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Q&A: More Muscle, Less Fat

Dave Cruz

Q: I'm following your basketball in-season workout plan, and I'm playing full-court ball three times a week. I'm 25 years old, 6'3" and 194 pounds with 16 percent body fat. How can I bulk up without packing on the fat? — Brian, Birmingham, AL

A: When you're playing sports and training, you need to eat often, eat more, and chase your workouts with food in order to build muscle. Keep these three rules in mind to gain lean muscle mass and boost your performance. 

1. Eat every three hours.

To increase your lean muscle mass and shed some body fat, you need to prevent your body from going into a fasted state. When this happens, your body will turn to its lean muscle stores for energy. This process, known as catabolism, is completely counterproductive to your goal. You can prevent catabolism by eating consistently throughout the day. Start off with breakfast and eat every two to three hours after that.

2. Increase your portion sizes.

If you're eating five to six meals a day, you don't need to increase your portion size much at each meal to significantly increase the total amount of calories you consume. Try adding healthy fats, like olive oil, peanut butter, avocado, and low-fat milk to your snacks to raise the overall calorie count.

3. Fuel up after you train.

Have a snack before your practices or workouts, drink throughout your sessions, and fuel up post-workout. If you don't like shakes or bars, chocolate milk is a good alternative for building muscle.

About The Author

Amanda Carlson-Phillips – Amanda Carlson-Phillips is the vice president of nutrition and research at EXOS. As a registered dietitian, she has provided educational seminars and individual counseling to a variety of professional and elite sports organizations.

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Tags: Food, Protein, Build Muscle, Weight Loss