Matt Argall is a World Champion Natural Bodybuilder, having won his weight class at the 2013 UIBBN World Championship in Paris. Matt is also the reigning British Lightweight Champion, successfully defending the title he won in 2012 with the Natural Physique Association (a ‘natural for life’ organisation that drug tests with urinalysis and polygraph).
Food For Thought.
The diet of todays ‘average Joe’ would be pretty shocking compared to how people lived 50-60 years ago, with hectic lifestyles and convenience foods seemingly going hand in hand. This, I feel, is where the budding gym goer needs to set themselves apart. Sure, we all train hard (I hope!) but do we really pay enough attention to our nutrition?
It’s fair to say supplements have come a long way in a relatively short period of time, in terms of cost and availability, but we must never neglect ‘real foods’. I see every meal as an opportunity to feed my body with the best choices I can. Remember when you were a kid? I bet you got the same messages drummed into you as I did. Things like: an apple a day keeps the doctor away; breakfast is the most important meal of the day; you won’t grow big and strong unless you eat all your vegetables…sound familiar?
Now, Mum and Nan were no experts! But the basic message still rings true. Fruit is a great natural food source, and I always have 3 different pieces a day, minimum.
Breakfast is another great opportunity to get some decent nutrition into you. The analogy I always use (albeit a little crude) is imagine going to work for 8 hours and not eating a thing. Come home time you would be on your knees. Is sleep really that different?
Vegetables are another great natural food, with so many to choose from and different ways to cook they are an essential addition to meals. Over cooking of vegetables should be avoided, to preserve as much goodness as possible. Remember what they did for Popeye? Although sucking them straight out of a can through a pipe whilst rescuing your long limbed love interest is entirely up to you!
So what about supplements? Assuming your diet is well balanced and considering the above, I believe there are 3 golden windows of opportunity: Breakfast, Post-Workout and Pre bed.
Going back to Breakfast being a major meal of the day, an excellent way of enhancing this (and also creating different tastes and textures) would be to add some Whey Protein to it. This then becomes an excellent platform for the rest of the day, as many breakfasts can be low in protein.
Post-Workout (PWO) is the time when a supplement will come into its own. Nothing will be absorbed better and quicker than a PWO shake (Whey being the most quickly absorbed of the proteins).
Whey is the first basic supplement we usually go for when looking for ways to enhance our diets. There are many more options and choices dedicated to different levels of trainers and sports. Things like Creatine, HMB, BCAA’s to name a few, all that can enhance and optimise ones training. Not to mention vitamins that can be lacking for various reasons like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, etc. that can be conveniently taken as a supplement.
The bottom line really is that supplements are exactly as the name suggests, and not to replace a full, balanced diet. Make the most of all the different Amino Acids from as many different Protein sources as you can. Try and avoid processed foods that are just dead calories.
But would I be without my supplements that aid my training and recovery? Absolutely not!