You get fit in the gym. But you build muscle in the kitchen.
With no scientific basis whatsoever I think it’s absolutely scientifically correct to assert that at least 60% of workout results are dependent on diet.
Which means two things:
1) You can work out till your cross-cut potatoes are double-fried and still look about as taut and muscled as a terrycloth robe if you eat like crap.
2) You can get pretty great exercise results if you simply avoid eating like crap and wander into the gym only slightly more often than not.
An excellent diet’s a big part of fitness greatness and also, in my experience, general life success. So I’ll have more to say about diet in future drivel sessions right here on your favorite site.
“But FL,” you snivel. “What’s with all the workout and diet stuff? I stop by this amazing website every day to read awesome posts about building wealth and generating investment success and doing other stuff good, too. Are fitness and diet really part of the FL program for greatness?”
Here’s my take. First, yes. Second, science.
And here’s where I actually have some scientific basis. It turns out that regular exercise has been shown to raise IQ. Exercise also helps maintain overall brain volume (which, in the absence of exercise, decays at an alarmingly fast rate). And it helps ward off brain-related maladies like dementia and Alzheimer’s and other nasty stuff. (Here’s a study that nicely summarizes lots of the relevant findings.)
So, um, let’s see:
IF you agree that the ability to think or be analytical or be creative is linked in any way with financial success (such as, say, landing spiffy gigs that pay lotsa dough or not being stupid by, say, dropping five figures on a turbocharged snowplow at Costco or whatever)…
THEN you agree you want to do stuff that makes you smarter and keeps you smart.
HENCE, you want to exercise.
In addition to helping you stave off stupid, exercise helps you maintain healthy bodyweight. Which is associated with greater earnings.
And helps you be more attractive. Which is associated with being richer and more likely to snag a wealthy significant other.
And helps you not end up in the hospital from turbocharged snowplow-related injuries. Which is associated with A) not being an idiot and 3) being wealthier by at least the combined cost of a turbocharged snowplow and a week’s worth of traction in the ICU.
And since we know scientifically that diet’s at least 60% of the workout equation when it comes to physical gains – i.e., some of the stuff that makes you more attractive and leaner and stronger – we know we need good diet in the mix for overall FL-styled greatness.
El Desayuno The First
Y’all know that my days begin in the gimnasio. But before I hit the weights, I do a little work in the cocina. And that’s a crucial part of the whole routine. What follows is the five-part mini-meal I eat each morning before slapping the stacks.
Each part plays a critical role in supporting the workout, and each part is strategically selected on the basis of real, actual science. And flavorful goodness. And you can, too!
Caffeine’s been shown to improve exercise performance since at least the 1970s, even for people who weren’t alive in the ’70s. And, in my case, that ancient finding definitely holds true because without a slug of strong coffee first thing I’d be at serious risk for death by crushing in the gym.
As a holdover from our time in Europe, coffee in Casa Libre comes usually from the French Press and sometimes from the Italian stovetop press. Either way, it’s good and strong and rich and caffeinated enough to give a bull wings. Even an old bull from back in the ’70s.
2. Coconut Oil
I spike my coffee with a tablespoon of coconut oil. The caloric density of the oil helps me hit my calorie needs for the day. And it’s theorized that the medium-chain fats in coconut oil help various metabolic processes that translate the body’s energy stores into kinetic action.
Oh, and it tastes pretty awesome in the coffee, too.
Now, with coconut oil there are two general varieties. There’s the bleached out and desecrated “refined” version, which has no coconut-y odor or flavor and which has pretty much none of coconut’s good stuff either. Don’t bother with this one.
The “unrefined” version’s the one to go with. It has a great, light coconut flavor that complements coffee better than cheap slippers go with a terrycloth robe. And all the good fats and stuff are intact as well.
So I drop a tablespoon of coconut oil into the coffee each morning. Which, in addition to great taste and sweet fat-burning benefits, contributes a nice 120 calories to my daily intake.
Those of you who spend time in the gym recognize calories as crucial to building muscle. Yeah, these oil calories are from fats, so they’re not gonna directly translate to biceps. But if you’re trying to build muscle, you gotta start with consuming sufficient calories to meet your body’s energy needs and have stuff left over for muscle synthesis.
So I love me some CO in the café.
My coconut oil usually comes from Costco, but pricing differences between what I have from Costco and what you can find on Amazon are negligible. And since this stuff’s true-up commodity, it’s all the same. So as long as you stay unrefined, you’re good.
3. Whey Protein Isolate
There it is. The gold standard of exercise supplements. Whey protein.
So, there are a bunch of different types of protein supplements out there, but whey’s the best. And it comes in two generally available supplement varieties: First is “whey protein concentrate,” and second is “whey protein isolate.”
Bottom line is that isolate’s better than concentrate. Whey protein is derived from milk, so naturally there’s a process of distilling the whey product from cow creamer. Simplified to the nth degree, an “isolate” product is more purified of the non-protein components of milk than is a “concentrate” product.
So an isolate product will generally be essentially lactose-free, for instance. And, per gram of product, you’ll get more protein and amino acids, which are the basic inputs for muscle. (Branched chain amino acids or BCAAs are especially prized versions of amino acids that are found in abundance in whey protein, and especially in isolate versions.)
One scoop of my favorite Isopure Low Carb chocolate-y protein mixed with water puts the coffee mug to its second use of the morning. That scoop translates to 110 calories and 25 grams of protein. And it’s delicious. Seriously.
I always get my whey delivered because I usually order the mega-jumbo 7.5 pound bucket, and it’s usually way (sorry) cheaper online than in any pile of bricks.
4. Rolled Oats
Those of you keeping close track at home are now wondering where the carbs be at. Well, they be at right here.
The coffee mug is put to its third use of the morning when I fill it with a fourth-cup of dry whole grain rolled oats. Which provide about 85 calories, 3 grams of protein, 15 grams of carbs (and less than a single gram of sugar), plus nearly 3 grams of fiber.
Gotsta have those carbs for energy in the gym. Otherwise you’ll jitter your way through the first couple sets and then feel like you just did a windsprint every time you start a set after that.
For my oats, I just eat ‘em straight up. Dry, cold, etc. It’s faster that way, and I feel like I digest them better than when I mix ‘em up with stuff and heat them.
I usually get my oats at Trader Joe’s. And they’re great. The Bob’s Red Mill version shown here is my go-to if TJ’s is out of stock (which happens way more often than it should, Herr Joe.) Anyway, the TJ’s version is cheaper, while the Bob’s version is maybe slightly better quality.
I top my oats with around 1/8th cup of raw walnuts. Those badboyz provide about 100 calories, some more protein and fiber and nice flavor.
Oh, and they’re like really great for your brain and stuff. Like exercise is.
But I mainly eat ‘em for the calories and crunchy-creamy goodness.
Lirbe’s walnuts are purchased at Costco in a bag that looks like it could be used to redirect floodwaters. The value can’t be beat. And it looks like you can get the same stuff on Amazon for what I think is the same price.
So I down that stuff just before heading out to Gym Libre. All in, that mini-meal’s good for around 500 calories and about 30 grams of high-quality protein.
It’s also good for a bunch of other health stuff that I won’t belabor and should be obvious.
And it gives me the energy to crush workouts like so many empty Natty Light cans into my forehead while driving a turbocharged snowplow to the nearest biker bar in my terrycloth robe and slippers.
Which I can do with abandon since this whole exercise thing makes us so much smarter.
Cheers, Luchadores! Hope this is all helpful. What’s your pre-workout meal?