The ultimate mass machine: make a food scale your number-one bodybuilding tool

The ultimate mass machine: make a food scale your number-one bodybuilding tool – Nutrition

Gaining muscle or losing fat means being vigilant about what you eat, in quality and quantity. The key to increasing muscle mass is to consistently take in more calories than you burn over time, but not so many calories that you get fat. Your ability to strike this balance can be greatly improved by using a scale to weigh your food. This tool may be exactly what you need to help you accurately add muscle mass or lose bodyfat.

SCALING TO NEW HEIGHTS Food scales aren’t just for bodybuilders who have not yet learned to gauge portion size–many top bodybuilders, including Dorian Yates, Jay Cutler and Dennis James, weigh their food. These guys have learned that although a guess may be close, a measurement is precise. For professional bodybuilders, placings at shows are all about precision of bodyweight and composition.

Without a food scale, most people seriously underestimate portion sizes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s servings are actually very small. By USDA standards, one half cup of berries is one serving of fruit and one serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards–clearly bodybuilders eat more than that as a serving. Package labels can also be deceptive. For example, most bags of potato chips list about 120 calories “per serving” on the label. It’s only when you look more closely that you see that a serving is only two ounces and that there might be seven servings in a whole bag. However, an accurate food scale never lies and won’t distort your perceptions of portion size or how many calories you’re really getting.


It takes only a few weeks with a good food scale to learn to accurately gauge bodybuilding portion sizes by inspection. Learning to eyeball portion sizes accurately is key when a scale isn’t available or convenient. No matter what system you use to find out what’s in your food, the first thing you need to know is how much there is–the weight of the food–in a way that’s convenient enough to use 24/7.

Through consistent use of a scale, you’ll get accustomed to the visual cues of a portion size. In the long run, you’ll be able to make much more accurate estimations when measuring the weight of your food isn’t an option. That will lead to more accurate control of your physique in terms of both muscle mass acquisition and bodyfat management.


Once you’ve obtained a food scale, you can use it to determine the

weight and often even the calories in whatever you’re eating. Here are

some examples.


Lean beef 2.2

Bread 2.7

Chicken, fish and lean protein sources 1.5

Fat 9.0

Fruit 0.5

Potatoes, rice and cooked grains 1.1

Vegetables 0.3

* One ounce equals 28.35 grams. For example, 10 ounces of lean beef (10

ox x 28.35 g x 2.2 calories per gram) supply about 624 calories.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Weider Publications

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group