Top 20 Foods to Gain Muscle Mass
Your diet plays a big part when it comes to building muscle and creating the body that you want. You have to be careful what you eat in every aspect of your life, and this includes carefully planning meals that are based around specific foods. To help you get the kick start you need, we have created this helpful guide – listing the top 20 foods for gaining muscle mass and helping you on the road to your personal goals.
Sourcing Your Food Responsibly
Before we begin our list, it is important to remember that when you buy meat or dairy, you should always do so responsibly. Make sure the meat has led a life outside eating things like grass and seed (depending on the animal), and that the eggs come from free-range chickens that are allowed to roam freely in the open air.
It’s good for the animal and allows them to live a free and natural life, but it also makes the meat, milk, and eggs taste way better than if they came from animals that led cramped and unhappy lives. Always check that you know where the meat comes from and that it has been treated well before you buy. It’s part of our responsibility as people.
#1 Skinless Chicken
Chicken is a fantastic source of high-quality protein, and this is essential for the maintenance and repair of muscles – as well as bone health and weight maintenance. In addition to this, chicken is a very versatile meat, and one that can be cooked and prepared in a multitude of different ways, and it is a generally affordable meat.
#2 Lean Beef
Like chicken, lean beef is also packed full of protein that is good for your body, all of which is high-quality. It also has excellent levels of amino acids that work alongside insulin to promote muscle growth, and keep things moving. In addition to this, there is also iron, zinc, and b-vitamins to ensure your body stays healthy. It is also low in terms of calories, which is great for those who are trying to lose weight. If you are trying to gain muscle mass, this should be a key part of your diet at all times.
#3 Tuna (Plus Other Fish)
Generally speaking, fish is high in protein and low in fat, as well as rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The latter of these is essential because they aid in fat loss and ensure that your body functions and correctly – including your metabolism. This gives you the boost you need to really get fit, and tuna is one of the top fish to get the job done.
Salmon is the perfect fish for omega-3 fatty acids, and it is also packed with high-quality protein, EPA, and DHA fats. These are known for their ability to improve heart health, and also prevent muscles from breaking down while they also increase the anabolic capacity of amino acids. Plus, if you really hate eating fish, there are fish oil supplements you can take so that you get all the benefits. It’s important to remember that the fat in fish is the good kind, too.
Tilapia is another great fish, and it doesn’t have as much omega-3 as the other two, but it is filled with protein. It’s full of vitamin B12, which is essential for your blood cells and nerves, as well as selenium. All of this allows you to exercise efficiently and effectively in order to gain some serious muscle.
Shrimp are practically pure protein, so you know you are getting plenty of nutrients when you prepare and eat these. Alongside healthy fats and carbs, protein is an essential part of your diet, and adding shrimp gives you a huge protein boost while also ensuring that the additional calories are kept to a minimum. There is also a good amount of the amino acid leucine, which is needed for the best possible muscle growth.
#5 Turkey Breast
Turkey is renowned for being a low fat and low-calorie meat that still offers plenty of protein. There are also no carbs in the meat, and it is a prime source of niacin, a B vitamin that helps your body process fats and carbs efficiently. If you have optimal levels of B vitamins in your body, it can help you to gain muscle quicker as it supports your body’s ability to exercise.
#6 Apples and Oranges
These are the perfect fruits for getting ready to work out. They are able to boost muscle growth, strength, and endurance, especially when you eat them before you exercise. There are specific polyphenols in them that help to increase muscle strength and prevent them from becoming fatigued, which means that you can train harder and longer than before. They can also be used to increase fat burning as well, and this is why they make such a great source of carbs before you train.
#7 Peanuts (or Peanut Butter)
You might be pleased to discover that you can still eat peanuts and peanut butter (although the former is a little better for you). They contain a perfect mixture of protein, fat, and carbs, as well as the amino acid leucine – something that many plants have. Aside from helping to build muscle and promote growth, they also have a relatively high number of calories, which is perfect for those who are having a hard time getting enough calories to drive muscle gain. Plus, nuts are generally important for an overall balanced (and healthy) diet.
It’s not just for millennials, and if anything, we should be thanked for bringing that powerful treat back into the spotlight. It is packed full of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, and can be added to practically anything. Perfect with breakfast, lunch, or dinner, they can be prepared in a number of different ways and make for a healthy and beneficial treat that has more vitamins and minerals than you can imagine.
