When it comes to packing on muscle, your diet is arguably the most important part of your overall bodybuilding program. You can work out all you want, but if your diet isn’t where it should be, you’ll never be able to achieve that muscled physique! The body relies heavily on nutrients from food and other supplements to help create an environment conducive to muscle building; and although there is an infinite number of choices out there, veteran muscle-builders have come back to the same foods again and again. Here is a list of the absolute best foods to eat while you’re bodybuilding!
There’s a reason why every successful bodybuilder in the world incorporates egg whites into their diet: with a protein to fat ratio of 60:1, egg whites are undoubtedly one of the purest forms of protein in the world. This awesome muscle-building food also possesses an extremely high biological value, meaning that a large portion of the protein absorbed from egg whites is easily utilized by your body for protein synthesis. Egg whites also contain very few carbohydrates and are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
As a general rule, you should be eating foods that are low in fat while you’re trying to build muscle; but fish is the exception here. Your body still needs essential fatty acids (like omega-3s) to help support the muscle-building process. Cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, and sardines are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. Canned fish packed in water also comes in handy, because it provides a quick source of protein when on the go.
Beans and legumes
While it may not come to mind immediately, beans are actually a delicious and highly nutritious source of protein and fiber – and fiber is essential to maintaining a regular and healthy insulin response, which is critical to muscle growth. Kidney beans are often a popular choice, as they provide nearly 14 grams of both protein and fiber per cup! That’s reason enough to start incorporating them into your daily diet.
Lean red meat
Lean ground beef and cuts of red meat are excellent mass-building food sources that are also rich in protein, iron, zinc, and B Vitamins. Red meats have a high calorie per serving ratio, making it an excellent choice for those looking to gain more muscle in a shorter period of time.
However, because red meats do possess a higher level of saturated fats, it’s important that you eat them in moderation (and definitely not every day). Lean red meats are best incorporated into a weekly diet of chicken, turkey, and fish, adding a little variety to your weekly nutrition plan.
Carbohydrates provide the energy you need to get through those workouts, and sweet potatoes provide that ‘oomph’ without overdosing your system. They’re often used by bodybuilders looking to fill out depleted muscles, but they’re an excellent part of any dieting or mass-gaining strategy. When choosing a sweet potato, make sure it has a smooth, firm skin with no bruises or blemishes. Stick with smaller or medium-sized sweet potatoes, which tend to taste better than jumbo ones!
When it comes to packing on pounds of muscle, it’s generally recommended that your protein intake be approximately 1.0 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. That’s a lot of protein to be consuming from whole food sources only, which is where a whey protein supplement comes in handy! It’s a great way to increase your protein intake throughout the day, and it’s easy to prepare.
You can make a shake as soon as you pop out of bed, immediately before your workout, and before heading to bed to ensure that you are getting the required protein into your system — allowing you to achieve some serious gains in muscle! Added bonus: whey protein boosts stamina and increases the benefits of your workout.
Drinking plenty of water (at least eight glasses per day) and supplementing your meals with healthy vitamins is essential to any bodybuilding or workout routine, as well. For more healthy diet tips and recipes, check out our other blogs!
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