Category Archives: Nutrition

Cutting Edge Nutritional Info

“The Muscle Couple Mix”-Protein Before-During and After Training

The Muscle Couple has made it a personal mission to tell all their friends and even enemies over the years of the importance of “Post-Workout Protein“.  You can’t change your appearance without it. It’s Commandment #1 of the 10 Commandments of Physique Improvement for Men .  

But what if it was becoming just as important to consume protein right before and during your training?  

 It's Best To Drink Your Protein Shake Mixture Right Before and  During Training?

It’s Best To Drink Your Protein Shake Mixture Right Before and During Training?

It appears the latest research is showing just that.  There is a compelling body of evidence the right mixture of nutrients(notably Fast Acting Whey Protein and Simple Carbs), taken at key points in the skeletal tissue regeneration cycle, will optimize improvements in muscle tissue growth, strength, and enhance recovery from exercise.  There appears to be true synergy between these nutrients. Much of the data also confirms these nutrients, taken both before and after training, have a greater effect on lean mass and strength than when taken at other times of the day.

Additional recent studies and data have shown the most efficient way to stay in an anabolic state throughout your workout is to Consume 20-30 gms of FAST DIGESTING PROTEIN before you train.  The amino acids from the protein will stay in your bloodstream as you train helping to prevent muscle tissue catabolism or breakdown during your training.

So putting all of this together it appears there is a “Workout Window” before-during and after your training where your body is primed to absorb the nutrients provided by fast acting protein and simple sugars(carbs).  If you want to optimize your nutrition to gain muscle mass, strength and enhance recovery, it’s vital to consume this combination during this “window”.

So what is the best strategy to achieve this? 

You can utilize the:  

The Muscle Couple Mix 

Mix 35-70gms of high quality whey with 60-80g of high GI carbs (such as glucose, sucrose or maltodextrin, etc.,)in shaker bottle and carry it with you to the gym. Drink half before and during training, and the other half immediately following your workout. 

If you do this at every workout, you will be well on your way to ensuring you are taking advantage of the most cutting edge nutritional strategies available today.   There are even additional supplements  you could add to this concoction like Creatine, Glutamine and even Nitrogen Oxide stimulators.  Sounds like a topic for another Blog we’ll discuss in the near future.  

Have a great day!



Low Carb vs High Carb


Lowered Carbs-Higher Protein and Higher EFA's is Your Solution!

Lowered Carbs-Higher Protein and Higher EFA's is Your Solution!

The Muscle Couple could talk about this subject all day long.  

We could find countless studies cancelling out other studies that one type of diet is better than the other.  It really does come down to kcals in vs kcals out.  

But if your diet is designed to maximize muscularity while at the same time maximizing fat loss, a lowered carb- higher protein and EFA diet will work BEST over others.  

Minimizing your bodies insulin production and response is the key to increasing your bodies BMR while at rest.  The only way you can do this naturally is to reduce your carbohydrate intake.  Especially carbs that produce a quick and immediate insulin response like starches and simple sugars.

So there you have it.  

If the choice is between restricting carbs or restricting fat, lower your carbs and increase your Protein  and EFA intake and do it pronto.

The Muscle Couple is trying to get back into the swing of things after some business and personal travel.  Expect some good stuff coming from us 


The Importance of Fiber in Your Diet

How important is Fiber in all of our diets?  

For anyone interested in superb health and fitness, its HUGELY IMPORTANT.  Especially if you are on a reduced kcal or carb diet.  

Your body needs fiber to stay regular and to help with your metabolism running at optimal levels.

The easiest way to make sure you get an adequate amount is thru supplementation.  

The Easiest Way to Ensure Enough Fiber in Your Diet!

The Easiest Way to Ensure Enough Fiber in Your Diet!


The Muscle Couple takes Fiber Capsules.  You can buy them at any Pharmacy or Nutritional Supplement store.  They are cheap and very effective in helping  metabolize your food, and they will greatly improve the chances you don’t “over-eat” as they provide a feeling of satiety.  

We normally swallow anywhere from 3-8 capsules after every feeding especially when dieting and restricting carbs.  

A good rule of thumb is to consume 8-15gms of Fiber per day!  

