To achieve constant muscle growth, you need to work hard in the gym. But weight lifting and endurance fitness training won’t give you the results you want if you don’t balance your diet. Muscle mass grows only if it has enough energy and protein. Therefore, it is so important not only to correctly build an exercise program, but also to deal with the diet. After all, this is one of the main components of success for both beginners and experienced bodybuilders.
Principles of Nutrition for Muscle Growth
To stimulate the growth of muscle mass, you must adhere to the following nutritional principles.
- It is necessary to eat fractionally — 5–6 times a day, every 3–4 hours. Portions during all meals are approximately equal.
- High-calorie foods should make up to 70% of the total diet. The secret to building muscle mass is to eat more calories than you burn.
- It is necessary to abandon quickly digestible carbohydrates and trans fats, drink more water.
- On the day of strength training, you need to eat 1–2 hours before class. After training, you need to take a meal rich in proteins and carbohydrates for 60–90 minutes.
It is necessary to take into account the athlete’s somatotype — physique and metabolic rate:
- it is difficult for thin ectomorphs to gain muscle mass, they have an accelerated metabolism; they need to reduce the amount of fat in the diet, eat more “complex” carbohydrates, and protein — at the rate of 3 g per 1 kg of their own weight;
- mesomorphs — people with a normal physique who can easily achieve muscle growth — can consume any carbohydrates and protein in the amount of 2–3 g per 1 kg of weight;
- endomorphs prone to fullness with inhibited metabolism gain muscle mass easily, but it is difficult to burn deposits of subcutaneous fat. Therefore, they should focus on protein foods, as well as sports nutrition, except for gainers.
When and what to eat after fitness training
Muscle fibers are damaged during strength training. Restoration of muscle tissue and causes an increase in its volume. The more intense the exercise, the more muscle growth it can cause. But you need protein to build muscle.
In addition, strength fitness training is accompanied by enormous energy costs. If they are not replenished, the body will begin to use internal resources — protein from the muscles. Therefore, it is necessary to compensate for the lack of energy and protein by eating within 60–90 minutes after exercise.
Food should contain all macronutrients:
- proteins necessary for building muscles, metabolism, strengthening immunity;
- carbohydrates — a source of energy, as well as the basis for the construction of RNA, DNA and ATP, a means of equalizing osmotic pressure in cells;
- fats used by the body to generate energy, protect against hypothermia, and normalize metabolic processes.
Proteins are found in eggs, lean meats, fish, dairy products, beans, and nuts. Complex carbohydrates are rich in cereals, durum wheat pasta, fresh vegetables, berries, unsweetened fruits. Fats are saturated with cold-pressed olive oil, avocados, red fish, nuts.
If you exercise in the morning, you should eat more high-calorie foods after class. After evening workouts, you can limit yourself to protein foods, and for high-intensity loads, you can also add “complex” carbohydrates. In order for the number of incoming calories to exceed the amount of energy expended, you need to eat shortly before bedtime.
Late dinner should be composed of foods rich in proteins, which are slowly digested. It is better to refuse fats and carbohydrates. The ideal option is 100–150 g of fat-free cottage cheese. Casein in its composition is absorbed for a long time and supplies energy to the body for 5 hours. At this time, there is a restoration and growth of muscles.
You need to drink throughout the day. It is best if it is ordinary water. You can also drink green tea without sugar. The amount of water necessary for the normal functioning of the body individually. You should focus on the feeling of thirst. The main thing is to avoid dehydration during and after training.
TOP 10 Muscle Building Foods
Experts identify foods that can accelerate muscle gain if you eat them after fitness.
Besides the fact that it contains a large amount of protein, it contains vitamins of groups B, C and PP. Cottage cheese has a beneficial effect on the nervous system, increases bone strength, and helps prevent the development of atherosclerosis and obesity.
Contains proteins and healthy fats. They are a source of vitamins, iron, phosphorus, which help muscle recovery.
A source of highly digestible protein and important micronutrients. Magnesium contained in meat stabilizes the nervous system and helps to avoid fatigue. The disadvantage of eating with white poultry meat for gaining weight is low calorie content.
- Fatty fish — salmon, mackerel, sardines.
A source of omega‑3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, indispensable for muscle recovery. This product starts the synthesis of its own protein in the body.
- Whey cheese — ricotta.
It contains a large amount of casein and albumin. Cheese promotes rapid muscle growth, strengthens bones and increases endurance.
- Whole wheat bread.
Slow carbohydrates in its composition are a source of energy for the body.
- Baked potato.
A small amount of this product after training contributes to the rapid replenishment of energy.
Contains amino acids, important trace elements, B vitamins. Quinoa protein is similar in composition to milk. You can replace this grain with buckwheat.
This drink contains antioxidants, helps to quickly recover from workouts, evens out blood pressure. It has anti-inflammatory properties, increases efficiency.
- Mate, or Paraguayan tea.
It is known for its tonic properties. Mate contains caffeine, which, in combination with creatine, helps to increase muscle mass and reduce subcutaneous fat.
Sports nutrition and strength exercises
Modern research has proven the effectiveness and safety of nutritional supplements for those who seek to build muscle mass.
- Protein is protein in a rapidly digestible form. It contains the optimal set of amino acids. The most popular among bodybuilders is whey protein in the form of a cocktail. It is recommended to take 20–30 g of protein immediately after the session.
- A gainer is a protein-carbohydrate mixture taken immediately after a workout.
- Creatine monohydrate — provides energy metabolism in the muscles. It can be taken in its pure form — 3–4 g with a gainer, protein or with 2 g of arginine.
- BCAAs are a complex of amino acids that help restore muscles, increase their strength and reduce body fat. It is taken during training or immediately after it.
- Vitamin-mineral complexes help to replenish the reserves of essential trace elements.
It is important to remember that sports nutrition cannot replace a full meal. This is just a useful addition to the usual diet.