It takes more than protein shakes and pumping iron in the gym to build big, strong muscles. Nutrition plays an important part in achieving fitness goals, whether it is to lose weight or build muscle mass. In fact, most bodybuilders and personal fitness trainers consider diet to be 50% of the equation when you want to gain muscle mass. Here are some of the nutrients you should consume to build muscles.
Increase Protein Intake
The most important macronutrient for building strong muscles is protein. Protein contains amino acids which help build muscle, so you should consume foods high in protein. However, to avoid putting fat on your body, it should be lean protein like chicken, lean red meat, turkey, fish, and dairy. While most experienced bodybuilders consume about one gram of protein per kilo of bodyweight, beginners should start with 1.5 grams per kilo when they begin working out for faster gains.
Do Carb Loads
Carbohydrates are the second most important micronutrient for building muscle as they are stored in the muscles as glycogen and provide fuel for working out. However, not all carbs are healthy, so it is important to watch what type you put in your body. Select complex carbohydrates like whole grains, oatmeal, fresh vegetables, and fruits. Most muscle building meals contain almost as many grams of carbohydrates as they do protein.
Include Dietary Fat
Fat isn’t a bad thing if you are trying to build a healthy, strong body, but you need to consume the right type of fats. To gain muscle, 20% to 30% of your calorie intake should be from fat, including 5% to 10% from saturated fats. Saturated fat helps maintain testosterone levels in men and is one reason they can build larger muscles than women, plus this hormone helps them avoid gaining too much fat on their bodies. Foods containing healthy fats include lean red meats like steak and lean hamburger, olive oil, peanut butter, walnuts, avocados, and salmon.
Don’t Cut Calories
When you’re trying to build muscle, you shouldn’t be shy about meals with a high caloric intake. To achieve your fitness goal of adding muscle to your body, you should consume about 20 calories per kilo of bodyweight. A good rule to remember is 20% to 30% of your calories should consist of protein, 40% – 60% from carbohydrates and another 20% to 30% from fat. If you don’t consume enough calories when you work out in the gym, you simply won’t build muscle.
Add Creatine to Diet
Nutrients can be consumed in the supplements you take to help you gain muscle. Protein powders made from whey protein are considered supplements and can help provide additional fuel for working out. Select a protein powder which can provide you with three to five grams of creatine per shake. Creatine can help you gain lean muscle, give you more energy for workouts and provide a better pump.
Eat small meals throughout the day and include protein and carbohydrates in each meal to help build muscle.