Eating to build muscle mass is an important part of any weight loss or fitness regimen. Added muscle mass will help you burn more calories and will add tone and definition to your shape. But what do you need to eat to add that extra muscle?
One of the most common myths associated with eating to build muscle mass is that you need to eat a lot of meat protein to build muscle.
In fact, the American Dietetic Association states that the average American diet contains enough protein to power even competitive athletes, and that good plant-based protein sources like soy, quinoa and seitan can do the job just as easily as beef.
With all the buzz about low carbohydrate diets, you might think that carbohydrates aren't necessary for building muscle, but they are, albeit indirectly.
Carbohydrates serve as the fuel that gives you energy to exercise. Your muscles store carbohydrates as glycogen and use the molecule to produce usable energy during exercise. Without enough carbohydrates in your diet, you may lack the energy it takes to build muscle mass.
Water is an important part of any diet or exercise program. When you become dehydrated, your muscles are not able to function at peak efficiency and you lose strength. Strength training usually requires that you force yourself to your very limit at each workout, something that is physiologically impossible if you aren't well-hydrated.
Aim for six to eight glasses of water daily; more if you are working out in hot weather.
A good balance of all vitamins is important for general health, but B-complex vitamins are especially important. These vitamins, particularly vitamins B3 and B6, are important factors in the metabolism of dietary fats, carbohydrates and proteins to build new body tissue.
Fortunately, getting enough vitamin B is not hard. Most B vitamins are found in nearly all whole, unprocessed food, particularly whole grains, meat, beans and legumes.
An important part of eating for strength training is timing your meals evenly throughout the day. By keeping your blood sugar stable, your body can be continually building new muscle without having to break down existing tissue for energy needs.
Try to eat small meals every three to four hours. The most important meal of the day is the one you consume immediately after working out. For this meal, try to include a readily absorbed, simple carbohydrate together with some protein.
Eating to Build Muscle Mass
There are a number of dieting myths associated with eating for muscular gains, and it's easy to get caught up in fad diet hype.
The important thing to remember is that the only way to build muscle mass is through progressive exercise and good nutrition. With a good, balanced diet and a sensible exercise program, most people will be able to build muscle mass without undue dietary restrictions or obsessions.