Fitness trends come and go, but something that has stayed a staple over the years with fitness enthusiasts and gym junkies is the desire to build muscles and ‘bulk up’.
It is no secret that everyone nowadays wants to look like a particular body type. A simple search on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter reveals many famous influencers, bloggers and celebrities posting pictures of themselves working out and striving for a well-muscled and toned body. These days are far behind when it was enough to be simply thin or ‘skinny’. It is, therefore, no wonder that men and women all around the world want to follow it and develop a healthy and well- maintained physique. With the newest trends in fitness, body positivity, and the wellness industry, people want to build muscles more than ever.
How does the body build muscles?
Before beginning to take a look for the ways to build muscles effectively, you should understand the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of the process in which the human body builds and maintains muscles.
The process of muscle-building is called hypertrophy and focuses on the growth of myofibrils, which are the basic units of muscle cells. It should be noted that muscle growth occurs when muscles are damaged, which exercises aim to do, through using weights in most work-out regimes that aim to build muscles. But the process of repair and growth of muscles occurs during the rest periods between subsequent exercising.
Due to this reason, it becomes very important to introduce foods into our diet that will further promote and create an optimized environment for maximum muscle growth.
What kind of diet should you intake to build muscles?
Every single one of us is familiar with the age-old saying, “You are what you eat.” No doubt, diet plays a very significant role in how our bodies turn out to be. Hence, it is extremely important to follow a well- established diet packed with foods that will help us build muscle while trying to bulk up.
When the body receives more material, more food in terms of calories, fats, and proteins, these will be eventually converted into muscles. However, that does not mean that you indiscriminately keep on eating till we are full. You have to be selective and wise in terms of the food that you intake while trying to gain muscle growth, and for that, you should always stick to a proper dietary plan and list of foods that are known to assist in the muscle growth process. However, it is not merely enough to know what foods one should eat and the foods that one should avoid. It is also important to figure out meal plans, chalk out a schedule for intermittently eating, exercising, and fasting.
Recommended foods for muscle growth:
One of the most mentioned food groups when it comes to building muscles are undoubtedly proteins. Proteins play a huge role in building muscle mass as they are also the building units of muscles in our bodies. An increased protein intake not only aids in muscle building, but it also strengthens the existing muscles in the body.
Proteins come in four major categories: Animal, Plant, Dairy, and Nuts.
- Chicken, Tuna, Salmon, and lean meat are great sources of animal protein. Eggs are also very rich sources of protein.
- Plant Protein is found in great abundance in beans, soy, kidney beans, cereals, etc.
- Dairy is the most accessible and healthiest form of protein for the body. Examples include Milk, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, etc.
Nuts such as almonds are powerhouses of proteins and great snacks for a healthy lifestyle as well.
A lot has been said and done about the importance of proteins when it comes to building muscles, but the body also needs to keep up its strength for various other metabolic activities, and the source of such strength is carbohydrates and fats. The sugars in carbohydrates and fats are converted into calories by our body, and they give the strength for other activities. However, one should include carbohydrates and fats in their diet very wisely while trying to build muscles to avoid gaining excessive weight.
Some sources of healthy carbohydrates are Chickpea, Wild rice, Buckwheat, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, and Legumes.
Meanwhile, one can include healthy fats in their diet through Olive oil, Canola Oil, Walnuts, and Avocados.
Vitamins through Veggies:
Even though vitamins are quite literally, a small part of our diet every day, their presence or scarcity decides how effective will the muscle gain be. These nutrients, which are present in trace amounts in our everyday diet and can be included by taking vegetables regularly. Lack of vitamins in everyday meals can result in problems in the body’s functioning. For example, scarcity of vitamin E can result in cramping in the legs, and a lack of Vitamin A might result in nausea and even loss of balance.
Vegetables such as Broccoli, Beets, Pineapple, and leafy greens help in gaining maximum muscle in a healthy manner.
Workout nutrition Diets for days:
Sticking to a selected few foods on a list is completely useless if one does not utilize planning and meal-scheduling in order to maximize the benefits of the foods mentioned above. It is not wise to eat unlimitedly and indiscriminately, assuming that these are healthy foods and will do no real damage to our bodies. However, that is a flawed way of thinking as it will only lead to weight gain, not gain muscle mass. You should show some restraint in terms of meal control, portion control, and intermittent fasting. Contrary to popular opinion, it doesn’t reduce or weaken muscle mass but is actually known to promote further growth.
It is also important to remember that while you are on a diet to optimize muscle building, you should still keep the health requirements of our body first and foremost, and aim to keep ourselves fit no matter what.
Debunking Myths and avoiding pitfalls while building muscles.
It is of utmost importance that you don’t give in to dietary myths and fall into traps while attempting to build muscles. The process of gaining muscle mass is a lengthy one, and one cannot use any shortcuts for it.
There are a lot of dietary supplements such as protein powders, capsules, and whey-based supplements that claim to help one gain muscle in a short amount of time. It is advisable to stay away from such products as they often end up doing more harm than good to the body. For a quick gain of mass, one should not compromise in size over strength.
You should also not indiscriminately eat a lot of carbs, thinking that eating more results in more muscles, as an excess of carbohydrates, will only cause us to bloat and gain weight. Everybody is different, and it takes time, and a lot of work is necessary to build muscles in a healthy and fit way. It is by no means an overnight process and takes a lot of patience and investment. By sticking to the aforementioned dietary guidelines, one can build muscle gain strength and be their best, healthiest and fittest self.