If you want to GAIN MUSCLE, you have to eat a calorie rich diet.
Let me say that AGAIN. You must eat to grow! A diet of only leafy greens and protein won’t do the trick unless you are aiming to look like a stick insect. I know this might be a scary concept for some, but stick with me. As a strong, lean woman, everyone assumes I eat low-calorie protein rich foods. Hell no! If I did that, I’d pass out in the gym.
If you feel fatigued after training, it’s usually because you’re in a carb depleted state.
Now let me qualify what I mean by carbs. I mean healthy, complex, nutrient rich carbs like nuts, oats and unsweetened dried fruit. So why do you need to make sure you’re getting enough carbs? Carbohydrates are an essential part of our everyday diet. Think about your mood when you go on a low carb diet or restrict your carb intake. Yes, we get grumpy. Did you know that a carb deficient diet can increase your cortisol levels? Cortisol is a hormone that regulates a number of the body’s processes including its metabolism and the immune system. Too much cortisol can trigger weight gain particularly around the waistline and the face. It can also result in muscle weakness. Post workout carbs help release insulin into the body putting you into a muscle building anabolic state. You need to combine the carbs with fat and protein which is why you’ll see many athletes drinking chocolate milk after workouts. Carbs give you energy to lift heavier weights, do more reps and build muscle faster. Think about how you’ve felt going for a workout on a scoop of protein powder as opposed to how you’ve felt working out on a protein shake with an added banana or nuts. If you don’t eat enough carbs, your body will use the protein you consume to function. This can result in loss of muscle! We can’t be having that now. So, if like me you love chocolate, try this little nugget of a protein bar. It tastes just like a Snickers bar, you won’t believe it. It’s rich in good carbs, healthy fats and protein. What more can you ask for?
A Snickers bar for MAXIMAL MUSCLE. A photo posted by Chris Moore (@barbellbuddha) on
1. For for the nougat base
- 6 scoops of sugar-free whey protein (the powder I used had 30g of protein per scoop)
- 4 tablespoons of smooth unsweetened cashew butter
- 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
2. For the caramel middle
- 4 large pitted dates
- ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
- 1 cup of boiling water
- 2 tablespoons of unsweetened pure coconut milk
- ¼ cup of unsalted peanuts
3. For the topping
- 50g of 80% + cocoa chocolate
Soak the dates in the boiling water and bicarbonate of soda for 5 minutes and then rinse. Allow to cool and then blitz in a high-speed blender with the coconut milk. Set aside.
Combine all nougat ingredients with your hands to form a paste and then press into an 8×8 lined tin.
Spread the caramel over the nougat base. Sprinkle the peanuts over the caramel. Melt the chocolate and drizzle on top.
I divided my slab into 9 pieces. Each 1/9th has about 246 calories, 11 g of fat (3.9 g of which is saturated fat), 14.3g of carbs, 9.7g of natural sugar, 23mg of sodium, 2g of fibre and a whopping 22.65g of protein.
You can’t beat that, can you? Not for the taste you’ll get in return.
- Need to gain muscle and strength? Check out the MUSCLE GAIN CHALLENGE.
Great post! You gotta eat big to get big!
Because of the increased interest in crossfit training and paleo eating, there is definitely some confusion about carbohydrate needs and sources. I just had a couple questions..
I know you used nuts and dried fruit as examples because of your recipe but are oats really considered nutrient dense? Yeah they have some vitamins, minerals, and fiber but I was always under the impression that those micronutrients were denatured by cooking/processing methods (same for fruits).
Also, are nuts really considered carb sources? Nuts are really loaded with monounsaturated fats. I know cashews are kind of starchy but most nuts are richer in fiber, not starch or sugar.
Just picking your brain! Looking forward to your reply!
I can say that, a little oatmeal is delicious and awesome. Just as long as it doesn’t give you the walking farts. That’s terrible.
I take mine with loads of butter and cinnamon.
Great comments Logan Hursh. I think oats are nutrient dense. Apart from the protein and fibre, they also contain manganese, vitamin B1 and magnesium. It’s said that the modern diet is lacking in magnesium. Magnesium helps with sleep and the growth and strength of muscles. I used to get a lot of leg cramps but found that this disappeared when I increased my magnesium consumption!
I deliberately used cashew butter as my binder for the protein powder because cashews are one of the most carb rich nuts.
I hope that addresses your questions!
Some great points here! Many athletes who are following a paleo-ish diet do not realize how little carbohydrate they may be getting. It takes a lot of work to eat 200+g of carbohydrates relying solely on starchy, real-food carbs.
