What if I tell you that nutrition is no less important than workouts?
Yes, nutrition is as important as workouts to increase muscle size. Read on for my list of top 10 foods to gain muscle mass.
As a personal fitness trainer, I have been observing that majority of the people have many wrong notions regarding nutrition. One such is that to gain muscle mass most people put more emphasis on training hard than nutrition. As a consequence, the time and effort they put in to training is wasted.
By giving equal importance to both workouts & nutrition, you can maximize benefits of workouts (whether gaining muscle size &/or strength, losing weight/shedding fat). Actually, you can retain or build more muscle mass and gain strength more even with less training.
Understanding how nutrition works will help you maximize your fitness and strength gains. This is true for everyone and anyone, whatever their goal is – whether general fitness or gaining muscle mass.
Read on here for my list of the top 10 foods to help you gain more muscle size & strength.
Top Ten Foods To Gain More Muscle Size
Make this great muscle gaining food a staple of your diet. It’s high in most of things that are needed for higher muscle growth such as iron, zinc, and B-vitamins. More importantly, it provides protein of high quality (note all proteins are not equal), and a good level of amino acid that essentially works with insulin to stimulate muscle growth.
And if your aim is to lose weight, lean beef is still a good choice – a three oz. serving of lean beef offers approximately the same amount of protein as one & a half cups of beans, but roughly at half the calories.
Like lean beef, skin-less chicken is a great source of protein of high order, which is good for muscle repair, growth, bone health & weight management.
There are many ways to cook chicken. Just go to your favorite meat shop, buy the chicken meat cut into single serving sizes that you can easily season and quickly cook.
Very few people know that cottage cheese is almost complete pure casein protein. Casein is actually a slow-digesting type protein, which means it’s ideal for muscle maintenance. This is a good choice for those who have no option but have to go long hours without eating. Moreover, it’s a great source of calcium, vitamin B12 & other vital nutrients.
Egg is a rich source of protein of high quality, all the 9 essential amino acids, and other important nutrients like choline, good fat & vitamin D. Egg offers the most value for your money. According to latest studies, they are not as harmful to your health as was once believed.
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Whey protein supplement is the most popular supplement in the fitness industry and this is not without reasons. It provides a quick & convenient protein source at an affordable price. Bodybuilders/Trainers usually take whey protein when they wake up, right after workout, and/or mixed with some of their meals.
For most of us, a scoop (one serving) of whey protein in our shakers right after workout can be very effective for muscles growth & recovery. However, it’s still important that you get high quality protein from whole foods as well, and use whey protein as a boost.
Tuna & Other Fish
Fish are rich source of protein, low in fat, and more importantly high in omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s are vital nutrients as they help in losing fat, and in proper functioning of our body processes including the most important metabolism.
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Oatmeal is an excellent source of carbs because of its low GI value (glycemic index) & the fact it’s minimally processed food.
A low GI food has the following benefits:
(i) Healthier micronutrient profile & more fiber
(ii) Increased satiety
(iii) Reduced hunger
(iv) Lower subsequent calories intake (2nd meal effect)
(v) Fat loss
The bottom line is, if your aim is to loss fat – a low-GI food is an excellent choice for you and bonus point is that it acts as a constant source of carbohydrates for muscle conservation.
Whole grains not only get digested more efficiently, but also offer more nutrients than the refined grains. This means sustained energy levels & overall good health. In a way they are more conducive to lean muscle mass growth, fat loss and strength gains than the refined gains.
Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits & vegetables contain antioxidants, which play an important role in the healthy functioning of our immune system. They also supply various other micronutrients, including vitamin C, E & beta-carotene. Moreover, your body needs fiber – which the fruits & vegetables provide that help in healthy digestion & nutrient absorption.
Yes, yes – I know a mere thought of eating fat makes a majority of the people jitter, but in fact good fats are necessary for muscle mass growth. Actually, they play an important role in hormones creation (growth hormones & testosterone), which contribute a lot to the muscle growth & strength gains. Moreover, fats are essentially needed for various maintenance functions. Unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated & monounsaturated) are healthy fats. These types are contained in salmon, other fishes, nuts, seeds, leafy veggies, oils such as flaxseed, avocados etc. They are also rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
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Why, how and what to eat to meet your protein needs – whether you are a non-vegetarian, vegetarian or vegan, man or woman – A most comprehensive Protein Guide!: Protein Synthesis / Myths & Facts