Supplements for bodybuilders

Clean Bulking Guide

Key Points

Learn how to clean bulk: what it is, who should do it, and what you should eat

 

Clean bulking is often utilized by athletes who desire to stay relatively lean in the off-season. This approach isn’t for everyone, as its associated weight gain tends to occur slower than it does with other bulking methods. Let’s take a look at what clean bulking is and how to do it properly.

What is Clean Bulking?

Bulking is a sustained calorie surplus (you eat more calories than you burn) which leads to weight gain in the form of muscle or fat. This eating strategy is combined with high-intensity resistance training to boost muscle and strength gains.

The Goal

The goal of the bulking phase is to gain as much muscle growth as possible with minimal fat gain. Since you’re on a higher calorie diet, you will still increase total body weight and gain some fat.  Many people intend to gain more total body weight to build muscle. 

You can monitor your gains with an InBody Composition analysis at Nutrition Nation. 

Important Factors to Consider When Gaining Weight

To progressively gain weight you must be eating in a calorie surplus—consuming more calories than you burn each day. By doing this your body is able to replenish lost nutrients and still have leftover energy to store, which translates to weight gain. 

Consider the following important factors in determining your total daily expenditure: 

  • Basal metabolic rate
  • Activity level
  • Exercise
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Height

These allow you to calculate your total daily expenditure unique to the amount of energy your body burns.

If you end up burning more calories than you consume, your body composition may improve, but it is likely you will lose weight and not gain much muscle mass.

Don’t get caught up in the idea of “the more I eat, the more muscle I will gain.” If you have this mentality, you will end up increasing your body fat percentage. 

Choosing the Right Foods to Eat

You should look for healthy foods that are high in calories vs. junk food. Consuming unhealthy foods to help you put on weight faster is not your best option. Making healthier choices supplies the body with essential nutrients necessary for optimal health. 

Choosing the Right Foods to Eat

 

You can also add bulking supplements from Nutrition Nations — we’ll help you find the right one for your body.

Healthy Fats

Start by incorporating healthy fat (unsaturated fat) sources high in calories but also provide essential nutrients. Avoid trans fat.

You can find healthy fats in:

  • Nuts and peanut butter
  • Avocados
  • Olive oil
  • Eggs
  • Cheese

Complex Carbs

Complex carbs take longer to digest. They don’t cause immediate (or drastic) blood sugar effects like simple carbs. When eating carbs, opt for a complex carbohydrate:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Whole grain bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Granola 

Lean Protein

For lean bulk protein sources, try to stick to mainly lean meat or lean plant-based options. Don’t be afraid to eat red meat either. For your macros, aim for 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. About 35% of your calories each day should come from proteins like:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean beef
  • Seafood
  • Lentils

Achieve Balance

Achieving a clean bulk is all about balance. Incorporating healthy foods will significantly boost results long term. 

 

By Leslie Radford
bodybuilder posing

How Bodybuilders Can Strengthen Their Immune System This Winter

Key Points

Learn how intense workouts compromise your immune system and what you can do about it.

 

Keeping your immune system strong is important, especially if you do intense workouts. Some of these steps are the same ones we would recommend for maximizing performance in the gym. Nutrition is a great place to start when trying to boost your immunity.

How Does Exercise Affect The Immune System?

Chronic stress wreaks havoc on the immune system. That includes intense exercises.

While moderate-intensity exercise improves the adaptive immune system by way of how it responds to and fights pathogens, intense exercise can compromise the immune system. 

In the hours following a hard workout, your body will have a difficult time defending itself against germs. If you take measures to properly recover from your workouts, your immune system will bounce back and become stronger because of it.

If you don’t allow a proper recovery time, your immune system remains compromised. You’ll find yourself sick all the time, running low on energy, and losing strength and muscle mass.

4 Steps To Support Your Immune System

The hour or so you spend in the gym training intensely can deliver a blow to your immune system. Besides taking vitamin C, proper handwashing, getting plenty of sleep, and finding ways to reduce your stress, these tips will help you boost immunity.

 

1) Eat Plenty of Protein

The immune system is literally a system of proteins. Protein intake is especially important for those who train with weights because the muscles also need those amino acids to rebuild themselves. People who train should consume at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. 

