Bryan Acosta

caffeine and workouts

​​Does Caffeine Really Improve Your Workouts?

​​Does Caffeine Really Improve Your Workouts?

Looking to bring your A-game every time you hit the gym? Caffeine may help.


Caffeine makes it easier to exercise more intensely while feeling less pain and exhaustion; something coaches of elite athletes have known for a long time. Taking a caffeine supplement before a training session or competition improves performance.

How Does Caffeine Work In The Body During A Workout?

The main physiological effects of caffeine include an increase in alertness and stimulation, which can make exercise seem less unpleasant. It might also encourage the muscles to burn more fat. 

How does that work?  When glycogen reserves are depleted, muscles become weaker and less effective, which causes exhaustion. Muscles need glycogen, a stored form of glucose, for energy. However,  when muscles may burn fat, they are less susceptible to fatigue. Caffeine can cause muscles to burn fat more quickly, preserving glycogen reserves and extending the amount of time that muscles can function before becoming exhausted. This results in a more prolonged and comfortable workout. Additionally, some studies think that caffeine may affect muscles directly by increasing their capacity to generate power.

Stimulating Effects

Caffeine may take some time to take effect, though. Since muscles first switch to glycogen during longer endurance exercise sessions rather than shorter ones, the advantages are more visible. The majority of research has looked at caffeine’s impact on muscles after roughly two hours, but it is still unclear how long you need to exercise for caffeine to switch your body over to burning fat. The stimulating effects of caffeine peak an hour or so after consumption and can linger for three to six hours.

How Much Caffeine Do You Need To Consume?

The amount of coffee required to reap the rewards of exercise is unknown. Up until recently, it was believed that habitual coffee consumers would require an additional cup to reap the advantages of exercise since the body might develop a tolerance to caffeine. However, in a recent study by Brazilian researchers, even regular caffeine consumers—including those who consumed about three cups of coffee per day—were able to pedal more quickly and for a longer period of time on a stationary bike after taking a caffeine pill that had the same amount of caffeine as four cups of coffee than when they hadn’t.

According to these studies, if added properly, caffeine may be a useful complement to a fitness plan. Exercise professionals advise consuming a cup of coffee about an hour before doing out to see if the buzz makes it easier and less exhausting.

Sports Supplements

Nutrition Nation carries sports supplements that contain caffeine that will help you achieve greatness. Stop by and talk to one of our nutrition experts to get the lowdown.


By Leslie Radford, Advent Trinity Marketing Agency
man on treadmill

The 3 Most Common Challenges that Sabotage Fitness Goals (and How to Overcome Them)

The 3 Most Common Challenges that Sabotage Fitness Goals (and How to Overcome Them)

Many factors may affect your fitness goals


It takes considerable lifestyle adjustments to significantly alter your body composition (and keep it that way for the long run). Many people find this hard to do. Getting in shape requires dedication over time, and benefits are not always immediate. 

Here are the most common challenges to reaching your fitness goals and how to get through them.

The Most Common Factors that Sabotage Fitness Goals


One of the toughest obstacles to achieving your goals is fatigue, whether it be physical, mental, or a combination of both.

Energy is needed to maintain physical fitness: energy to get to the gym, energy to complete your workout, and energy to regularly make healthy meals. It can be challenging to continue the grind for an extended period of time when this is added to the other pressures of daily life.

The best course of action is to keep in mind that being fit is a marathon, not a sprint. Making moderate, deliberate changes rather than drastic, immediate ones when you first begin working out and eating healthfully will help you prevent early burnout and help you keep such habits over time.

Lack of Motivation

You were undoubtedly eager to get started when you initially started your fitness quest. No matter how good your motivation was when you first started, it will only get you so far once you’re in the thick of things.

So it’s common to lose sight of your motivation, which is a major factor in why you can start skipping workouts and reverting to unhealthy eating patterns.

You won’t always be motivated every second of every day, as even the fittest among us are aware of. The secret to accomplishing your goals even when your motivation wanes is to continue to hold yourself accountable (or have help from someone else).

Even if you aren’t constantly intrinsically motivated yourself, having to answer to someone else means that you have another source of encouragement. So even if you’re not feeling it, ask your loved ones, your gym buddies, or a personal trainer to help you stay on track.

Expecting Instant Results  

You probably won’t notice a lot of improvement day to day, even if you’re doing everything right and adopting all the healthy behaviors required for a sustained rate of weight reduction or body recomposition. Over time, maintaining your healthy practices will lead to those outcomes.

