How should the diet be to increase muscle mass? What should the sportsman who wants to grow muscles eat?
Today we talk about the diet to increase muscle mass. To be able to increase muscle mass, it is not enough just to train for a certain number of hours a week: it is always necessary to accompany physical activity with proper nutrition. The modeling of your physical appearance derives from a total change in the lifestyle we are used to conducting, a profound change that starts from eating habits up to involving training sessions in the gym.
It is essential to know that an athlete who wants to work on muscle mass needs to take a different amount of nutrients than types of athletes or people who have a sedentary lifestyle here: nutrition must, therefore, vary according to the life that takes place, adapting to the needs that the physical body of the human being presents.
The sportsman in general, for example, needs a greater amount of protein, which he will have to take on a certain daily basis. Sometimes the nutrients in a bodybuilder’s needs are not present in the food we naturally ingest – or, at least, not in the quantities he needs. In this case, it is recommended to take a certain type of food supplement, which will help the person concerned to increase their muscle mass.
The importance of proteins in an athlete’s diet
Protein is very important for building and developing muscles. They are called to represent, metaphorically, the building blocks that allow a human being to build his / her physical appearance, his / her own musculature, but one must assume them in the right way to make them work.
As we have mentioned, an athlete’s diet must be different from that of a person who leads a sedentary lifestyle and this factor also and above all concerns the daily protein intake per kilo of body weight.
If for a non-sportsman, in fact, the amount of protein needed for proper nutrition corresponds to one gram per kilo of body weight (per day), for an individual who regularly trains in the gym in order to increase his or her muscle level this value will increase significantly, reaching a maximum of 1.4 grams of protein per kilo of body weight per day. It is a real need, which concerns our body and its ability to cope with the physical effort to which it is subjected weekly.
Diet to increase muscle mass
But there is an important differentiation to be made between animal and non-animal proteins. To make sure that our athlete’s body responds positively to the physical stimuli induced through training, we advise you to consume more animal proteins – not that vegetable proteins are to be excluded from our diet. The proteins of animal origin are in fact those richest in essential amino acids, which have an anabolic and plastic function for our body.
In other words, it is precisely the essential amino acids contained in animal proteins that increase muscle mass. Furthermore, the human body does not produce them spontaneously, for this reason, it is necessary to take these nutrients through food and food supplements.
How to take proteins and when to combine them with sugars and carbohydrates
We have so far talked about the value, for a sportsman, of ingesting a certain quantity of protein foods per day – which varies according to his current build and what he wants to obtain.
But, in the same way, it is important to emphasize also another aspect, inherent to the health of the whole organism: if the intake of proteins does not take place in the right way, the risk is that of causing damage to our liver. A correct bodybuilder diet, in fact, requires that this nutrient is introduced into the body in several steps, gradually; in other words, it is never recommended to exceed with nutrition (even if it is protein foods) and above all, it is not recommended to eat through a few meals a day: it is better to eat cadence, every couple of hours, in the quantities that we have recommended an expert. The ideal is to eat six times a day, allowing yourself well-balanced mini-meals.
Remaining on proteins, we advise you to start with a rich protein breakfast, as soon as you wake up, which will provide you with the right energy to face the day … and at the same time, it will give your body a hand to perceive what it needs to allow to build muscle. In the following images, we have two examples of protein breakfast.
Always put a couple of walnuts in your breakfast – you can eat them even after a few hours, as a snack – very healthy and functional to sculpt your body, and drink a few more glasses of water from the morning: a bodybuilder must drink more than two liters per day of water, both for the muscles and to prevent any damage that could be caused to the body by too abundant protein.
Whey is a protein very useful for your muscle definition and, moreover, it is very easy to digest. A good eating habit, inherent in whey proteins, consists of taking about four grams half an hour before each workout in the gym: it will help you increase your metabolism for the twenty-four hours following your sport. The whey protein I recommend is always that of the TestoFuel line.
The body of an athlete, especially if the goal is to increase muscle mass, needs proteins, sugars, and carbohydrates also after training in the gym. It is in those moments when the muscles need to recover the lost charge – by integrating it with the right nutrients – that our body tends to take on what we offer more easily. In this context, sugars, proteins, and carbohydrates will serve to stimulate oxygenation and muscle recovery, as well as to restore the glycogen level of the muscles.
What to eat and what not to eat to grow our muscles: the correct food diet that will increase muscle mass
Having established that proteins – especially those containing essential amino acids – are the basic elements that will allow our muscles to grow and that we must take them with a certain cadence and conscientiousness throughout the day, let’s focus on the foods that best match our cause. In principle, the preferred foods are eggs, fish, white meat, red meat, rice, peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, cheeses and soy (the only vegetable-based protein that contains a good percentage of essential amino acids ).
Going into more detail, however, we advise you to eat these dishes following a specific pattern, which will be based on the type of training practiced. In particular, nutrition should vary depending on whether your daily training has been aerobic or anaerobic.
When practicing an aerobic workout (cardio exercises), we advise you to always wait an hour before eating, in order to fix and enhance the results obtained through your session. The diet to be practiced on these occasions must be rich in vegetables and low in carbohydrates, favoring high biological value proteins.
If your workout was anaerobic (weight lifting), however, you can treat yourself to the meal after half an hour. Also, in this case, it is possible to eat abundant vegetables, but be careful that it is low in glycemic content (for example broccoli, cauliflower, green cabbage, cucumbers) and a lot of fruit (always with a low glycemic index: apricots, oranges, strawberries, peaches, plums, grapefruit, pears, raspberries, cherries). As for proteins, choose those deriving from white meat (chicken, turkey, rabbit) and fish. Pasta, bread, and rice must be eaten in moderation: even if you choose wholemeal ones the rule will remain the same.
During the muscle definition phase, all sugary drinks (including diet drinks, unless you have just finished training in the gym) and alcoholic drinks must disappear from your daily diet. Wine, beer and cocktails of all kinds promote the absorption of fats, stimulating the production of estrogen (female hormones) and damaging that of testosterone, essential for muscle development.
Try not to take even fizzy drinks and foods containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats (various fries): they will make you consume a lot of calories even before you have realized it.