Want to gain muscle mass? Then you need to change not just your workout routine but diet too.
You can do all the squats, bench presses, and pull-ups in the world – if you’re not eating enough muscle-building foods, you won’t see the results you desire.
So make sure your daily menu includes lean, rich, complete protein foods to help with muscle mass and healthy carbohydrates and fats to give you energy.
Need advice about how to gain muscles with the help of food? Keep reading!
Lean beef is rich in high-quality protein and essential amino acids that are vital for building muscle mass and gaining strength, as well as key minerals, B vitamins, and creatine. Creatine helps maintain energy supply to your muscles while working out and produce new ATP during high-intensity exercise.
Don’t go overboard with steaks, though because too much beef can cause digestion issues and raise cholesterol levels.
Skinless Chicken Breast
Ask any bodybuilder how to gain muscle and what to eat, and they’ll probably tell you – skinless chicken breast!
Chicken breast is a great low-fat source of protein (85 grams contain around 26 grams of protein) that’s rich in vitamins niacin and B6, which are necessary for muscle gain. Chicken is also easily synthesised to repair muscle tissue and other cells damaged during hard training.
For vegans, vegetarians or people simply looking to reduce their meat consumption, tofu is one of the best foods for muscle growth.
Tofu is one of the few complete vegan proteins containing all 9 essential amino acids, low in carbohydrates, and an excellent calcium source needed for healthy muscle function.
One of the best ways to support muscle gain is to include eggs in your diet! Eggs are a high-quality protein and an excellent source of vital B vitamins, choline and amino acids necessary for muscle gain.
Eggs have all 9 essential amino acids known as the building blocks of protein, so make sure you have a lovely scramble or a couple of hard-boiled eggs as your post-workout meal!
Eat more fish! It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are crucial for the proper functions of your body. It’s also an excellent source of calcium and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin) and iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.
For high-protein and low-fat options, choose cod, halibut, haddock, flounder, but don’t be afraid of high-fat fish like salmon as you need more calories when working out.
Greek yogurt is one of the best muscle building foods because it contains high-quality protein, fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein. This combination helps increase lean mass.
Make sure you get yogurt with 0% sugar, and you have yourself a great post-workout snack!
Another high-protein and low-fat dairy product is cottage cheese – 100 grams of this cheese has around 15 grams of protein.
Because cottage cheese contains whey protein and casein protein, it’s a great post-workout or “before bed” snack as it allows for a sustained release of amino acids while you sleep.
Ask a vegetarian, “what foods do you eat to gain muscle”, and they’ll tell you – beans! But you don’t need to be a vegetarian to choose them as your protein source. A cup of cooked beans
contains even 15-20 g of protein depending on the type (black, pinto and kidney beans, etc.), so add them to your vegetable stews, salads or as a side with the egg scramble!
Beans are also high in fibre, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.
Brown rice is excellent, but why not mix things up and quinoa?
One cup of quinoa contains around 25 grams of protein. It’s also rich in fibre, magnesium, phosphorus and iron, which helps promote protein synthesis and contains all 9 amino acids essential for building muscle.
Fruits and vegetables
Lastly, don’t forget your daily dose of fruits and vegetables that will give you essential antioxidants for the healthy immune system, vitamins C, E, beta-carotene and fibre for proper digestion and overall well being.
Bananas, for example, contain potassium and antioxidants, which help decrease inflammation and reduce muscle cramps and vitamin C in such fruit as a kiwi allows proper oxidation of fatty acids, making them far easier to work off.
For your vegetables, choose peas, spinach, kale, broccoli, and asparagus, which are the highest in protein.