As we saw in the last blog when it comes to muscle building, diet is as important as exercise. Because without the proper diet and calorie intake your muscle building potential would be limited. and as a natural trainee, this is bad news.
Just picture yourself grinding through a 90 days muscle building workout plan. Working hard day in and day out just to find that after those 90 days you gained very little muscle mass because you weren’t eating the right foods for your goal.
So in this article, I will run through the best muscle building foods that we can add to our arsenal the next time we are trying to build slabs of lean meat on our physiques.
Nature greatest gift. That little protein-packed withe ball that would require little to no time to prepare and to be ready on your plate. Eggs contain about 80 calories per egg with about 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of healthy fat. Egg’s protein is one of the highest quality proteins that there is with a net utilization of 94, Which is the highest among all natural sources.
Also, they contain a load of l vitamins like vitamin a, vitamin b12 and selenium which all happen to be very essential for immune system functioning.
So in summary eggs :
- Have a high amount of high-quality protein
- Rich with healthy fats
- Contain essential vitamin and mineral
- They are a calorie dense food, I mean eating a 6 whole eggs omelet will give you about 500 calories of muscle building calories.
2- Lean Beef:
“Wanna get buff, then you gotta eat beef”. That is what my gym trainer used to tell us when we first started working out. And even though I doubt that he has any nutritional knowledge back then, he definitely was right.
Beef is naturally loaded with muscle building creatine and notorious amounts of zinc. Zinc happens to be the mineral responsible for your testosterone levels optimization. and it is no wonder that back in the day legendary bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger ate a lot of beef during their mass gaining phases.
A 100 gram of lean beef offers about 250 calories with 26 grams of protein and around 15 grams of fat. while its higher calorie high-fat profile may be inconvenient during cutting phases it is just what you needed during your mass gaining phase. Personally, I like to have at least one beef containing meal per day and it does work very well for muscle building. So time to grill some meat.
Oats have been a staple in bodybuilders diet right from the beginning and it is for a good reason. They are a gluten-free whole grain and they are packed with fibers, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Each half a cup (around 78 grams for my non-American friends) cover 190% from your manganese RDI, 41% of your phosphorus RDI, 34% or your magnesium RDI and 20% from both your zinc and iron RDI. Oh for those of you wondering about what the fuc* is this RDI, it is the recommended daily intake of a certain micronutrient.
Also, Oats contain a special kind of fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is known to reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) , reduce blood sugar and insulin response which is essential to maintain a high insulin sensitivity, increase the feeling of fullness and increase the growth of good bacteria in the gut which is great for your digestive health. if you remember we already discussed the importance of the digestive health as one of Muscle Building Keys.
Each cup of oats contains about 303 calories, 51 gram of carbs, 15 grams of proteins, 5 grams of fats and a whole 8 gram of fibers. I mean common isn’t like the perfect food composition. Now, if we add in some egg withes to this mix and we will have one of the best muscle building meals you can possibly have. If you are not about that egg withes in oats hardcore bodybuilder stuff and you want something a little bit more tasty than all you need is to add one scoop of flavored whey protein and voila, a tasty sweet muscle building healthy meal.
Fish is among the planet’s healthiest foods and it should be among your shopping list next time you go to the market. Why? Because it is really an amazing food. Fish is loaded with vitamin D, and most people happen to have a deficiency in that vitamin. Also, it is one of the richest sources of the infamous omega 3s fatty acids.
If you are serious about building muscle while keeping fat gain at bay you need omega 3s, end of story. because they will help fight inflammation and improve your insulin sensitivity. Remember that when we are inflamed and insulin resistant, we will have a hard time trying to build lean muscle mass without the fat gain. So here we are left with two choices, either you buy a fish oil supplement or simply eat more fish, I ‘ll go with the later.
Also, fish are packed with protein and healthy fats. They generally contain about 22-24 grams of protein per 100 gram and about 8-12 grams of fat depending on the fish species. I would recommend you to get fish that are lower in the food chain. The top sources are salmon, sardines, and trout.
5- With Rice:
Withe rice and chicken breast, what a typical bodybuilding meal. But why this meal had been a staple for decades? Because withe rice is your natural and healthy mass gainer. I mean like really it is a cheaper and healthier version of your typical mass gainer. It is rich with carbohydrates, easy to digest and it has a very high glycemic index. All of that makes withe rice a perfect addition to your post workout meals or whenever you want a quick instant energy.
