Building muscle quickly requires discipline, which includes following a strict diet. The key to building muscle is to take in more calories than you burn without gaining fat. To do that, you should stick to a low-fat, high-protein diet to keep a positive balance of energy. If you want to build muscle fast, incorporate these 10 foods into your diet.
You can’t build muscle without consuming a lot of protein, and eggs are a very good protein source. The protein from eggs is actually quite essential to muscle building, but the yolk must be consumed in order to get the full nutritional benefit from the egg. The yolk also contains vitamin B12, which helps your muscles contract and your body break down fat. For a protein-packed breakfast, make an omelet with spinach and broccoli, two vegetables that are good sources of protein.
One of the best foods, if not the best food, to help you bulk up is beef. Beef is the best source of creatine, which provides the necessary energy for muscle building. For every 16 ounces of beef you eat, you get about two grams of creatine in return. Beef is also a good source of iron and zinc, which are also key for building muscle. Some cuts of beef tend to be fattier than others, so choose leaner cuts like T-bone steak and flank steak.
Chicken is an excellent source of leucine, an amino acid that triggers muscle growth. Just six ounces of chicken contains about three grams of leucine as well as about 20 grams of protein. Chicken is also very lean, so you can pack on the muscle without packing on the fat. Turkey is also a good option as it too contains a high amount of protein and leucine.
Like chicken, tuna is a great source of leucine. Just one cup contains about three grams of leucine and more than 39 grams of protein. Tuna is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which ignite protein synthesis and burn fat. Fish oil is also important for muscle building. Its anti-inflammatory properties calm the muscles and reduce soreness after exercise. If you don’t want to eat only tuna, add salmon and haddock to your diet since they also pack a protein punch.
You may not think that olive oil can help you bulk up, but it plays a vital role in preventing the muscles from breaking down. Extra virgin olive oil contains a healthy amount of monounsaturated fats, which are good, heart-healthy fats. Monounsaturated fats tend to act as an anti-catabolic nutrient by lowering levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, a cell protein that has pro-inflammatory properties. Olive oil is also high in vitamin E, which fights off free radicals and prevents them from damaging the muscles after a workout.
Cottage cheese is a great source of whey protein, which is a complete protein. That means that it contains all of the essential amino acids. Cottage cheese is very high in both protein and leucine; just one cup contains 28 grams of protein and 2.8 grams of leucine.
Yogurt is a great source of protein and a great source of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are essential for body builders since they provide fuel in the way of energy during an intense workout. Yogurt also contains conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, which helps reduce body fat. Be sure to choose the yogurt that contains fruit. The sugar will boost your insulin level and that will prevent muscle breakdown when the workout is over.
Nuts in general are rich sources of protein and almonds are no exception. Just one ounce, which is about a handful of almonds, offers about six grams of protein. Almonds are also high in vitamin E, which, as mentioned, fights free radicals. If fewer free radicals attack your muscles, they will recover more quickly after a workout. And if muscles recover faster, they’ll grow faster.
Quinoa is a grain that’s often referred to as “the perfect grain.” Quinoa is a complete protein and just one half-cup contains 12 grams of protein. Quinoa is also high in carbohydrates, which will boost your energy so you can work out longer. Quinoa is also a good source of fiber, magnesium, folate and other nutrients. Quinoa makes for a great side dish and can be used as a substitute for rice or couscous.
Edamame are green soybeans and are packed with protein. Soy is also considered to be a complete protein and is a great source of the nutrient for vegans and vegetarians. Eating edamame will kick protein synthesis into high gear as it contains 17 grams of protein and more than one gram of leucine in just one cup. Edamame is also a good source of omega-3s, which protect your brain and nervous system, which, in turn, will help you perform better during your workout.