Change your perspective on what success and advancement mean to you. Consider other indicators of progress in addition to the scale, such as measures and body composition outputs such as body fat percentage and skeletal muscle mass. Also take a look at your performance progression (ability to lift heavier, increased stamina, etc.).

Make Your Fitness Goals a Reality

Plan the work and work the plan. Make small changes to your lifestyle and build upon them over time. Establishing healthy habits, looking beyond short-term objectives in favor of the wider picture, and tracking your progress in performance, body composition, and lifestyle changes along the way are the greatest ways to make sure you are doing what you need to achieve.

By Leslie Radford
Fitness Goals

Why Body Recomposition Should Be Your New Fitness Goal

Why Body Recomposition Should Be Your New Fitness Goal

Focusing on body recomposition rather than just weight reduction or muscle gain may be the best method to reach your fitness goals. 


Maybe your ultimate goal is to lose weight. Maybe you want to be more fit. Maybe both. When looking at your fitness goals, you want to consider your body composition. 

Body recomposition is a new way of thinking about physical fitness. Setting recomposition objectives might help you achieve improved overall health and physical condition without even stepping on a scale.

What Is Body Recomposition? 

Body recomposition is a fitness objective that focuses on improving the composition of your body. Rather than focusing on your weight, body recomposition goals consider how muscle and fat, the two major contributors to that weight, relate to one another.

Body recomposition goals for the majority of people include not simply losing weight but also gaining muscle mass.

Note that body recomposition progress does not necessarily reflect on the scale.

How To Approach Body Recomposition 

Can you lose weight and gain muscle at the same time? Absolutely. Body recomposition, like any other physical objective, requires a steady balance of nutrition and exercise.

Eating For Body Recomposition

Eating too few calories on a daily basis can lead to muscle loss as well as fat tissue loss. Restricting calories won’t help you gain. With body recomposition, you’ll want to be at a moderate caloric deficit so that you’re burning fat, but not so much that your muscles don’t have enough fuel.

Finding your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), or the number of calories your body burns every day at rest, is the easiest approach to figuring out how many calories you need. You may then organize your diet and exercise routine so that your daily net calorie count is slightly less than your BMR. 

When it comes to body recomposition, the quality of your nutrition is also very important. Make sure you get enough protein every day, especially after a workout. It’s a good idea to substitute low-quality carbs (highly processed, high sugar, low glycemic index) with healthy carbohydrates like those found in fruits and vegetables while trying to lose weight. Choose healthier fats such as olive oil, avocado, and omega-3s over trans and saturated fats.

Exercising For Body Recomposition 

When resistance exercise is combined with a sufficient protein intake, muscle hypertrophy occurs. The repetitive contractions in resistance-based exercise (think weightlifting) start to tear down the fibers in your muscles. When you consume enough protein, your body can heal those microtears by replacing them with additional muscle fibers, resulting in growth. 

You’ll need a good combination of aerobic and resistance exercise to burn fat and gain muscle at the same time. Ideal fitness regimens include a variety of exercises to keep your body challenged.

Consistency is key. When it comes to body recomposition, you should work out multiple times each week for the greatest effects. When you’re putting in work during your exercise, your muscles need a period of recovery in order to grow, so don’t skip rest days.

Think About Your Fitness Goals Differently

Focusing on body recomposition rather than just weight reduction or muscle gain may be the best method to reach your fitness goals. So, if you’re tired of looking at the same number on the scale every day, try changing your goals and tracking your body composition instead!

Talk to the pros at Nutrition Nation about designing a fitness plan.

The Importance of Getting a Body Composition Test

By Leslie Radford


Staying hydrated.

Stay Hydrated, Friends

Stay Hydrated, Friends

It’s important to stay hydrated and keep electrolytes balanced during summer workouts


Water makes up more than 60% of the human body. Maintaining hydration while training is a challenge, especially throughout the summer. Heatstroke can result from becoming overheated or dehydrated.


Water and Electrolytes

Staying hydrated is more than just drinking plenty of water, it’s keeping your electrolytes in balance.

If you’re dehydrated before you begin your workout, staying hydrated or catching up gets tough once the sweating begins. Drink lots of water throughout the workout. After the workout, you will need to continue replenishing fluids.

Sports drinks containing electrolytes (magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium) can be used to replace the necessary minerals lost via perspiration. Aside from sports drinks, coconut water and fruits and vegetables are good sources of electrolytes.

What are Electrolytes?

An electrolyte is a substance that conducts electricity when dissolved in water. Electrolytes are essential for survival as they create a modest electric current that allows many automatic processes in the body to work.