This is a great food for losing weight and also helping your muscles to grow. It boasts an impressive amount of protein, but is also has loads of iron – essential for muscle development and needed to help your body carry oxygen to the muscles, as well as to repair them after they have been put through a really tough regime. It aids in the creation of muscle definition as well, synthetizing the fibers perfectly. The iron content also boosts your endurance levels, and it is rich in vitamin K, which boosts your mood and keeps you feeling energized – as well as protecting you from inflammation and preventing stiff joints.
#10 Berries and Watermelon
The great thing about berries is that they keep painful inflammations away thanks to the antioxidant compounds that are contained within them. They also ward off joint pain, keeping you going for as long as possible. They also decrease the formation of fat cells, and the strong antioxidants are also thought to prevent cancer, as well as heart and eye diseases. You can eat any kind of berry as well, and they mix perfectly with oatmeal and yoghurt.
Watermelon is also a great fruit to have, and it can help you to look lean and muscular. In fact, there are studies that show these fruits can improve lipid profiles and lower fat accumulation because of the high concentration of anthocyanin. This is the compound that calms the action of fat-storage genes and also gives watermelon its classic colors. Plus, it can even reduce the level of muscle soreness experienced after a tough workout – keeping you going longer than you might expect.
These are a fantastic source of slow release energy thanks to the fact they are rich in glucose, and they are rich in potassium to help prevent muscle cramping when you are working out. Due to the fact, the carbs are released slowly; you won’t need to worry about things like sugar crashes or spurring the recovery process for your muscles. They are a pretty substantial fruit to eat.
Delicious and nutritious, milk is an excellent source of amino acids, and is also really easy to digest after you have worked out or been for a run. Plus, it is full of other essential nutrients like calcium to help keep bones and muscles strong. Make sure you choose the types with less fat in them (like skim or semi-skim milk), and there is also the option for chocolate milk if you want variety, just watch the amount of sugar in it.
It’s not just some fancy ingredient that has recently become popular, quinoa is a complete protein that will help you bounce back from a workout faster, and also stronger, because it is a slow burning complex carb. In addition to this, it has the assistance of the proteins, lysine, and amino acids that assist with tissue and muscle repair. It is also a rich source of minerals, including magnesium, which helps to relax the blood vessels and boost circulation to your muscles – for definition and strength.
#14 Brown Rice
It is true that cooked brown rice does not have a great deal of protein in it, but it is packed full of carbs so that you can fuel your physical activities effectively. A few hours before you exercise, consider eating a good portion of brown rice with some proteins so that you get a good and balanced meal. This can help you to exercise harder, as well as providing your muscles with a better stimulus for growth.
#15 Greek Yoghurt
Greek yoghurt is the true form of yoghurt, and it contains double the amount of protein when compared to a standard yoghurt. It’s a great snack for any time of day (and there are fat-free versions available), but eating it after working out or before bed can be really handy as it has the ideal mixture of fast and slow digesting proteins. This can also lead to an increase in lean mass.
#16 Whole Grains
These are digested more efficiently than refined grains, and they also provide a heap more nutrients. As a result, sustained energy levels and improved overall health are often some of the main results. They can also boost your growth hormone levels, and these are essential for encouraging lean muscle growth, fat loss, and gaining strength.
This is a fantastic source of carbs and slow release energy, as it has a low glycemic index value and has been processed minimally. There are loads of benefits to having foods that have a low glycemic index value, including better micronutrients and more fiber, increased levels of fullness, decreased hunger, and fat loss. Oatmeal can do all of this, as well as provide a constant source of carbs for muscle preservation.
#18 Whey Protein
These are the most popular supplements in the fitness world as they provide a quick and easy source of protein at a pretty good price. Generally speaking, bodybuilders will use these right after they wake up, after a work out, and mixed with some meals. For regular athletes, have a scoop in your shaker right after a workout so that you can boost your muscle mass gain. While this is a great protein provider, you still need to make sure you are getting high-quality protein from whole foods, and only use whey protein as a boost.
These contain a whole load of goodness. There is high-quality protein, nine essential amino acids, choline, good fats, vitamin D, and 14 micronutrients. All of this boosts strength, energy, and muscle growth, providing the best value for money option out there and helping you get closer to your fitness goals. They are really good for you as well.
#20 Cottage Cheese
The king of cheeses when it comes to working out, this is pretty much nothing but casein protein – a slow release protein that is ideal for muscle maintenance. It is especially handy for those who have to go long periods without eating as it will ensure the muscle doesn’t weaken during the fasting period. It is also a brilliant source of calcium and vitaminB12.
Hopefully, this has helped you to better plan your meals and diet so that you can build some serious muscle and find your way to fitness perfection. After all, you deserve the body that you want and have been training to have, and the diet that comes with it doesn’t need to be bland and boring. There are loads of great meals you can create.