Nothing is more pleasing than seeing the fruits of your labor unfold right in front of your eyes, and even though it took some blood, sweat, and tears behind closed doors, you can finally enjoy great-looking physic and an attitude to match it. Whether for aesthetics, recreational or competitive reasons, bodybuilding, and contouring is undoubtedly not for the faint of heart, and to see any gains takes time, hard work, and most importantly, it requires proper nutrition for building muscle.
When eating to build muscle, it is important that you eat a caloric surplus. In other words, you need to eat more calories than you burn.
Moreover, it is critical to eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods that have the right blend of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats especially when you want to maximize your results at the gym.
Restricting calories or eating less than adequate meals will do more harm than good and can be detrimental to your overall muscle-building goals.
Nutrition for Building Muscle: Protein-rich foods
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein are that the muscle uses to build itself, and since about 20% of our body is made up of protein, amino acids make up a large proportion of our cells, muscles, and tissue. They also play an integral part in giving cells their structure, storing and transporting nutrients throughout the body, as well as forming our organs, glands, arteries, and muscles. This is why eating protein-rich foods is critical during and after strength training because these meals play an important role in healing and repairing tissue mainly in the muscles, and bones.
Essential amino acids have unique properties and play crucial roles in our working bodies, and because they are not produced naturally by the body, you have to get them from the foods you eat including protein-building amino acids found in plants. The most important essential amino acid is Leucine which helps to stimulate muscle strength and growth. The best sources of Leucine include lean beef, pork, chicken, pumpkin, soybeans, cheese, seeds, nuts, peas, tuna, seafood, beans, whey protein, plant proteins, etc.
Lysine is yet another amino acid that plays a role in muscle repair and growth as well as boosting the immune system and the formation of connective tissue and bones in the body. You can find this in abundance mainly by consuming whey protein, eggs, meat, bean, peas, chicken, cheese, chia seeds, spirulina, parsley, avocados, almonds, and cashews.
Valine is also among the 9-essential amino acids that help to supply the muscles with glucose responsible for energy production during physical activity, making it essential for optimal muscle growth and repair as well as endurance and overall muscle health. For this important nutrition for building muscle consume red meat, chicken, pork, leafy greens, nuts, legumes, broccoli, chia seeds, whole grains, figs, avocado, apples, blueberries, cranberries, oranges, and apricots.
When it comes to planning the best nutrition for building muscle, you also must also include dietary carbs sources of foods such as found in foods like grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and dairy products. Complex carbs play a crucial role of fueling muscle contractions, aiding in the metabolism of fat for energy, supplying energy to the brain, and providing the quick energy needed for exercises particularly during intense bouts of exercise, such as sprinting or weightlifting.
It is equally important to include healthy sources of dietary fats into your nutrition for building muscle because not only do they provide a lot of calories in a small amount, dietary fats also provide energy and helps with nutrient absorption and brain and nerve function. Because our bodies can’t produce them you need to obtain them from unsaturated animal and plant foods such as avocados, flax, chia and hemp seeds, and oils such as olive, canola, peanut, and safflower. You can also get great sources of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats in oily fishes such as herring, salmon, mackerel and trout.
Basic Supplement Ingredients for Muscle Gain
Any nutrition plan for muscle gain and strength must include an intake of some of the best dietary supplements in order to help you get the most out of your diet and intense training sessions. Unfortunately, the internet is rife with misinformation but knowing the right supplement, how much to take, and when to take it can help you zero in on the right supplement stack for your immediate muscle building needs. The most recommended bodybuilding supplements include;
- ✔ Creatine – It supplies a plethora of benefits from muscle-building, to power-enhancing, and speeding up recovery between during high-intensity exercise such as weightlifting
- ✔ Whey protein – In addition to being the easiest way to increase your protein intake, this fast-digesting protein is optimal for post workout as it has been shown to help improve the muscles ability to recover and adapt after a strenuous resistance-type training. Combining whey and casein can also help to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, promote muscle hypertrophy and improve body composition to a greater degree.
- ✔ Caffeine – Research suggests that consuming caffeine prior to resistance training has been shown to decrease rates of fatigue and lower perception of effort during high-intensity, high-volume workouts.
- ✔ Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) – Particularly leucine appears to help speed up the recovery and repair processes after a tough workout. BCAA may also improve recovery of muscles damaged during resistance training as it regulates protein metabolism by promoting protein synthesis and suppressing protein depletion.
Takeaways – Without a dietary supplement intervention and proper nutrition for building muscle can negatively affect your performance, sleep, mood, even and weaken the immune system. Bear in mind that not all plans are made equal, therefore, experiment safely with a few plans to see which one works best and most importantly, keep hydrated at all times.
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