HOW CAN I BUILD MORE MUSCLES?
“I’ve always been fairly fit and healthy, but when I moved to Sydney from Brisbane nearly five years ago, the stress of settling into a new city meant my body enjoyed more Tim Tams than TRX. A few extra kilos later, it was time to take action. I started working out again (I now do F45, running and yoga, with six sessions a week all up), became pescetarian and cut out most dairy (bar the odd cheese platter). Slowly but surely I reached my OG weight. But, I also felt tired as hell, especially after a gym visit, and I also wasn’t building the muscle I was slogging it out for.
Enter dietitian Amy Giannotti who, during our consultation, placed a big focus on exactly what I was eating. Much to my surprise, for a woman of my height, weight and activity level, I was only hitting 56 per cent of the kilojoules I needed. She was also troubled by my low-grain and dairy intakes, as well as a peanut butter obsession that meant my saturated fat quota was a little high. My new menu plan under Giannotti’s watch? Triple my usual amount of carbohydrates, the return of yoghurt and scale back on unnecessary fats. Overall, I had to eat way more.
‘Just like putting petrol in the car, if you want more out of your body, you need to provide more fuel,’ Giannotti explains. In particular, not getting enough carbs results in ‘a decreased training quality, overall performance, decreased overall energy expenditure and also contributes to muscle breakdown’. I’ll be honest, it took a bit of education to get me comfortable with upping my intake. ‘Carb-phobia counselling is almost a daily job,’ admits Giannotti. ‘It surprises me the fear many people have when it comes to eating carbohydrates. I have had many clients believe that eating a banana will make them fat.’
Now, each of my meals involves a specific combination of low-gi carbs, protein and either fruit (for breakfast) or non-starchy vegetables (for lunch and dinner). A regular day on a plate: a pre-training banana; half a cup of oats with 200 grams of Greek yoghurt, half-a-cup of berries and cinnamon for breakfast; salmon, half-a-cup of brown rice and loads of vegies for lunch; two dairyrich snacks such as tzatziki or a smoothie; and vegetarian chilli with rice for dinner.
The changes took a little getting used to (meal prepping helped enormously) but a few weeks down, I’m stoked with the results. I can’t wait to see how my body and muscle changes over time but I have more consistent energy, especially during workouts. Now, pass the bread, please.”