Tag Archives: muscle


Delivering nutritional consultancy to International footballers and Olympic medallists is not something everyone has the luxury of adding to their résumé.

mayur 2

Dr. Mayur Ranchordas, 35, from Sheffield has worked with the likes of 10m diver Tom Daley, as well as England internationals Daniel Sturridge and Gary Cahill, during his nearly decade long career in the field.

How important is nutrition in sport?

 “My opinion has actually changed over the years, I think it depends. That’s one of the things I’ve learned. They all say at university that “yeah it’s important”, but from my experience of working in the field I actually think it depends on the sport.”

If you take an immensely testing sport like competing in the Tour de France, nutrition is extremely important. The mass endurance involved requires meticulous nutrition planning and high energy consumption. If you do not eat enough or properly, then you’re not going to finish the race and you aren’t going to recover for the next day.

However, in other sports nutrition is not as important and Mayur suggests that you can actually get away with a poor diet and the nutrition is not as important. “Shot put or javelin, it’s not as important because it’s more about raw power and genetics.”

Sport nutrition really comes down to the sport; look at the demand of the sport and what’s the most important demand.


“I think that supplements are overused, I think supplements are overpriced, I think it’s a massive money making business and that 90% of supplements don’t work.”

Supplement brands make millions every year, well-marketed with their “promised results”. There is an abundance of supplements out their promising different things, muscle gain, strength gain, recovery and increased performances in training.

Zef Eisenberg, the founder of one of the leading supplement brands, Maximuscle, sold the company for £162m, in 2010 – the largest-ever investment in the sports nutrition sector, proving that it’s a lucrative market.

However, over the years Mayur’s opinion has changed concerning supplements, suggesting most supplements are in fact a waste of money.  He considers that the only supplements that potentially may be effective are vitamin D, creatine, caffeine and possibly whey protein.

“Scientifically there is very poor evidence, so the first thing I suggest is that you get your training right and get your nutrition right.”

Dietary Guidelines

 “You’ve got to devise your nutrition strategy based around an individual athlete”

A footballer will arrive at the training ground at around 8.30am and start training at 10am. As they rarely train twice a day you have to devise a nutrition strategy based around that. Whereas, a distance is very different because they do train twice a day, therefore the guidelines will depend entirely on the training program and the lifestyle of the athlete. My philosophy is always you need a bespoke approach”


As some athletes will train up to 6 hours a day, those will be looking to consume approximately 4000-5000 calories per day.  Conversely, some athletes will only train one hour a day so it might be more like 2000-2500 calories. The calorific intake depends on the goals of the athlete, considering whether the athlete is looking to increase muscle mass or are trying to lose fat, or just maintain weight.  The advice will differ depending on the varied goals.

Making the calorie target isn’t everything though you have to look at what you’re eating; Mayur says “quality is always important, so I would advise sticking to whole food and natural quality rather than the cheaper refined products.”

Gaining Muscle  

“You have to have the stimulus, which is you have to be going to the gym three or four times a week at least. Then from a nutrition perspective, make sure you get enough protein.”

Ensuring you get enough protein is simple maths. Take your body weight in KG and multiply by 1.7 and that’s the amount you need to consume in grams.

I.e. Take a person weighing 75kg.

75 x 1.7= 127.5

So therefore the person will need to consume 127-128 gram of protein per day.

To reach this target, the athlete will have to make sure they distribute the protein throughout the day in 20-25 gram servings, every two-three hours, or so.

“Just eat enough, so you eat about 500 calories more than what you need, if you’re looking to gain weight.”

Losing Fat

If you’re looking to lose weight then you need to do the opposite. You need to make sure your energy expenditure is higher than your energy intake and that you burn around 500 calories less than what you need.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a more effective method for fat loss than slow steady training for fat loss because you’re burning more calories and your metabolism stays higher afterwards – therefore your body is still burning fat several hours after exercise.

“The key thing for weight loss is that I suggest you cut down the carbohydrate intake and increase your protein intake and keep your fat moderate, just make sure you’re on a negative energy balance.”

Mayur Facts

  • Sport and Exercise Science undergraduate and Master’s degree at Sheffield Hallam
  • PhD in Sport Nutrition
  • Sheffield Wednesday FC internship and has worked with Sheffield United FC
  • Worked at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield
  • Premier League football  experience with Bolton Wanderers
  • Supported athletes at Beijing Olympics 2008
  • Professional doctorate part-time in Sports Nutrition alongside teaching at Sheffield Hallam – where he still works
  • Consults in professional cycling and football
  • Keen triathlete
  • Favourite food: Milk
  • Favourite supplement: Caffeine 


Twitter: @Diet4Sport
Mayur also blogs for  FourFourTwo



Most of us have a tried and tested routine, however we often hit plateaus. Here are a few simple Style Council methods to spice it up and negate boring repetition.

  1. Move Chest Day

    chest day
    This might not sound ground-breaking, but Monday is infamously known as ‘International Chest Day’ for a reason. It is hard to put a finger on it; however male testosterone kicks in after the weekend and dictates that they must bench press at the beginning of the week. A plague of grunting men and bars clanking against metal can be heard from the vicinity of any gym.

Instead of waiting around and slowing the tempo of your workout, try legs or back on a Monday.  Chances are the squat rack will be freely available and you will be able to enjoy an uninterrupted, intense workout.

  1. Incline First

Development of the chest is a gym buff favourite – a mirror muscle and t-shirt filler. Nonetheless, it is not uncommon to find scanning through a gym that the majority of people have a much thicker bottom half of the chest.