2) Consume Fast Carbs Post-Workout

Post-workout carbs decrease immunosuppression that comes from hard training. When you train intensely, you stress the body, which makes cortisol rise and immune function go down. The goal after training is to return cortisol to normal levels. When fast carbs are consumed either during or immediately after training, muscle glycogen is restored, cortisol levels decrease, immune function improves, and more water enters the muscles, creating a bigger pump and increasing muscle protein synthesis.

3) Get Your Omega-3 Fats

Increase your healthy fats to boost immunity. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are a potent “immunonutrient” that’s known to have positive effects on the immune system. Salmon and other fatty fish are great sources of omega-3s. But you’d have to eat an awful lot of fish to reach the amount you need for optimal health. Find a clean supplement to make sure you get the amount necessary to maintain immunity.

omega 3 capsules

4) Go With Glutamine

The essential amino acid glutamine is another immunonutrient. Glutamine is one of the highest-level amino acids in the body, and it’s a critical energy component of the immune system. As mentioned earlier, the stress of intense training delivers a blow to the immune system and the immune system is happy to pull glutamine from your muscles. When this happens, muscle endurance drops. Muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is also compromised when glutamine levels are low, which is the last thing you want after a workout.

Keep Your Immune System Strong

Supplements are a great way to get everything your body needs to build and maintain muscle while protecting your immune system. Nutrition Nation has a variety of protein, fast carbs, and other supplements that will keep you healthy and strong all winter long. 

 

By Leslie Radford

abs

What to Eat During the Holidays to Keep Your Body Composition

Key Points

Three steps to maintaining your body composition during the holidays

 

The holidays are upon us. Between the frequent gatherings and endless shopping trips, it’s hard to keep a consistent gym schedule, much less a healthy eating schedule. One study found that people gain an average of 500% more weight per week during the holiday compared to non-holiday weeks!

No worries. Nutrition Nation is here to help you maintain your body composition and provide support to avoid holiday weight gain.

Body Composition

First, come get an InBody scan at the store. You can test your body composition to get your biometric data like percent body fat, muscle mass, and fat mass. Use the InBody to set a baseline to see how much fat you lose, or how much stronger you’ve become over the next few months.

In less than 60 seconds, an InBody scan can provide you with additional information like:

Segmental Analysis: Learn how much muscle and fat is in each of your body segments (right arm, left arm, torso, right leg, left leg) to identify areas of weakness.

Visceral Fat Analysis: Learn how much fat is surrounding your major organs. Visceral fat is associated with risks of developing diseases like cancer, diabetes, and stroke.

Basal Metabolic Rate: Find out how many calories your body burns while at rest so you can calculate how much food you should be eating per day.

Read more about body composition

plate with fork and knife icon

Eat Healthy

Second, watch what you eat for the next few months. You’re going to be tempted to indulge in all the salty, sweet, and carboliscious foods associated with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, but you have to be strong!

Here are a few nutrition tips to stay on track during the holidays:

Eat 1 plate of food. Fill it with lean protein (like turkey), vegetables (greens are best), and healthy carbs (like sweet potatoes). Have small servings of guilty pleasures. 

Limit alcohol and sugary beverages. This may be a hard one. Have seltzer with a lime, or if you absolutely have to, have a glass of wine. Sip it and savor it. 

Drink a ton of water. This will keep you full and dilute the sodium found in many holiday foods.

Have dessert. Make it something REALLY worth it. Have a half serving. Or, make your own healthy dessert and bring some to share. 

Protein up. Drink a protein shake 60 minutes before mealtime. This will bring you in to the meal already satiated and not ravenous.

Stop before you’re full. Eat slow, chew slow, enjoy the heck out of your food. This will allow your brain to catch up to your stomach and keep from over-eating.

Learn how to count macros. 

man doing workout at home

Work Out

Third, make time to work out. Holiday foods are high in calories, so you need to do something to work them off. Even if you can’t make it to the gym, go for a walk or jog, do some isometric exercises when nobody’s looking, pack some resistance bands in your suitcase when headed to the relatives – hey, something is better than nothing! 

Here are some core exercises you can do without equipment. 

Happy Holidays

Enjoy your time with your family, just pay attention to what you’re eating and make time to work out. Then head back to Nutrition Nation to get your body composition to see how well you did!

