When it comes to building muscle, you really are what you eat. In order to build muscle, you need to provide the body with essential aminos from protein, as well as some carb to help stimulate hormone production. Some foods offer up more of what you need than others. Feed it the wrong foods and you won’t get the results you want, be sure to include these five foods in your muscle building diet plan.
#1 – Lean Red Meat
Red meat is critical when it comes to packing on muscle. In just 100 g you get 28 g of protein per serving, but that’s not all you also get a source of both monounsaturated and saturated fats, which are critical to the production of hormones – most notably muscle building testosterone. It has been shown that eating a diet high in protein and fat can help preserve lean muscle and burn off more fat, most importantly fat found on the belly! Red meat is also packed with some of the most important vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed for muscle growth and great workouts. Red meat has energizing b-vitamins that help convert the energy from the food we need into something useable by the body. It also has zinc, which plays a key role in testosterone production and iron, critical to oxygen delivery in the blood. But perhaps the best nutrient that can be found naturally in red meat is creatine – which has been shown in numerous research studies to build muscle, increase strength, power and endurance. Eat red meat a few times per week if your goal is to build muscle. Choose from beef tenderloin or marinated Korean BBQ beef skewers on the Fuel Up menu.
Calorie Count: 260 calories, 28 g of protein and 1 g of carbs, 17 g of fat in 100 g of beef tenderloin
#2 – Whole Eggs
Whole Eggs are considered a perfect protein because they provide all the essential amino acids needed to build and repair lean muscles. Eggs also provide a good source of fats including cholesterol and although you might think that’s not a good thing, cholesterol is essential to testosterone production. Research has also showed those who ate a high-protein, high-egg diet including whole eggs experienced greater weight loss and preserved more lean mass versus a lower protein diet. Additionally, whole eggs provide a source of vitamins and minerals including vitamin D, a key vitamin involved in testosterone production, as well as antioxidants, choline, lutein, vitamin A, selenium and iodine. Eggs are extremely versatile, eat them as an omelette for breakfast, put them in a protein pancake or boil them whole and chop them up into a salad or have on top of whole grain bread. You can also find whole egg omelettes made with veggies, or even roast turkey on the Fuel-Up menu.
Calorie Count: 78 calories, 6 g of protein, 6g carbs and 5 g of fat in 1 large egg
#3 – Potatoes
Although most guys think when it comes to muscle building the only thing they should focus on is protein, but carbs are also essential. Carbs stimulate the release of the anabolic hormones that are needed for growth including insulin. Insulin’s primary job is to lower spikes in blood glucose levels that happen when we eat simple carbs such as white potato. While most might grab a more popular sweet potato over a white potato, white potatoes can provide more of an anabolic boost. Insulin shuttles carbs and amino acids to your muscles, where they can be used to replenish lost muscle glycogen and fuel protein synthesis – muscle building. In addition, a single medium sized potato provides a whopping 70% of your daily value of the antioxidant vitamin C, helping aid in muscle recovery. Potatoes also deliver 30% of your daily value of energizing Vitamin B6. Roasted white potatoes are one of the Fuel-Up carb sides available.
Calorie Count: 163 calories, 4.3 g of protein, 37 g of carbs, 4.7 g of fiber, 0.2 g of fat in one medium white potato
#4 – Spinach
Spinach is rich in nitrates, which can help promote the production of nitric oxide or NO. Dietary nitrates are believed to feed into the nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway, increasing the amount of NO available in the body. Increases in NO cause greater vasodilatation of blood vessels, which allows for greater nutrient delivery to working muscles. Nitrates have also been found to boost exercise performance, including improved time to exhaustion, reduced oxygen consumption and improved speed. Spinach can supply over 250 mg of nitrate per 100 g serving, which is about half a bag. In addition to nitrates, spinach is also high in the antioxidant vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as providing a source of magnesium, iron and calcium – critical minerals for muscle contraction. You can find sautéed spinach on the Fuel-Up menu as one of our many vegetable sides.
Calorie Count: 23 calories, 2.9 g of protein, 3.6 g of carbs, 0.4 g of fat in 100 g serving of raw spinach
#5 – Whey Protein
This dairy protein is on most muscle-building food lists, for good reason. Whey protein has one of the highest biological values of protein because it provides a high concentration of essential amino acids including the most important – the branched chain amino acids. Whey protein is also high in growth factors involved in the process of muscle building. This is because whey protein is isolated from dairy protein, providing a concentrated powder of aminos and growth factors. Ingestion of whey protein results in a sharp and rapid increase in plasma amino acids, making this protein perfect for post-workout supplementation. Research supports the use of whey protein for increasing muscle mass via increasing protein synthesis, improving recovery following exercise and sustaining immune function during high-volume training periods in athletes. Use whey protein as a convenient source of protein to help meet your daily needs or as part of your pre and post-workout supplementation. Most whey protein powders deliver between 20 to 30 g of protein per scoop depending on the blend and manufacturer. It can also be added to many recipes including oats pudding, or protein bars and bites recipes. Try the Fuel-Up Oats Puddings, Protein Bars or Protein Bites, all made with whey protein.
Calorie Count: 120 calories, 24 g of protein, 3 g of carbs, 1 g of fat in one 30 g scoop
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