A 100 gram of uncooked rice contains about 358 calories, 79 grams of carbohydrates, 0.5 gram of fat and 6.5 grams of protein. Mix that with few ounces of chicken breast and you have a meal with over 500 calories loaded with carbs and protein.
6- Nuts and Seeds:
Nuts and seeds are really underappreciated in the bodybuilding world. Those snacky little bastards are an easy tasty way to add lots of nutritious calories to your diet without the need to meal prep. For instance, 2 ounces of almonds (50 grams) contain roughly 288 calories, 10 grams of protein and 6 grams of fibers. That’s a lot of calories.
Some good nuts to consume are :
–Walnuts: very rich in omega 3s and protein
-Almonds: very rich in important vitamin and minerals
–Pumpkin seeds: a natural source for important minerals like magnesium and zinc
-Sunflower seeds: very rich in healthy fats and they are really cheap
7- Dried Fruits:
If you are a skinny guy who always has a trouble gaining muscle you should stock on those. Great options are dried grapes ( aka raisins), dried apricots and oh my favorite fruit the dried figs. All those foods are delicious and nutritious.
They are also very high in both calories and carbs. For instance, a serving of 4 of dried figs is about 84 calories and I doubt that you will eat only 4 of those. I mean common they are dried figs, nature’s most delicious food. I can eat a hundred of those without getting sick of them.
Also, dried fruits conserve all the vitamins and minerals that fresh fruits have. So you get more calories for less volume of food and you don’t go short on your vitamins. That is what they call a double win situation. Also, here is a trick I use whenever I need to get in high amounts of calories : I like to take a little plastic bag in my pocket and I will fill it with dried fruits, nuts, and some dark chocolate. This will give you roughly a quick hustle free 500 calories to snack on if you are trapped outside and can’t get to the kitchen to prep something healthy.
Okay I know I will get lots of objections on that because people in the bodybuilding industry seems to dislike milk. They say it causes digestion problems and it results in water gain. While that may be true for people with lactose intolerance, it is completely fine for other people with enough tolerance.
1 cup of milk is about 120 calories and 7.5 grams of protein. That means in 1 liter, which is if you are like me a one time sip, is about 480 calories and around 30-32 grams of protein. Also, you can make more of it by making your own chocolate milk with unsweetened cocoa and plain sugar. Doing that will help you have a cheaper and healthier version than the commercial one.
Also, chocolate milk is an amazing food post workout. It will provide you with protein, fast digesting carbs and electrolytes to rehydrate your body and replenish your electrolytes stores.
9- Chicken Breast:
Of course you saw that one coming didn’t you. I mean it is obvious that chicken breasts are a staple in both muscle building and fat burning diets. You really can’t ask for more than what chicken and turkey breasts can offer you : they are rich protein (around 24 grams per 100 gram), low in calories (only 110 calories for 100 gram) and they taste good .
I personally like to grill my chicken breasts on a tablespoon of coconut oil when I am bulking to get some extra calories. I also like to use spices since they make a world of difference in the taste without impairing my diet. Really, guys, you don’t need boiled Chicken Breasts in order for it to be healthy. Don’t make yourself miserable.
10- Sweat Potatoes:
In its both varieties, orange, and withe skinned sweet potatoes offer a ton of health benefits. They are rich in beta-carotene which will be turned into vitamin a when absorbed inside the body. Sweat potatoes support the immune system and eye health and they promote proper cell growth (including new muscle tissue).
And while they are not as rich in calories and carbs like the previous foods in this list, sweet potatoes still offer enough calories to assist in the muscle growth process. They contain about 160 calories in the average sized potato.
Also, whenever I included sweet potatoes in my diet, I noticed that I tend to store less water weight and maintain the somewhat drier look. I don’t really know the reason but it is something that I discovered with me and since then I always make sure to include this sweetheart food into my lean muscle building diet.
Here you have it guys. Those are the top 10 foods to assist you in your muscle building endeavor and give you the best results possible.
Of couse there is another great food source that will optimize your results. But I think those are the superstars that will give you the best bang for your buck. Also, check my article Muscle Building Keys to learn about the basics of any muscle building plan.