What Foods Can Help Repair And Rebuild Muscle
Whole foods are the foundation of a healthy diet, but a big, homecooked meal isnt always convenient when on the go. Below are a few examples of nutritious, post-workout foods that can help promote recovery without slowing you down:
- Dried fruit and mixed nuts
- 240ml glass of chocolate milk
Quick At-Home Recipes:
- Yoghurt Parfait: 165g plant-based yoghurt + 80g mixed berries + walnuts
- Nut Butter Roll-Up: 1 flour tortilla + 2 tablespoons nut butter + half sliced banana + drizzle of honey
- Egg + Avocado Toast: 1 poached egg + 1 slice wholegrain toast + half avocado
- Open-Faced Turkey Sandwich: 2 turkey slices + 1 slice wholegrain bread + 1 slice of cheese
- Recovery Smoothie: 2 tablespoons plant-based protein powder + half banana + 250ml water or milk + ice
And if you have a little extra time on your hands and want to whip up one of my post-workout recipes, check out these cookies below.
Stephanies Recovery Cookies:
- 6 dates, pitted, soaked in hot water and mashed into a paste
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Directions: Mix together, spoon onto a baking tray, and bake at 175C/gas mark 4 for 10 mins. Allow to cool before enjoying!
Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016 116:501-528.
How To Build Muscle Effectively: The Role Of Protein Diet And Exercise
Susan BowermanM.S., R.D., CSSD, CSOWM, FAND Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training
If you were to ask most people what it takes to build muscle, theyd probably say that you just need to eat protein, protein, and more protein. Protein is important, to be sure. After all, your muscles are made of protein, and your body requires adequate protein in the diet in order to have the building blocks it needs to build up muscle mass. But protein alone wont do. You need to pay attention to the rest of your diet and exercise routine as well.
Better Satiety And Reduced Hunger
Theres an inverse relationship between thermogenesis and digestion when it comes to protein. Because its thermogenic power is so strong, it actually takes a while to break down, digest and absorb it.
This makes it perfect for keeping you fuller for longer whats called satiety.
Studies show that protein regulates important appetite-controlling hormones such as peptide YY and GLP-1.
Protein also reduces concentrations of ghrelin a hormone released by the stomach that increases feelings of hunger .
Last of all, adding protein-rich foods to your diet will result in lower overall calorie intake. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , those with higher protein on their plate ate far less food overall.
Volunteers with 30% of food coming from protein consumed nearly 450 kcal less than those with 10%.
Over a typical 3-meal per day diet plan thats a whopping 1,350 kcal fewer calories!
Protein supports healthy weight loss by boosting metabolism, reducing hunger and elevating calorie-shredding muscle mass.
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Greek Yogurt And A Banana
Greek yogurt has more protein than normal yogurt thanks to the way its strained. Try a plain yogurt with a banana for some sweetness and potassium. Add honey if you need to cut the tartness of the yogurt more.
In addition to helping you build muscle, protein keeps you feeling full longer so youre less likely to snack or cave in to unhealthy temptations. It also helps your body digest sugar more slowly and regulate the release of insulin over a longer period of time, giving you more lasting energy and preventing a big crash.
What Foods Are High In Protein
When choosing a food rich in protein, it is essential to consider the quality and quantity. Foods such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, and whole sources of soy contain all the essential amino acids that need to come from the diet these are high-quality proteins, so should feature heavily in an athlete’s diet.
Plant-based sources such as beans, pulses, lentils, nuts and seeds contain some, but not all, of the essential amino acids. Athletes following a vegan diet should include a variety of these foods throughout the day. They can also supplement their diet with a vegan protein powder.
Muscle protein synthesis is the natural process where protein is produced to repair the damage to muscles caused by intensive exercise.
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Exercise And Muscular Development
The brain, via the nerves, stimulates and coordinates the firing of the muscles during exercise.Exercise also stimulates the nervous system to trigger the release of different hormones. The hormones and quantity released is determined by the type of exercise performed.
Certain hormones assist in building tissues and these are anabolic. Other hormones are known to break down tissues and these are catabolic.
Aerobic exercise is catabolic. It breaks down fat, and it breaks down muscle. It will stimulate Type I muscle fiber growth for recovery.
Resistance exercise, lifting weights, is anabolic. It causes muscle breakdown and growth of Type II muscle fibers . Weight training produces an increase in muscle mass and myofibril cross-sectional area. Endurance training causes the body to adapt by burning more fat and decreasing muscle size.
So should you do your cardio and weight training together?
When aerobic and resistance exercise are combined, meaning performing weight training and cardio during the same training session, the hormonal and physical effect is catabolic. Yes, studies show that you convert an anabolic weight training session into a catabolic event when cardio and lifting are combined.
This is why it is recommended that cardio is performed at least 2 hours apart from weight training. Splitting your cardio and weightlifting sessions, or doing cardio on a different day, will preserve the anabolic effect of weight training.
