What Are The Best Foods To Eat To Gain Weight What to Eat to Gain Muscle

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What to Eat to Gain Muscle

Years ago, it was not uncommon for bodybuilding experts to advocate an unlimited, very high-calorie diet, combined with an intensive weight training program, for someone wanting to gain muscle mass. The rationale was that if you wanted to gain muscle mass, you could eat just about anything you wanted to gain muscle mass and then, if necessary, you could work on shedding excess fat. Nowadays, we’re much more enlightened and know that not only is this not an effective strategy, it’s also not particularly beneficial for your health. The most effective diet regimen for gaining muscle mass is one that includes plenty of lean protein, healthy carbohydrates in moderation, and unsaturated fats.

Protein is a building block and essential for muscle growth and if your goal is to maintain or gain lean muscle mass, then you need to eat plenty of it every day. When the body doesn’t get enough protein from the foods you eat, it will use protein from muscle mass to meet its energy needs.

Carbs get a bad rap from many of the so-called “health gurus” out there, but the thing is, they don’t tell the whole story. Carbohydrates provide the body with the fuel it needs for both physical activity and proper organ function. The key is recognizing the difference between good (“healthy”) and bad carbohydrates. Healthy carbohydrates come from vegetables, fruits, legumes (beans), and whole grains. Bad carbs come from highly processed foods, white bread, sugary sodas, snack foods, and pastries.

Fat is another often misunderstood component of our diets. All fats are not bad for us. In fact, our bodies need some fat in our diet to function normally. Again, as with carbohydrates, the key is understanding the difference between good and bad fats. Saturated fats are the “bad fats” that we should avoid. Saturated fats come from animal fats, dairy products and oils such as coconut or cottonseed oil. They are also common in many prepared foods. Unsaturated fats, although they should still be consumed in moderation, are the ones that do our body best, helping it function and function normally.

Ok, so now that some of the basics are out of the way let’s tackle the question, “What should I eat to gain lean muscle mass?” Individual needs for proteins, carbohydrates and unsaturated fats vary from person to person, depending on body type, weight, physical condition, fitness goals, etc.

A good basic eating strategy for gaining muscle mass is to get the majority of your calories from lean protein sources. A general rule of thumb is about a minimum of 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Limit your intake of healthy carbohydrates and unsaturated fats. However, don’t avoid them altogether because your body and muscles need them, keep protein at the center of your diet.

To gain muscle mass you will need to consume more calories than you burn. You should start by determining your body’s calorie needs to maintain your body weight, take into account your activity level, and then add from there. You should also eat five to six meals a day, spaced two to three hours apart throughout the day. Eating only one or two large meals a day is not the right strategy for gaining muscle mass.

Since protein will be the staple of your diet, you’ll want to mix up your sources or you’ll quickly tire of eating the same couple of things day after day. Chicken breast and skinless fish are two great sources of lean protein. Broil or broil them, don’t fry or drown them in rich sauces. Other good sources of protein include turkey breast, lean beef or pork, egg whites, cottage cheese (fat-free or low-fat), canned tuna (packed in water and not oil), and protein powders.

Green vegetables (especially broccoli), leafy greens, sweet potatoes, potatoes, whole grain breads, whole grain oats/oatmeal (not flavored instant packs), and beans are good sources of healthy carbohydrates . Avoid processed foods, snacks, and pastries. You can pretty much eat lots of green vegetables (steamed is best) without worrying about getting too many carbs, but look at your intake of everything else in the list above: The carbs add up quickly.

Unsaturated fats should make up the smallest portion of your daily diet. Good sources of these healthy fats include olive oil, sunflower oil and avocados. Almonds and walnuts are also great sources of healthy fats, but limit your nut intake to no more than a handful per day.

This obviously isn’t all you need to know about eating to gain weight, but it should be enough to give you a basic foundation on which to start on the journey to gaining lean muscle mass, not just fat.

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