When you are trying to build muscle, the way your body reacts to your exercise routine also depends on the kind of food you eat. Inadequate nutrition can lead to high body fat, lack of muscle mass, digestive problems, bad skin and lack of energy at work or at the gym. There is a significant amount of confusion about what you should eat, the quantity you should eat it in and when it should be eaten. This is why we have simplified things and listed some nutrition basics for those who want to build muscle:
#1 Eat breakfast
Your body gets a lot of energy from the 1st hour and you will find that you are less hungry through the day. In fact, you eat healthier once you kick-start your day with a sumptuous and healthy breakfast. The things you can include in your breakfast are omelettes, cottage cheese and smoothies.
#2 Have more frequent meals
The best thing to do is to have breakfast and lunch, dinner, a post workout meal, and then something just before you get to bed. Maintain consistency in your eating schedule and you will find your body getting hungry only at those fixed times. Try to fit in 2 snacks into your day as well. Doing this will benefit you in a number of ways:
- When you eat smaller meals rather than fewer big meals; it decreases the size of your stomach
- You will find that you are more satiated with smaller portions and your waist will trim down as well
- You will have fewer cravings
- When you don’t eat for long periods, that automatically leads to overeating at your next meal; or you might find yourself craving for sweet foods too.
#3 Include some protein in every meal
If you want to build and maintain muscle, you need to consume protein. Since they also have the highest thermic effect of all foods, they help in fat loss and help you feel fuller for a longer period of time. Include some whole protein source with every meal. The foods you can include are:
- Red Meat – pork, beef, lamb, buffalo, deer etc.
- Poultry – Fish, chicken, duck, turkey etc.
- Seafood – Tuna, sardines, salmon, mackerel, etc.
- Eggs – Many people blindly believe the cholesterol myths and use only egg whites. It’s important that you eat the yolk too
- Dairy – Cheese, milk, yoghurt, quark, cheese and whey
- You can include post-workout shakes
#4 Include veggies and fruits in each meal
Most fruits and veggies are low in calories and you can eat till your hunger is satiated, without worrying about gaining any weight. These foods are also packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins and they contain fibre, which is excellent for digestion. Some of the fruits and vegetables you can include in your diet are – apples, pineapple, oranges, berries, bananas, broccoli, spinach, pumpkin, tomatoes, beans, chicory, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, peas, roman lettuce, etc
#5 Consume carbs only post your workout
Avoid eating white carbs and replace those with whole grains instead. The exception to this is – if you are very skinny and want to gain some weight, you should eat carbs post your workout and later if required too.
#6 Eat healthy fats
Including these in your diet aids in weight loss and improves your health. They help satiate your hunger and digest slowly. Balance your healthy fat intake by including real butter, red meat and whole eggs. Use extra virgin olive oil in food and include mixed nuts, flax seeds, fish oil, and olives in your meals.
Drink plenty of water and consume whole foods 90% of the time. Stay away from processed foods such as cereals, pizza, sausages, cookies, and frozen meals and maintain consistency in your diet.
If you have any questions about building muscle or want a workout routine that would help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Schembri PT. You can send us an email to [email protected] or fill in this contact us form and we’ll reply as soon as possible.
Thanks for reading,
Schembri PT Team
02 9648 6405