Building muscle: Nutrition tips you need to know
Learn more about how to adjust your nutrition to build muscle.
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If you are trying to build muscle, you probably know that nutrition is as important as working out. Although this is a vast area to research, there are some basic nutrition tips for muscle building you can always benefit from.
How much should you eat to build muscle
To gain muscle, you need to be in a calorie surplus. Meaning, you need to consume more calories than you are spending. To estimate how much would that be, you can use Madbarz Calorie Calculator.
Besides consuming enough calories in total, it’s important to consume enough protein. Proteins are building blocks of the muscle. When you train, the tissue of your muscle gets damaged and needs to be rebuilt through protein synthesis. So, to properly rebuild your muscles after a hard workout, you need enough protein in your diet.
How much protein is enough protein? Well, if you are trying to build muscle (and you are exercising regularly), you should consume somewhere between 0.8 - 2.0 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. You can consume enough protein with your daily diet, or you can supplement by using supplements such as protein shakes.
Foods for building muscle
To consume enough protein in everyday diet, you need to be eating food that is rich in protein. Although the list is long, here are some of the most protein-rich foods you can make a part of your diet.
Fish, meat and poultry
All of these foods contain a high amount of protein and are a great choice if you are trying to build muscle. Salomon, chicken breast, and lean beef are the most recommended since they are not only high in protein but also low in calories.
Eggs are loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and protein. No wonder they are a breakfast of choice for a lot of people who are trying to build muscle.
Low in calories and high in proteins, cottage cheese is excellent both for weight loss and muscle building. Plus, mixed with fruits, it makes a great breakfast.
If you are looking to lower your meat intake, lentils are a great choice, as the law lentils are made up of 25% protein. They also contain a significant amount of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
Supplements for building muscle
Besides making sure you consume enough protein and calories in general, certain supplements can help you improve your muscle gain.
Whey protein is probably the most known muscle building supplement. It’s usually sold in the form of flavored powder and mixed with water or milk to make protein shakes.
Research suggests that whey protein is the optimal protein source to support muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise, as well as to induce muscle hypertrophy and strength gains with resistance training. If you are struggling to consume enough protein with your daily diet, whey protein can be beneficial.
Creatine is a substance naturally found in muscle cells. It helps your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise. It is commonly taken in the form of a powder as a pre-workout supplement. However, creatine is a great supplement for building muscle.
Creatine increases water content in your muscle cells, which causes muscle growth. However, it will also positively affect your exercise performance, which also can lead to a bigger muscle gain. Also, creatine is one of the most researched and safest supplements on the market, with various other benefits.
BCAA, or branched-chain amino acids, consists of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and your body needs them to rebuild muscle.
BCAA is beneficial for muscle building. BCAA leucine stimulates muscle protein synthesis - the process of making muscle. However, for the best results, it is advised to consume whey protein shakes that contain BCAAs, as well as all the other essential amino acids. In fact, this can lead to a 50% bigger muscle growth than consuming just BCAAs.
Foods to avoid when building muscle
Just like certain foods are recommended to consume when building muscle, there are foods you should be avoiding.
Alcohol contains a lot of empty calories, can negatively affect your performance, and disrupt your muscle recovery. Shying away from alcohol is good for your overall health, as well as for muscle building.
Sugary drinks and sweets
Yes, you need to be consuming enough calories to build muscle, but consuming empty calories in the form of sugary drinks and sweets won’t provide your body with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs. Instead of sugary drinks, opt for water, tea, or natural fruit juices instead. And instead of sweets, choose dried fruit, dark chocolate, or some other healthy snack.
Research has shown that these foods can promote inflammation, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular diseases. So, whether you are building muscle or not, it is smart to limit deep-fried foods in your diet.
Top 5 tips for building muscle
Train for hypertrophy
Resistance training is essential for hypertrophy (increase and growth of muscle cells) since hypertrophy is an adaptation mechanism of your body on the external resistance. Resistance training, such as bodyweight training or calisthenics, cause your muscle to grow and are a great choice if you are trying to build muscle mass.
Eat enough calories
As it is already mentioned, to gain muscle, you need to consume more calories than you are spending. In other words, you need to be in a calorie surplus. Also, make sure you consume enough protein as it has an important role in muscle building.
Get quality sleep
When you are sleeping, your body is recharging and repairing itself, so this is when your muscles are repaired and rebuilt. Not only that, but the lack of sleep stimulates fat gain and breakdown of muscle. Try getting between 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night.
Don’t skip rest days
Your body needs time to adapt to the stress. In this case, the stress of the workout. Properly distributed rest days are important to allow your body to recover from the workout and maximize workout benefits. Thus, to maximize muscle gain as well.
Water is essential for your body to function properly. Water is crucial to muscle building since it transports nutrients to your muscles. Also, without enough water, muscle strength and control will be impaired. Dehydration can lead to a weaker performance on your training days, so make sure to stay hydrated.
Nutrition for muscle building is a subject that interests most of fitness enthusiasts. Although there is a bunch of tips and tricks you can find on how to eat to promote bigger muscle gain, some basics are always the same.
You need to be eating enough calories and enough proteins. You can improve your muscle gain by eating the right foods and choosing the right supplements. Also, you should avoid certain foods, such as deep-fried food, food with high sugar content, and alcohol.
Make sure to stay hydrated, get enough quality sleep and rest, and train the right way. The most important thing is to take care of your overall health and stay persistent. This way, results won’t miss out.
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