So you’ve lost that weight. Your body fat is at a minimum and you feel fantastic. But hold on, you need to ton up a bit, don’t you think? You probably have and you’re lifting weights, focusing on your core and are bench-pressing impressive sets. Is it not working like you thought it would? Well, we hate to tell you this, but just because you’ve lost weight doesn’t mean you get to eat what you want.
“If you don’t nourish the muscle with the right amount of the right foods, your muscle strength will be diminished,” says Joey Gochnour, a registered dietician, nutritionist, and certified personal trainer in Austin, Texas, who owns a dietary and fitness consulting business called Nutrition and Fitness Professional.
Muscle building puts quite a bit of stress on the body. Your diet needs to support the regeneration and growth of muscles. We have come up with a list of 10 foods that will help you become a lean-mean muscle machine!
Bison or Buffalo
“These meats are a great source of protein, zinc, and creatine. They are leaner than regular beef, which means you have to cook them for less time or you’ll end up feeling like you’re eating leather. They also contain more CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a fatty acid that improves endurance, reduces inflammation, and helps with fat loss.” says Maik Wiedenbach, personal trainer and professor of exercise science at New York University
Joey Gochnour gives us an excuse to gorge on Chocolate Milk. He says, “Chocolate milk has a ratio of one to three of grams of protein to grams of carbohydrates, which is the recommended ratio in research around fitness and muscle anabolism (muscle growth).
Grass-Fed Beef and Organic Chicken
They are high in protein and healthy omega-3 fats. Grass-fed beef and organic chicken not only help to build muscle, but their omega-3 fatty acids may also reduce joint pain from weight training and encourage fat loss while building muscle.
“Milk fat is good for you! There, I said it. It helps build cholesterol and testosterone and delivers vitamin B and high-grade protein. It is an excellent food for hard gainers.”, says Maik Wiedenbach
Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Yes, yes, you can have Peanut Butter Sandwiches. Not too many though. Peanut butter sandwiches boast a great mix of protein, carbohydrate, and unsaturated fat. They provide solid nutrition for men who want to eat balanced meals to build muscle. Balanced is the key word here.
Pineapple and Papaya
Maik Wiedenbach suggests eating Papaya and Pineapple as they both contain bromelain and pepsin, two enzymes that help the body digest protein better. Who doesn’t want that? Plus, these fruits boast lots of other beneficial nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, and phytonutrients.
“Quinoa is a whole-grain seed that contains all nine amino acids. It’s low on the glycemic index, which means it breaks down slower in your system and provides energy longer after consumption while reducing insulin spikes. Quinoa is a great source of magnesium, which is necessary for exercise and reduces inflammation. Studies have shown a link between increased testosterone levels and magnesium consumption when combined with exercise. Quinoa is also a great source of manganese and zinc.”, says Kristina Portillo
“Tuna fish is a complete source of protein and provides 25 grams of protein in only 3 ounces (more than enough for most men and women post-workout). In addition, it can be made in advance, comes in portable, convenient containers, and can be combined with a myriad of other health-promoting accompanying ingredients. I have my clients mix a can of tuna with a tablespoon of olive oil, pickles, diced onions and celery, half an avocado, shredded spinach, diced tomatoes, and salt and pepper, and encourage them to eat it on three whole-wheat WASA crackers or in a lettuce wrap (for those gluten-free folks). The tuna (when consumed 30 to 60 minutes after a workout) is a great source of complete protein to help the body repair and rebuild muscle.” says Brian Durbin, NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist and personal Trainer in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Coconut Oil is full of MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides), fatty acids the body uses for energy and won’t store as fat. If you are low-carbing, try coconut oil before a workout — it gives great pumps. For those of you on a regular diet, use it in your oatmeal or even cook chicken with it.
Popeye wasn’t kidding when he loaded himself on spinach. It is rich in chlorophyll and iron and much easier to eat than full-grown spinach. It will help you build muscle by providing calcium, which is required for muscle contraction during exercise.