Your recipe looks delicious! One thing I would caution against is relying heavily on fruit, and dried fruit in particular, as a post-WOD carbohydrate source. In general, fruits tend to be higher in fructose – a simple sugar only metabolized by the liver (and therefore not by muscle!). Likewise, I would try to limit fat in the post-WOD meal (save it for another meal), as fat slows digestion and you want protein/carbs to preferentially build up stores in the muscle.
My two cents, anyway. Interested in hearing your thoughts!
Where is this recipe?
Are you using internet explorer? Switch browsers.
Hey Ashley. Is your caution on the fruit to do with insulin spikes?
The sugar levels in this bar are pretty low and are made up of glucose and fructose so the release of energy should be slow and steady. Agreed on the fat but by slowing digestion, it will again work to reduce any potential insulin spike.
My comment was pertaining more to fructose as an energy source post-WO, as fructose is generally metabolized by the liver and therefore preferentially replaces glycogen stores in the liver – and not in muscle. So, in a sense fruit doesn’t give you the most bang for your buck as post-WO energy.
Most athletes I see immediately reach for a banana + protein after a workout – usually because its more convenient than starchy carbohydrates like squash, or sweet potato.
In terms of fat, it’s slowing rate of transport/absorption – which after exercise isn’t ideal. Unless you’re insulin resistant, I don’t think you need to worry too much about a spike in insulin after working out… we want that anabolic response!
Again, my comments were more generalized post-workout nutrition recommendations and may be relevant to someone looking to fine tune lean muscle mass gain. Your recipe has an excellent balance of macronutrients – and like you said, often one of the biggest challenges is just eating enough nutrition to benefit from training!
Looks absolutely awesome but holy crap how much extra work it is to translate all that to metric.
Sorry Jan. It’s to do with the fact that I’m not a sophisticated cook. I chuck it all in and hope for the best! I’ll remember to weigh my ingredients in future rather than scooping them into a bowl!
Here’s the conversion for you:
For the base
160g of protein powder
60g of smooth cashew butter
9ml of pure vanilla extract
30ml of coconut oil
For the middle
96g of dates
200ml of boiling water
30ml of unsweetened coconut milk
35g of unsalted peanuts
For the topping
50g of 80% cocoa chocolate
My god, thank you so much! 😀
You’re very welcome. Can’t have you missing out on these!!
for some reason the recipe doesn’t show??
What browser are you using? It better not be IE.
With the mention that calories are needed to build muscle I cant help but to bring up certain individuals who prove that wrong…
Herschel Walker for example. For those who dont know the guy, he was one of the best college running backs of all time. He played in the NFL. He is now 52ish years of age, and was only a couple of years ago where hes taken up MMA and won some professional matches. KO kids half his age lol.
The guy is massive. A true athlete. However he has never touched weights. Well, I have seen some late videos but I bet the guy hasnt worked out with weights more than 10% of his time working out in his entire life. Since he was in high school he has spent most of his time doing gymnastics and calisthenics. Were talking thousands of push ups/squats/pull ups and a ton more of cardio and sprint exercises.
There are many guys like this. In fact I would not be surprised to see guys who do the extreme calisthenics in parks or inmates who get jacked without the use of steroids or a ton of food.
I am sure you will bring up the idea that just because a few can do it, doesnt make it a general guideline for all to follow. You absolutely need your energy up, so you need some calories but maybe to get jacked just comes from working out a lot.
Thought this would be nice to bring up for discussion…
However love the Daily Barbell Shrugged. Everything is awesome!
Walker, nearly without a doubt, “worked out” in some way that looks like he was working with weights. And I’m like 80% certain he did use weights anyway.
Also, dude was a genetic freak and taking tons of steroids.
Combine that with massive amount of sprinting, banging (RB hit people all the time) and stuff, he got away with it b/c of combination of things.
Look at it this way, ever see rugby players? Even if they’ve never touched weights, some of those folks have massive legs, shoulders, necks and trunks. They push and pull on each other each and every practice, and sprint quite a bit. They are “working out” via their sport.
Back in the day that was probably sufficient and the genetic freaks could even excell at it. Today everyone is working out with weights and it evens out hte playing field.
Another way to say it. If HW “didn’t use weights” and played with some of the RB today that did, he would likely look more and more average. It was for his time that he was excellent and could get away with it. However, add some targeted, smart weight training to HW if he played today and he’d be top tier again.
