The Importance of Nutrition When Building Muscle

Over 70% of Americans became more health-conscious after the pandemic. While many said weight loss became a top health goal for the next year, 61% became more aware of how a healthy diet affects their long-term health. If your goal is to build muscle this year, you need to consider your diet.

Keep reading this nutrition guide to learn how your diet can help with building muscle. After reading this guide, you can develop a more effective plan for success!

Master muscle-building with these tips today.

Why Nutrition Matters

Before you can start building muscle, it helps to understand how your diet affects your body. 

In order to build and maintain muscle mass, you need consistent, sufficient nutritional habits. A protein-rich diet provides your body with nutrients and energy, allowing you to recover from workouts and build muscle. In order to build muscle, you need sufficient energy through your daily caloric intake. 

Adequate calories are essential for fueling the resistance training sessions that help you build muscle mass. Without adequate calories, you won’t fuel your workouts!

To accomplish your goals, you’ll need a balance of three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Protein is key to recovery. Carbohydrates provide your body with energy to fuel training sessions while ensuring you receive adequate calories. Fat isn’t anabolic but provides calories while supporting hormone levels. 

When determining how much to eat, multiply your body weight by 16 and by 18. Try to meet those caloric goals for one to two weeks. Avoid too much calorie restriction and monitor your progress. 

Here’s a little more information about each macronutrient to help you plan a well-balanced diet.

Proteins

If your goal is to build muscle, dietary protein is essential. Specifically, you’ll need the essential amino acids and leucine. 

Amino acids stimulate protein synthesis to help your body build new muscle. They also prevent the body from using your existing muscles as fuel while you work out.

When planning your daily protein intake, make sure to get protein from whole foods like:

  • Lean meats
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, etc.)
  • Tofu and soybeans
  • Beans and legumes
  • Eggs
  • Chicken breast and turkey
  • Cottage cheese and yogurt
  • Low-fat or nonfat milk

You can also ensure proper protein intake with protein shakes, bars, and powders for ease and convenience. You can explore the Probody Warehouse to find other protein sources and energy drinks.

Foods that contain leucine are more beneficial for building muscle. These include eggs, cottage cheese, and beans. 

Carbs

Remember, your body needs carbohydrates as a source of energy to fuel your workouts. When you don’t consume enough carbs, you might not benefit from your resistance training. Try to fuel your body with carbs before and after intense workouts.

Consuming carbs beforehand will help provide your body with an energy source, while consuming carbs afterward replenishes energy stores. It also promotes more muscle-building potential!

When choosing whole food carbohydrate sources, choose nutrient-dense options like:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Fruit
  • Whole wheat (rye, oats, bread)
  • Winter squash
  • Starchy or root vegetables
  • Quinoa
  • Legumes
  • Buckwheat

These options can sustain your body’s glycogen stores, allowing you to exercise longer and more effectively.

Fats

Dietary fats don’t play a major role in muscle-building. However, they are responsible for ensuring a healthy immune system and hormonal function. Without healthy fats, you might not achieve effective muscle growth.

You can find healthy fats from:

  • Whole eggs
  • Flaxseed
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Greek yogurt
  • Ghee
  • Dark chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Olives

When cooking, consider using olive oil over vegetable oil. 

Tips for Building Muscle

In order to begin building muscle, you first need to develop a plan. Consistency is essential. The more serious you are about your nutrition, the more likely you’ll gain!

Here are a few diet tips that can help. 

Maintain Consistency

Consistency is key! Otherwise, you won’t see results. For better consistency, try to:

  • Avoid skipping meals
  • Have a workout buddy
  • Prioritize sleep and recovery
  • Create a weekly menu/meal plan
  • Meal prep
  • Keep stock of what’s in your pantry
  • Make foods like chicken breast, rice, or veggies in bulk

In order to accomplish your goal of building muscle, you need to develop a plan and stick with it. Remain patient as you begin using these tips.

Pack in Protein

For each pound of body weight, try to consume at least one gram of protein.

Remember, protein will provide your body with the amino acids it needs to build muscle.

Usually, the recommended daily protein intake is less than half a gram per pound of body weight. If you’re concerned about strength and muscle mass, you need to double that amount.

For the first six months of your workout regimen, try to get about 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. 

Remember to prioritize whole foods like beef, chicken, eggs, and dairy. Supplement with protein powders as needed to meet your daily protein intake. 

Carb Up

Aim to consume two to three grams of carbs per pound of body weight daily. 

Carbs are stored in the muscles as glycogen. They keep the muscles full and large. They also provide fuel during your workouts.

Try to choose slow-digesting carbs like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, fruits, and vegetables. 

Add Healthy Fats

About 20 to 30% of your daily calories should come from healthy fats. Higher-fat diets appear to maintain testosterone better than low-fat diets. Testosterone is essential for building muscle mass and strength.

Choose healthy fats like mixed nuts, olive oil, and avocados. 

Count Calories

Aim to consume 20 calories per pound of body weight each day. To gain quality mass, stay in a positive calorie balance (consume more calories than you burn).

A negative balance will cause the body to go into conservation mode, which means you won’t grow new muscle. 

Start Building Muscle With Proper Nutrition Today

Ready to start building muscle to accomplish your health and wellness goals this year? Don’t neglect your nutrition! With a balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats, you can start experiencing gains in no time.

Use these diet tips to experience success without stress! 

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