We’ve all heard this before, and when it comes to building muscle, it’s absolutely true. The foods you eat provide the raw materials that your body uses to build new muscle tissue. If you’re not eating the right foods in the right amounts, all those hours in the gym pumping iron won’t pay off.
A lot of younger guys think that to gain muscle they should work out hard and eat everything in sight; junk food included. This is a common beginner’s mistake, and though you will build some muscle eating this way, you’ll have a nice thick layer of fat covering it up.
The intelligent way to build muscle is by eating a healthy balanced diet with a small surplus of daily calories that your body can use to build new muscle tissue. While any whole foods will help you build muscle, the following list contains some of my favorite foods for building muscle. When it’s time to add some muscle to my frame, these are the foods I stock my kitchen with.
- Lean Beef
- Pork Tenderloin
- Whole Milk
- Olive Oil
- Greek Yogurt
- Cottage Cheese
Of course meals should be rounded out with green vegetables, fresh greens, and fresh fruit. Some examples of great muscle building meals that I make include:
- Chicken Breast with quinoa, cashews and asparagus
- Scrambled eggs with roasted potatoes, black beans and arugula salad
- Flank steak with brown rice, green beans and roasted tomatoes
- Salmon with barley, macadamia nuts and wilted baby spinach
The combinations are only limited by your imagination. The trick to eating to gain muscle is to keep you kitchen well stocked with all of the foods on this list, as well as any others you’ll need to build your meals.
If you’re wondering how much you should eat, there is a basic formula that will give you a good starting point. The amount of calories you’ll need to eat to adequately gain muscle without putting on fat depends on your current weight.
150lbs: 2,500 calories per day
175lbs: 2,800 calories per day
200lbs: 3,200 calories per day
225lbs: 3,500 calories per day
These are conservative numbers; many of you will have to eat more. Track your results and make adjustments as necessary.
To be successful you’ll have to be very consistent with your eating. Each meal is important, and each day counts. If you only follow this nutrition plan sporadically, don’t expect much in the way of results. Hit your numbers day in and day out for several months and you will start seeing results. Building muscle requires patience, commitment and perseverance. Things will come up in your life that will make sticking to your diet and exercise routine difficult. If you can stick to the plan through life’s ups and downs, the muscular physique you dream of will become a reality.