A perfectly toned and muscular body can be achieved only through a combination of a balanced muscle gain diet and regular weight training. Food plays a very important role in bodybuilding because various nutrients are required to promote muscle growth and speed up the recovery of damaged tissues. Proteins are the most important nutrients that help in building muscles. Fats are equally important for bodybuilding because it encourages hormone functions and reduce inflammation caused by strenuous workout sessions. Other nutrients required for muscle building are vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and calories for providing energy.
6 Effective Muscle Building Tips
Although following a balanced diet and resistance training are the only ways to build muscles, following a few helpful tips can help in promoting muscle growth at a faster pace than usual.
- Calories are as important as protein. It is important consume at least 1000 to 1500 calories per day in order to promote lean muscle growth in the anabolic state.
- Eat enough carbs. Carbohydrates are important to fuel exercise and it helps in maintaining the anabolic environment in the body. It also regulates the release of insulin in the body which is the most important anabolic hormone.
- It is better to eat 6 small meals of 660 calories rather than eating 3 large meals. Eating smaller meals more frequently will help maintain the state of homeostasis.
- Eat a pre-workout snack consisting of slow burning carbs in order to have a steady supply of energy through the workout session and keep maintain blood glucose at a consistent level.
- Drink plenty of water, because water comprises almost 70% of the body and one pound of muscle holds up to three pounds of water. When you are dehydrated, your muscle size suffers.
- Get restful sleep of 8 hours every night. Sleep helps in speeding up the growth and recovery of muscles and tissues and helps in balancing the hormone levels.
7 Essential Nutrients to Increase Muscle Tone
When it comes to increasing muscle mass, the three nutrients proteins, carbohydrates and calories comes to mind. But there are several other nutrients that are required to build strong and sexy muscles.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C present in almost all fruits and vegetables boosts up the health of the blood vessels and supports the muscle’s requirement for oxygen and nutrients. Better stocked muscles work in a more effective manner. In addition, vitamin C is the main component of collagen that is used to build muscles and bones.
Fish Oil – The omega 3 fatty acids present in fish oil enhances blood flow to the muscles and increases the effectiveness of weight training. It also reduces inflammation and breakdown of muscle protein and promotes quick recovery.
Calcium – The importance of calcium for strong bones and muscles needs no new emphasis. It is the vital nutrient that sends the cue to the muscles to contract and grow.
Magnesium – Magnesium is yet another important mineral and keeps the muscles working and helps in alleviating muscle cramps and soreness associated with weight training.
B Vitamins – The group of B vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B6, B7 and B12 are needed to maintain overall health and promoting the growth of strength of the muscles. The B vitamins play a pivotal role in protein metabolism and energy production for healthy functioning of nerves and breaking down of fats and carbs.
Vitamin D – The sunshine vitamin is essential for boosting muscle and bone growth. It plays an important role in muscular contraction, function and growth.
Vitamin E – Vitamin E works as a powerful antioxidant that helps in recovery of the cell membranes of the muscles and neutralizing the effect of oxidative stress triggered by strenuous workouts.
Top 10 Foods to Include in the Muscle Gain Diet
There is a wide variety of foods with various health benefits, but you need to choose the right ones to promote muscle building and repair damaged tissues.
There is a reason why eggs are consumed by almost all famous and aspiring bodybuilders. Eggs are one of the cheapest muscle building foods loaded with proteins and each egg contains almost 7 grams of high-quality protein.
The cholesterol present in egg yolk supports the steroid hormones and leucine promotes the muscle building capacity of the body. In addition, eggs are also packed with other essential nutrients such as vitamin A, D and E, minerals and omega 3 fatty acids. So, don’t forget to add this power packed muscle gainer food in your daily diet.
For ages, lean cuts of beef have been a super food for muscle building because beef contains a rich combination of proteins, essential amino acids, creatine and B vitamins all of which promote the growth of lean muscle mass.
The high-calorie content of red meat makes it an excellent choice for those looking to add some weight. Lean beef contains both saturated and monounsaturated fats that support healthy testosterone levels and protects the heart. In addition, consumption of lean red meat also lowers the level of stress and anxiety. So, opt for low-fat lean cuts of red meat to add some bulk to your structure.
