Physique Builders: Anyway you slice it, beef has a nutritional arsenal to give you more muscles than a clambake. “Steak is an excellent source of protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 – all bodybuilding musts,” Gidus explains.

Physique Killers: Not all cuts are created equal, though. Some, like the infamous rib eye and prime rib, can have more fat than a plastic surgeons waste bin. Sure they taste awesome, but think with your midriff and not your palate.

Wise Play: Gidus, who encourages red meat consumption, recommends opting for leaner cuts such as those labeled “round” or “loin.” A cut of top sirloin may weigh in at 50 less fat grams than prime. “You can also trim visible fat,” she adds. But don’t do this until after cooking, so as to maintain moisture.

May we suggest: Niman Ranch grass-fed, hormone-free tenderloin steaks (; 3 oz: 207 calories, 15g protein, 0g carbohydrate 15g fat (6g saturated)



Peanut Butter

Physique Builders: Fat torching, testosterone raising monounsaturated fat, blood glucose regulating magnesium, growth hormone stimulating niacin and muscle repairing vitamin E are among the many reasons to go nutty.

Physique Killers: Peanut butter often has two unwelcome guests – sugar and trans-fat. Hydrogenated oil (a.k.a. trans-fat) is added to many commercial brands to extend shelf-life and prevent oil separation. Unfortunately, research shows that it can also prevent you from separating from your own fat stores.

Wise Play: “Go for natural brands that are just peanuts,” advises Gidus. Bypass any low fat versions, since they simply replace healthy fat with nutritionally suspect sugar.

May we suggest: Arrowhead Mills Valencia Crunchy Peanut Butter (; 2 Tbsp: 190 calories, 8g protein, 6g carbohydrates, 17g fat (2.5g saturated)





Physique Builders: Pasta’s lowbrow image has many forgoing it for the bird. To bad, since pasta’s complex carbohydrates are a great fuel source freeing up amino acids (from the aforementioned bird) to be used for muscle growth. “The plentiful B vitamins in pasta helps create energy from food,” adds Gidus.

Physique Killers: Beating up this Italian classic by milling and refining it spits out a fiberless, more calorie dense product with a much higher glycemic index than needs to be. The upshot: It’s more likely to pad your abs than your muscles. What’s more, wolfing down more quick digesting carbs can lead to fatty liver disease, which can result in liver failure, reports a study in Obesity.

Wise Play: Choose only pasta with a whole grain such as whole wheat, brown rice or spelt as the first ingredient. This ensures your bowl has more fiber and bodybuilding friendly nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin E and selenium. “Combining pasta with a source of protein like meat sauce slows carbohydrate digestion for more sustain energy,” explains Gidus. After workouts is a good time to take advantage of pasta’s ability to elevate insulin levels which drives amino acids into muscle cells.

May we suggest: Healthy Harvest Omega-3 Whole Wheat Rotini (; 2 ounces: 180 calories, 7g protein, 41g carbohydrate, 2g fat (0g saturated)