You can also use powder formulations like Metamucil.  We find the capsules much more convenient for transport and easier to consume with less mess from adding to a drink formulation.


The Magic Hour Addendum-Adding in Carbs

Consider this Part 2 of the first article “The Magic Hour”.

A bunch of people have asked me about the preferred type of carbs to add with your post workout protein.  I figured I’d spend a couple of minutes and offer some strategies dependant on your goal.


You should always add some carbs with your protein after you train as your body is extremely insulin sensitive and the carbs ie glucose will preferentially be pushed back into your depleted muscle cells to replenish what was just lost and broken down.

So the type and amount of carbs you should consume?  It’s really dependant on your goal.

Let’s define goals as 3 fold:

  • Maintaining your present condition
  • Losing Bodyfat
  • Gaining Muscle

The first goal is maintaining your present condition.  Figure an equal amount of carbs to your protein.  So if you’re consuming 35-60gms of Protein, the same amount in carbs.

The 2nd goal is losing bodyfat.  This can be a bit tricky.  Depending on how much bodyfat you need to lose, you really only want to consume a mimimal amount of carbs to  you keep your glucagon levels high for increased fat burning.  You don’t want to overconsume carbs and top off your muscle glycogen stores to the point of pushing the excess into your fat cells.  Figure about half the carbs as your protein to be safe.

The 3rd goal of gaining muscle is much easier.  You should try and consume 2.5x the carbs as protein.  So if 50gms of Protein you should eat 125gms of carbs.  You are going to gain fat no matter what because your body will be enjoying a kcal surplus.

So what are the best types of carbs to meet these needs?   They can come from a bunch of different sources but The Muscle Couple will only choose from this group:

  1. Maltodextrin powder-
  2. Low Fat Bagels-
  3. Brown Rice-
  4. Baked Potatos-
  5. Parillo Bars –
  6. Oatmeal-
  7. Fruit Juice

As always, please feel free to email us with questions:


The Magic Hour

If you’ve ever read a single fitness magazine article about nutrition in your life, you’ve no doubt read countless times about making sure you consume protein after cessation of your workout.   It’s hammered home everywhere by anybody with a clue about post workout nutrition.   And they are absolutely right.

The Muscle Couple practices this habit religiously.  I could write volumes about the subject and probably will for Viigo in the next couple of months.  Just realize there is nothing you can do to improve your physique more than consistently consuming a high quality protein source (preferably mixed with some fast digesting carb)within an hour after your training. The sooner the better.

Not getting protein after training will derail your efforts fast!

Not getting protein after training will derail your efforts fast!

In the last 19 years of consistent weight training, I haven’t ever missed this “Magic Hour” to replenish my body’s glycogen and amino acid stores from a hard training session.  Our bodies are continually “re-made” as our cells are regenerated over and over.  It’s during this short time interval after your training where your body is most receptive to assimilating the amino acids and glucose to maintain, and perhaps rebuild the tissue broken down from your exercise.  Giving your body this consistent and rapid replenishment will ensure you continue to build and hone a high quality physique for the remainder of your life.

The easiest way to ensure you meet this objective is through protein shakes.  Most good gyms around the world have “juice bars” where you can buy a Pre-Made or RTD (Ready to Drink)shake and consume it within minutes after your workout.  Sometimes you can even have one whipped up for you in a blender while you wait.  You can of course eat very lean solid protein sources too.  Chicken-turkey-tuna-salmon-egg whites etc.  It’s just much more convenient to get a liquid and easily digestable protein source.  Plus you can throw one in your gym bag or backpack as they are easily portable.

If there were “10 Commandments” in improving your physique, (hint-hint at a future blog post)”A Post Workout Fast Digesting Protein Mixture within one hour after your training” would be #1. It’s really that important.

There is no hard and fast rule at the amount of protein/carbs required.

The Muscle Couple usually consumes between 30 and 60gms of Protein and an equal or lesser amount of carbs depending on if we’re building, maintainng or leaning out.

As always, please feel free to leave questions or email us about any of this.


