People often think that building muscle is a simple as working hard in the gym and eating as much as humanly possible. It’s true that you should be eating 3-4 meals per day + 2 snacks each day – and all of them should be packing a bunch of calories. However, increasing your caloric intake through the consumption of junk foods can lead to the mass accumulation of fatty tissue – effectively destroying what you were trying to achieve in the first place.
Ignoring nutrition isn’t an option.
The quality of your food plays an integral role in your diet and is an important factor in the ability to put on lean muscle mass. If you’re looking to build muscle, you’re going to need protein and lots of it. The best way to do it is by eating REAL foods. Beef has 38 grams of protein per five-ounce serving. Chicken has a whopping 47 grams per serving. If you’re a vegetarian, there are plant-based sources of protein that are good for building muscle. Besides beef and chicken, high-protein foods include: eggs, fish, brown rice, oats, legumes, potatoes, milk, cheese, yogurt, peanut butter, seeds and nuts.
Good fats are essential for muscle growth.
Eating for muscle building is much different than for fat loss. So don’t be afraid to add some healthy fats such olive oil, butter, and cheese to your diet, and you’ll gain a bunch more calories with no extra effort. For example, if you prepare a dinner of whole wheat pasta and a cream sauce with butter and some parmesan cheese, you’ll easily have a 1000 calorie meal. In addition, fat plays an essential role in hormone production, which helps drive muscle growth and strength gains.
What about protein supplements?
Whey protein supplements provide a fast and convenient source of protein at an affordable price. Bodybuilders normally use them when they wake up, right after their workout, and mixed with some of their meals. For the rest of us, a scoop in our shakers right after our workouts can be very effective for muscle mass gains. It’s important that you still get high quality protein from whole foods, and only use whey protein as an extra boost.
The following infographic is a great place to start.
If you want to start introducing some decent high-protein food into your diet, the team at Strength Authority has the answer. This infographic outlines the ten most effective, high quality foods that can contribute to the growth of new muscle tissue. You won’t find much that’s processed on this list.