Summertime is just around the bend. If you're not ready for it, you stand the chance of being an embarrassment with your shirt off. Since none of us want to be "that fat guy standing next to the stud" we sat down with Dave Ruel "The Muscle Cook" to discuss some of his recipes and tips when it comes to anabolic cooking and looking your best.
1. What are some of the most common mistakes people make when trying to pack on muscle and shred fat?
Dave Ruel: Great question! While there are a number of different places I see people making errors, I’d have to say the biggest mistake is taking the ‘all-you-can-eat’ approach to building muscle. Basically, it’s bulking to the extreme. Guys eat everything they can without much regard to fat gain in order to pack on as much size as possible.
When I first started bodybuilding, I made the same mistake and ended up at 262 pounds. Getting back into shape took a full 6 months and it wasn’t an enjoyable process.
The whole ‘bulking’ approach isn’t the best of strategies as not only does it harm your health to gain so much body fat so quickly, but the more fat you gain, the greater your chances of putting on additional fat mass as opposed to lean muscle mass are. Basically, it snowballs.
If you can stay leaner while building muscle, you’ll not only get better results, but look a lot better the entire time as well. When dieting you always stand that risk of losing some muscle mass, so the less dieting you have to do, the better.
The second big mistake I see people making is always sticking to the same boring, bland foods. That’s a fast way to drive yourself crazy regardless of what your goal is. Dieting should be enjoyed. Just because you’re eating healthy doesn’t mean your meals have to taste like cardboard. There are plenty of ways to create delicious dishes that you’ll actually look forward to.
Finally, not being organized is another big one. If you want to succeed, you need to stay on top of meal planning and prep. If you leave your diet up to chance, chances are not usually going to work on your favor.
2. What are the staples that every bro trying to get jacked should have on their grocery list?
There are a wide number of different foods I’d definitely recommend to someone looking to pack on lean muscle mass, but I’d say the most critical ‘must-haves’ that you never want to overlook include lean sources of protein such as lean red meat, chicken, and fish, plenty of vegetables, which many people overlook because they don’t pack in the calories, along with healthy sources of fat such as nuts, oils, and avocado.
In addition to that, you also must be sure you have some good sources of carbs. Carbs are extremely powerful in the muscle building equation and far too many people cut them back just a little too hard. If you choose the right types and eat them at the correct time in the day, they’re really going to work in your favor. Choose incorrectly though and then you will have a problem.
Some good examples of carbs include oats, sweet potatoes, quinoa, as well as brown rice. Basically, anything that’s not processed and as close to 100% natural as possible will work great.
3. What’s an easy recipe that requires minimal time and effort that anyone can eat on the go?
Here’s a protein bar recipe that every bro should start making use of immediately. Protein bars are perfect to pack along with you whether you’re off to school, the gym, work, or just out and about. You should never be without some form of high quality protein and source of energy.
Makes 5 bars
-8 scoops chocolate protein powder -1 cup oatmeal -1/3 cup natural peanut butter -3 tbsp. honey -1/2 cup 1% milk -3 tbsp. crushed peanuts
1. Mix together the protein powder, oatmeal, peanut butter, honey, and milk.
2. Form into 5 bars and then roll in the crushed peanuts to finish.
3. Place in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes or until solid
Nutritional Facts per bar
Protein: 50 grams Carbohydrates: 36 grams Fat: 12 grams You can find the complete recipe with a video at: http://www.anaboliccooking.com/blog/diet-meal-plans/the-best-homemade-protein-bar-in-the-world/
4. Can you give us a kick ass recipe that we can whip up tonight?
For sure. While there are a number of different recipes I could give you to try out, if you’re looking to impress a special lady in your life, this is the one I would strongly recommend. I made it for Karine when I first met her and we’re now engaged. It works – a great option for those guys out there looking to score brownie points!
Roasted Chicken Breast With Spinach And Walnuts Stuffing (Makes 4 Servings)
4 large fresh chicken breasts, boneless, and skinless 4 cups fresh spinach 2 tbsp. of garlic ¼ cup walnuts, crushed salt to flavor fresh ground black pepper olive oil (not extra virgin)
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Butterfly Chicken Breasts (cut alongside and lay out flat leaving attached at one end like a book) and lay out flat on cutting board. You can pound it slightly to flatten a bit if you want.
2. Rub both sides with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.
3. Lightly wilt spinach in non-stick pan, or if using frozen just thaw.
4. Spread roasted garlic paste onto one half on inside of chicken breasts.
5. Sprinkle with crushed walnuts.
6. Place spinach on top of walnuts.
7. Fold top over and place on a rack fitted inside a sheet pan or roasting pan.
8. Place chicken in oven and bake for 20 minutes on 400. Then reduce heat to 325 and roast for an additional 30 minutes, or until inside stuffing reaches 145 degrees.
9. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
Nutritional Facts (Per Serving)
Calories: 407 Protein: 55g Carbohydrates: 4g Fat: 19g
5. Where can we keep up with all your latest info and recipes, etc?
The best place to keep tabs on the latest recipes I come out with is my blog, The Muscle Cook. This is where I share regularly with my readers about not only the latest recipes but also nutrition and cooking information. I also talk about meal planning, supplements, workouts, and from time to time personal stuff, so they’ll get a wide variety of helpful – and some entertaining – information. I’m most active on my blog so it’s the go-to place to find me.
In addition to that, they can also check out my website, Anabolic Cooking. This is where they can actually find and purchase my cookbook. I give the information regarding what’s included in the book and some of the common myths about bodybuilding and fitness nutrition, so another very helpful resource to check out.