Nutritional Tips For Building Muscle

Updated August 16, 2012

Nutrition is the most important part of the bodybuilding lifestyle, yet the majority of people out there lifting hard day-in and day-out simply choose to overlook this key element. Without the right nutritional program in place, you will struggle to reach your genetic potential, fail to maximize your strength levels, and have to settle for less than you are capable of achieving. The toughest aspect of bodybuilding nutrition is that in order to see great results, you have to be consistent for months to years. The great thing about bodybuilding nutrition, however, is that it is straightforward and basic, not in the least bit complicated.

With that in mind, let us explore some of the basics you should know in order to add slabs of muscle onto your frame in the shortest possible time.

Most bodybuilders are concerned about getting enough protein every two to three hours, yet completely overlook the part of their nutrition that they need to run the complex biochemical processes that keep us alive. Vitamins and minerals, although not directly a ‘muscle building’ food, are an essential component of building a fantastic body.

Adding slaps of rock-hard beef to your frame will only happen if the basics needed to run your body are put into place, which means we should be paying more attention to these details. Luckily, covering all of your bases is easy to do with the help of a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Each and every metabolic process in our body requires vitamins and minerals in order to work; even a single deficiency will result in poor energy metabolism. Poor energy metabolism will cause you to feel tired, weak, and sluggish; all states that are counterproductive to building muscle.

Do yourself a favor and add a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement to your morning meal.

Covering Your Macronutrients

Macronutrients are the larger pieces of your nutritional puzzle, they include Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat. Let’s take a look at a few simple strategies we can follow in order to maximize our efforts inside the gym.

Protein: Most gym-goers know that protein is required in order to build muscle, yet most aren’t getting enough of the stuff. Sure, moderate amounts of protein are required by the average person to maintain their muscle mass and help with tissue regeneration, but if packing on more muscle is your goal then you will likely have to increase your intake.

The rule-of-thumb for muscle growth is to consume a minimum of one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Thus, a two-hundred pound man requires two-hundred grams of protein if he hopes to add any significant muscle to his body. This seems to be a lot of protein, but with the help of supplements it is easier to get the required amount. Three protein-rich meals in addition to a couple protein shakes as snacks will likely get you to the coveted one-gram per pound marker.

Carbohydrates: The key to carbohydrates is to stick to complex sources such as oatmeal, yams, and other whole-grain foods. Carbs are your main source of fuel, and just as you wouldn’t fuel a racecar with low-quality gasoline, neither should you fuel your body with garbage. Sticking to complex carbohydrates ensures your energy levels will be sustained throughout the day, especially throughout your workout.

The only time you should consider simple sugars is immediately after your workout, as they are extremely beneficial during the brief forty-five minutes after the workout’s completion.

Fats: Most people aren’t aware of just how important high-quality fats are to an optimal muscle-building environment. Quality fats are required to build hormones, therefore a diet too low in fat can actually lead to sub-optimal levels of muscle tissue synthesis. Stick to high-quality sources of fats such as nuts, avocados, and fatty sources of fish like Salmon. Not only will these fats help you build muscle, they will actually help you maintain a leaner body.

Water: The Most Overlooked Muscle Builder

Most people aren’t drinking enough water, especially bodybuilders. The importance of water is similar to that of vitamins and minerals, as it is required for each and every metabolic process in the body. Feed yourself too little water and your body suffers at the cellular level, which will have you suffering in the gym. Sure, water isn’t loaded with protein or other muscle-building elements, but studies show that even mild body water deficits can lead to a significant decrease in performance.

If your goal is to maximize size and strength, you should be drinking water throughout the entire day, aiming for at least three to four liters per day.

Timing: The Missing Piece Of the Puzzle

Timing is surprisingly important if you hope to maximize your bodybuilding efforts. This means eating at the right times to help stimulate the release of the right muscle-building hormones, while simultaneously putting the brakes on those pesky muscle-destroying hormones. It means maximizing carbohydrates first thing when you wake up in the morning, while avoiding them later in the night when you are sedentary. It means eating a post-workout meal high in simple sugars, yet avoiding those same sugars throughout the rest of your day. It means eating thirty to fifty grams of high-quality protein with each and every meal, ensuring that your body is always in a state of positive nitrogen balance. It means drinking plenty of water throughout the day, including regularly throughout your workout, and avoiding other muscle-wasting activities such as drinking alcohol and eating junk food.

Three Timing Tops To maximize Muscle

Tip #1 – Always eat a breakfast high in complex carbohydrates and protein.

After a long night’s rest, your body goes into a catabolic state, putting your hard-earned muscle at risk of being used for energy. Eat within thirty minutes of rising to get your body back into the proper state for building muscle.

Tip #2 – Always eat simple sugars post-workout.

This helps replace lost muscle glycogen, ensuring you come back bigger and stronger in your next workout. It also reverses all of the cortisol your body is spitting out in response to the stress you’ve just place upon it, something you need to ensure success. Fruit, juice, and sports drinks pack the ideal post-workout nutritional punch!

Tip #3 – Eat protein at every meal.

Protein provides the building blocks for muscle tissue, so eating it on a regular basis will keep your body growing throughout the day. Protein is also a ‘must have’ at the end of the day before going to bed, as it helps ensure you keep your body growing throughout the night.

As you can see, there aren’t any secret supplements or secret formulas for adding high-quality muscle to your frame. The real key to success is applying the basic principles of bodybuilding nutrition each and every day, week after week, month after month, and year upon year. With consistency will come results, so put your plan into place today and do your best to stick to it over the long-haul.

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