Building muscles and shaping your body starts way before you hit the gym.
It starts with the best muscle building foods.
Whether you will form muscles or not depends on what you eat and the way you exercise.
Don’t let hard training go down the drain.
To build muscles you need to drink a lot of liquids high in energy combined with weightlifting, of course.
Food gives you energy, but it also pumps your muscles, helps you lose weight, burns fat, and improves your cardiovascular health.
So, you may be wondering:
What should I eat to gain muscle mass naturally?
There are ingredients that can help you build muscles at the gym.
Without further ado, here are the ingredients that will make your training worthwhile.
20 Best Muscle Building Foods for Men:
O yeah, eggs.
The holy grail for every bodybuilder.
Eggs are a great source of easy to digest proteins.
They are on the top of the list because they consist of amino acids, and proteins of animal origin like meat, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy, provide the essential amino acids your body needs.
Eggs are one of the best testosterone-boosting foods.
Also, eggs are high in proteins and vitamins, as well as zinc, iron, potassium, which makes them one of the most complete ingredients for building muscles.
Eggs contain all the essential fatty acids.
Lately, you must’ve heard that eating eggs too often isn’t healthy, but you should know that 1-2 eggs a day won’t raise your blood cholesterol level.
2. Red meat
Sports players have increased needs for meat since they lose more iron, so lack of iron is one of the most common problems amongst sports players.
One of the best sources of iron is red meat.
Meat is a very good source of proteins, and iron, which is vital for transferring oxygen to your muscles.
Meat is also a source of amino acids, including leucine, crucial when it comes to muscle growth.
I suggest you eat lean beef (it contains amino acids, B vitamin, and creatine).
3. Chicken breast
You intake 30 gr of proteins and a minimal amount of fat when you intake 100 gr of chicken breast.
This meat isn’t very expensive, it’s easy to prepare and you can combine it with many other foods.
Turkey is a rich source of proteins and it contains 11 vitamins and minerals.
In addition, it is high in selenium which, according to some new research, can prevent some kinds of cancer.
Fish, especially salmon is one of the amazing ingredients that will build your muscles.
Salmon can help you pump your muscles and burn fat since it is a unique combination of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B, and high-quality proteins.
Salmon is a great source of proteins.
The omega 3 fatty acids and the proteins will shake your lazy muscles, speed up your metabolism and you will get the results you want.
It will help you build muscles faster.
Quinoa is one of the most ideal ingredients for your muscles because it contains a lot of proteins and very little carbohydrates.
It is one of the best high protein vegetarian foods for muscle building.
The proteins found in quinoa contain all 9 essential amino acids.
It also contains fibers, riboflavin, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, phosphorus, magnesium, folic acid, and beta-carotene.
Quinoa doesn’t contain gluten nor cholesterol, which is why is so great when it comes to building and recovering your muscles.
It’s really delicious and easy to prepare. You can put it in soups or salads, or you can eat it with meat and green veggies.
7. Chocolate milk
The best sports drinks come from cow’s milk.
Milk is more effective than water or sports drinks when it comes to hydrating your body after training.
Milk, in general, contains electrolytes and magnesium, and chocolate milk, thanks to the chocolate contains the perfect balance of carbs, proteins, and fats which help your muscles recover after training.
Chocolate milk can help you boost your muscle mass.
Sounds too good to be true?
Chocolate milk is as efficient as sports drinks used for fighting exhaustion and improving the benefits of working out.
It provides your body with water, proteins, carbs, and calcium.
So, it can be useful for rehydrating, hypertrophy (growth of muscles), compensating glucogen and minerals, and it can be a source of nutrients between two series of exercising.
Pineapple is a good source of enzymes for digesting the protein called bromelain.
It has been shown that it relieves muscle inflammation, which means it’s good before and after training.
This tropical fruit is high in bromelain and papain, enzymes that not only help your digestive system with getting the best out of proteins, but they also have anti-inflammatory properties which speed up your muscles recovery after training.
So, these enzymes can help you build muscles, they are good for your digestion, and they are helpful for muscle inflammation.
All these characteristics make pineapple one of the best ingredients to eat after training.
Banana can be a source of resistant starch, which is a functional food fiber with very positive effects on health.
It is also food with high glycemic index useful for regenerating glucogen after exercising, and all of this depends on how ripe the banana is.
If you eat 2 bananas you will have the energy for 90 minutes of hard training.
Almond is an excellent source of proteins and fats, but it also contains vitamin E which is good for your muscles.
This powerful antioxidant fights against free radicals and helps you recover faster after you exercise.