When it comes to chest day; going through most people’s minds as they enter those holy gym doors, is that they want to rep out as much weight as possible on a flat barbell bench press.

The middle of the chest is best stimulated through this method and it is a great way of developing the middle chest. To best stimulate the upper chest, perform a barbell/dumbbell press at a 30-45% incline.

You already include incline exercises in your routine? Good, but if they are a secondary press in your workout, you won’t reach maximum growth. The upper chest will already be pre-fatigued due to flat pressing and will significantly lower the amount of weight you could be pushing.

By mixing it up and starting with inclined will produce a fuller, desirable chest and can even help smash through plateaus on your flat bench press.

  1. Widen Your Squat Stancesquat

The traditional narrow stance of feet shoulder-width apart when it comes to squats is a wonderful quadriceps burner. The squat is a goliath exercise; it utilises a number of muscles, developing strong, powerful legs and creating a solid posture.

Taking a wider stance gives the same great quad activation level, yet works a greater number of muscles and comes with a number of distinct advantages.


The glutes (or bum cheeks), are a great source of power and are triggered at a superior level when taking a widened foot-position.

The allowance getting deeper with your squat means the glutes are activated to a greater degree than with narrow squats, according to research from the University of Abertay, Dundee.

Not just women can have booty.


Narrow stance squats provide a substantial burn on the quadriceps. Most of us go by “feel”, it there’s a deep burning sensation it results in success and we may not get that same feel from a wider stance. Despite this lesser “feel”, the activation is still there.

Not only that, narrower stances put a greater stress on the knee joints than a wider stance. In time this could result in patellar tendon strains or tendonitis. In other words, you may be walking like a penguin in a few years’ time.

Hips Don’t Lie

Like glutes, hips are another strong source of power. The wide stance exhibits a larger hip flexion and a bigger range of hip extension.

Stronger hip flexors provide improvement in a number of things, including power through various lifts i.e. squats/deadlifts, they are useful for sprinters (greater power for greater acceleration) and can handle a remarkable amount of stress, not just in the gym but in life.

  1. Pull Up over Pull DownDSC_0005[1]

Lat Pull-Downs is a firm favourite when it comes to creating an envious V-shape taper. The strong contrast between a slim waist and broad lats is any bodybuilder’s dream.

However, going for bodyweight pull-ups is a useful way of enlivening your training. Being able to perform numerous repetitions of wide-grip pulls is an impressive feat, even more so when you can add weight to it.

It also elicits the core and stabilizing muscles much more than what pull downs do, which is a major advantage.

This does not mean there is no place for pull downs; perhaps use them as a workout finisher to get that final muscle-building overload.

  1. Cut Your Rest

If you’re not progressive overloading, you are going to struggle to see a difference. Cutting down rest times is a simple yet very effective way of bursting through plateaus and shocking your body into growing.

Reducing rest time increases your tempo and is a great advantage when reaching hypertrophy.

Many professional bodybuilders go by 30-60 second intervals between sets for optimum hypertrophy.

With reduced rest your body will have to adapt to doing more work in less time and increases blood pushed around your muscles – which you will get a crazy pump from.

Your metabolic rate will also spike, meaning that you have an increased capacity to burn fat and calories. A leaner physique can’t be a bad thing.


It’s the period before student loans come in and we’re all stressed with deadlines and struggling to make pennies last. This tuna-pasta meal is a great way to pack in the nutrition, cheaply that is ready to serve in under 15 minutes. 

First thing’s first, this will not win you any gourmet chef awards, nor will it be the most extravagant and flavour-filled thing you’ve ever tasted. However, if you’re penny-pinching and still hoping to gain/maintain muscle then this pasta dish will help you along the way.

Ingredients (serves 3-4 meals):

  • 2 cans of Tuna Chunks
  • 1 Large onion (chopped)
  • 1 onion clove (finely chopped)
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of lentils
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 2 cups of dried pasta
  • 1 tbsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin oil (optional)
  • 1tbsp Red Wine Vinegar (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Set the pasta to boil, this usually takes around 7-12 minutes depending on the pasta you’re using.

In another pan, begin sauteing the garlic and onions for a couple of minutes in heated sunflower oil. When the onion begins to clear, add in the canned tomatoes and reduce heat to simmer.

Add in the lentils and kidney beans and leave to simmer for several minutes, stirring gently. Stir in the tuna, virgin oil, red wine vinegar and add the chili powder.

Leave to simmer for approximately five minutes before seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the pasta while retaining some of the water. Stir the pasta in with the sauce, then add 100ml of the pasta water and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes, before serving.

Nutrition breakdown 

Tuna is an extremely cheap way to get in your protein intake, usually around 25g of protein a serving and can be picked up at most supermarkets at around 75p per can. It also provides a modest source of omega-3 fatty acids, these are essential fats that your body uses maintain healthy skin, hair, cardiovascular system and brain.

Pasta is of course a great source of carbohydrates and aids in muscle recovery and slow, lasting release of energy.

Onions have many benefits; enhancing your immune system, therefore making you less likely to succumb to illness, can reduce inflammation and heal infections and assists in regulating blood sugar, to name a few.

Garlic is mainly associated with provide a distinct taste to food, however you may be surprised it has its own health benefits.Garlic can help combat the common cold, reduce blood pressure and may lower the risk of heart disease.

Lentils and beans are both high in protein and low in calories, totting up your protein intake – crucial in muscle repair and growth – and both are cheap ingredients. Kidney beans are high in fiber which helps regulate your digestive system and prevents constipation.