How Food Helps Build Muscle
Although protein is essential for muscle building, it’s not the only important food component in the process. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, a good muscle-building diet must also include plenty of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. A balanced diet that features all these will provide the necessary ingredients to help your muscles repair and rebuild after a workout.
Overall, the NASM recommends that most people consume at least 0.7 to 0.8 grams of protein and 1.8 to 3.2 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight each day. Total calorie intake also plays a role in muscle building, as it’s difficult to build muscle if you’re burning more calories than you consume.
Diet alone isn’t enough to stimulate muscle growth, though. Exercise especially resistance training such as lifting weights is necessary to start the process. When you tear the fibers in your muscles, that stimulates cellular growth and repair. That’s when your body can use the food you’ve eaten to rebuild and strengthen muscle tissue. Other factors also influence how effective and efficient this process is, from when you eat your food and how much rest you give your muscles between workouts to your hormonal and genetic makeup.
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What Are The Best Sources Of Protein For Building Muscle
Now, heres the tricky part!
When prepping a High Protein Diet Plan for Muscle Gain, dont just stuff your meals with proteins. You also need carbs and fat. While protein intake fuels muscle growth, carbs are the bodys source of energy.
Thus, it offers your body the energy it needs to ramp up workout productivity. When these macros are in balance, real results start rolling in.
Try including a protein source in each meal of your Muscle Building Diet Plan. This will get you the carved fit physique you so desire.
Here are some of our top recommendations of the best protein sources for building muscle. Some of these offer a long list of choices for flavoring to add a tasty twist to your muscle-pumping diet.
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Plant Based Protein Sources
If youre a vegetarian, vegan, or simply looking to incorporate more plant-based sources of protein into your diet, you have plenty of options.
Most plant sources of protein by themselves are incomplete forms of protein. In order to form a complete protein one with all of the essential amino acids youll need to combine two of the following plant protein sources.
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While artificial sweeteners may not be as dangerous as some people claim, studies suggest that regular consumption of these chemicals may indeed be harmful to our health.
Thats why all of our supplements are naturally sweetened and flavored and contain no artificial food dyes, fillers, or other unnecessary junk.
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Nuts & Seeds Are Other Good Protein Sources
Nuts, seeds and pulses contain protein, but their incomplete amino acid profile means that such alternative protein sources should be combined with lean proteins like whey or eggs to improve the amino spectrum.
Nuts, seeds and pulses are rich in fiber and micronutrients, including essential fatty acids though often contain a surfeit of Omega-6, which, when present in a higher quantity than Omega-3 has inflammatory qualities which should be balanced by a ratio that favors Omega 3.
If you consume these other protein sources, you may wish to avoid making them the staples of your diet, instead eating them as part of a wider variety which includes the other protein sources discussed above.
How Can I Build Muscle While Eating Only Three Times Per Day
To build muscle while eating only three times per day, make sure your meals include more calories than youre burning, which will create a state of anabolic growth .
Strive to hit a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. A registered dietitian, if you have access to one, or a healthcare professional can help you with questions about your specific nutritional needs.
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How Much Protein Do You Need
The trick with any diet is to keep it balanced. You need to make sure youre getting the right amount of each macronutrient Protein, Carbohydrate and Fat.
Research shows that in order to maintain a healthy body you should stick to a daily intake of:
40% Protein | 40% Carbohydrate | 20% Fat
Using this ratio, your body will get the right amount of nutrients it needs to function properly and develop healthy muscle mass.
Some diets encourage cutting out certain macronutrients like carbs and increasing the amount of protein to, in theory, speed up results.
Unfortunately, when youre looking to promote healthy muscles, having too much protein and not enough carbs could actually hinder your progress. Carbs are your bodys preferred source of energy so if youre exercising a lot and cutting them out completely, your body could turn on your existing muscles and fat to satisfy the energy levels, leaving you with less body fat but lacking muscle definition.
So, keep it balanced guys and youll make gains in no time!
The Best Protein Sources For Weight Loss
Unlock the muscle-building power of protein bioavailability with the best protein sources for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
If you missed my recent post on The Truth About Protein and Weight Loss, then be sure to check it out below or download the podcast episode for later. We cover why protein is so important to the body, how much protein you should actually be eating in a day, and what any of it has to do with weight loss, or I should say fat loss.
One of the key takeaways, however, is that by replacing excess body fat with lean muscle tissue you lose inches, whittle your waist, and ultimately reduce disease risk.
The nutritional key to this fitness goal? Protein. More specifically, protein sources with high bioavailability for skeletal muscle synthesis, a fancy term for muscle breakdown and repair.
If you remember from the previous article, bioavailability is the overall percentage of 9 essential amino acids available to the body after the protein-rich food has been digested. Prioritizing protein with higher bioavailability will best power muscle build, blood sugar regulation, and cellular repair.
What many people dont realize is that animal-based protein has a much higher bioavailability than plant-based protein. Can you still get enough protein as a vegetarian? Yes, but it takes a lot more intentionality and work.
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How To Find The Best Protein Powder For You
I use pea protein because it ranks highest in terms of amino acid profile and amino acid digestibility.
While there are other pea protein powders on the market that have added superfoods and consequently boast higher micronutrient profiles, I use Less Naked Chocolate Pea Protein because I love the protein content, taste, price, and short list of ingredients .
If you arent quite sure what protein powder to choose for yourself, check out my ULTIMATE VEGAN PROTEIN POWDER REVIEW.
Do you have any questions about vegan protein sources? Send us a DM on or !