A handful of almonds a day will provide you with proteins, healthy fatty acids, fibers, and vitamin E.
The antioxidant properties of vitamin E help cell membranes to recover from oxidative stress such as exercising.
The faster your muscles recover the sooner you will go back to your everyday exercising routine.
Broccoli, like other fiber vegetables (tomato, corn, garlic…), it’s a must for your after training menu.
You should eat five to seven portions of fruit and vegetables because you can’t find a better source of vitamins and fiber than these plants.
However, it’s recommended not to overcook vegetables because then they lose their vitamins and minerals.
Mix broccoli with other vegetables high in fiber (asparagus, spinach, potato, corn, paprika, onion) and cook them to get soft but not mushy because that’s a sign they are overdone.
Don’t forget to eat your vegetables, 5-7 portions a day 🙂
It seems Popay was right about this green veggie.
Spinach can improve the growth of muscles, but you need to eat almost 2 pounds of spinach a day to get that effect.
Phytoecdysteroids, found in spinach, can help you build muscles for 20%.
Spinach also contains calcium which helps muscles recover after training and it prevents cramps during training.
Besides, it contains a lot of iron which is good for building muscles.
13. Fish oil
Fish oil is great for improving the efficiency of the strength training because it enhances blood flow to the muscles, it decreases the protein consumption from the muscles, and it speeds up the recovery process after training.
This oil contains omega 3-fatty acids which also improve your body’s resistance to insulin, which helps prevent diabetes.
It’s recommended to eat 3 portions of 95 gr fish such as salmon, tuna, or sardine a week.
If you don’t like fish, take 1000-3000 mg DHA and EPA fatty acids supplements daily.
Vegans can find fatty acids in flaxseed, nuts, and algae products.
Hazelnut has a good amount of proteins and fats, as well as vitamin E which brings many benefits to your muscles.
This vitamin is a strong antioxidant that fights free radicals and helps you recover faster from your training.
15. Food high in vitamin C
You can find vitamin C in many vegetables and fruit.
It is good for the health of your heart and blood vessels which supply nutrients and oxygen to your muscles.
Experts emphasize that the better you nurture your muscles, the better they work and recover.
Vitamin C has a key role in building collagen, a substance that your body uses to build bones and muscles.
It’s recommended to intake vitamin C 75 gr a day, and you can get that amount by eating one orange, 1/2 of red paprika or a cup of strawberries.
16. Vitamin D
Scientists claim that vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins.
It makes you feel better, it boosts your immune system, it enhances your muscle mass, it regulates muscle contraction and the growth of muscles.
It is also important for a good development of your bones.
All in all, you need to intake vitamin D through food or by exposing to sunlight.
You can get the ideal dose of vitamin D if you stay enough in the sun.
Also, you should know that not everyone has the same necessary amount of this vitamin.
For example, children and adults have different needs for vitamin D.
The best thing to do is to consult a doctor and find out about your necessary amount.
17. Food high in vitamin B complex
There are many different groups of vitamin B (B1, B2, B3, B6, B7, B12) and every one of them is important for your body, especially if you want to increase your muscle mass.
Vitamin B has a key role in everything, such as forming and absorbing proteins, producing energy, building a good nerve system and last but not least, breaking down fats and carbs.
People usually intake the recommended amount of vitamin B through food.
This vitamin is found in many ingredients, including whole grain cereals, eggs, nuts, and leafy vegetables.
However, vitamin B12 is found only in animal source foods so vegans and vegetarians have to intake vitamin B12 supplements or foods of plant origin enriched with vitamin B12.
Flaxseed has many nutrients important for losing body fat and building muscles.
It is one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids which prevent inflammations.
The reduction of inflammatory processes in your body is essential when it comes to building muscles since flaxseed can help your muscles recover better and not sore or hurt after training.
Flaxseed is a great source of fiber (which gives you energy and improves your endurance), proteins, and amino acids, also necessary for your body.
This is one of the best plants high in proteins.
There are 9 grams of proteins in 100 gr of this legume that strengthens your muscle mass and makes sure your body works properly.
Furthermore, lentils are high in fibers that improve digestion and lower bad cholesterol level.
This vegetable is high in vitamin B and carbs which provide your body with energy and make you feel full for a long while.
Whey is the liquid that comes from coagulating milk in the cheese making process.
It is useful for your body because it contains important minerals like sodium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, cobalt, manganese, molybdenum, but also vitamins, amino acids, proteins, and it doesn’t have many calories.
This is a very good ingredient with low-energy value and the proteins in it are easy to digest, they are almost completely absorbed and they are vital for building tissue, for enzymes and hormones.