When Should I Have A Protein Shake
Protein powder has benefits both pre and post-workout and works terrific as a filling or a convenient and healthy snack, and is ideal for women with busy lifestyles. Although it’s good to have a naturally protein-rich diet, protein shakes and smoothies are a fantastic option as they increase the protein you consume, without adding the extra carbohydrates and fat that are often present in foods such as meat, fish, soy, eggs, beans and legumes. Knowing when to drink protein shakes and smoothies is essential in ensuring you not only get the most out of your protein powder but that youre also using it correctly to help you achieve your goals.
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How Do You Build Physical Strength
Strength training, also known as resistance training, is the main form of exercise you want to focus on to build muscle. These exercises include weightlifting or bodyweight training to improve your strength and strength endurance. When you are training to increase strength or gain muscle, however, there are two things you need to make sure you are doing in your training to initiate the physiological change for hypertrophy :
This is a good thing! These stresses you apply to the muscle will cause damage to the muscle fibers, causing micro-tears, which send signals for the cells to regrow back stronger and bigger!
And remember, growth happens with rest, so make sure to follow a well-designed program that gives you a day to rest the muscle you just worked so it has a chance to recover and grow. To see continual improvements from strength training, you should gradually increase the weight and reps.
Why Is Protein Important
Protein plays multiple roles in the body. It is undoubtedly the main building block every cell contains some form of this vital macronutrient. It is a core component of muscle and bone tissue, cartilage, red blood cells and skin. Protein is also necessary for the production of enzymes which aid in digesting food and absorbing nutrients. Without this important macronutrient, you may also experience problems with your immunity, hormone balance and wound healing.
Protein can also be used as a source of energy. It can happen when youre on a low-carb diet or if youve eaten more protein than your body needs. Just like carbohydrates, one gram of this nutrient provides four calories. Whats more, multiple studies have shown that increasing your protein intake can help curb your appetite by modifying the levels of important hormones.
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Lowers Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes, and chronic kidney disease.
Interestingly, higher protein intake has been shown to lower blood pressure.
In a review of 40 controlled trials, increased protein lowered systolic blood pressure by 1.76 mm Hg on average and diastolic blood pressure by 1.15 mm Hg .
One study found that overweight women who ate 30% of their calories from protein lost 11 pounds in 12 weeks though they didnt intentionally restrict their diet .
Protein also has benefits for fat loss during intentional calorie restriction.
In a 12-month study in 130 overweight people on a calorie-restricted diet, the high-protein group lost 53% more body fat than a normal-protein group eating the same number of calories .
Of course, losing weight is just the beginning. Maintaining weight loss is a much greater challenge for most people.
A modest increase in protein intake has been shown to help with weight maintenance. In one study, increasing protein from 15% to 18% of calories reduced weight regain by 50% .
If you want to keep off excess weight, consider making a permanent increase in your protein intake.
The Roles Of Carbs In Muscle Growth
If protein is so essential to muscle growth, why put an emphasis on carbs? Well, carbohydrates dont get enough credit when it comes to the important roles they play in muscle gains.
For one, carbohydrates help replace glycogen and aids in enhancing the role of insulin when it comes to transporting nutrients into the cells, including your muscles. Combining protein and carbs also has the added advantage of limiting post-exercise breakdown and promoting growth.
Think about it: building anything takes a lot of time, energy, and resources. Building muscle is no different. The body requires a lot of energy to power through workouts that result in bigger, stronger muscles. Where does the body get most of that energy? Usually from carbs.
What kind of carbohydrates should I eat?
There are two types of carbohydrates: simple carbs and complex carbs.
Simple carbs are a quick, sporadic source of energy, while complex carbs are a good source of steady energy.
Complex carbs may not be as readily available for immediate energy as simple carbs are, but theyre more efficient and healthier. Complex carbs provide sustainable energy, which means the energy is constant and theres no crash like with simple carbs.
Because of their slow-release properties, complex carbs should be the largest component of daily energy intake. What most people dont know is the role that complex carbohydrates play when it comes to muscle gains.
1. Carbs prevent muscle weakness
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How Much Protein Should You Eat A Day
The amount of protein you should eat depends on two factors: body weight and daily calorie intake.
According to the recommended daily allowances set by the Food and Nutrition Board, you should eat about 0.36 grams of protein a day for every pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 160 pounds, you need about 58 grams of protein a day. If you are trying to gain muscle, you need to increase your intake to 0.55 to 0.77 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Out of your daily calorie intake, about 15% should come from protein. If you eat foods that give you 2000 calories a day, for example, about 300 of those calories should come from protein.
Most Americans get the more than required amount of protein from their daily diets.
How Much Protein Do You Need To Gain Muscle
Your protein needs are most directly related to your muscle mass – the more you have and the more you use it, the more protein you need.