If you are looking to pack on some pounds for serious muscle building, then chicken and turkey must be included in your muscle gain diet. Chicken is the most readily available source of high-quality protein that promotes the growth and repair of cells and muscle tissues.
It is best to pot for chicken breast because this portion of the chicken has the highest protein fat ratio of 19:1. A 6 ounce roasted chicken breast supplies 187 calories, 40 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat and zero carbohydrates. In addition, it also contains a wide range of muscle building nutrients such as niacin, selenium, iron, zinc and vitamin B6.
Full-fat Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese must be included in the muscle building diet because of its twofold benefits for muscle building. Cottage cheese is a rich source of the slow digesting protein casein that raises the level of amino acids in the blood and maintains it at an elevated level for a prolonged period.
This action of casein helps in recovering the damaged cells and depleted tissues. Casein is exactly the type of high-quality protein that the body needs to grow and recover from the strain of resistance training. Secondly, cottage cheese is a good source of healthy bacteria that helps in proper breakdown and absorption of nutrients, which is important for developing bigger and stronger muscles.
Sweet potatoes are the best muscle building foods from the group of starchy carbohydrates that are a great source of energy, which is required to perform the strenuous resistance training workouts with more efficiency.
Sweet potatoes contain complex carbohydrates along with vitamins A, B and fiber that helps the bodybuilder to stay satiated for a longer period. Being a rich source of the mineral potassium, sweet potatoes play an important role in muscle control and electrolyte control in the body. Sweet potatoes are easy to make and good to eat that makes it one of the best pre and post-workout foods.
Yet another animal-based food that must be included in the diet for muscle building is salmon. Salmon and other oily fishes are a rich source of essential fatty acids, especially omega 3 fatty acids and proteins – two key nutrients that promote lean muscle mass and repair damaged muscle tissues.
Omega 3 fatty acids are also known to inhibit muscle breakdown and enhance the anabolic capacity of amino acids. The essential nutrients such as niacin, selenium, vitamin D and vitamin B12 found in salmon help in reducing the level of cholesterol and improving brain functions.
Beans and Legumes
The functions of beans and legumes for muscle building cannot be ignored and these are considered one of the best muscle building foods because of their high protein and fiber content. Whenever we think of muscle building foods, we commonly refer to lean meats and eggs, but beans and legumes are the best plant based source of high-quality protein.
Beans and Legumes are critical for muscle growth and absorption of nutrients from foods and supplements which help in developing bigger and stronger muscles. The best variety of legume for muscle building is kidney beans and a cup of kidney beans provide almost 14 grams of protein and fiber.
Munching on two handful of almonds every day not only work as a healthy snack but also promote muscle growth when combined with heavy workouts. Nuts, especially almonds are the best source of vitamin E alpha-tocopherol that is readily absorbed by the body.
This form of vitamin E is essential for the body building because it acts as a potent antioxidant that neutralizes the free radical damage caused by strenuous resistance training. Lesser the damage caused by free radicals, faster the muscle recovery and muscle growth post-workout. In addition, almonds also improve brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Quinoa is a precious source of protein for those who don’t eat meat. It has several advantages over traditional carbohydrates like brown rice. A cup of quinoa contains 222 calories, 8 of protein, zinc and magnesium and twice the amount of fiber compared to brown rice. It is a complete source of proteins which contains all nine essential amino acids.
Quinoa is a low glycemic index food with a GI value of 53 which means it breaks down slowly in the intestine providing sustained infusion of energy throughout your workout session. Therefore, try to substitute rice with quinoa and use it as a base for the muscle-building salad.
Other than muscle building foods, it is important to include whey protein powder in the list of foods for muscle building because it is a rich source of complex protein made from protein subfractions such as beta-lactoglobulin, immunoglobulins (IgGs), alpha-lactalbumin, glycomacropeptides, bovine serum albumin (BSA) and minor peptides like lysozyme, lactoperoxidases, and lactoferrin.
Whey protein provides amino acids – the building blocks of the body that is essential for building lean muscle mass.
So, now that your know the most important muscle building foods, plan out your diet accordingly to include all these foods into it and start working towards achieving your dream figure.