Not everyone aims to lose weight, there are many men and women who look to gain muscle and add some meat to their bones.
Not only does adding muscle to your body make you look toned and lean, there are numerous health benefits to adding more muscle to your frame. As we age we lose muscle, this can be slowed by building more muscle through correct eating and strength training; Strength training and building muscle can help ease arthritis pain and it can preventative osteoporosis.
Nutrition for muscle building is just as important. If you don't have a good muscle building diet you are really limiting the results you get from your training. Here are some tips to help you structure your eating strategy for building muscle. Remember if you need more advice pop me an email.
Tip 1: Eat at least six meals per day. This increases the body's metabolism, and amount of calories. Although we advise the same for weight loss, it's what you eat that counts for both weight loss and muscle gain
Tip 2: Choose the right carbs and protein. This is important and just because a food has a lot of calories, it doesn't mean the food is nutritious or that it will help you gain weight. For instance, white bread and white sugar are calorie dense but they are nutritionally empty and have been shown to cause people to gain weight in the form of fat not muscle mass. Pick foods that are made of complex carbs, that will provide your body good nutrition, and that will not spike blood sugar levels.
Protein fuels the muscle, but doesn't go straight to your muscles. It is first broken down into amino acids and then the body uses these amino acids to build the proteins it needs to grow more muscle cells. Most people think of meat as their number one protein source, but legumes, some grains and vegetables are good sources of protein too.
Tip 3: Avoid low calorie foods. Foods that have a lot of fibre and a high water content are usually very low in calories. Many vegetables are low calorie foods and won't help you gain weight but are often used by body builders to "lean up" before a competition. Nutritionally, vegetables should still be included in the diet, but not in bulk.
Tip 4: Fuel up before your workout. Eat a small meal about 30 to 60 minutes before your workout that contains a good portion of complex carbohydrates and protein. The complex carbohydrates will give you the sustained energy to train long and hard, and the protein will assist your muscles during your workout as you break them down .
Tip 5: Your post workout meal/shake. This is the most important nutrition boost your body needs. Directly after a workout your muscles are broken down and crying out for nutrients. A good dose of protein is a must (40-50 grams) and carbohydrates also play an important role because they are needed for an insulin spike, which will release growth hormone. A supplement shake is the best method to deliver these nutrients to your body followed by a good post-workout meal within 60 minutes of training.
At the end of the day, if you want to gain weight and pack on muscle you need to eat more calories than your burn throughout the day. If you don't eat enough calories you will not grow any muscle. Never stay hungry. As soon as you begin to feel hungry eat a good meal of carbs and protein. Also get a good serving of carbs and protein before bed, you body will need it for repairing muscle tissue while your sleep.
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