If the bulking cycle has been your excuse to eat whatever your heart desires, with no thought about nutrition or fat gains, it is time for a new plan. The bulking cycle isn’t only about calories in, it is also about quality nutrition. These four foods provide fuel for the kinds of hard workouts that get results. The bonus…they help you minimize fat gains and provide the nutrients your body need for better overall functioning.
All meat is not created equal. Sure, it is all an excellent source of protein but some sources also have plenty of fat. Fried chicken or a hamburger at the drive-thru is only okay on your cheat day. As a rule, you should plan ahead to enjoy lean meats such as grass-fed beef and bison. Both are a good source of Creatine, which provides fuel for muscle cells. Grass-fed beef is also a source of heart-healthy omega3 fatty acids and CLA or conjugated linoleic acid, which promotes heart health and reduces the risk of cancer. Other good sources of animal protein include skinless chicken breasts or thighs, salmon, and pork loin.
Forget what you have heard about evil carbs. Some carbs, like quinoa, help you build energy stores. They are slow digesting so you don’t have to worry about the insulin spikes common with simple carbs such as white rice. Quinoa is also a good source of protein with about eight grams per cup and all the essential amino acids. This nutrition dense carb provides zinc, which is important for healthy testosterone levels and more than a dozen other vitamins and minerals. If you’re gluten sensitive, quinoa is for you because it is gluten-free, too.
Enjoy avocado slices on sprouted grain bread, with some grilled or steamed salmon or eggs. It pairs well with just about anything and provides a big dose of healthy monounsaturated fat. Healthy fats support a number of bodily functions including muscle development. Not only is avocado tasty it is also filling. This smooth green treat provides protein and fiber so you feel fuller, longer. That means you take in quality calories and reduce the urge to binge.
Nuts and Nut Butters
Nuts are perfect for out of hand snacking. You can also add them to grass-fed Greek yogurt, salads or your rolled oats for extra crunch and nutrition. Crust your salmon or chicken with crushed walnuts and sauté in extra virgin olive oil. Nut butter can give your protein shake a little extra heft. Both are an easy source of calories, protein, and fat. Do you love crunchy snacks but hate to give up chips? Nuts are the way to go. They offer the nutrition you need and the crunch you want.
Remember, the bulking cycle is not your excuse to go hog wild. Choose foods that support muscle growth and deliver the nutritional punch you need overall health. Lifting isn’t just about looking good it is about taking good care of your body both inside and out.
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