When it comes to muscle bulking, the lifting you do at the table counts as much as the lifting you do at the gym. What’s on your fork? Your meals should provide the fuel you need to go hard in the gym and grow stronger. A combination of quality protein, fat, and carbs form the perfect trio to give you what you need to develop the muscle bulk you want.
The Meal (lunch or dinner)
Protein – good options include lean meat, think turkey or chicken. Skip the skin because it is full of saturated fat… that’s the unhealthy kind. Grass-fed beef is also a wise choice. It is leaner than grain fed beef and significantly higher in omega3’s (healthy fat) as well as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is thought to reduce fat storage. Carnivores can cheer here. Meat also contains Creatine, which is important for muscle growth. You will need to consume about 20 to 25% more protein from non-animal sources as you would from animal sources to get the same protein benefits.
Non-animal sources of protein include quinoa, chickpeas, avocado, beans, peas, and nuts. Get everything in with a big salad. Mix leafy greens with chickpeas, grilled zucchini and onions and a little olive oil and lemon juice. There are endless salad combinations. Experiment with your plate often to get a wide variety of nutrients and keep boredom at bay.
Complex Carbs – complex carbs are slow digesting so you don’t have to worry about sugar spikes. Good choices include brown rice, skip the butter and add olive oil instead. You’ll get extra flavor along with some healthy fat. Other options include squash, black beans, and sweet potatoes.
Vegetables – every diet needs adequate fiber. Fiber keeps the digestive system running smoothly so it is better able to absorb those good nutrients. Good choices include Brussels sprouts, kale or broccoli.
Try steel cut oats with blueberries and turkey sausage or eggs with a few slices of avocado wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla. You can also have eggs with salmon and whole wheat toast. Keep Greek yogurt on hand for an easy snack (it is higher in protein) and portables like bananas, blueberries, nuts, and cheese.
There is some truth to the old saying, you are what you eat. Quality food in means your body has the fuel it needs not only for daily function but also for building a form that gets noticed.