How Much Protein Do I Need In A Day To Gain Muscle
The exact amount of protein you will need in a day will depend on your age, lifestyle, weight, and body goals.
The daily recommended amount is 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight or 0.36 grams per pound.
However, this is the bare minimum to avoid deficiency. You may actually need higher amounts of protein if youre very active as compared to a sedentary person.
Plus, balance your protein intake with carbs and fat to maintain a healthy body. Over-reliance on protein while cutting out all the other food groups is not the right way and can actually backfire.
As a general estimate, divide your diet into 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% healthy fats.
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What Is The Solution
Whether you are an apple shape with too much belly fat, or a pear shape with wider thighs and hips, when it is time to build muscles or lose weight, get ready for a clean diet.
Sit-ups and lifting alone wont help you reach those perked up muscle stages. Thats right only if you consume the right foods is it possible to build muscles, and to retain and gain muscle strength without excessive training.
Best Sources Of Protein For Muscle Gain
You can meet your daily protein requirements by eating plant and animal-based proteins, which could be in the form of whole foods or supplements.
When I choose protein sources, I prefer to consider the foods overall nutrient density to determine whether it is the best choice.
Plant protein sources such as beans, peas, nuts, lentils, and hemp are excellent because they contain a significant amount of protein and other vitamins and minerals. However, if you choose plant protein sources, it is important to understand you should increase your daily protein intake slightly more because plant protein sources are usually less bioavailable and are often not complete protein sources, like animal proteins.
I prefer grass-fed beef, eggs, bison, and wild-caught fish or seafood, such as salmon, for animal protein sources. Grass-fed animal products and wild-caught fish or seafood contain significant amounts of micronutrients and healthy dietary fats.
Protein supplements are effective because they are convenient and can be taken with you to the gym or while traveling throughout your day. You can look for the best isolates, which are better than whey concentrate.
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What Are Good Sources Of Protein
There’s two main types of protein sources:
- Animal-based protein sources
- Plant-based protein sources
What’s better for muscle growth?
Well, research has indicated that animal-based protein sources are generally better for protein synthesis and growth than plant-based protein sources.
And as explained in this extensive literature review from the Journal of Nutrition, there’s two reasons for this:
So clearly, based on the criteria I discussed earlier, we can see that animal-based protein sources are the better option for muscle growth.
BUT – to be clear this does not mean that you cant maximize growth if you only ingest plant-based proteins!
You can, and many vegans/vegetarians have successfully done so. However, in order to do so, theres a few things youll have to implement which Ill cover later in this article.
Muscle Building Foods Complement Training
You can incorporate all of the high protein foods listed above, but without the proper training program, you arent going to see a size difference.
Check out my article on exercises to build muscle if you need a training program to get you started.
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ASMBS guidelines for post-surgical bariatric patients call for a minimum protein intake of 60 g/day and up to 1.5 g per kg of ideal body weight per day with higher levels to be assessed on an individualized basis.
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How Much Protein Does Your Body Need
According to U.S. and Canadian dietary reference intakes, the recommended daily allowance for protein is 0.36 grams per pound of bodyweight for healthy adults. This amount is the average daily intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all of healthy adults.
As long as you are eating a calorically sufficient diet, this recommendation is extremely easy to meet.
However, many decades of research and anecdotal evidence proves athletes, particularly those who lift heavy weights regularly, need more protein than the average person.
But the truth is that I cant tell you exactly how much protein you need. Only expensive nitrogen balance testing could tell you for sure. However, I believe that when it comes to fitness, people tend to fall into one of three groups. Heres my simple chart:
As things stand right now in the scientific literature, if you are serious about putting on as much muscle mass as possible, and you want to be safe in terms of consuming enough protein to promote that muscle growth, I recommend 0.9 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight for bulking and 1.1 grams per pound of lean body mass for cutting.
However, this recommendation is likely more than anyone needs to maximize muscle and strength gains, especially for people who lack serious fitness goals .
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Best Proteins To Eat For Stronger Muscles Say Sports Dietitians
Protein has become so synonymous with health and fitness that marketers have found it’s a critical selling tool on food packaging. You’ll see “high protein” trumpeted everywhere and not just on protein bars and whey protein powders in the health foods section of grocery stores. Now you can buy protein cookies , high protein pasta, bread, bagels and cereal, protein coffee and water, and more. Even foods that are naturally rich in protein like yogurt, cheese, fish, and meats are often touted as “high in protein.”
The problem with protein mania is that too many people assume just eating a food marked as “high protein” is all you have to do to lose weight and get in shape. It doesn’t work that way. If you want muscle and strength, a fitter and healthier body, ignore the hype and get the facts about the best proteins to eat for stronger muscles.
“When it comes to increasing muscle strength and building muscle, there are three main components you need: eating adequate calories , eating the right kind and amount of protein, and strength training,” says our Medical Expert Board member Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics and author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook. “Together, these three components can help make you stronger.”
Meal Plan For Muscle Gain: How Much Protein Do You Really Need
If you’re looking to gain muscle, you might find yourself asking, How much muscle can I gain in a month? and, How much protein do I need to do that? The short answer is that both of these numbers depend on a number of factors like weightlifting experience level and genetics. For example, a new lifter can expect to gain as much as 2-3 pounds in a month, an intermediate might gain 1-2 pounds in a month and an experienced lifter may be lucky to gain ½ a pound.
Assess where you are with weightlifting and strength training in order to set realistic goals around muscle gain. Understand that if you would like to gain 10 pounds of mostly muscle mass, it might take 6 months or more.
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