Best Muscle Building Foods
If building muscle is your primary goal at the gym, then it’s time to start paying closer attention to your diet.
Many beginners are under the impression that weight gain (the good kind) all comes down to lifting heavy weights and enduring hours of excruciating muscle aches. But that’s a really dated image of weight lifting, and not at all reflective of today’s world of fitness.
How Your Body Builds Muscle
Muscles are made up of muscle fibers, which are then broken down into 3 components: sarcomeres (small protein filaments responsible for contraction), myofibrils (chains of sarcomeres that generate the force of contraction), and sarcoplasm (a fluid-like substance that surrounds myofibrils).
When you work out and put stress on your muscles, you are actually putting tiny tears in the myofibrils of your muscles. Your body then responds by increasing human growth hormone output and sending white blood cells to start repairing the damaged muscle tissue, and this is where gains in muscle size are made over time.
Not only does your body repair the damaged muscle tissue, but it also builds new tissue on top of the old. Over time, this leads to an increase in muscle size that becomes visible.
What Your Body Needs to Build Muscle
But here’s the catch. In order to build muscle as efficiently as possible, your body needs calories for energy and protein to build new muscle tissue. This is why it’s important to not only eat a high-calorie diet, but also consume a lot of protein on a regular basis.
It’s estimated that for every pound of body weight, it’s necessary to consume 1 gram of protein in order to make significant gains in muscle density and size.
What this comes down to then, very simply, is a need to shift your dieting focus to protein. You can see why it’s also important to eat a balanced, healthy meal rich in vitamins and minerals. This is particularly important given the role of your immune system in building muscle.
So to get you started, here are my top 10 best muscle building foods…
Best Muscle Building Foods
1. Lean Animal Protein – Whether it’s chicken, turkey, or lean beef, animal protein is one of the best ways to build lean muscle.
2. Eggs – Eggs are a great source of protein, and they’re not nearly as bad for your cholesterol as we used to think!
3. Nuts & Seeds – Full of healthy fats and protein, nuts and seeds are a great muscle building snack.
4. Yogurt – Yogurt is great for your overall health and totally high in protein. Go for non-fat or low-fat options.
5. Legumes – Whether it’s beans or lentils, legumes are an amazing vegetarian source of protein, so add them to your diet whenever you can!
6. Astragalus – Astragalus is a high-protein food source derived from green algae, and it’s super healthy! Check out this NOW Astragalus – it’s a great addition to your smoothies.
7. Avocadoes – Believe it or not, a single avocado contains a whopping 7-9 grams protein!
8. Whey Protein – Whey protein is a serious muscle building food option. Convenient and affordable, I’ve had amazing results from supplementing daily with Gaspari Nutrition Myofusion.
9. Salmon – Of all the muscle building dinners you can cook for yourself, salmon’s the number one choice, hands down.
10. Energy Bars – They’ve had a bit of a bad rap, but new options like these Vega Whole Food Energy Bar are relatively low in fat and totally effective when it comes to supporting muscle growth on the go.
Remember, whatever your protein source of choice, the greater the variety of amino acids, the better the results. More amino acids means more resources for your muscles to draw from. So get as much variety as possible!
Have any questions or feedback about these Best Muscle Building Foods? Please leave a comment below…
what are your thoughts on rice protein, pea protein and soy protein? Is whey the best? (as far as protein drinks go…
Rice and pea protein are great and although some may disagree I’ve personally found whey protein to be the best especially if you pick a natural no artificial sugar variety. I don’t recommend soy protein to anyone, the research around it is quite negative as soy has been found to disrupt hormone levels.
You bet, check out this article on the British Heart Foundation website as one of many that I’ve read on the topic – http://www.bhf.org.uk/default.aspx?page=12920