[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he most important factor in muscle building is nutrition. Your nutrition should be based on carbohydrates and protein. Why? Carbohydrates are a perfect source of energy for your body and your body uses protein to repair and grow your muscles. You can’t expect your muscles to grow just because you work out. Your muscles need their fuel. And they need that fuel regularly.
Read any article on muscle building nutrition and they all reduce down to the same message: eat small meals every two to three hours.
The science behind this is simple. Throughout the day, your body burns calories and your muscles get damaged. If you don’t eat or eat very little, your body doesn’t have the fuel that it needs to function. It starts to dip in the “reserves” and you end up losing weight and your muscles get weak.
If I assume that your average day is 15 hours long (get up at 7.00am and go to bed at 10.00pm), you should consume five meals.
What nutrition you need in your meals?
Your nutrition should be based on carbohydrates and protein. Why? Carbohydrates are a perfect source of energy for your body and your body uses protein to repair and grow your muscles.
Like everything else, there are good and bad carbohydrates.
It goes without saying that you should avoid the “bad” or simple carbohydrates – aka sugars. You should stay clear from the so called refined sugars. These are the sugars you find in biscuits, cakes, pastry, chocolate, honey, jams, sweets, snack bars etc. Refined sugars are also bad for your teeth as they could cause tooth decay.
Natural sugars, which are contained in fruit and vegetables, are actually good for you. They count towards your “5 a day” and they should be part of your nutrition.
Complex carbohydrates – aka “good” carbohydrates, are the ones you find as a natural ingredient of some foods. These are bananas, beans, brown rice, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, oats, parsnips, potatoes, root vegetables, sweet corn, wholegrain and wholemeal cereals, wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, yams (sweet potato). They are also referred to as starch or starchy foods and are the types of carbohydrates you see mentioned in articles about muscle building.
Protein is responsible for your muscle building and repair. It’s made out of non-essential and essential amino acids. The first type (non-essential amino acids) is produced by your body and you shouldn’t worry about them. It is the second type – the essential amino acids, which you need to make part of your muscle building nutrition.
Animal protein, which can be found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products, contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs. You should eat lean cuts of meat in order to minimize your intake of fat.
There is also plant protein. Peas, green beans, beans, cereals, pulses, grains, nuts, seeds, soya products and vegetable protein foods contain some of the essential amino acids.
Muscle building nutrition in a nutshell:
- Eat a small and nutritionally balanced meal every two to three hours.
- Eat “good” carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables (main sources of energy and some essential proteins).
- Eat lean cuts of meat, poultry and fish, eggs and dairy products (main sources of protein).
- Avoid fat and processed sugars.
[quote_box_center]Feel free to share your tips on nutrition and muscle building diets.[/quote_box_center]