multi, and call it a day. From my experience with eating red meat on a daily basis, I can tell you that I'm bigger, stronger, and fuller than when I don't. It just works.
It's unfortunate that we're still undoing the stigma around eggs that popped up in the 1980s. People claimed that whole eggs, because of their high cholesterol content, should be severely limited or scrapped altogether in favor of egg whites. This was terrible advice.
Chicken is a mainstay in nearly every bodybuilder's diet, and for good reason. Compared to all other protein sources, it is easily the most economical. You can still find chicken breast on sale for around $2 per pound. It may not be as easy on the digestive system as lean fish, but it's certainly easier to digest than beef and at a fraction of the price. Also, as you're probably well aware, chicken breast is almost all protein and very little fat, yet it still tastes decent and lends itself to a variety of preparations.
While fish may lack the hardcore and somewhat legendary muscle-building status that red meat has, it can be a powerhouse when used properly. The one thing that each and every one of us will eventually come to terms with in our attempts to build the maximum amount of muscle is that we can only eat so much damn food. At some point, our aspirations will demand that we eat more. That sounds great, until eating more begins to feel nauseating and impossible.
Conventional wisdom says to eat brown rice because it has more fiber and vitamins. I think that's all crap. Most carbohydrates are a poor source of vitamins and minerals compared to meat and vegetables. Eating too many fibrous carbohydrates will only slow digestion and fill you up more, preventing you from eating to your full capacity.
Let's continue with the theme of digestive efficiency. I love potatoes for the same reasons I love white rice—they digest incredibly well. There is not much of a difference between white and sweet potatoes, so both are acceptable. It's simply not true that sweet potatoes will somehow lead to ripped abs while white potatoes are made in hell and are a one-way ticket to obesity.
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00:00 - Intro
00:30 - Beef
02:46 - Fish
03:24 - Chicken
03:58 - Whole Eggs
05:35 - Olive Oil
07:20 - Nuts
08:10 - Avocados
10:10 - White Rice & Potatoes
12:35 - Full-Fat Dairy
14:00 - Meal Replacement Powders
15:00 - Carbohydrate Drinks
16:00 - Final Thoughts
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