Electrolytes interact with cells in the tissues, nerves, and muscles, as well as with each other. The body’s ability to operate depends on the balance of various electrolytes.


Electrolyte Imbalance

Electrolyte levels in the blood can become abnormally high or low, causing an imbalance. These levels can fluctuate depending on bodily water levels and other variables. Important electrolytes, including sodium and potassium, are lost in sweat during exercise. 

An imbalance can impact how the body functions and cause a variety of symptoms. For example, if a person feels faint after a workout, an electrolyte imbalance could be one reason.

Electrolyte Recommended Intake


National Hydration Day

On June 23rd, National Hydration Day reminds us to replace fluids lost during workouts. SafeTGard Corporation founded National Hydration Day in honor of football Coach Victor Hawkins (September 1, 1964 – June 23, 2012) who invented a mouthguard that releases electrolytes to keep his players hydrated during games and practices. This day honors Coach Hawkins’ contributions to athlete health, safety, and success and to increasing awareness of the importance of proper hydration to athletes everywhere.


Staying Hydrated

Different people need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. As a general rule of thumb, you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. 

  • If staying hydrated is difficult for you, here are some tips that might help:
  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. To reduce your costs, carry a reusable water bottle and fill it with tap water.
  • If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.
  • Drink water before, during, and after a workout.
  • When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. 
  • If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and when you go to bed. Or, drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.

While water should always be your first hydration option, you can supplement your electrolytes with products from Nutrition Nation. Come have a chat with us about supplements that will help keep you hydrated for those intense summer workouts.


By Leslie Radford
blood pressure cuff on arm

How Exercise Can Impact Your Blood Pressure

How Exercise Can Impact Your Blood Pressure

One of the most effective methods to lower your blood pressure is to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine. 

Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, according to The American Heart Association. When left untreated, the damage that high blood pressure does to your circulatory system is a significant contributing factor to heart attack, stroke, and other health threats.

While hypertension may appear to be a frightening condition, minor changes to your regular routine might help you decrease and maintain healthy blood pressure. One of the most effective methods to achieve this is to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine. 

Can Exercise Help Lower Your Blood Pressure? 

While exercise might cause your blood pressure to rise, this is only a temporary effect. To properly decrease your blood pressure, it may take up to three months of constant increased exercise. Of course, you’ll want to consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise generally accounts for a reduction of 4 to 12 mmHg in diastolic and 3 to 6 mmHg in systolic blood pressure. It does this by strengthening your heart and allowing it to work more effectively and able to pump more blood with less effort. Exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight and lower stress levels, which are both leading causes of high blood pressure. 

What Exercises Lower Blood Pressure? 

For reducing blood pressure, a mix of aerobic activity and strength training is usually suggested. Aerobic exercise (often known as ‘cardio’) is defined by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) as “any activity that engages large muscle groups, can be performed continuously, and is rhythmic in character.” Resistance training, on the other hand, is described as any exercise in which your muscles are forced to operate against an opposing force. 

These two types of activities, when combined, help to reduce your total blood pressure. 

Not everyone enjoys running on a treadmill or pumping iron in the gym. You can find other types of exercise like yoga, walking, playing sports, biking, and using resistance bands to fulfill your exercise needs. No matter which exercises you choose, it’s important to find something you enjoy. 

Aerobic Exercise  

The American Heart Association recommends you aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intense aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise each week. This can either be split as 30 minutes per day on at least 5 days each week or in shorter sessions of 10 minutes several times per day throughout the week.  

Resistance Training 

Newer research suggests that resistance training with bands or weight lifting can be used to supplement aerobic exercise to further reduce blood pressure. You should aim to complete 2 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions for each of the major muscle groups during your training sessions. Resistance training sessions should be somewhat spaced out throughout the week, to limit the potential muscle soreness. 

Get to Exercising

If you’re new to exercise, remember to take things at your own pace, don’t make it a chore or you won’t stick with it. Once you’ve become used to your new regimen, you can raise the intensity or number of repetitions. 

Blood pressure does naturally increase as we age, so it’s vital to stay active throughout every stage of life. 

Read “5 Benefits of Weight Training

By Leslie Radford
Woman Making Meal Plan in front of Fridge

High-Protein Lunches to Gain Lean Muscle Mass

High-Protein Lunches to Gain Lean Muscle Mass

Get great lunch ideas to add variety into your diet while training


Like training, diet is a vital part of bodybuilding. Sometimes we either skimp on lunch because we don’t have time to eat or wind up eating take-out when we are at work. And as you may have experienced, the diets of those who train can be restrictive, repetitive, and boring.

