Barbell Shrugged

10 Nutrition Habits for More Strength and Muscle

Doug Larson

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    • if you are in a hurry or forget to set out dinner and Instant Pot is an amazing gadget to have. Makes rice and yogurt, works as a crock pot and pressure cooker. I steam all my veggies, cook all my chicken for lunches and make hard boiled eggs in it. It is the best.

  • I always think that “general guidelines” can be so tricky since you never know where the person who is reading them is starting from, but I think these are well done; I love that they focus more on habits than anything else and that it is made abundantly clear that this are guidelines for people who are looking to do something specific, build muscle and strength.

    A question: where do you see fat fitting in to this? I noticed that you cover 2 of the 3 macronutrients as their own categories, but fat is never directly mentioned and is only touched on indirectly (the almond butter, coconut oil and dairy.)

    • Hey Caitlin,

      Thanks! it is a lot of fun to help folks troubleshoot habits and where to start on their muscle gaining journey. The question about fat is a great one. A certain amount of fats in the diet are necessary for health. While fat is twice as calorically dense as carbs they also keep people fuller for much longer , which works against frequent eating for muscle gain. You will have to see what works best for you. A starting point could be a serving of fat with each meal. Make sure that the fat portions are not keeping you from eating regularly. As you approach your workout focus more on protein and carbs pre and post workout and less fat at this time. As always test and assess to see what works best for you personally. Cheers!

    • Thank you for this Alex! Been planning on gaining muscles and weight since I was 15 but can’t even start right away, maybe because I thought it was too hard. Indeed, I just need to be patient with the process and right food. Just like what you’ve said, eating more protein is a must and that’s one of my struggle. But when it comes to 8-9 hours of sleep, that is also one of my goal and quit spending so much time in the internet.

      However, I believe, at least for me, that some of the important nutrients that I need in order to achieve my desired body I can also take some supplements. I find these supplements from Ariix effective. You can view these supplements and other products here:

  • Awesome advice! How about nutrition for those heavier guys who need to lose weigh but maintain their muscles?

    • For your goalI would make sure to keep protein consistent across all days whether they are a training or recovery days this way you have ample amino acids to feed muscle even while losing fat. On training days center carbohydrates around workouts pre and post should be the majority of carbohydrates. On recovery days focus on protein, fat and vegetables and try to get at least a 300 calorie split between the training and non training day. See how that works!

  • I’ve been lifting for about a year and the nutrition part has been my biggest struggle. I eat a vegan diet. I also have IBS so I’ve always been a light eater. I know I need to eat more than I did before I started lifting but it can be a real struggle and when it catches up with me I find myself falling back on bad options like sweet and salty trail mix (crazy that doesn’t trigger my IBS, but it doesnt) all too often because I’m not prepared.

    • Hey Ken,
      How of your diet is made up of grains and legumes ? Those along with raw vegetables are well known gut irritants, especially for people with any kind of digestive issues. Are you against bone broth ? If not I would make and consume at least two cups of that every day, cook all your vegetables and remove grains and legumes to see how you feel. Hope this helps amigo.



  • […] It wasn’t until I started to implement better lifestyle and training habits overall, focusing primarily on nutrition, mobility and recovery, that progress began to accelerate. In hindsight, I wish I had implemented those changes and habits far earlier in my training career. But I was too busy believing that as long as I just kept doing the workouts, I would get better. […]

  • I love the analogy of goals looking like a mountain. It always looks huge and unattainable until you start taking small strides and working your way to the top. I’ve been consuming lots of protein and I’ve noticed that it’s truly making a difference!

  • Thanks Alex! I’ve been following your work for a couple months after you were featured or name dropped on a podcast (can’t remember which one, I listen to a lot, sorry!) You mentioned after being in a calorie deficit for a long time your hormones and metabolism can get messed up. A few years ago I took the chronic cardio, switch to a paleo diet, go on a huge deficit approach. I got into lifting after that, but ever since, it seems like whatever approach I take to nutrition I’m still stuck in this skinnyfat body composition and rarely feel like I have energy. Moreover, I keep plateauing around the same numbers and have started over what feels like countless times without keeping any meaningful gains. My diet has been all over the place since someone suggested I simply wasn’t eating enough, but the weight I’ve put back on is mostly fat.

    What’s the best approach to take as far as appropriate macros, meal timing (I wake up and go to the gym at 4am before work), etc? It feels like I’m stuck in a perpetual loop; I can’t achieve the gains I want without feeling fat or lifeless, at which point I fall off the wagon and start again at square one.

  • Hi!

    First of all, great work with the guide!

    Second, what are your thoughts about sauces?
    And third, a “healthy sauce-guide” might be something to think about creating..? 😀

    Thanks again for the inspiration!


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