Where your physique is concerned, it’s estimated that 20 to 25 percent of your shape and body fat distribution are at-tributable to genetic factors. You might be born with the tendency toward abdominal or lower body fat, or less muscle, but that doesn’t mean you’re destined to live with these realities. You can change fat distribution patterns and build appreciable muscle even if you are a “hard gainer,” and there’s no better way to do that than with proper nutrition, complemented by specialized, intense training . Genetic limitations can also be exceed-ed by increasing nutrient levels in the diet through food and supplementation. When properly nourished, the body starts grow-ing and responding at rates never thought possible. Here is a look at how.
The Power Of FoodThe most vital substance you need for growth is food. Yes, food! To get the results you want from nutrition, food will always work the most effectively, much better than “miracle” supplements. I call food the “perfect supplement” because it supplies the raw materials your body needs for growth and for the stimulation of chemical processes involved in the breakdown, absorption, and assimilation of nutrients.In my work with the best bodybuilders and athletes in the world, I’ve identified which foods yield the best results in terms of physique and performance. Lean pro-tein, for example, supplies nutrients called amino acids which are required for every metabolic process. Athletes have higher requirements for protein than the aver-age person . Without enough protein, you cannot build muscle, repair its breakdown after training, or drive your metabolism. Starchy and fibrous carbohydrates supply energy and are stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. You need certain fats called Es-sential Fatty Acids (EFAs), which must be supplied by the diet. EFAs regulate many biological functions, including the manufacture of connective tissue, cellular walls, and hormones. A good supplemen-tal source of EFAs is Parrillo Evening Primrose Oil.All the foods I recommend on the Parrillo Nutrition Program have a “high-nutrient density.” This describes the ratio of nutrients in a food to the energy it sup-plies.
Natural starchy foods like potatoes, yams, brown rice, and whole grains are packed with carbohydrates, protein, vita-mins, and minerals. Fibrous vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, water, fiber, and carbohydrate. And, lean proteins are high in protein, vitamin, and minerals. In short, high-density nutrient foods pack a lot of nutritional wallop, and that’s why you should eat them . Try to stay away from low-nutrient density foods. These are typically “junk foods” such as processed foods, sweets, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, and high fat foods. Low-nutrient density foods are easily converted to body fat or, as in the case of alcohol, can interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize fat.Foods containing simple sugars are excluded from my nutrition program be-cause they also convert easily to body fat. These foods include fruit and fruit juices, which contain the simple sugar fructose, and dairy products, which contain the simple sugar lactose . You can increase the nutrient density of your nutrition by adding in supple-ments — but only after you’re eating properly. By taking supplements, you force your digestive system to process more nutrients.
This allows the nutri-ent levels in your body to be increased at the cellular level — beyond what can achieved by food alone. This, along with a gradual increase of calories, helps your body grow. Supplements are quality nu-trients that work in conjunction with food to help your body build its metabolism and recovery mechanisms. The Ultimate Bodybuilding DietTo a degree, you have a great deal of control over whether the food you eat is turned into body fat or muscle. The as-signment of food to either fat stores or muscle stores is called “nutrient partition-ing,” and it’s the secret behind getting lean and staying muscular .To understand how nutrient partitioning works, it’s helpful to think of the body as being divided into a fat compartment and a lean compartment . Food goes to either of these compartments or is burned for energy .One of the factors that has a signifi-cant effect on nutrient partitioning is your endocrine system. It’s involved in such processes as metabolism, energy production, and growth.
The endocrine system consists of several organs in the body, including the pituitary gland, the thyroid gland, the parathyroid gland, the pancreas, the testes or ovaries, and the kidneys. This specialized system is like a chemical “messenger service” in the body; it transmits messages in the form of hormones, carried by the blood to specific targets (organs, tissues, or cells) in the body. The messages sent are things like “build muscle proteins,” “store fat,” “burn fat,” or “store carbohydrates.”Once these messages are received by the targets, the commands are carried out by enzymes, special proteins that control chemical reactions inside cells . Through these reactions, enzymes can make or break down proteins or fat.Two of the most important hormones involved in muscle growth and fat loss are insulin and glucagon, both produced in the pancreas. They regulate carbohydrate metabolism and fat metabolism by exert-ing control over the enzymes that carry out these processes .When blood sugar (glucose) levels rise — usually after carbohydrates are eaten — insulin is released. It transports glu-cose into cells where it is burned for ener-gy or stored as glycogen. If carbohydrates are released into the bloodstream too fast, an overproduction of insulin occurs. Con-sequently, some of the carbohydrates are deposited as fat — instead of being stored as glycogen. Simple sugars and refined carbohydrates are rapid-release foods that trigger too much insulin .
This channels calories to the fat compartment of the body — not the avenue of nutrient parti-tioning you want.Interestingly, insulin is involved in mus-cular growth because it transports certain amino acids into muscle cells. To make this happen, you need carbohydrates. The key, however, is eating the right kinds of carbs, in the right amounts.Glucagon opposes the effect of insulin. When blood sugar is low, glucagon is released, and this typically occurs several hours after a meal is eaten. Glucagon then activates the conversion of glycogen to glucose in the liver in response to low blood sugar levels. It also signals the body to start burning fat for energy, because the body is running low on carbohydrates, its preferred fuel source.The ratio of insulin to glycogen in your body largely determines whether you will gain fat or lose it. You can control this ra-tio naturally by adjusting the protein and carbohydrate proportions in your diet and combining foods in the proper manner. Here’s how you can partition your food more effectively, so it can be used to burn fat and build muscle:
1. When trying to gain muscular weight, you want a higher ratio of insulin, so you would increase your carbohydrate intake, perhaps as high as 400 to 500 grams or more a day. A carbohydrate supplement such as Parrillo ProCarb Formula, which is formulated with the complex carbo-hydrate maltodextrin, is a good way to increase carbohydrate consumption. So are any of the Parrillo Energy Bars. At the same time, be sure to meet your lean protein requirement by eating between 1.25 and 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. At least 1 gram should come from chicken, fish, turkey, or egg whites, with at least another .25 or .5 gram of additional protein per pound of body weight from vegetable sources, which contain some protein as well.
2. To lose body fat, decrease insulin and increase glucagon by eating slightly less carbohydrate and more protein. A good rule of thumb is to adjust your car-bohydrate-to-protein ratio to between 1 to 1 or 1.5 to 1. One problem with reducing carbohydrate intake is the potential de-cline in energy levels. To compensate, try supplementing your diet with CapTri®, our medium-chain triglyceride oil . This is a special type of lipid that provides quality calories and, unlike conventional dietary fats, is not likely to be stored as body fat.
3. Don’t take nutrient partitioning to extremes by going on a “zero-carb” diet in an attempt to burn more body fat. Under extremely low-carb conditions, muscular growth is impossible. There’s not enough insulin available to transport amino acids into muscle cells. Furthermore, the body begins to break down its own proteins into amino acids for conversion into glu-cose, needed by the brain for fuel.Food over Genetics4. Rate of digestion is important. Your meals (five, six, or more a day) should include the proper combination of lean proteins, starchy carbohydrates, and fi-brous carbohydrates.
This combination of foods slows your digestion to keep carbohydrates from being released into the bloodstream too fast, thus preventing an overproduction of insulin.Food is the cornerstone of nutrition. If you don’t eat the proper foods — lean pro-teins, starchy carbohydrates, and fibrous carbohydrates — nothing else matters. We were built to process food — proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. So if you want to make the best possible progress with your physique and buck your genetics, I suggest that you start with the basics. And that means food.