If you want to pack on pounds of muscle, your diet is the single most vital element of your overall workout program. Look at it this way… You can work out until you collapse on a daily basis, but if your diet is not right, you’ll never achieve your dream body.
Bear in mind that your body depends heavily on vital nutrients it expects from foods and any supplements that you may take in order to allow it to create the perfect environment for achieving maximum gains.
You’ll notice that you have a massive number of choices when it comes to ideal foods for bodybuilding, or ideas for supplements to push you along a bit further, and this often leaves you, the consumer, baffled to say the least. I know, I’ve been there myself.
To save you guys a lot of headache, inconvenience, time and investment, I have compiled a short-list of some of the vital foods that will benefit your bodybuilding journey as a whole.
In my opinion, whey protein is an essential supplement that all serious bodybuilders must have on their shopping list. Whey protein is a sure fire way of packing on the pounds in terms of muscle. Experts recommend taking between 1 and 1.2 g of whey protein for every pound of your body weight.
Suppose if you weigh 175 lbs., you need to be consuming between 175 and 210 g of protein on a daily basis. If you were to take that amount of protein in the form of food, your stomach would probably explode because that’s a lot of food! That’s exactly why whey protein in supplement form is an amazing way of getting your daily protein intake throughout the day. What’s more, it’s extremely easy to prepare.
Water is often overlooked when it comes to fitness circles. If you’re a bodybuilder, you probably think that by eating as much meat as possible will help you skyrocket your gains. That is true to a certain extent, but without water, you will really struggle. At the end of the day, your body is made up from 70% water. All your muscles, cells, tissues, and even ligaments contain mainly water. Even your blood needs regular water intake for it to function properly.
If you’re an experienced bodybuilder, you’ll know that in order for you to achieve a massive hulk like physique, you need to keep your body as anabolic as possible. That’s why experts recommend drinking up to 10 liters of water daily. By staying hydrated, your muscles will inevitably stay looking fuller and healthier.
Even more importantly, water acts as a ‘transport vessel’ for all the nutrients that need to go to your muscle cells.
Beans and Legumes
If you’re serious about building incredible muscle, it is virtually unthinkable to overlook the benefits of beans and legumes. I’ll say it again, most bodybuilders when they think about the diet, by default they think of red meats and chicken and stuff like that. Don’t get one-tracked when it comes to your bodybuilding diet, because things like beans and legumes are extremely high in fiber, and more importantly for you meatheads, high in protein.
Remember, it’s your fiber intake that helps to keep your bowel movements healthy, leading to an adequate insulin response, a vital reaction for effective muscle growth because it enhances nutrient absorption from foods and supplements that you consume.
My favorite is kidney beans because they are known to provide up to 14 g of fiber and protein in a single teacup.
I know we’re constantly told that we should be eating low-fat foods, but there is one exception to that rule. The fat contained in fish, unlike saturated, and trans-fats, are actually good for you. The essential fatty acids in the form of omega 3 are vital for supporting your overall muscle building development.
Most cold water fish such as tuna, trout, sardines, and salmon are amazing sources of protein and good fats. Even canned fish is extremely healthy.
There is a very good reason why when you watch bodybuilding programs, you’ll see the leading competitors downing egg whites like there’s no tomorrow. Egg whites have a protein to fat ratio of 60 to 1, and when you put that into perspective, that’s a hell of a lot of protein in such a small food item.
Egg whites are extremely high in biological value because the protein that they provide is immediately used up by your body during the protein synthesis stage. Moreover, egg whites content plenty of vitamins and minerals, and are relatively low in carbohydrates.
Chicken or Turkey
Most people that work out regularly will tell you that in order for you to pack on some serious muscle you have to have a healthy intake of lean meats like chicken breast or even turkey breast. You know what? They’re actually right on this one! Chicken and turkey are an excellent source of lean protein, and best of all, they are extremely low in trans-fats and saturated fats.
Slow Burning Carbs
Remember that muscle doesn’t solely rely on protein. It’s vital that you have a healthy intake of slow burning carbohydrates that are used to keep your muscles going. Slow burning carbs usually found in oats and some potatoes are probably the best pre-workout foods you can imagine.
During exercise, the carbs that are stored in your muscles usually referred to as ‘muscle glycogen’ become a fuel-source for your muscles. As your glycogen levels drop during a training session, your capacity to train in the same intensity as when you started out your session diminishes because your body begins to start poaching your muscles for the much-needed energy, and this ultimately leaves them degenerated.
This is precisely why slow digestive and carbs are vital for your muscle building mechanism to run at optimum levels.
Lean cuts of red meat, especially beef are a vital building block for your muscle building journey because they are extremely rich in much-needed nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, zinc, and protein. Remember that red meats offer a high calorie per serving balance, making them a favorite of guys who want to pack on some serious muscle.
On the flipside, it’s important to remember that red meats also possess plenty of saturated fats, and on this basis alone, they should not be consumed more than maybe a couple of times a week at the very most.