Protein for Dummies-Part 3

Welcome back to the 3rd and final installment of Protein for Dummies

Hopefully youve read the first two articles and are anxious to learn more about my protein consumption and the various forms of protein I recommend. If you missed the first two installments make sure you check out the wealth of information in Part I and Part II

Lets start by analyzing my current diet and specifically my protein intake.  Remember from article two about 4  different forms of protein.  My goal is to try and get 3 out of the 4 types of protein on a daily basis.  There are some days where I will get all 4.

I’m currently dieting(body fat loss phase) preparing for WMC in Miami.  If you remember from the first article a rule of thumb when dieting is to consume 1gm of protein per pound of lean body weight. I currently weigh 198 pounds and am around 6.5% bodyfat.

Doing the math makes me strive for 185gms of protein to maintain muscle tissue and allow my body to burn kcals at an optimal rate.  To keep my body consistently protein nourished, I will attempt to eat every 4 hours.

Here is what my current diet looks like with emphasis on my protein intake:

Meal 1:

Protein Shake with Muscle Milk Cookies and Cream Powder(2.5 Scoops) combined with Optimum Nutrition Pro-Complex Whey(2 Scoops).  This provides about 85 gms of protein. I mix it up early in the morning and pour my wife about 35-40% of the Shake refrigerate and I consume the rest. (Whey and Cassein Protein) 

Meal 2:

Can of White water packed Tuna (37.5 gms Protein).(Animal-Complete Protein) 

Meal 3:

Can of White water packed Tuna (37.5 gms Protein) (Animal-Complete Protein) 

Meal 4: (if training day)

Post Workout Shake with Muscle Milk Cookies and Cream and Beverly Nutrition Ultimate Muscle Protein

Same split with the wife as always. (85 gms of Protein 40% to wife and rest to me)(Whey and Cassein Protein0

Meal 5:

Dinner with proteins coming from one of the following. *Ground Turkey* *Salmon* *Chicken* or *Lean red meat*.(40-45gms of Protein)(Animal-Complete Protein)

Add it all up and you’ll see I will always err on the side of caution to get even more protein than my goal.  I do this because over the course of the week because of my hectic schedule, there are days where I get less than required.  Cumulatively by overeating on some days and under eating on others, I will consistently meet or exceed my protein requirements week to week.

Why do I take the Protein supplements listed above?  Because I know and trust the brands.  The supplement industry is for the most part wholly unregulated.  But many of the manufacturers have been around for a long time.

Optimum Nutrition has been making Pro Complex for more than 15 years.  I’ve been using it since 1995 when I first had enough money to buy it.  It’s an ultra protein spectrum mix discussed in article II and it tastes awesome.  The flavors I use are Vanilla-Chocolate and Banana.  Two scoops provides 60gms of the highest quality easily digesting proteins available.

Beverly International is another reputable Protein manufacturer I’ve been using for 4 years now.  They make an excellent ultra protein spectrum mix known as Ultimate Muscle Protein.  It comes in 3 delicious flavors as well.  Vanilla, Chocolate and Cookies and Crème.

You can use these powder supplements in protein shakes, oatmeal, and while cooking (pancakes-oat muffins-etc).  They are also convenient to carry around with you in plastic bags to be added to a shaker bottle with water for some extra protein during the course of the day.

The last and probably most crucial protein supplement I use is Muscle Milk.  I’m sure many of you have seen or heard of it due to its widespread availability in the mainstream.  Does anybody really know why it’s widely available?   Because it’s a true protein super food.

Muscle Milk in its various formulations(Powder-MRP’s(Meal Replacement Packages),RTDs, Oatmeal, Protein Bars etc)contains EFA’s(essential fatty acids) mixed into the protein formulation.  It was actually created by a Doctor for burn and wasting patients years ago.  He realized it’s potential use for the health and fitness industry as a true protein super food formulation and a gigantic cottage industry was born.

Muscle Milk powder is the foundation of my protein regimen because the extra EFA’s found in the matrix help with brain functioning, nerve growth and fat loss.  Essential Fatty Acids and their importance to an athlete/physique augmenter merits an entirely new article(hint-hint). I consistently have 12-24 Muscle Milk RTD(Ready to Drink)shakes in my refrigerator ready to be added to my cooler when on the road.  When I am travelling, one of the first places I stop is a health food store/pharmacy to buy some pre-packaged Muscle Milk RTDs for additional protein during the course of the day.

