There is a two-part equation to building muscle mass, and each part is just as important. They are strength training and proper nutrition. We look at each of these elements individually, beginning with proper nutrition.
Proper Nutrition For Building Muscle Mass
What you intake inside your body and how you care for your body has a direct correlation on how fast you will build muscle mass. Proper nutrition supports your body to build muscle and helps your recovery.
Rest assured, if you are lifting heavy weights and breaking down muscle fibers, you will be sore. That soreness will reduce if you take good care of yourself.
Importance Of Protein In Strength Training
A lot of misinformation about protein consumption and strength training is accessible. There are few truths; here we will focus on one.
The truth is; you are probably not getting enough protein. The majority of the population do not get enough protein in their food. They instead, consume starchy carbohydrates such as bagels, cereal, pizza, and fries.
Studies vary in their recommendations, however, most agree, approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is ideal for an athlete. A sedentary person can cut that number down to about .8 grams per pound of body weight. That means if you weigh 150 pounds then you will want to consume 150 grams of protein each day.
Keep in mind, protein is present in everything, from cereal to carrots. You do not need to, and should not, consume 150 grams of protein entirely from meat. The numbers adds up fast.
For instance, a single chicken thigh give you 31 grams of protein. Your average quarter pound hamburger patty has 20 grams of protein. If you consume about 4 ounces of protein at each meal and a protein shake after your workout, that is close to the amount of protein you need.
Protein Essential For Muscle Growth
Why all the fuss about protein? Protein is essential to make sure you stay healthy and strong during training. Protein assists muscle repair, and without enough, your body will take from other body tissues to replenish what it needs. In that case, you risk the wasting of muscle, a weakened immune system and organ dysfunction.
Meat consumption is unnecessary to get your protein. Being a vegan or a vegetarian, consider alternative sources of protein. Nuts, beans, and seeds have protein. Half-cup of tofu has 10 grams of protein. Dairy and eggs are sources of protein too.
For post-workout protein shakes, pea, hemp, soy and egg white protein are alternatives to whey. Whey Protein is the most common source of protein.
Protein is one part of a healthy diet. It is important you eat plenty of vegetables and fruits with your protein. The starchy carbohydrates, which make up much of the average person’s diet, will not help you lift heavy weights. You are hard-pressed to rid that layer of fat that is hiding those muscles. Those starchy carbs are what they are; sugar, which we talk about next.
Why You Should Eliminate Sugar
There are entire books on why sugar is bad for you. Sugar causes system-wide inflammation; it is the instigator for every disease. Excess sugar causes your body to store it as fat, which causes resistance in your cells and leads to diabetes. Everything from your morning orange juice and bowl of cereal to your late afternoon protein bar has sugar.
To burn fat and build muscle, the sugar has to go. Substitute your junk food with healthier alternatives. Have a banana, instead of a muffin. Replace unhealthy cereals for breakfast with an egg and avocado. No one is suggesting you stop eating carbohydrates as long as they are a fruit or vegetable, without the added sugar.
This goes for your sports supplements too. Go for protein shakes that has no added sugar and instead sweeten your shake with fruit. A shake consisting of coconut milk, a frozen banana, protein powder, and a scoop of cocoa powder make a tasty treat. Choose nutrition bars that do not have sugar added but sweetened with dates and other naturally sweet ingredients.
Sugar is addictive, reducing your sugar intake is not an instantaneous solution, and may cause a whole host of issues most people are not prepared to handle. Instead, try to replace the worst offenders with healthy alternatives. For example, replace your daily soda with water. You get the idea. Keep a food journal to help you isolate which foods contain the most sugar.
This simple step of reducing and eliminating added sugar from your diet will produce dramatic results. You will lose weight and feel strong and energetic, just what you need for your strength-training program. To avoid the temptations of sugar, be surprised to learn that fat can help.
Simple Facts About Fat
The information dispersed about fat is dead wrong. Doctors along with the food industry have told us when we eat fat we will get fat. The truth is; we get fat when we eat sugar. When we eat fat, well… we digest it and life continues. Fact, good fats are good for you.
You have may already heard tons about Omega fatty acids so we will not go into much detail about them. These lovely fats called medium chain fatty acids help to boost metabolism, improve organ health, fight inflammation, and help your post-workout recovery. Fish oil or Omega-3 supplement are taken daily by many athletes.
To add healthy fats to your diet check out avocados, nuts and seeds, fish, and coconut oil. Another healthy fat to add to your diet is Olive oil.
When fighting sugar craving, a substitute for eating a cookie is to eat half of an avocado or a handful of cashews or pistachios. The healthy fat helps your body. These natural food sources contain fiber and antioxidants as well. The cookie provides your body with absolutely nothing but calories and can harm your body with the processed sugars, flours and unhealthy fats.
When making food choices, choose whole food first. Processed foods are not your body’s best friend.
We have discussed what to eat, let us delve into schedule, quantity, and a few other important tips.
Fuel Up Your Body
The amount you eat daily and the approach you take is up to you. We have athletes who follow the Zone Diet or Paleo Diet. The Zone is much disciplined and you control how much you eat and when you eat. The Paleo Diet primarily focuses on what you eat.
Diet varies from person to person, and by not focusing on absolutes, a few general guidelines may be in our best interest.
4 Meals A Day Muscle Building
Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner and add to that daily schedule a post-workout meal. Your meal should be high in protein, healthy carbs and consume within 30 minutes of your workout. To eat more often, you need to track how your body looks and feels. Gaining weight and not building muscle mass show you may need to cut back and not eat as often or as much. In case you are, always hungry and not recovering fast enough or building muscle, then you may need to eat more.
Why Should You Stay Hydrated
Water helps move the toxins out of your body and the nutrients into your body. If you are dehydrated, you will experience exhaustion, you will not sleep well, and your body will not get the energy needed to lift heavy or recover. Before each meal drink a full 8-12 ounce glass of water and you are on the right track. Drink more warm water or when exercising a lot.
Sleep To Repair Muscles
Your body needs rest to repair the muscles. Sleep is the period when the entire body goes into recovery mode. If you do not get enough sleep, you are depriving your body what it needs to stay strong and healthy. Try to get between 7 and 10 hours of sleep. Olympic athletes get at least 9 hours a night – that is how important sleep is to your performance.
Reduce Stress In Your Life
In conclusion, take measures to reduce your stress. Stress is hard on your body and the brain. Do your best to reduce stress in your life and learn coping mechanisms to overcome daily stress. Stress, like sugar, causes inflammation and disease.