Nutrition is an often-overlooked piece of the muscle building puzzle. Everyone knows that you need to lift heavy weights to stimulate the muscles to grow. There are thousands of supplements on the market to enhance muscle growth. But, people often forget the importance of a quality diet for muscle growth. What you eat, or don’t eat, can directly impact your muscle building efforts.
While there are not many specific diets aimed at the muscle building community, there are some specific guidelines and tips to help a person achieve the optimal nutritional balance for muscle building. Supplements may help enhance a good diet; however, they will not make up for a poor one. Good solid nutritional choices are much more important for the hard training athlete who wants to build muscle. The tips below will help you make better nutritional choices and enhance your muscle building diet and program.
Muscle Building Diet Tip #1 – Natural is better than processed
Processed foods are more convenient. You can pop them in the microwave or oven for a few minutes and you have a quick meal. However, the processing often removes some of the essential nutrients, and the processing also takes away some of the natural processing that occurs in the body. Chicken breast, fish, lean red meats, fresh vegetables and fruit, and whole grain foods are better choices.
Muscle Building Diet Tip #2 -Protein is King
The body needs amino acids to rebuild the muscles. These amino acids come from the protein foods we eat. Complete proteins contain all of the essential amino acids needed by the body. Chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, lean red meats, pork, dairy products, and protein supplements are all good sources of protein.
Muscle Building Diet Tip #3 -Eat more food, more often
Instead of trying to eat loads of food in your three regular meals, spread the food out over 5 or 6 smaller meals. You will still be able to increase your overall intake but it won’t leave you feeling bloated and weighed down. This also spreads the nutrients out over the entire day so your muscles are constantly fed.
Muscle Building Diet Tip #4 -Feed the engine, and then replenish the tanks
Making sure there are adequate nutrients in the blood stream before a workout will ensure that you have the energy needed for an intense workout and building materials needed after it. Feeding the body right after an intense workout signals the body that it can use those free-floating nutrients because there are more on the way.
Muscle Building Diet Tip #5 -Eat it all, wisely
Don’t eliminate any one category of macronutrients completely. The body needs carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The key is to get these in the proper proportions for you and to make sure they are quality choices. Complex carbohydrates from natural sources are a better choice than simple sugars and processed foods. Healthy fats, such as olive oils, flax seeds, fish oils, nuts and seeds, are a better choice than saturated fats or Trans fats. Protein from natural sources is a better choice than processed foods, as well. The hard training athlete needs about 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean bodyweight. The rest of the calories should come from complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. This usually comes out to about 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 20% percent fat. Some people push it to about 45% carbohydrates, 35% to 40% protein, and 15% to 20% fats.
Eat high quality natural foods with plenty of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats in 5 to 6 smaller meals per day and watch your muscle gains increase. You provide the stimulus for muscle growth through your hard workouts, it is time to provide the nutrients to answer that stimulation and build bigger, thicker muscles.