The year was 1991, and Terminator 2 (or also known as T2) took over the cinema screens all over the world. With groundbreaking VFX and director James Cameron’s brilliant vision, the movie shattered box office records. But there was another unique aspect which was celebrated by people alike – the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has won the Mr. Universe title 5 times and Mr. Olympia title 7 times. He is one of the most famous bodybuilding icons the world has ever seen. And, what does he say about health, fitness, and bodybuilding?
Best Foods To Eat For Muscle Building!
According to him, apart from regular exercise, food is another crucial aspect of muscle building. And, well-built muscles are not just a part of bodybuilding competitions. Even regular people who aspire to be fit, who are trying to lose weight, who want to tone their body, need a comprehensive muscle-building diet. And, that is exactly what I am about to explore and break it down for you. Here’s the list of the 6 best foods for muscle building.
1. Eggs: Eggs are an integral part of a muscle-building diet. It is common knowledge that bodybuilders eat several eggs (especially the egg whites) per day. It is the first food to be suggested by any nutritionist as it is an amazing source of protein. But for regular people, who are planning to gain muscle, nutritionists suggest having 2 to 3 whole chicken eggs per day. I want to highlight that eating egg yolks is not unhealthy. The yolk contains fat, yes. But, only a small portion of it is unsaturated fat. At the same time, the egg yolk contains very important nutrients and minerals that are beneficial—vitamins, zinc, iron, etc. The fat in the egg contributes to increased testosterone levels but does not affect LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels. This will have a positive impact, given your diet is complemented by a workout regime. People who are seriously pursuing bodybuilding can eat 3 whole chicken eggs plus 6 to 12 egg whites as per their trainer and nutritionist instructions. Egg whites are perfect for muscle building as it is composed of 90 % water and 10 % protein. It has low calories and does not have any fat. For best results, eat hard-boiled eggs seasoned with salt and pepper. Avoid fried or scrambled eggs.
2. Nuts: We know the latest trend where protein bars are sold for exorbitant prices. There are chances of you finding them even in your gym. If you look at the ingredients, it is usually a mixture of several nuts along with some added flavor. Nuts like almond, pistachio, cashew, walnut, etc., are pretty common. Some special costlier protein bars contain hazelnuts, pecans, or macadamia nuts combined with other ingredients. They contain healthy fat, proteins, and several other nutrients. It has a good number of calories as well. Just a few grams of these nuts per day will provide enough energy for an entire workout routine. When undergoing an intense low-carb bodybuilding diet. “Few grams” of these nuts will do a world of good to you. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend your extra bucks on buying those protein bars. Buy the nuts in bulk, and eat them as per your preference.
3. Chicken: Animal protein is very much needed for active muscle building. It is not an absolute necessity. There are also advertisements for vegan bodybuilding products. But animal protein like chicken meat helps big time. 100 grams of chicken approximately contains 20 grams of protein. Chicken meat is one of the most easily available animal protein sources available anywhere. It is affordable and easy to cook. I always prefer chicken without skin, as the skin contains fat. Even, chicken thighs contain fat, but it serves the purpose of providing energy. I prefer chicken breast for best results. The method of preparation makes a huge difference as well. Use minimal vegetable oil for baking or grilling the chicken with minimal seasoning. Boiled chicken meat also contains its nutrients intact.
4. Turkey: Turkey is also lean meat similar to chicken. In fact, it has lower fat content compared to chicken. Turkey contains B vitamins, and this set of vitamins play a crucial role in muscle building and repair. Muscle building is not just about bulking up in muscle mass. Muscles need to be repaired from time to time because of their heavy usage. B vitamins, especially vitamin B2 (also known as riboflavin), is an antioxidant and neutralizes the free radicals in the bloodstream which might cause damage to the muscle fibers. Vitamin B12 helps in the production of red blood cells and thereby enables oxygen supply for the muscles during your workout. Bodybuilders, apart from taking proteins as supplements, also consume vitamin B complex tablets. Eating turkey is a natural way of getting vitamin B complex into your system. Turkey is not consumed as commonly as chicken. But it has equally good health benefits, if not better. I would’ve explained about the health benefits of turkey meat in this blog: Why Do We Eat Turkey On Thanksgiving? (+ Health Benefits!).
5. Legumes: You might wonder again why so much importance to animal protein when the topic at hand is about muscle building. Proteins are the building blocks of our body. We know this as we have studied it in our schools. But we do not know about the nuanced biochemical functions of proteins. As I have mentioned earlier, animal proteins are suggested at large for muscle building. But for people who are vegetarians, vegans, and those who are allergic to meat or fish, an alternative is required. Legumes are the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about plant protein. Legumes are a collection of plants from the family named Fabaceae. Peas, lentils, beans, chickpeas are some of the widely used legumes. On average, the daily value (DV) of protein required for us is 50 grams. But for people looking to build healthy muscles, the requirement can be around 100 grams. Soybeans are legumes that contain approximately 12 grams of protein per 100 grams. Starting from soy milk to tofu, soybeans are used in diverse ways. There are numerous varieties of beans and lentils available for you to choose from. Recipes are limited to your imagination. Peanuts are also from legume plants, and I personally prefer eating steamed peanuts as a healthy snack.
6. Fish: How can we avoid fish when we write an article listing out healthy foods. Fish is an extraordinary food available to mankind since biblical times. Jesus did not feed the people with bread and fish without any reason. Now, jokes apart, fish truly is known for its comprehensive nutritional content. In terms of diet for muscle growth, usually chicken will be on the list by default. Fishes like tuna, salmon, cod offer usable protein in large amounts. Muscle building is not just about consuming proteins and workout. The process is a calculated trade-off between the calories consumed and the nutrients involved. For example, the saturated fat present in fish is low compared to other sources of animal protein. But fish contains essential fatty acids like omega 3, which has a proven track record. After a heavy workout, we tend to experience DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). The inflammation and repair caused by DOMS will be defused effectively by fish oil. That is why fish oil tablets are pretty popularly used by bodybuilders. Added to its medicinal properties, fish replenishes and boosts the body’s core strength. This makes it an easy addition to any muscle-building diet.
Conclusion: Every one of us aspires to have a well-toned body. There is an unhealthy trend of consuming protein powder, synthetic nutrients, and supplements. You might see an immediate change in your body. But in the long run, it is not sustainable and might prove to be dangerous. There are several well-documented reports of the side effects of consuming these supplements. There is no shortcut to success. The best way to tone your body is by consuming fresh and natural food. And it necessarily doesn’t have to contain just protein. The items listed in this article, when prepared properly, will boost your muscle growth in a natural way. Of course, you need to complement your diet with a strict exercise regime. It is a long road to achieve fitness, but I am sure you could achieve it with some patience and discipline.