INTRODUCTIONNutrition is the number one pillar of improving performance, period.  As a general rule, you should intake 1 gram of protein per each lb of body weight daily in order to actually realize the benefits of all your work in gym and on the track.  Exercise creates the environment for muscle growth and strength gains, but without sufficient protein and other macronutrients, your gains and progress will be nominal.  

The simple rule for overall nutrition is that each of your major meals should include:

  • A palm size portion of a protein (chicken, lean meat, fish, etc.)
  • A palm size portion of vegetables and/or certain fruits 
  • A palm size portion of complex carbs (sweet potatoes, wheat bread, wheat pasta, etc.)

TIMING: The other critical point to understand about protein is timing.  The three important windows to supplement with a protein shake:

  1. are upon waking (to shut down the catabolization of muscle which occurs during the early morning)
  2. within a half hour post workout (to provide the necessary rebuilding blocks)
  3. and just before bed (to take advantage of the release of HGH during your first sleep cycle which will trigger muscle growth if you have ample protein in your body).

For a detailed overview of the importance of nutrition and specific meal plans, see Jim Stoppani's (Ph.D.) Shortcut to Shred nutrition plan here.