What are the best muscle building foods when you have no time to spare and want to start packing on lean muscle mass right away? The good news is that this is more than an article about whey protein, shakes and power bars. All of those have their place, but they don’t fill out a complete diet by themselves. There are plenty of healthy options available to you that not only will help you gain muscle mass but will taste great and leave you craving free from other, less healthy snacks and treats.
Why is Protein So Important For a Muscle Building Diet?
Why is protein intake such an important element when you want to build muscle? Simply put, proteins are the building blocks of the actual muscle fibers and muscle cells in your body, so It’s probably the most important ingredient out of all the muscle building foods on the list. Your body needs protein and the building blocks of protein, called amino acids (which in turn have their own building blocks, elements such as nitrogen) in order to repair muscle damage and grow larger muscles in return. This is known in bodybuilding circles as maintaining a positive nitrogen balance and an anabolic environment.
When your diet is short on protein your body won’t have all of the tools it needs to complete the job of repairing muscle. In fact, not only will your body fail to build new muscle, it will start cannibalizing existing muscle to feed itself! Obviously this is not a situation you want to find yourself in if you’re trying to gain muscle mass.
Lean Protein for Lean Muscle
This might some obvious to some, but many people fail to get enough lean protein into their diets when they want to build muscle. Think about it, if you want to build lean muscle, shouldn’t you be eating plenty of lean protein? Of course! Your goal needs to be to eat a minimum of 1 gram of protein per your ideal body weight. If you want to bulk up to 225 pounds, eat no less than 225 grams of protein each and every day.
So which lean proteins make up the best muscle building foods? In truth, all of them are equally great, and each provide different minerals and other essential elements. That means you shouldn’t find one and stick with it, but you should incorporate all of them into your diet. Lean proteins include turkey, chicken, salmon, tuna and other fish, lean beef and so on.
Incorporating Carbs & Fats Into Your Muscle Building Diet
Just because you are building muscle doesn’t mean that you are avoiding all forms of carbs and fat. Actually, they are the two other main components (called macronutrients) of a diet and are essential as well. The key is to picking the right foods and maintaining a proper balance of muscle building foods in your diet.
Choosing the Right Carbs
One reason that carbs are so important is that they are your short term energy supply. You need them to operate your daily functions, including going to the gym and giving it your all. Additionally, the body healthy fiber found in foods such as beans is actually in the carbohydrate family.
Muscle Building Food Groups
The two main groups of carbohydrates are simple and complex carbs. Simple carbs are the ones found in fast food, in chips, in white bread and so on. These contain little nutritional value and are generally viewed as “empty” calories, because all you get out of them are the calories themselves. Wheat breads, whole grains, fruits and vegetables however all provide complex carbohydrates into your diet. They also provide vitamins minerals and other nutrients. As mentioned in the case of beans, some also provide protein as well.
Good Fats For Building Muscle
There are good types of fat and bad types of fat. Fat is very rich in calories, 1 gram of fat has 9 calories where as a gram of protein or carbs has less than half of that. That’s why it’s important to limit the amount you eat. But don’t cut out fats completely. Cheese, for example, is relatively high in fat, but is also high in protein. Another muscle building food that shares that trait is peanut butter, and other nuts. All of these items are muscle building foods. They must be included into a diet in proper proportions so as to build muscle and not gain fat.
Most good fats are grouped in the category known as omega 3 fatty acids. Foods that contain good fats include extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, avocados and fish such as salmon. Adding these into your diet can not only help you build muscle but also improve your all around health.
Maintaining a Good Balance In Your Diet
Now that you know what some of the best muscle building food is, you need to know the importance of maintaining them all in the proper balance in your diet. As mentioned, some fats are good and others are unhealthy. Some carbohydrates are essential and nutrient rich while others are “empty”.
To build muscle as effectively as possible, you want to keep your daily intake between these three major components in a proper ratio. I’m sure you can envision the havoc you’d wreck on your body and on your goals if you had a diet that included 60% of your calories from fat, 30% from carbs and only 10% from protein.
Ideally, you want to maintain roughly a 35% protein, 35% carbs, 30% fat diet. While these can and will change from day to day, your goal should be to never have more than 30% of your calories come from fat. Whereas you can boost your carb intake to 50% of your total calories on a given day, as long as those carbs come from the proper sources.
Building muscle takes more work than just hitting the gym a few times a week. You have to take care of your body, and that means eating muscle building foods each and every day. It also means keeping all of the elements of a diet, including carbohydrates and fat, in a solid ratio. That enables you to achieve your goals and pack on lean muscle. This will not only improve your physique and increase your strength, but will improve your overall body health and feeling