Having little variety in your diet can lead to an inadequate intake of essential minerals and vitamins. During a cutting phase when you eat limited calories, it’s important to incorporate a variety of foods into your diet to ensure your nutritional needs are being met.

It’s important to plan your meals. Having your meals ready to go before the work week starts (yep, meal-prep) will make lunchtime a breeze and you can calculate your macros more accurately.

Here are a couple of lean muscle-building lunches with recipes and other ideas that’ll get you on track for eating right and out of the fast-food line at noon. 

Sumac Shrimp and Crispy Chickpea Salad

Shrimp is a very lean protein that contains BCAAs. 

Serves: 4

Start to finish: 41 minutes

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 11 minutes


For the dressing

1 tablespoon tahini paste

Juice of 2 lemons

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

Salt, pepper, and sumac to taste


For the chickpeas

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and dried

Generous pinches of salt, pepper, and paprika 


For the salad

6 cups spring mix lettuce

1 English cucumber, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced

½ cup pickled beets, sliced

8 figs, quartered

¼ cup reduced-fat feta, crumbled

¼ cup mint leaves, chiffonade


For the shrimp

½ tablespoon olive oil

1 lb shrimp, shells and tails removed

Generous pinches of salt, paprika, and sumac


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Adjust seasonings, as necessary. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the chickpeas and a generous pinch of salt, pepper and paprika. Sauté until golden and crispy, shaking or stirring often, for about 6 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the lettuce, cucumber, beets, figs, feta, and mint.
  4. Preheat the oil in the nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the shrimp, along with a pinch of salt, paprika, and sumac. Cook, flipping once, until shrimp are pink and curled, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Divide the salad between four plates, top with shrimp, chickpeas, and salad dressing.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

Calories: 510; Total Fat: 22 grams; Saturated Fat: 4 grams; Protein: 34 grams: Carbohydrates: 48 grams; Sugar: 27 grams; Fiber: 9 grams; Cholesterol: 241 milligrams; Sodium: 531 milligrams

(Source: Recipe by Abbey Sharp, RD of Abbey’s Kitchen)


Tuna Quinoa Cakes

These quinoa cakes are easy to make and even better to tote to work as leftovers. 

Serves: 6

Start to finish: 25 minutes

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes


1/2 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato

2 cans tuna, drained

3/4 cup cooked quinoa

1/4 cup green onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 egg

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1 tablespoon mustard

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup breadcrumbs


  1. In a small bowl, combine the tuna and sweet potato and mix well.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
  3. Using your hands, form into 6 cakes.
  4. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 20 min, flipping once.

Nutrition Information (per quinoa cake)

Calories: 149; Total Fat: 3 grams; Saturated Fat: 1 grams; Protein: 11 grams: Carbohydrates: 19 grams; Sugar: 3 grams; Fiber: 2 grams; Cholesterol: 44 milligrams; Sodium: 247 milligrams

(Source: Recipe by Lindsay Livingston, RD of The Lean Green Bean.)

Other Lunch Ideas

Again, the idea is to add variety. A healthy portion of protein mixed with veggies and healthy carbs is the way to go. Search for recipes like: 

  • Toasted chickpea sea-salad sandwiches 
  • Seasoned grilled chicken breast, mixed greens, and baked sweet potato
  • Grilled chicken breast over spinach with sliced strawberries and almonds
  • Peppers stuffed with brown rice and turkey sausage
  • Buddha bowls
  • Lean beef spinach meatball pasta

Don’t Forget Your Supplements

Supplements can play an important role in providing nutrients to bodybuilders and athletes. According to a recent review by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, supplements and vitamins you need to incorporate daily are:

Creatine monohydrate: 3 g a day

Beta-alanine: 3–5 g a day

Citrulline malate: 8 g a day

Caffeine: 5–6 milligrams per kg of body weight per day

Omega-3 supplements

Stop by Nutrition Nation and talk to one of our experts to find the supplements you need!

Also, follow us on social media for more healthy recipes, workout regimens, and other great resources.

By Leslie Radford
couple working out outdoors

Get Ripped Outdoors This Spring

Get Ripped Outdoors This Spring

With nicer weather on the horizon, it’s time to take your workouts outdoors.


Don’t stay cooped up in the gym this spring, get outside and spruce up your workout. No equipment is needed, just your body weight.

