Food is our fuel; we need it to produce energy that will sustain our life, our health and our daily activities. We also need it to support and maintain any type of muscular growth we are in search of. The foods you decide to include in your diet should be of the highest quality, extremely nutrient dense and be free of any outside manipulation commonly imposed by man to alter its natural state. In order to ensure you are consuming the highest possible grade of food, a little bit of research and education is all that you need. Once you’ve done that, then it’s time to formulate your nutritional plan so that you can provide your body with the best foods possible to maintain your health and support your gains.
When it comes to building muscle, not all foods were created equally, which is why I would like to share with you my top 5 muscle building foods for each macronutrient group. In no particular order, here they are.
Carbohydrates: 4 calories per gram/provides muscle energy via glycogen
- Oatmeal – Considered one of the best carbohydrate sources for its slow digestion rate, low glycemic index and ability to provide the body with long lasting energy.
- Sweet potatoes – excellent source of carbohydrates that provides the body with sustained energy due to its slower rate of digestion and low glycemic index.
- Rice – the different types of rice can be used for multiple purposes; white rice can be digested very quickly to provide immediate energy, brown rice can be used for sustained energy and it also goes well with just about any other type of food.
- White potatoes- again, can be used very quickly by the body to produce energy making it an excellent choice in either the pre or post workout
- Sprouted Breads- an excellent source of long lasting carbohydrates for sustained energy and a great addition to any breakfast meal especially for the crunch when toasted (any dieting bodybuilder will know what I’m talking about)
Proteins: 4 calories per gram/provides the foundation for building and repairing muscle
- Red meat – high calorie content per serving, high protein content per serving and contains saturated fats that support optimal hormone regulation
- Poultry – very high protein content per serving, much less fat bringing its calorie per serving ratio down and quickly digested by the body
- Fish – very clean source of protein, quickly digested by the body, provides all the healthy fats as well
- Eggs – considered to be the best all-around source for protein as well as the cleanest, contains all the muscle building properties you need and can be easily used by the body
- Whey Protein Powders – in its isolated form, whey protein powder can be shuttled into and absorbed by damaged muscles with relative ease and trigger hypertrophy very efficiently
Fats: 9 calories per gram/provides consistent energy to the body/help body release stored fat
- Almonds – an excellent choice for a snack, great addition to a pre-workout meal
- Avocados – perfect choice to include with meals, great source of omegas
- Natural Peanut butter – probably my favorite ingredient to add to protein shakes pre-workout
- Macadamia nut oil – great for cooking, readily used for energy by the body
- Omega 3-6 supplements – to ensure your body is getting what it needs for optimal health as an addition to the foods in your diet
As you all know, there are many other types of foods that you could add to these lists, which would provide you with the same muscle building benefit. The ones listed above just happen to be some of my personal favorites. All that matters is you give your body the best foods possible; you wouldn’t put regular gasoline in a Ferrari and you certainly wouldn’t put anything other than Heyday Footwear on your feet (get your orders in for the Rainbow Anaconda NOW) so why eat inferior foods?
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.