Age and fitness level can also impact how much protein is required to promote muscle growth.
Bodybuilders and weightlifters have higher protein needs because they are looking to add mass and are simultaneously using their muscles more than the average person or non-lifter.
Of course, it is entirely possible to overdo it. Eating too much protein can negatively impact your ability to build muscle by limiting your intake of other important macros for bulking that support your training and weight gain. So getting the right amount for your individual requirements is crucial to getting the best results.
Many fitness enthusiasts recommend about one gram of protein per pound of body weight, but this likely isnt a perfect approach for everyone and the research varies on this topic depending on age, fitness level, and overall body composition goals .
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How Much Protein To Build Muscle
When it comes to building muscle, your gym routine is only part of the puzzle your diet, particularly your protein intake, is the other key factor.
In general, you need between 1.2 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight daily to encourage muscle growth.1
While specific factors can play a role in where you fall on that range, supplying your muscles with quality protein from your diet is the key to promoting muscle growth. Read on to learn about how to make the most of your protein intake.
Do You Need A Protein Shake
You can get all the protein you need from your diet, but sometimes a protein shake may be more convenient. These shakes are most useful after a training session, as they take very little preparation and can be consumed on the go.
Shakes also guarantee the correct quantity and quality of protein, comprising all the essential amino acids, including leucine. Athletes with a high requirement for protein or those following a vegan diet may choose to consume more than one protein shake a day to ensure sufficient intake.
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What Protein Helps Build Muscle
Now that you understand how protein helps build muscle, what protein should you be eating?
If your goal to build muscle, youll want to focus on clean, natural sources of protein. If you are also trying to watch your total body fat levels , youll want to choose protein sources that contain a lower amount of added fats, especially since animal fats are typically saturated fats and are also high in cholesterol.
This doesnt mean you cant eat steak on a regular basis, but choose a leaner steak and opt for chicken more often. Like most things in your diet, moderation is key.
The one exception to this is fish. Oily fish varieties contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are incredibly important for your overall health. Its a good idea to eat at least a few servings of oily fish per week if you can because despite being higher in fat, its a very good form of fat to take in.
The best protein sources to turn to include:
- Low fat dairy
- Whey protein powder
You can also look at vegetarian sources of protein such as tofu, tempeh, soybeans, beans, and lentils. These are also good sources of protein however some of them are incomplete sources , so must be eaten with other foods like rice to get the full spectrum of amino acids in.
Tofu and tempeh are complete sources however, for men especially, soy is believed to interfere with their overall testosterone levels, so this could potentially lead to problems with muscle building down the road.
A Closer Look At Protein Powder
To make such supplements, protein is extracted from animal or plant-based sources, which range from cows milk and eggs to peas, rice, and soy. During processing, naturally occurring carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and fiber are often removed, while supplementary nutrients, herbs, and even sweeteners may be added.
Anyone considering protein powder should understand that it is classified as a dietary supplement, which means it is not regulated in the same way as food or medicine. Responsibility falls on manufacturers to ensure that their products are not hazardous, though many companies do not test for safety or efficacy before their offerings hit shelves. Though the FDA created Good Manufacturing Practices to help minimize adverse issues, compliance with these procedures remains a concern. In 2017, roughly a quarter of supplement-manufacturing companies whose products were tested received citations related to purity, strength, and ingredient content.
That said, there are accredited organizations, like NSF International, that independently test supplements, including protein powders. NSFs Certified for Sport designation ensures that contents match what is on the label, and that the product is GMP-registered and does not contain unsafe levels of toxic metals like arsenic and mercury.
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What Makes A Muscle Anabolic Or Catabolic
Metabolism is arguably the most misunderstood concept despite its widespread use in fitness subculture to describe thermogenesis and calorie burning. Thankfully, youre about to get a proper definition of metabolism and what it really means for a muscle to be anabolic.
Your body is comprised of hundreds of trillions of cells, the simplest living unit. Each cell in your body is carrying out reactions to sustain basic biological processes that keep you alive, such as breathing and maintaining a heart beat.
These cellular reactions are divided into two categories: anabolic and catabolic. Anabolic reactions use energy to create new cellular components and complex molecules. Catabolic reactions are the opposite they break down complex molecules and cellular components to release energy .
A basic example is the metabolism of glucose to form adenosine triphosphate the energetic currency of cells and pyruvate, a simple molecule that enters the Krebs Cycle . Numerous variables such as physical stress, nutrient availability, hormonal signaling and energy status affects how rapidly these reactions occur and when they take place.
Therefore, metabolism broadly refers to the cumulative cascade of anabolic and catabolic reactions going in your cells.
So, being in an anabolic state doesnt mean there are absolutely no catabolic reactions going in your body. In any case, muscle protein synthesis is the anabolic reaction that leads to muscle hypertrophy .