Using Bodyweight

Your body weight can be used to generate any number of training stimuli. Instead of using heavier weights and higher reps, you can:

Use explosive, jumping movements to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers. 

Slow down the tempo you move at, forcing your muscles to stabilize you for an endurance challenge (called “time under tension”). 

Do a circuit of bodyweight moves just as easily as you can do the machine circuit in your gym to burn more calories.

Circuit Training

Nutrition Nation Circuit Workout Chart

Other Exercises to do Outdoors

Medicine balls, park benches, stairs – these are all the “extras” you could incorporate into your outdoor workout. For instance, you could:

Stairs Workout

Intensity will vary depending on the size of the staircase. Try these routines from Johnson Fitness and Wellness:

Sprint or Walk every other step for 10 reps (20 total stairs)

Walk back down for recovery and repeat for a total of 4 rounds

Sprint every step for 20 total steps

Walk back down for recovery and repeat for a total of 4 rounds

Bunny Hop (feet about shoulder-width apart) every step for 10 steps

Walk back down for recovery and repeat for a total of 4 rounds

Rest 1 minute and repeat the above


Bench Push-Ups

10-12 reps

Place hands on bench in an incline position or, to increase the difficulty, place feet on bench and perform decline push-ups.


Bench Jump

10-12 reps


Cradle Squats

12-15 Reps

Hug the med ball into the chest and perform a deep squat


Kettlebell Swings & Squats

10 swings

1 goblet squat

15 swings

2 goblet squats

25 swings

3 goblet squats

50 swings

Rest 1 minute and repeat for a total of 3-4 rounds

Start Working Out Outdoors

This is a great list to get you started and adds variety to your workout on the days you want to get out of the gym and into some fresh air.

By Leslie Radford

anatomical view of the heart

The Muscle That Matters The Most

The Muscle That Matters The Most

You might be fit, but are you protecting your heart health? 


Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. It can even happen to someone as fit as a bodybuilder. 

In sports where the muscle mass of the large muscles of the body must contract at maximum capacity such as, for example, in bodybuilding, weightlifting, powerlifting, and strongman, the intensity of effort is the master and the heart muscle undergoes concentric hypertrophy. This is especially true of the left ventricle, which determines the ejection capacity. Therefore, it is possible to have a hypertrophic heart (thickening of the left ventricle). Dirty bulking can increase cholesterol and lead to heart problems. Over-dosing on certain supplements can even put your heart at risk.

It’s important to check in with your doctor, monitor your heart rate, eat clean, keep stress low, get plenty of sleep, and supplement appropriately. Let’s take a closer look at what that looks like. 


How to Keep Your Heart Healthy

February is Heart Health Month. Here are some tips to keep your heart healthy.

1 Know Your Numbers

According to the Group Health Research Foundation, healthy men and women should have their cholesterol checked every five years and their blood pressure checked every two years. Men should begin wellness visits at age 35 and women at 45.

Purchase a home blood-pressure monitoring unit. Adult blood pressure is considered normal at 120/80.

Get a physical with full blood work in your twenties to help determine if you have any risk factors. Ask about your family history as well. Your risk of heart disease and stroke greatly increases if a parent has suffered from either before age 55.

2 Go to Sleep

Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a multitude of health issues, including well-known contributors to heart disease like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and impaired glucose tolerance. The more active you are during the day, the easier it will be for you to sleep at night.

You can set up your sleeping environment to promote deeper sleep by removing all artificial light, installing blackout curtains, or downloading some relaxation sounds for extra sleep aids.

3 Get it On

Sex can increase your heart rate and blood pressure as much as climbing a flight of stairs would. One study suggests that men who orgasm three or more times per week reduce the risk of heart attack by as much as 50 percent—which may be caused by the release of the hormone DHEA. Sex also releases beneficial hormones that reduce stress, cause relaxation, and improve sleep.

4 Don’t Exercise Excessively

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, it’s recommended that you log about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week to keep your heart healthy. Some of you probably accomplish this in a few days! 

A review study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that some endurance athletes who exercised at very high intensities over a long duration were at a greater risk of developing heart problems than those who exercised more moderately.

As the saying goes, too much of any one thing is not always a good thing. Different exercises stress the heart in different ways, and too much of any one form can push you into the higher-risk spectrum.

Lifting 3-5 times per week is not going to increase cardiac risk for most people, and the same goes for those who run less than 30 miles per week.

Supplements for bodybuilders

Clean Bulking Guide

Clean Bulking Guide

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

How Bodybuilders Can Strengthen Their Immune System This Winter

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

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