I hope you have found the information contained in these articles useful.  I would encourage you to visit our blog and ask questions about anything you see as it relates to improving your body thru food and nutrition.

And remember:

Consistent protein intake is ESSENTIAL to building and maintaining an exception physique. Not consuming enough quality protein on a day in day out basis, is the quickest way to derail your efforts at improving your appearance. 


Protein for Dummies-Part 2

Thanks for reading the first installment of this 3 Part Series “Protein for Dummies.  

In the 2nd installment, we’ll look at the most common types of protein and how they can be used relative to your goals.

There are numerous ways to meet your protein requirements.  

The key is to get quality protein regularly throughout the day.  A good rule of thumb is to consume some protein once every 3.5-5 hours.  

Remembering back to the first article, your goal is to get 1gm of protein per pound of lean muscle weight(dieting/fat loss)or 1gm of protein per pound of bodyweight (gaining muscle/bodyweight).  The amounts consume per feeding is dependent on your goals and body size. 

People often ask me how much protein can the body metabolize in one feeding.  It’s usually determined by your BMR(basal metabolic rate), your body’s unique biochemical individuality, your physical size and your training level or condition.   Some people can consume and properly metabolize 75 gms in one sitting.  I find most people can utilize about 20-40gms of protein per feeding.

In order to meet your protein requirements you need to consume the four basic types of protein.

  • Animal Protein
  • Whey
  • Casein
  • Egg Albumin

Animal protein is the protein found in most meats.  It’s usually referred to as “complete” because it contains all of the essential amino acids.  It’s much better to eat lean sources of Animal protein such as Turkey, fish, chicken and lean cuts of red meat.  Most of the protein found in lean meats is of high quality and will be used to build and maintain muscle.   Meat(fish) also can have high concentration of EFA’s(Essential Fatty Acids) needed by the body for neurotransmitter synthesis ie “brain fuel”.  It’s for this very reason that meat should be consumed a couple of times a day regardless of goal.

Whey protein is probably the most common protein you’ll find in Supplement stores or in advertisements in magazines.  It’s actually a bi-product of the manufacture of cheese and milk products.  It’s usually the #1 ingredient in protein powder formulations widely available.  It’s readily absorbed and digested by the body and has the highest value of BCAA’s(Branched Chain Amino Acids).  BCAA’s are crucial in building and retaining muscle tissue.  Whey protein is really the perfect protein supplement because of its wide application.  You can use it in shakes, when cooking, mixed in with oatmeal etc.   You can carry it with you in packets or MRP formulations for use on the go.   And due to its rapid absorption by the body, it’s used often immediately after training in post workout shake formulations.   Whey Protein can and should be used by all three goal sets defined in the first article.  I honestly don’t know of a cheaper more efficient way to add supplemental protein to your diet.

Casein is the next most widely consumed supplemental protein type.  “Micellar casein” is a natural, undenatured milk protein separated from milk by means of ultrafiltration.  It has a unique ability to  provide a slow and steady release of amino acids into the blood stream.  This is of great help in preventing muscle tissue breakdown in times of dieting or extreme athletic duress.  You will find this type of protein in some of the more expensive protein formulations found on the market today.  It’s usually combined with Whey Protein and Glutamine for an ultra protein amino acid spectrum mix. It provides an anti-catabolic effect to dieters and hard training athletes/bodybuilders.  Casein should be used mostly by people who are looking to hold onto muscle when on severely restricted caloric intakes.

Egg Albumin is the protein found in egg whites.  It contains almost no fat.  Egg whites are rich in proteins of very high nutritional value.  You will get these from consuming eggs and actual egg white formulations found in supplement stores.  An easy way to get this form of protein is to crack 10 whole eggs and separate them from the yolks and cook up in a pan or in a microwave oven.    Egg white omelets are wonderful when you throw in greens, mushrooms and chicken or turkey.  When I’m dieting, I religiously will order this out at restaurants.

Now that you understand the forms of protein available to you, it’s time to discuss what I use and what I would recommend for folks relative to their goal.  In Part III and the final installment of “Protein for Dummies”, I’ll give a detailed analysis of my daily protein consumption and offer tips for choosing some high quality protein formulations found on the market today.

Thank you for reading.