There is no set diet to follow when trying to gain muscle. You are often led to believe that overloading on carbohydrates or proteins is the way to build muscle mass. However, every body type is different and needs a customized diet plan by a dietician. If seeing a dietician is not an option, you can learn about what happens to your body and plan your diet accordingly.
What to eat
Foods with high levels of protein—when digested and absorbed into the bloodstream—are very important as they contain the amino acids required for building muscles. The following foods are very helpful in building muscle mass:
Egg yolks are one of the best suppliers of protein. It also contains vitamin B12 and this aids in fat breakdown and muscle contraction.
Whey protein is easily digested and contains high levels of amino acids and glutamine. These help in the synthesis of muscle protein and results in an increase in muscle mass.
Besides containing high levels of protein, salmon also has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 helps in the decrease of muscle-protein breakdown. What this means is that omega-3 helps to store new protein quicker than the old protein can be broken down—this helps in building muscle.
Greek yogurt has twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt due to its straining process. This also results in greek yogurt’s high casein content—milk protein that increases amino-acid levels in blood. This contributes to a process known as protein synthesis where cells crate new protein.
Muscle cells which have been well hydrated have higher rates of protein synthesis than dehydrated cells. In order to reach the optimum rate of protein in building muscle, well hydrated muscles must be ensured.
When to eat
Besides knowing what to eat, when to eat is also an important factor. To help you decide when the best time to eat is, you will need to figure out how much time you have before a workout or how much rest you should take after a workout before eating.
Having a meal immediately after a workout is effective as the carbohydrates and protein can increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis as compared to a meal taken hours later. However, eating before a workout is just as important as it gives you the energy to engage in the workout. Knowing what type of food group to eat before or after an exercise is also very important as it will either help make or break your fitness goals.