you're doing weight training or body weight exercises to
gain lean muscle mass, nutrition is very important. Not supplying
your body with enough calories and nutrients won't promote muscle
growth. But this does not mean you can take any type of calorie.
You can easily pile up loads of calories from fatty foods and
as a result, this will impede your muscle building goals. What
you need are foods which will give you quality protein and complex
carbohydrates but not huge amount of calories. Here is a list
of the top 8 best muscle building foods:
one of nature's most nourishing foods and is also easily used
by people active in weight training and exercising. Oatmeal is
a complex carbohydrate and will fuel your body with good amounts
of energy for your workouts. It also contains protein(about 11
grams per 100 g oats) and fiber and can also reduce cholesterol
levels. When you buy oatmeal, go for 100% whole grain oats like
rolled oats and steel-cut oats and avoid those that have been
processed. Protein alone won't make you get muscle mass like you
should. You also need carbohydrates notably complex carbs, if
not, your muscles can look flat and not full.
If you are
not eating eggs for your training, you're missing out on a lot
of good things. A whole egg contains about 6-7 grams of protein
and all the nine essential amino acids plus it has lots of vitamins
and minerals. Eggs are relatively cheap but they will make you
get great muscle gains. Apart from being nutritional, eggs are
delicious. You can easily eat 1-2 whole eggs everyday without
worrying about cholesterol levels because actually dietary cholesterol
has nothing to do with blood cholesterol levels. Saturated fats
are the culprit in raising blood cholesterol levels. Saturated
fats are found in the egg yolk and one egg yolk has only 1.5 grams
of saturated fats. So it's pretty minimal if you eat like 1-2
eggs per day but if you eat like 5-10 whole eggs everyday, it's
not too healthy because the saturated fats will add up fast. Some
people throw away the yolks but in fact, you have all the good
vitamins and minerals in the egg yolk. Just limit the egg yolks
to 1-2 per day. Also you can vary your nutrition, it does not
mean you have to eat eggs everyday.
a staple food for many athletes. Go for the skinless chicken breast
as it's rich in protein, definitely a great muscle building food.
A substitute for chicken is turkey. 5 oz of chicken breast can
easily give you 35 grams of quality protein. Also contains zinc,
iron, magnesium and vitamins B6 and B12. If you want to bypass
chicken breast from time to time, you can opt for the drumsticks.
As it contains less protein, you need to eat several of them.
You might want to avoid deep frying your chicken as it will add
up useless calories due to the oil. Consider grilling, boiling
or baking as healthier options.
Meat / Beef
in your nutrition is a good choice provided you choose the leanest
cuts of beef, that is with as less fat as possible such as top
sirloin, top round, bottom round, ground round, eye round and
tenderloin. If red meat is too expensive, you might consider lean
ground beef as cheaper alternatives. Beef contains creatine, a
natural compound which will give you more stamina and endurance
and boost your performance. Simply put, it will enhance your workout
and you will be able to lift the weights aggressively. The only
problem is for you to get your daily dosage of creatine, you need
to eat lots of red meat. For example, with 12 oz of beef(340 grams),
you get only around 1.5 grams of creatine. So if you were to take
6 grams of creatine daily, you will need to eat 48 oz(1,360 grams
or 1.36 kg) of beef daily which might be too much. But creatine
is also found in other meats like chicken, fish, pork although
in lesser amounts. So by eating different meats per day, you can
get your creatine dosage or taking creatine directly in supplements
can give you your creatine intake without the need to eat too
Red meat is
also packed with good amounts of protein for muscle mass ie for
5 oz of beef, you can get 35 grams of protein. In addition, it's
an excellent source of iron, zinc and contains the 5 important
B-Complex vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6 and B12.
Vitamin B12 in particular is known for making good use of dietary
fat and certain amino acids to build muscle mass.
Have you heard
about people getting lean eating fish? It's true and even when
you're training, fish is a highly recommended food. As compared
to other protein foods, fish does not have these type of saturated
fats but still gives you good protein. Instead, the fats from
fish are healthy and rich in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty
acids known to be healthy for the heart, brain and even help in
having better moods and prevent mood swings. Oily fishes like
salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, tilapia, herring, trout and
cod are some of the healthiest choices and they are rich in healthy
polyunsaturated fats. Fresh fish or even frozen fish might not
be too affordable but no need to worry as you can still get access
to canned fishes like canned salmon, canned tuna. It's recommended
to eat in moderation as canned fishes contain a good amount of
sodium and you don't want too much sodium in your diet. A tip
is to drain the sodium water or oil from the can first. 5 oz of
fish can contain 35 grams of protein and a small can of tuna or
salmon can give between 25-35 grams of protein.
Milk is a
good choice to build muscle mass. Opt for skim or low fat milk.
Milk contains casein, a slow digestible protein so it helps sustain
muscle growth and prolongs muscle anabolism for a long period
of time. Drinking milk pre-bed is also recommended because your
body will be without food for several long hours. 100 grams of
low fat milk can easily give you 32 grams of high quality protein.
So drink your milk either in protein shakes, oatmeal or by itself.
Excellent source of calcium, vitamins and minerals and milk has
been proven to aid sleep.
earlier, if you want to make muscle gains, you can't rely on protein
alone. You also need carbohydrates. Apart oats, sweet potatoes
are also top muscle building foods and complex carbs as well.
Will keep you highly energized throughout the day and in your
training. Some time after your training, eating sweet potatoes
will make your depleted muscles look fuller. Sweet potatoes are
also rich in dietary fiber and if eaten with the skin has even
more fiber than oats. Fiber is important for effective bowel functioning.
Whey is a
high quality fast digestible protein naturally found in milk but
in milk, whey is 20% and casein is 80%. During the process of
converting milk to cheese, whey is extracted and collected. This
is why nowadays you have supplement companies selling whey protein
powders. Whey has become a product alone without any casein coming
along like in milk, so if you want to get your whey protein intake
in decent amounts, the best way is to consume whey protein alone.
Whey protein is highly effective for post workout nutrition whereby
your muscles are depleted from nutrients such as amino acids and
you need a fast acting protein like whey to repair and rebuild
muscle tissues just after your intensive training. A liquid meal
like a whey protein shake is highly recommended just at this point
in time. But apart that, consuming whole foods during the day
Here you go
with some of the best muscle building foods you can get. Creating
a nutrition revolving around these foods will make you get the
greatest muscle gains in your life guaranteed.
Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body
Building Resource which provides articles on weight training,
nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.