When it comes to building muscle, more of the good stuff is usually better.
More iron, more food, more sleep, etc. will usually transfer into more weight on the scale and more beef on your frame.
But the thing is, try as you might, you can't eat everything; even if it's just quality food. Nor can you take every supplement, even if you could afford to.
A logical approach is to categorize items as 1) Must Have, 2) Nice to Have, and 3) Don't Really Need to Have But They Sure Taste Good While I'm Watching The Broncos Shit the Bed on Sundays. You would then make acquiring the Must Haves your top shopping priority.
But the question remains — what exactly should be on your Must Have list? Or better still, what do the experts consider Must Haves?
Good question. So we rounded up a few of T NATION's resident high-protein eating foodies, locked them into a poorly ventilated room and wouldn't let them out until they each coughed up their five must-have products and why. The catch was, they were only allowed 140 words, max.
When the smoke cleared, we were left with some pretty cool choices. Check it out!
What are 5 things that I must have in my fridge, cupboard, or supplement shelf?
Here are my 5 faves...
Beef: Protein, creatine, B-vitamins, and you can easily get more or less calories depending on the cut you buy. Works for muscle building and dieting.
Eggs: Portable, versatile, and loaded with nutrients — each egg has 0.5 grams of leucine — you gotta love that.
Broccoli: Fiber, fights cancer, and may even help flush out excess estrogen.
Walnuts: Another versatile food in regards to preparation and nutrients. They blend into shakes with no grit or taste, go great on salads, or you can grind them up and stuff 'em into a chicken breast. Nutrient-wise, they contain a wide spectrum of fats (monos, n-6, and n-3), making it a good utility player in your diet.
Blueberries: An antioxidant powerhouse that helps brain function, vision, insulin sensitivity, and fights inflammation.
There's only one thing better than being muscular and lean: being muscular and lean for a long-ass time. That's why my core supplements mainly revolve around longevity and hardcore health maximization. They are:
- Biotest® Superfood: The antioxidant equivalent of 10-12 servings of fruits and veggies, plus green tea, in about three swallows. Amazing.
- Biotest® Rez-V™: Because cancer and heart disease can kiss my hypertrophied ass.
- Biotest® Flameout™: There's fish oil, then there's Flameout™. And there's no comparison between the two.
- Vitamin D3: Read this.
- Biotest® Rhodiola rosea: Work hard, play hard, take this stuff to adapt and recover, then do it all again the next day.
One more thing: How much muscle tissue will the body allow the natural lifter to accumulate if said body is unhealthy and wrecked? Not much. So have no doubt: "health supplements" are also bodybuilding supplements!
Oreos, Pop Tarts, Peanut Butter Cups, Heavy Whipping Cream, and Diet Coke.
Hey, you asked!
I'm like a human wolverine so I've found that in order to stay lean, I have to force myself to NOT eat so much. For this reason, protein powders like Metabolic Drive® Protein are essential. It works as an appetite suppressant that will allow your body to burn fat while preserving hard-earned muscle tissue. Mix a scoop with skim milk pre and post-workout or just take it by itself in between meals or before bed.
Next on the list is a fish oil like Flameout™, which is good for just about everything including vascular and joint health. Finally, you must have whole food muscle building staples such as chicken, tuna, and mixed nuts.
Dr. Tim Ziegenfuss
Another impossible question! Who only eats five freakin' foods or supplements? I previously posted about the importance of vitamin D, so I won't count that one. So if you really pin me down for an answer, here's my top picks: Biotest® Superfood (it more than covers daily fruit and vegetable needs, and tastes awesome when it's mixed in a vanilla Metabolic Drive® shake), wild salmon, mixed nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, Brazil nuts), oatmeal (topped with cinnamon, natural peanut butter, or fresh berries), and beans (black, navy, pinto). Toss in some eggs (ideally the organic omega-enriched version), and creatine monohydrate and you're golden! Although that makes seven "things," doesn't it? Sorry.
I rotate my supplements frequently, but here are my five faves:
- Biotest® Rhodiola Rosea: Adaptogens rock. Natural, safe, effective and affordable.
- Poliquin's Primal Fiber: Tastes great, mixes beautifully, and you feel it working well in your GI tract the very first day. It's gluten free and from mostly fruit and veggie sources so appropriate for everyone, unlike psyllium husk.
- Eggs: The incredible edible egg. This little nutritional nugget still gets a bad rap, but for no good reason. Quality protein, phospholipids, "good" cholesterol and a damn great base for many high protein recipes.
- Green food supplements such as Biotest® Super Food: I'm busy, and I'm not a veggie lover like some of you. So this one's got my back.
- Chocolate: Bringing out the chick in me now. Organic dark, cocoa nibs, chocolate Surge, chocolate chai tea... whatever; I'm versatile.
Dr. Lonnie Lowery
I try to balance food variety with healthy staples in my kitchen, so this question is tough. Still, I must have:
- Fruit, like berries and apples
- Sweetened vanilla protein powder
- Omega-3-enhanced eggs
- Skinless, boneless chicken breasts. There are many others I could list like fresh and frozen vegetables, but the question was "must" and protein and calorie foods drive the machine. There a few other supplements as well... but five is a tough limit!
- Chop Wizard — Okay, it's not a food or supplement. So sue me. Anyhow, it's by far the most utilized gadget in my kitchen. Makes chopping vegetables almost as easy as getting Lindsay Lohan drunk. (Well, almost). Just like Vince, I slap my troubles away.
- Greek Yogurt — packed with 20+ grams of protein per serving, Greek yogurt is a nice alternative for those who don't like the texture of cottage cheese (pussies). Add some fresh fruit and some nuts and you have yourself a nice little snack that packs a lot of nutritional bang for your buck.
- Probiotics — the gastrointestinal system compromises roughly 75% of the body's immune system. That alone should be enough to convince you that taking care of your "gut health" is kind of important.
- Vitamin D — for general health purposes alone, I'd place vitamin D right behind Flameout™.
- SPIKE® Extreme Energy — as the co-owner of a facility, it's pretty much a necessity.
Until next time — keep tweeting!