Building muscles has forever been one of the primary goals of going to the gym. But it is a two-front battle to gain muscle mass. Exercise alone won’t take you far; you need the right nutrition too. Let’s take a look at the important of foods to gain muscle and what should be present in an optimum muscle building diet.
Note: While protein is important for building muscles, not every protein is created equal. Proteins vary depending on their amino acid profile and digestion speed. In general, animal products have greater protein density and all essential amino acids. Also, good carbohydrates are important to provide the necessary energy in any diet plan for mass gain.
1. Egg Whites
There are 100 reasons to eat eggs, and gaining muscle is just one of them. While whole eggs are packed with nutrients anyway, egg whites are special for being a lean source of protein. With no fat and minimal carbs, they are filled with high-quality proteins containing essential amino acids, particularly leucine, important for mass gain.
2. Chicken breast
Perhaps the most protein-dense food on this list, chicken breast is another excellent lean source of protein. Skinless chicken breast contains 26 grams of high-quality protein in an 85-gram serving. Just 3 servings of chicken breast can fulfill your daily protein requirement.
3. Greek yoghurt
For vegetarians, Greek yoghurt is undoubtedly the best food for building muscles. While most dairy products are great for muscle building, Greek yoghurt has the highest amount of protein, 10% by mass. It also contains both slow-digesting casein and fast-digesting whey, thus aiding simultaneously in muscle repair and muscle growth.
If you are a vegan, nothing can beat soybeans for mass gain. 100g of raw soybeans contains 36 grams of protein, one of the highest in vegetarian sources. You can eat soybeans in a variety of ways: as cooked beans, soaked nuggets or soy milk. Soybean is also rich in Iron, one of the most essential nutrients for the human body.
5. Protein supplements
Nothing beats protein intake from whole foods, but sometimes it is simply not enough. Luckily, there are protein supplements with hardly any side effects and a large enough variety for all. Whey protein is the most popular protein supplement in the market and should be a staple in a muscle gain diet. Casein protein powders are useful if you need a slow-digesting protein. For vegans who don’t consume dairy products, other options include soy protein and pea protein.
You thought protein is the only thing you need in a muscle gain diet? Wrong. Carbohydrates are the actual energy source for the body, and you would need a lot of energy while lifting those weights. Fortunately, oatmeal is an excellent source of carbs. Oatmeal has a low glycemic index, takes longer to digest, doesn’t spike glucose levels, and keep you full for a longer period of time.
Fishes like tuna and salmon are excellent muscle-building foods. Apart from adequate protein, they also have omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to maintain the muscle health of the body.
Gym nutrition is an often overlooked part of muscle building, but it is perhaps the most vital part. With the right food to eat, it won’t be too hard to gain muscle mass and achieve the body you always desired.
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