By Leslie Radford
Fat word on fire

Important Ingredients Found In Fat Burners And How They Work

Important Ingredients Found In Fat Burners And How They Work

 

Key Points

 

L-Carnitine 

L-Tyrosine 

Sinetrol

HMB

Coleus Forskohlii

Not all fat burners contain the same ingredients. That’s why it’s important to read the label when you’re trying a new supplement to achieve the results you want and also when finding what works with your body. 

We mentioned in a previous article that you should choose fat burners that are able to promote fat loss while protecting your muscle mass. Here are some standard ingredients you will find in fat burners and what they can do for you.

Shredabull 2.0 Fat Burner

 

L-Carnitine 

Carnitine plays a key role in the mobilization of body fat for fuel in the body. L-Carnitine transports the fatty acids to the mitochondria where the fatty acids are oxidized for fuel. This allows you to burn fat during workouts, and at the same time, it will prevent muscle failure, fatigue, and that sluggish feeling many people experience, especially during a dieting phase.

L-Tyrosine 

L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that the body uses for the creation of the neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline. Tyrosine is also used in the body to create dopamine and is used by the body to make the thyroid hormones T3 and T4, both essential to metabolism.

When adrenaline and noradrenaline go up, so do your heart rate and body temperature. It works thermogenically by burning more calories and decreasing appetite.

Sinetrol 

Sinetrol+ does not contain stimulants like synephrine or octopamine. It’s made from the peel of citrus fruits and is rich in polyphenols. 

In a controlled study, subjects took 450-mg capsules at breakfast and lunch every day. So in total, they consumed 900 mg Sinetrol a day. The trial lasted 12 weeks. The subjects in the Sinetrol group lost more weight and more fat than the subjects in the placebo group. The Sinetrol users lost about 3.7 kg of fat and the placebo takers only 1.4 kg.

Sinetrol contains polyphenols that are said to inhibit the working of the enzyme phosphodiesterase [PDE] in fat cells. PDE is the enzyme that converts cAMP into AMP. cAMP makes sure that their signal is transferred to the enzymes that are responsible for getting the fatty acids out of the fat cells.

HMB (ß-Hydroxy ß-Methylbutyrate)

HMB can protect against muscle breakdown, aid recovery, and add energy during fasted training. Research suggests supplementing with HMB1 can preserve muscle protein during fasted training.

Coleus Forskohlii

Coleus Forskohlii is an herb with roots in Ayurvedic medicine known for its active ingredient, forskolin. This naturally occurring enzyme stimulates the production of cyclic adenosine monophosphate or cAMP. Cyclic AMP2 helps regulate both lipid and glucose metabolism, promoting calorie burn.

Research suggests that forskolin supplementation limits hunger, thereby supporting calorie restriction and fat loss. It’s also been shown to raise natural testosterone levels slightly, which contributes to muscle maintenance during a fat loss phase.

By Leslie Radford
woman exercising

Tips for Women’s Health: National Women’s Health & Fitness Day

Tips for Women’s Health: National Women’s Health & Fitness Day

Key Points

Eat healthily

Exercise

Self-Care

Women’s Health & Fitness Day is the nation’s largest annual health promotion event for women of all ages and is celebrated the last Wednesday in September. It focuses attention on the importance of regular physical activity and health awareness for women.

Here are a few simple things that women can do regularly to ensure good health:

Health Tip #1: Eat healthily

woman eating healthy food

Eat more natural foods like a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods. Whole grains and high-fiber foods are great to add to your diet. Choose leaner cuts of meat, fish, and poultry. Avoid foods and beverages that are high in calories, sugar, salt, and fat.

If you’re not getting enough vitamins and nutrients in your diet, you might want to take a multivitamin and a calcium supplement to make sure you’re maintaining good health.

Additional diet tips:

  • Limit foods that are high in sugar
  • Eat smaller portions spread out over the day
  • Watch your carbohydrate intake
  • Eat a variety of whole-grain foods, fruits, and vegetables every day
  • Consume less fat
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Use less salt

Health Tip #2: Exercise 

woman exercising

 

Exercise at least 30 minutes per day. This will lessen your risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death among women in America. Aerobic exercises (walking, swimming, jogging, bicycling, dancing) are good for women’s health in general and especially for your heart. Adding weights will increase not only the strength of your muscles but your bones. You don’t have to lift heavy and you shouldn’t be concerned with bulking up unless that is your ultimate goal.

