What You Need to Know About Diet & Building Muscle Mass
When you work out regularly, you’re getting stronger both physically and mentally. But for those who want to build muscle and lose weight by increasing muscle tissue in the body, this takes consistent dedication to both fitness and nutrition. Building muscle mass does not come easy!
The appearance of super-strength is usually characterized by bulky-looking muscles that are cut to stand out with every flex of movement. This outcome is commonly sought after by bodybuilders who are mostly men and typically resort to hormone enhancing drugs. For others who want the strength without the bulky appearance, the trick is to burn fat and build lean muscle tissue.
Eat a diet high in protein.
Start consuming a higher amount of protein than you’re used to, but don’t eat it all in one meal. Eat regular, high-protein meals throughout the day to fuel your muscles. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, increasing muscle mass with physical activity should require 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks should consist of foods rich in protein and other healthy nutrients. For example:
– Lean meats, like beef or chicken breast
– Greek yogurt
– Protein supplements, like powders, combined into a shake
– Certain veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts
While you’re planning your nutrition plan, don’t forget about water consumption!
Stick to high-intensity cardio.
It’s a common misconception that to lose weight and build muscle, we should resort to long cardio workouts. In fact, the opposite is true. Performing high-intensity training exercises, like sprints, will allow your body to use fat to fuel itself rather than the muscle you’ve worked so hard to build. Studies have shown HIIT training to increase growth hormone and testosterone levels, elevate epinephrine and norepinephrine, speed up the sympathetic nervous system, depress the parasympathetic nervous system, increase heart stroke volume, among many other benefits! These are very important to building muscle mass and shredding fat!
Don’t cut out fat from your diet.
Unfortunately, many fad diets claim that cutting fat from your diet is the fastest way to reduce body fat. Not only is this incredibly unhealthy, but if you’re building muscle mass and eating right, healthy fats are actually a crucial part of your diet. You want your body to use fat as fuel, so nourishing your body with omega-3s and 6s, monounsaturated and saturated fats will help give it what it needs to sustain your workouts.
Foods with healthy fat include:
– Olive oil
– Egg yolks
When grocery shopping, don’t always opt for low-fat or nonfat items, which can be loaded with sugar in place of the fat. You may want to stick with the full-fat version and read the ingredient label before purchasing anything that might have hidden added sugar.
Incorporate more weight, but less reps.
Make your circuit training efficient and calculated, with short rest times in between reps. Exercises that allow you to lift the maximum weight will prompt your muscles to stimulate and build tissue. For example:
– Shoulder Presses
– Chest Presses
– Suspended rows
– Weighted push-ups
Gradually increase weight as you get stronger. If you try to go too heavy too quick, you risk injury so let your body adapt over time! Also, switch up your circuit every day to stimulate all areas of your muscles.
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