Very few people know how to build muscle mass. Most people try to gain size and get lean at the same time, this is an impossible task – the body just doesn’t work this way. Every competitive bodybuilder who has stepped on stage knows the real secret; you absolutely must dramatically increase the amount of food you eat, the frequency of eating and the level of effort lifting heavy things in the gym.
Here are 8 of the best foods to help you gain weight or add muscle, the healthy way.
Milk has been used as a weight gainer or muscle builder for decades.
It provides a good balance of proteins, carbs, and fats. It’s also a good source of calcium, as well as other vitamins and minerals.
For those trying to add more muscle, milk is an excellent protein source that provides both casein and whey proteins. Research has even shown it can help you add muscle when combined with weight lifting.
Eggs have been vilified for years as artery-clogging foods. But further research into the role of dietary cholesterol and heart disease shows that for most people, the two are not linked. Eggs have since returned to the spotlight as a health food, especially for building serious muscle. The cholesterol found in eggs yolks serves at the scaffolding for steroid hormones, and the ½ a gram of leucine in each egg is like throwing gasoline on your muscle-building fire.
- Lean beef
This should be a staple of your diet if you want to gain muscle mass. Lean beef is loaded with all sorts of things conducive to muscle growth, including iron, zinc, and B-vitamins. More importantly, it provides your body with high-quality protein (not all proteins are equal), and a high level of amino acid that works with insulin to promote muscle growth.
For those who are trying to lose weight, this should come as great news – a 3oz serving of lean beef provides roughly the same amount of protein as 1.5 cups of beans but at half the calories.
Lentils should be your secret mass-building weapon. One cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein and 40 grams of slow-digesting quality carbohydrates. They are also very inexpensive and have a long shelf life. They cook up in just 10 minutes and can be added mixed in with brown rice, sprinkled over a salad, or eaten as a standalone side dish.
- Protein shake
A protein and carbohydrate recovery shake should be the cornerstone of your muscle-building program. Drinking a shake consisting of protein and carbohydrates before your workout sets the stage for optimal muscle growth and nutrient usage.
Research from several universities shows that this power nutrition combination puts the brakes on excess muscle breakdown, jacks up protein synthesis, rapidly refills stores of muscle energy, increases blood flow to your muscles, up-regulates creatine transport, and improves your body’s ability to process and use carbohydrates for hours following your workout.
- Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a rich source of antioxidants, which are essential for the healthy functioning of your immune system. They also provide tons of other nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Finally, your body requires the fiber these fruits and vegetables provide to aid in proper digestion and nutrient uptake.
Chicken is an excellent source of high-quality protein, which is important for muscle maintenance and repair, bone health, and weight maintenance. And of course, there are so many ways you can cook and prepare chicken.
- Whole grains
Whole grains digest more efficiently and provide more nutrients than refined grains. This promotes sustained energy levels and overall health. In particular, brown rice can help boost your growth hormone levels, which are critical for encouraging lean muscle growth, fat loss, and strength gains.