When it comes to gaining muscle, there are few things that you need to think about. Now, you’ve probably already figured out what one of these things is and that is to get yourself to the gym, and on a regular basis too. However, before you even start pounding away at the gym hoping to see amazing results, you need to think about what you’re eating.
Any experienced bodybuilder will tell you that your diet is just as important (if not more important) than your fitness routine. The truth is that without the right foods, you are going to have a hard time getting to the stage you want to be at as you aren’t going to be able to build muscle at the rate needed.
Luckily, there are a lot of foods out there that will help you in your quest to become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger as we’ll explore in this post.
What Kind Of Foods Do You Need?
Basically, in order to build muscle, you need food that is high in protein. Why is this? Well basically, protein is the building block of all muscle fibre in your body so without it, your body isn’t going to have anything to repair muscle tissue with, leading to no muscle growth.
However, it isn’t just high protein foods that you need in order to gain muscle, you also need to ensure that you are obtaining a good amount of carbohydrates to ensure that your body is getting enough calories and that no muscle tissue is broken down. You can find carbs in things like potatoes, cereals and plenty of other foods.
So anyway, without further adieu, here are some of the best muscle building foods.
#1 – Chicken
Ok, so we’re listing this one first on the list as it is probably the absolute best food for gaining muscle out there. Chicken is extremely high in protein (usually around 30 grams per 100 grams of meat) and is very low in fat. The calorific content of chicken primarily comes from protein which means that your body is also going to use a lot of energy digesting it, thus burning off more calories than a high fat food.
Chicken is also pretty cheap compared to a lot of meats and its absolutely packed with amino acids. The best cut (and the most common cut) is Chicken Breast. This is because Chicken breast is high in protein but low in fat. The darker meat on the Chicken usually has a higher fat content.
#2 – Eggs
Eggs are commonly used by bodybuilders around the world and this is because they are probably one of the best muscle building foods in the world. Sure, they are quite high in cholesterol but so long as you don’t go overboard with them, you’re going to be fine (plus, it’s good cholesterol).
The great thing about eggs is that you can use them in so many ways; scrambled, poached, boiled or even fried (not recommended if you’re looking to lose fat). They are also packed with around 7 – 8 grams of protein per egg and are extremely cheap to buy.
Remember, most of the protein is in the yolk but most of the cholesterol is too. Try combining a few egg whites with a couple of yolks if you’re concerned about cholesterol.
#3 – Fish
Fish is yet another extremely high protein, but low fat food that is perfect for those looking to gain muscle. Depending on the exact type of fish you’re looking at, fish usually has around the same protein content as Chicken (around 30g per 100g of fish) which means it’s great for getting your protein fix.
There are tonnes of different types of fish but some of the best for muscle building include salmon, tuna and even mackerel. Tins of tuna are pretty cheap these days but you can also opt for less well-known, cheaper fish too (just ask your local fishmonger).
Another great thing about fish is that they are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and tonnes of vitamins. This means that not only will they be great for packing on the muscle, but also great for staying healthy and lean.
#4 – Oatmeal
Oatmeal is the cornerstone of any serious muscle builders diet. Oatmeal is cheap, quick to prepare and like eggs, can be used for a variety of dishes. Oatmeal is carbohydrate-rich and because of this, is a great food to have for breakfast or even post workout. In order to obtain the energy you need throughout the day, a good source of carbs is a must and oatmeal provides this perfectly.
There are so many things you can do with oatmeal; you can mix it with some fruit in the morning or you can even add it to your protein shake for that extra burst of energy. If you wanted, you could even include it in your own recipes and believe it or not, a few oats works brilliantly in burgers.
#5 – Beef
Beef is one of the most widely consumed red meats in the world and despite all of the claims that you shouldn’t eat too much red meat, beef is absolutely paramount to achieving muscle building success.
Sure, beef is probably not something you’re going to want to eat every day of the week (and you shouldn’t eat it this regularly either) but it is a great source of protein that you should be consuming every now and again. Beef is also packed with zinc, iron and even creatine which are all extremely important when it comes to building muscle and of course, staying healthy.
If you do opt for beef, try to buy a cut that doesn’t have too much fat on it. Fillet steak and even some sirloin is great for building muscle but if you see a big string of fat down one side, it is probably not going to be that great for keeping your fat levels down.
#6 – Sweet Potato
Sweet potato is one of the those foods that rarely seems to make it onto lists of muscle building foods but really, it couldn’t be better for bodybuilders. Sweet potato is an excellent source of carbohydrates which as we mentioned, are paramount for obtaining enough energy for your body.
Sweet potatoes also taste amazing, especially when roasted in the oven with a few other veggies. They’re also pretty cheap and are great for consuming either pre or post-workout as they’ll give you that extra burst of energy that your body is craving during those difficult times.
Sweet potatoes are also full of vitamins which will help keep your body healthy and in balance too.
#7 – Peanut Butter
Believe it or not, peanut butter is amazing for building muscle. It is absolutely packed with calories which are obtained from protein and good sources of fat. Peanut butter is also a very convenient food; you can buy a jar of it and keep in the fridge for a good few weeks, allowing you to get your fix of protein quickly and easily, without having to make a trip to the shop.
Peanut butter is perfect for spreading on some wholemeal bread for an amazing sandwich or if you like, you can even add it to various recipes for that extra zing.
#8 – Almonds
Ok, this might seem like a bit of a strange one but the truth is, almonds (and most nuts actually) are absolutely full of protein. Not only this, but they are also full of vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant and is going to drastically help prevent damage after those long workout sessions.
Obviously, you can’t eat almonds for every meal every day and you really shouldn’t anyway. However, you can eat a couple of handfuls a day perfectly easily and it will only help you on your muscle building journey.
So there you have it, 7 of the best muscle building foods out there that you should definitely be consuming on a regular basis if you want to stay lean and bulk-up.