I do not know the truth. I only know that there is a lot of research on the topic and he claims he does not work out with weights. Being a fat bullied kid in middle school, he decided to change and he started to listen to the advice of his track and field coach who told him to do the basics. A lot. And so he did. By his junior.senior year in HS he was doing 500-1000 reps of the basics every day. Push ups, Pull up, chin ups, crunches. And he would challenge himself with different stuff here and there. He also ran a lot and a lot of plyo. Doing this is very good, and the plyos make sense on how ripped he is… However the blog discusses the need for calories and I cant help but to bring up the fact that Walker did all of this on a very flimsy diet. Vegan. and 1 bowl of soup and salad a day. Some fruit he says. And maybe tea and lots of water.
Not a lot of calories. I would be surprised if thats over 1000 calories a day. Granted though, there are a lot of good things we forget about in this diet and routine.
1) Doing that much in a day, every day is going to show results. Your muscles will get cut, your body will grow and adapt. Granted, the BW training needs more reps instead of doing weight lifting but he probably did not care. Ever see these extreme calisthenics dudes? Need to do some of that here and there myself.
2) The BW training put less stress on his body. Hence why he is 53 and still competing at MMA professionally.
3) Nutritionally. Hes got a clean diet. He gets some calories. But even on a low one he seems fine. Granted, hes not running marathons and lifting heavy objects over his head. Water, a good salad and a really good soup can be sufficient. Gets the minerals and vitamins his body needs. With the low calories, its probably why hes aging so well. Monkey diet of low calories —- look it up… And since his body is less inflamed from constant caloric intake and a good diet of clean food maybe its enough for him. Granted hes been doing it since he was 12 or so. And now his body is adjusted well.
Not to hate on anyone who eats to replenish. I love food. I believe in getting my body calories it needs. And I am in the process of eating more actually to try a new thing out for me.
But I can see how a relatively low caloric diet can be just enough for hard working guys/girls to still make gains and find results.
If he consumed 1000 calories a day and got buffed that would make him either:
A) A genetic freak, wich is probably likely
B) An amazing anomaly within the physics we understand today
Also I missed your last piece on if HW with his training back then could be enough for today’s NFL.
And I do not agree with you. If i understand what your saying.
HW would still be the same man today because of his training. One of the most dedicated athletes in terms of training and idc if he was using weights or not.
The dude was doing 1000 squats a day. 1000 push ups. Idc if its not weighted. Idc if nots a bench press or a squat rack. That is a lot of power your building up. And his ability to knock out 2 guys in a professional MMA match (guys half of his age) as he was 50 and 51 only makes me further believe he could still be a great running back.
Jaromir Jagr is another athlete who was doing 1000 squats a day as a 16 year old. He learned some things on the way but as a 43 year old his training hasnt changed much. He works ridiculously hard on his body, he sleeps well, eats well and at 43 years old he is still a ridiculous player.
This comment is directed to Ashley. So what do you think is ideal post WO? I typically do a piece of fruit and scoop of protein powder, then breakfast 20-30 mins after that. What should I replace the fruit with? I do different kinds of workouts, not just weights, running and a lot of metabolic conditioning. My goals are not really to get bigger, just faster and stronger. Thoughts?
I think as usual my cooking incompetence is letting me down, ( I really need instructions a 2yr old can follow…)
So, I’m trying to make that lovely dish, however the 4 dates and 2 table spoons of milk when blended only cover about a quarter of the base , so I quadrupled the amount for coverage….
Now it’s done, do I bake it , freeze it??
I’m guessing bake….
For how long, what temp?
Unless, and I’m guessing everyone else can see where you typed those instructions, I’ve overlooked them.
I know, I know I’m an idiot. But people who lift weights may not be the brightest….
Hi Rob. The dates I used were approx 28g each after I took the stones out. Your dates just might have been small. You should have ended up with a creamy consistency like caramel. No need to bake this. Just spread caramel over the base, add the nuts and drizzle the chocolote on top. Keep in the fridge. No baking needed. Hope you enjoy it! It’s a regular feature in my house!
Thanks heaps Virginia! ( and just so you know, it’s not too bad baked…. Lol!)
Mark, I’m sorry, but there’s no way someone could consume only 1,000 calories a day and be a high performing athlete – I could not fathom how this would be possible even with extreme steroid use. The laws of thermodynamics would not allow such a thing to occur.
Back on topic, recipe looks awesome! Absolutely going to try this.
What flavor protein was used? Any difference in taste between vanilla and chocolate?
This looks great. I’ve seen some pretty stellar recipes on here before. Is it possible to get a recipe tab on the site so it is easier to find some of these.
We won’t be doing a lot of recipes moving forward. Not really our bag. Just a fun phase for blog. New stuff coming soon.
Are we ralking full fat coconut milk that comes in the cans, or the stuff you’d get in a carton next to the dairy aisle?
Canned, no sugar added. The dairy aisle is a coconut beverage. Watered down milk, basically.
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