What if we told you that you could retain or even gain more muscle mass and strength with less training? The secret lies in your nutrition.
Wayne Griffins personal trainer at Breaking Muscle, told us that many of his clients demonstrate a desire to consistently train hard, but do not give the same attention to nutrition. This leads to a wasted effort on training and sabotaging their own success.
Nutrition can be seen as a complicated topic and therefore gets avoided by many, however knowing how nutrition works will help you utilise it for your fitness and strength gains.
Wayne has compiled his top ten foods that will help for general fitness maintenance or muscle mass gain.
1. Lean Beef
Lean beef should be a staple of your diet if you want to gain muscle mass. It is a food item loaded with many things conducive to muscle growth including iron, zinc and vitamin B.
More importantly, it provides your body with high-quality protein (not all proteins are equal), and a high level of amino acid that works with insulin to promote muscle growth.
For those who are trying to lose weight, this should come as great news – a 3oz serving of lean beef provides roughly the same amount of protein as 1.5 cups of beans but at half the calories.
2. Skinless Chicken
Like beef, chicken is an excellent source of high-quality protein, which is important for muscle maintenance and repair, bone health, and weight maintenance.
And of course, there are so many ways you can cook and prepare chicken. Go down to the store and you can easily find chicken meat cut into single serving sizes that can be seasoned and quickly cooked.
3. Cottage Cheese
Not many people know this, but cottage cheese is almost entirely pure casein protein. Casein is a slow-digesting protein, which means it is perfect for muscle maintenance.
This is useful especially for people who have no choice but to go long periods without eating. Cottage cheese is also an excellent source of vitamin B12, calcium, and other important nutrients.
Eggs contain high-quality protein, nine essential amino acids, choline, the right kind of fat, and vitamin D. They provide the most value for your money. And eggs are not harmful to your health, as numerous studies have already shown.
5. Whey Protein
There is a reason why whey protein supplements are the most popular supplement in the fitness industry: they provide a fast and convenient source of protein at an affordable price.
Bodybuilders normally use them when they wake up, right after their workout, and mixed with some of their meals.
For the rest of us, a scoop in our shakers right after our workouts can be very effective for muscle mass gains. It’s important that you still get high-quality protein from whole foods, and use whey protein as a boost.
6. Tuna and Other Fish
Fish are high in protein, low in fat, and rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s are essential because they aid in fat loss and ensure the proper function of your body processes, such as your metabolism.
Oatmeal is a great source of carbohydrates due to both its low glycemic index (GI) value and the fact it is minimally processed. The benefits of a low-GI diet include:
- Better micronutrient profile and more fiber
- Increased satiety
- Decreased hunger
- Lower subsequent energy intake (second meal effect)
- Fat loss
In short, low-GI foods can enhance fat loss for those looking to lose weight, and provide a constant source of carbs for muscle preservation.
8. Whole grains
Whole grains digest more efficiently and provide more nutrients than refined grains. This promotes sustained energy levels and overall health.
In particular, brown rice can help boost your growth hormone levels, which are critical for encouraging lean muscle growth, fat loss, and strength gains.
9. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a rich source of antioxidants, which are essential for the healthy functioning of your immune system.
They also provide tons of other nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Finally, your body requires the fiber these fruits and vegetables provide to aid in proper digestion and nutrient uptake.
10. Healthy Fats
The thought of consuming fat makes some fitness fanatics shudder, but good fats are essential for muscle growth.
In fact, they play an essential role in hormone production (testosterone and growth hormones), which helps drive muscle growth and strength gains. In addition, fats are needed for many important maintenance functions.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are good fats. You can find them in salmon, other fishes, nuts, leafy veggies, oils such as flaxseed, avocados, and seeds. They are also all rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Griffins from breakingmuscle.com added “Don’t sabotage your gains with poor nutrition.
This is an extremely common practice that needs to be avoided in order to meet your goals. It is important to take the knowledge from this article and add it to your daily meal routine.
This top ten is made up of the ‘right’ foods to add into your recipes and it shows that educating yourself on nutrition is not as scary as it may appear.”