Regular physical activity helps:

  • Keep bones strong
  • Prevent hip fracture (breaking your hip)
  • Decrease pain from arthritis
  • Prevent dementia
  • Maintain the independence to do basic everyday activities, like getting dressed, going to the bathroom, bathing, and eating

Health Tip #3: Self-Care

woman meditating

Self-care is something that many women struggle with. It’s their nature to take care of others first. But taking care of yourself is vital to your health. When you practice self-care techniques, you can manage stress more easily, boost your confidence and your immune system, and lower your risk for many diseases. 

Ways to practice self-care:

  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Eat healthily
  • Get plenty of sound sleep
  • Sit in the sun
  • Read for pleasure
  • Journaling
  • Getting recommended screenings

Recommended Screenings: 

  • Cholesterol and Blood Pressure: Women ages 20 and up 
  • Pelvic Exams and Pap Smears: Women ages 21-65 should have annual pelvic exams and a Pap smear at least every three years. 
  • Breast Exams and Mammograms: All women should receive a breast exam every year beginning at age 20, even if it’s just a self-exam. Get mammograms from age 40-50, and every other-year mammograms after that. 
  • Osteoporosis Screenings: Women 65 and older 
  • Colorectal Screenings: Start at age 50
  • Skin Cancer: Women of all ages should develop the habit of paying attention to changes in the skin or changes in moles and birthmarks
  • Diabetes: Get regular screenings from age 40 onward
By Leslie Radford
body fat pinch

Fat Burners and Bodybuilding: What You Should Know

Fat Burners and Bodybuilding: What You Should Know

By Leslie Radford

What are Fat Burners?

How Fat Burners Can Help Bodybuilders

What to Look For in a Fat Burner

 

When it comes to metabolisms, it’s safe to say no two are alike. The same can be said about fat burners. Different ingredients are going to work for different people in different ways. What works for your gym buddy may not work for you. You’ll have to find what works for you by trial and error. 

Luckily, Nutrition Nation has trained staff that can point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing which fat burner to add to your stack.

body fat pinch

What are Fat Burners?

Fat burners are supplements that may help increase metabolism, burn fat, and promote weight loss. They’re classified according to their intended “fat-burning” action:

THERMOGENESIS  

Thermogenesis is the dissipation of energy through the production of heat. While this is a natural metabolic process, this type of fat burner can increase that production. 

LIPOLYSIS 

Lipolysis breaks down lipids, aka fat. Excess energy is stored as fat and when glucose stores run low, that’s what we burn.

APPETITE SUPPRESSION 

Appetite-suppressant supplements work in different ways including blocking the absorption of macronutrients that contain calories, make our stomach feel full, and/or impact hunger hormones.

lean body builder

How Fat Burners Can Help Bodybuilders

You put a lot of work into your bodybuilding regime. You are pushing your body to its limit with self-restraint and work ethic. A fat burner could give you an extra push in your efforts.

Bodybuilding relies heavily on nutrient timing, weight room stimulus, sleep, and clean supplements to get the look you’re going for.

We all know that carbs give you energy, but they also can be stored as fat. During a cut, you’ll need to pay extra attention to diet and training, and this typically means adjusting your carb/caloric intake to lose body fat. When you remove carbs from the equation, your body will be able to dip into fat storage for the energy you need.

While losing stubborn fat is its own struggle, a bodybuilder’s biggest concern tends to be muscle protein preservation. Bodybuilders should look for the best fat burner and muscle builder supplement that mobilizes whatever body fat they have left and increases metabolism while protecting muscle.

What to Look For in a Fat Burner

Lots of fat burners on the market are loaded with stimulants and substandard ingredients.

Stimulants might sound good, however, they’re not necessarily effective at the cellular level. Look for a supplement that can:

  • Accelerate metabolism
  • Increase mobilization of adipose tissue
  • Combat hunger
  • Decrease muscle breakdown
  • Improve lean body mass

Taking Fat Burners for Better Results

Next month, we’ll dive into the ingredients in fat burners and the benefits of each. In the meantime, come see the staff at Nutrition Nation — we will get you started.

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