Omega 3s Give You the Competitive Advantage
Over and over again I hear people talking in the gym about cutting fats completely out of their diets to slim down. This makes me so mad because certain fats are essential to our bodies, as well as to achieving maximum results. The myth that consuming dietary fat will lead to weight gain has been incorrectly blamed on the premise that the eating fat is the only reason you gain excess body fat.
We need to clear up this misconception. What if I told you there was a fat that could help increase your metabolism and help retain muscle mass on competition day? Well, it’s true. The fats we need to focus on eating are the omega 3s or essential fatty acids (EFAs). The reason we need to include omega 3 fatty acids in our diets is because our bodies do not produce them on their own.
Omega 3 fatty acids are also beneficial for many reasons. Cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and even high blood pressure are just a few. There has also been a correlation with reducing depression and bipolar disease. Other benefits are anti-aging, muscle mass retention, an increase in energy levels and many more!
What is the difference between Omega 3s and Other Fats?
There are two types of fats we eat — one is saturated and the other is unsaturated, and they mean exactly how they sound. Saturated fat is “bad fat” because it sticks in your body and causes many different health problems. Unsaturated fat is the “good fat” because it easily broken down and has many positive roles in the body, unsaturated fat also contains the omega 3 group.
By decreasing your overall fat intake you can lower your testosterone levels, which in turn can decrease the rate (and most importantly volume) of muscle produced by the body. You need to focus on eliminating the “bad fat” and consuming the proper amount of the “good fat” for maximum performance.
Common foods that contain omega 3s are salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna fish, flax seeds, hemp, and walnuts. You can also get these fats by taking supplements. Always remember to check with a health care provider before starting a new supplement.
What Omega 3s Do
Omega 3s are crucial for our metabolism. This is especially important for bodybuilders because by ingesting these fatty acids our bodies start burning fat for fuel and help our systems work more efficiently. This all leads to a higher metabolic rate. You can think of them as a healthy source of energy without having to increase body fat.
An interesting fact from the Cornell University is that these fatty acids have muscle-preserving properties. What this means is that, as you get closer to competition time and are starting to cut calories, you can help your muscles by eating omega 3s. This will keep your body from going to protein sources for energy so that all your hard work in gaining muscle will not be affected. Your muscle mass will not change and you will also have higher energy levels. During this phase it is vital to mix flax seed oil in your morning oatmeal and switch from chicken to salmon at some of your meals.
You can also thank omega 3s for reduced muscle soreness after workouts. This means a shorter recovery time, which can help give you the competitive advantage. The reason for this is the omega 3s can be converted into prostaglandin, which is a natural anti-inflammatory.
Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Any Better
Omega 3s help protect us against aging. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has shown that by eating omega 3s your body will slow down the shortening of telomeres.
So what are telomeres? At the end of each chromosome there is an end section, called the telomere. These function in the stability and replication of chromosomes, and most importantly are the markers of biological aging. In short, they control how fast we age and what parts of the body begin to age first.
All you have to do is consume omega 3s on a daily basis and your body will take care of the rest. This is because these fatty acids protect us from aging at the cellular level.
How Much Do You Need?
Now that you understand the importance of eating omega 3s for a bodybuilder’s lifestyle, let’s talk about how much you should eat. The University of Pennsylvania states that an acceptable intake for men is 1.6 grams per day and 1.1 grams per day for women.
The FDA recommends that you do not exceed 3 grams per day of essential fatty acids, with no more the 2 grams coming from dietary supplements. If you decide to take a supplement, make sure that you read the label to ensure you’re getting the proper dosage and never exceed the recommended amount.
So how do you know how much you are getting? A great resource is the USDA National Nutrient Database. This will tell you exactly how much is in what food you are eating. For example, a three-ounce portion of salmon contains 0.923 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating Fat Is Not That Difficult
Stop believing the myths that all fat is bad. Do not overlook the importance of eating dietary fats and how it can help you in both competition and your day-to-day life. Why avoid something that is going to help you live a more active and fulfilling life? I am not telling you to go out and order a Big Mac in order to eat fat, but I am telling you that salmon and flax seed oil should become staples in your diet.
Now is the time to add this amazing tool to your daily routine. How can you ignore the benefits of an increased metabolism, improved stamina, accelerated fat loss, and better retained muscle mass? Remember that your body cannot produce omega 3s on its own.
Make the commitment today and start adding these fatty acids into your daily lifestyle. Not only will you feel better, but you will stand out on stage as well!