It’s estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of your body mass is comprised of muscle, which in turn is made up of more than 90 percent water. Even though we all have muscle, not many people focus on building their muscles to be larger. Then, of course, there’s a large community that tries their hardest to get as bulky as possible. If you’re in that community or somewhere in between, you should be following a specific diet to help build muscle.
Most of us know that protein is the one key compound that goes into a muscle building diet, but there’s more to it than just protein. There are other key vitamins and minerals that your body needs to sufficiently pack on muscle mass, while trying to avoid taking in too many fats or carbohydrates. So which foods are the best for making sure that you get ripped in no time flat? Here are eight foods that everyone looking to build muscle should be eating.
For those that want to build serious muscle, you do need quite a few calories to fuel your muscles. With that in mind, you also want to avoid too many saturated fats and sugars. Thankfully, almonds hit all of these key aspects while also providing a sufficient amount of protein. Almonds are among the foods that are highest in protein per serving size, while also providing copper and magnesium to increase your energy levels.
While you’re exercising, your muscles need a high amount of oxygen for performance. Nutrients in almonds provide plenty thanks to the amount of riboflavin. If you’re also looking to burn fat, replacing 200 calories of other foods with 200 calories of almonds have shown to actually help reduce body fat while building muscle. One of the big reasons is because there aren’t many carbohydrates within almonds when compared to protein levels.
If you’ve ever met anybody that’s been trying to build muscle fast, especially for a bodybuilding competition, you’ve probably noticed how much chicken breast they’re eating. Grilled chicken breast is the most popular form this common poultry for building muscle, as you’ll obviously want to stay away from the fried stuff. It can get a bit boring to eat the same grilled chicken on a daily basis, but unless you’re trying to compete in a bodybuilding competition, you thankfully won’t need to!
Not only is chicken breast high in protein and low in calories, but it also provides more nitrogen balance in your body. This helps you prevent your muscles from breaking down, which can be quite common if you’re working out your muscles to the max. Try adding some healthy spices to chicken to give it more variety throughout the week, or else you might get burned out!
You know that you need protein to build muscle, but there are certain types of protein that will really help you! Casein protein is one of these key compounds that’s digested slowly by the body, and cottage cheese has plenty of casein protein. Since it’s slowly digested, experts suggest that you eat cottage cheese at night before heading to bed. That’s because you don’t eat while you’re sleeping, and your body is burning calories.
When you’re not eating for an extended period of time, your body will turn to fats for energy. If you don’t have much body fat, then you’ll turn to muscle. Casein protein makes sure that your body isn’t using too much muscle as an energy source while fasting, and it provides just enough carbohydrates to use as a source while thankfully not containing too many.
For those that get tired of eating chicken multiple times per week, it’s nice to mix it up with lean beef every now and then. There are several options available, but experts say that bison should be your go-to lean beef. Bison is naturally lower in fat than beef from a cow, while providing even more protein. With only 140 calories per serving, it’s easy to fit into a fat burning and muscle building plan.
Bison is great for those that seem to be lacking energy as it contains plenty of vitamin B12, zinc and iron. These minerals promote blood flow with plenty of oxygen for a natural boost. It’s going to be hard to find a food that has a higher ratio of protein compared to calories and fat, which makes bison the king of muscle meats, especially when you consider the extra benefits of the nutrients within.
While bodybuilders are usually eating chicken for lunch and/or dinner, their breakfasts typically consist of eggs. Egg whites are among the best protein sources that you’ll be able to find with around 15 percent of your recommended amount. While that doesn’t seem too high, eggs contain complete protein, with a much higher quality than most other foods because of key amino acids that build and repair muscle.
There were some fears years ago that eggs would be bad for your heart because of the cholesterol content. However, it’s been found that eating eggs several times on a weekly basis actually don’t have a negative effect. Instead, eggs can help your cardiovascular health by raising the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol. That’s good news since any good muscle building program also includes some cardio.
Commonly seen sitting next to chicken breast on the same plate for those that are hardcore into muscle building is brown rice. There have been some questions as to whether it was brown or white rice that was better for your muscles, but brown rice has come out on top. Many people are trying to avoid carbs when exercising, but your body absolutely needs them when working out a lot, especially to build muscle.
The carbohydrates in brown rice give your body energy that it needs to make it through a workout without using muscle as a fuel source. Eating one cup should provide the proficient amount of carbs, and there’s also other energy sources in rice. These include iron, zinc and vitamin B3. You can lower the recommended amount if you’re not trying to build too much muscle, as well, while still making brown rice a great energy source.
While chicken and beef might provide more muscle friendly proteins, mixing seafood into your diet is just as important. Many of the fish out there are helpful in the muscle department, though experts suggest wild salmon and farmed trout for the maximum benefit. Fish is an incredibly lean meat that don’t contain many calories at all, while providing healthy fats that help your heart, brain and just about every other organ. Fish is easily digestible and provides a natural energy source that won’t break the bank, as well!
When you want to build muscle but don’t want to eat meat, it can be pretty tough to find foods that can meet both needs. Quinoa is a trendy food that’s been helping vegetarian muscle builders for years now thanks to the high amount of protein and solid source of helpful complex carbohydrates. The balance that experts suggest for building muscle is 30 percent of your calories from protein, 30 percent from fat and 40 percent from carbohydrates. Quinoa itself is right around those numbers, making it a perfect vegetarian dish that you can eat multiple times per week to get some fine vitamins and minerals on top of everything.