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What to Eat & Drink While Trying to Build Muscle

by
author image Eric Brown
Eric Brown began writing professionally in 1990 and has been a strength and conditioning coach and exercise physiologist for more than 20 years. His published work has appeared in "Powerlifting USA," "Ironsport" and various peer-reviewed journals. Brown has a Bachelor of Science in exercise physiology from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science in kinesiology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
What to Eat & Drink While Trying to Build Muscle
Whole foods for solid gains.

Diet is an important part of the muscle-gaining process. To build muscle, select foods that allow you to achieve your goal with a minimum of fat gain. This does not mean you must count every gram that goes into your mouth. However, you do need to ensure you are getting enough quality nutrients to meet your goals.

Build Up With Protein

Beef is a staple of a muscle-gaining diet.
Beef is a staple of a muscle-gaining diet.

Eating enough protein is critical when trying to build muscle -- the amino acids in protein allow your muscles to repair and grow. Lean cuts of beef, chicken, fish and pork are all exceptional sources of protein. Eggs are another good choice. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, you should eat at least 8 grams of protein per 20 pounds of body weight daily.

Carbohydrates as Fuel

Pasta is a good source of carbs.
Pasta is a good source of carbs.

You need carbohydrates to not only fuel your workouts, but recover from them as well. Given that one of the primary fuels used in resistance training is glycogen, you need to keep your reserves topped off at all times. This does not mean load up on cotton candy and donuts, but instead make intelligent food choices by obtaining most of your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. Simple sugars are only preferred after your workout, when you can take advantage of your exercise and load the muscles with glycogen.

Essential Fats

A certain amount of fat is required to build muscle.
A certain amount of fat is required to build muscle.

Essential fats should not be overlooked when gaining muscle. Salmon is an excellent way for you to get Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. And research has shown that diets too low in fat limit your ability to produce testosterone, which is the primary anabolic hormone, according to sciencedirect.com. You should be able to get all of your fat sources consuming protein, so there neither a need for you to load up on fat nor trim away every last ounce.

What to Drink

Few things are as essential as water.
Few things are as essential as water.

Assuming you are not lactose intolerant, milk is one way to get more protein while consuming fluid. Also drink plenty of water. You need to hydrate your muscles if you want them to function optimally -- muscles are approximately 75 percent water. And water can be flavored with natural fruit such as lemon.

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