Do you have to watch what you eat when you are trying to gain muscle?

Building muscle requires not only a specific diet, but also proper exercise stimulus and rest over time, to create success. Watching what you eat carefully is essential. It’s obvious that junk food wont help you in any way, nor will eating excess calories. The days of bulking on processed foods are now over. It’s time to fill up on whole-foods, lean protein sources and train properly. Here are some great alternatives to add into your diet whilst you weight train.

Top 10 foods that build muscle mass fast (and keep you lean!)

  1. Eat eggs. Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrients, containing protein and fats, as well as other nutrients like vitamin B and choline. Eggs are also very low in calories, and keep you full for longer periods of time. They are portable, and easy to consume straight after training. Don’t only subject yourself to the egg white, as the yolk contains too may benefits to miss out on.
  2. Use protein powder in an emergency. I always say, if you don’t have time for a meal, or have to wait too long between meals, protein powder is a great alternative. Use this only within those moments. You can choose a plant based protein, or opt for whey or casein. Check out the list of amino acids and pick something that also contains BCAA, taurine and collagen.
  3. Chicken breast. This is an old but good body building staple around. They contain the most protein, compared to other parts of the chicken, as well as being the leanest cut. It has about 26 grams of protein per 85 grams! Chicken also contains vitamin B and niacin. Add it to your meals regularly, and dress it with herbs or mustard.
  4. Lean jerky. This is a great alternative if you are on the run. Most of the fat is removed during production, therefore you will be consuming the pure protein of this source. Always look at the ingredients before you purchase it, and keep one handy if you are traveling or not able to eat one of your meals
  5. Salmon. I mention this one because it’s a powerhouse of omega 3, which combats inflammation. Fatty acids are also important for your brain, aiding in the protection of degenerative conditions as we age. It contains about 17 grams of protein per 85 gram serving. Not as much as chicken, but a very valuable source of nutrients. Alternate between other protein sources to provide variety of nutrients and taste.
  6. Lean beef. This is probably the most highly consumed meat source for bodybuilders. Try to opt for the leanest cuts of beef, so as not to overcompensate on the calories. Creatine is an important nutrient found in beef, as well as B vitamins.
  7. Almonds. 1/2 a cup of almonds provides 16 grams of protein, as well as vitamin E, magnesium and phosphorus. Phosphorus helps your body use carbs and fat for energy at rest, as well as when you are working out. Just make sure you consume them in moderation, as when you start eating them, it’s very hard to stop!
  8. Oats or oatmeal. This is a great source of carbs because of it’s low GI value. Oats contain a lot of fibre, which increases satiety, decreases your hunger and increases fat loss over time. This is also great fuel for your workouts.
  9. Cottage cheese. This source contains as much as 28grams of protein per 226grams. I would go for the full fat version, as low fat tends to be filled with sugar to enhance the flavour. Use it in conjunction with your meals, or as a stand alone snack with some veggies.
  10. Beans. This means that vegans and vegetarians don’t miss out on some vital plant protein sources of foods. Beans usually have about 15 grams of protein per 100 grams. You can increase your intake by adding vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli to the mix. Beans also contain more fibre than meats, therefor, it’s a great idea to alternate between different sources through the week, for the best nutritional value.

I do hope these tips and help you along your muscle building journey.

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