You may know that you need protein to build muscle, but you may not know that there are other nutrients that aid the recovery process of muscle, like the amino acids, which are used to break down the protein and make it usable for muscle repair, or potassium, which aids the healing process of muscle.
You may have gotten the idea that you can workout, eat absolutely anything and gain muscle, that is true partially, but you will also gain fat, you’ll “bulk up”. To gain lean muscle mass with minimum fat, strive to eat foods low in fat and high in protein, like lean meat. However, like everything in life, everything is good in moderation, so don’t neglect fats completely! There are healthy fats and are needed by your body just like protein and carbohydrates.
Carbs are just as important as protein! For a number of reasons: be there a deficit in carbohydrates in your body, it will ruthlessly break down your muscle to use it as energy! Because carbs are used for energy and we all know bad gym days when we lack it and do a lousy workout, so eat your carbs to lift heavier weights and generally having your optimal workouts.
Protein, you say, but there are different types of protein. Protein is made of amino acids, each type of protein holds different types of amino acids, therefore it’s important to get your protein from various sources, so you get all types of amino acids that your body needs to build muscle. Don’t eat eggs all day — eat nuts & fish too!
Drink your water, as muscle is made of both protein and water, not having enough water will get your muscles a “deflated” look and slow down recovery times.
Here I’ll list some foods that are excellent for the purpose of building muscle mass and doing it fast(er).
7g of protein per egg, 3 and it’s already 21, like a can of tuna. Don’t worry about the cholesterol in eggs, it’s the good type, it also increases your testosterone (which is a muscle building hormone) levels.
Fish are high in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are great because they aid your body use as much protein as possible to build muscle (not every single gram of protein you intake is being used). A highly recommended choice of fish would be the Salmon, for it containing among highest Omega-3 amounts.
Nuts are very high in (vegetable) protein, usually tasty (if not — mix it up with something) and don’t require any preparation, just take a serving or two and chip away! Other than protein, nuts boast a large array of various nutrients, amongst which some are: potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber (for clean number 2′s), etc… These are: almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc…
- Lean meat
Chicken breast is a good example of lean meat, containing about 30% protein. Lean meat is meat which has low amounts of fat. Some other alternatives are beef, liver, turkey (no skin), venison, ostrich and squirrel.
Milk is like a gift from heaven, it’s loaded with protein and other healthy nutrients, pretty cheap, no preparation times (except for some pouring action) and easy consumption — hell, it’s a liquid! Just drink, even if you feel full, most of the time, you’ll be able to squeeze in some more protein by drinking milk. It’s that great. For added calories and taste, mix some chocolate powder! Cow milk contains 3.6% protein, so 1 liter would hold 36 gram of protein! To get the protein with as little fat as possible, get low fat milk.
There are many other foods that would make a great choice to get some lean protein, but for the sake of simplicity I narrowed it down. My personal favorite is milk, for it’s ease of consumption and nuts, for the same reason.