When it comes to building muscle, exercise and lifting weights is only half of the solution, with the other half being about diet and what you eat. It’s vitally important to cram your diet full of protein if you are looking to make your muscles grow and get bigger, and won’t just happen overnight, it takes time and a number of weeks for your body to grow and to be able to see changes.
Everyone knows that meat such as chicken and turkey breasts are high in protein which aid in building muscle, but for the ideal post workout meal you need to be consuming a healthy mix of vitamins and minerals as well to aid in muscle repair.
Have a look at what foods have been recommended by our chefs and also Personal Trainer clients to help muscle repair and growth, the second key to getting them gains.
Eggs are high in protein and vitamin B12, making them good for muscle growth and development and also prevent a type of amenia, reducing the chances of them feeling tired and weak, and excellent vitamin for after long workouts with heavy weights. Also, eggs have a high density with protein, meaning that calorie for calorie they have more than a lot of popular meats, like beef. Eggs are a very versatile food, as you can cook them in a number of ways, such as fried, boiled, scrambled and even in different forms such as in an omelette with other healthy foods like vegetables and meat.
Unknown to a lot of people, Greek Yoghurt surprisingly contains a lot of fibre and also a few different types of protein. Research has shown that being able to take in a combination of proteins is ideal for increasing lean mass, helping you to build muscle without looking bulky. It also has a lot of additional nutrients and minerals within it, including potassium, vitamin D and B12, Iodine and calcium. This could be the perfect dessert to have after your evening meal as it still has a sweet taste to it yet is really good for you. As well as it going well when mixed with all sorts of dessert based foods such as fruit and sweets, yet still being good for you and reducing the guilt you have of eating it!
Nuts are an excellent source of protein, but more specifically almonds. Almonds contain a lot of goodness, including healthy fats, fibre, protein and vitamins. Not only high in protein for a snack, almonds can help to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure and help to reduce hunger, a useful tool in promoting weight loss. Similarly to eggs, almonds and a lot of other nuts can be eaten in different ways, with a popular one to combine with the previous food and eat them alongside yoghurt, making it very tasty and very good for you.
Salmon and Mackerel
Salmon contains high amounts of omega-3 rich fatty acids, as well as providing 20g of protein per 100g. This high percentage of protein in relation to the speed it takes to cook, salmon is ideal in a busy lifestyle and can make cooking tea a breeze. However, the price tag of salmon can sometimes be an off point, so we’d also recommend mackerel, containing 21g of protein per fillet and added vitamin B, all for a lesser price.
Soy protein is a complete source of protein, aiding muscle building. Overall, soy is safe for most people and offer health benefits, including weight loss. If you like the taste or eat plant-based, go ahead and give soy protein a try, an excellent alternative to straight up meat.
Pineapples are absolutely packed with nutrients, with one of the more important ones in muscle growth being bromelain which aids protein digestion, allowing your muscles to get the protein they need. This makes pineapples perfect to eat after your post workout meal, and with their sweet taste it can feel like a guilt free dessert….another item perfect to eat with the Greek yoghurt aforementioned.
Finally on our list we have lean meat. Lean meats are the stonewall and at least very basic that you should be consuming if you want to increase your muscle size and help to ensure a healthy growth and recovery. Low in fat and calories yet high in protein, lean meats such as turkey and chicken breast are a great muscle making food. As well as red meats being high in protein, they also contain a number of vital vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, vitamin B6, iron, zinc and phosphorus. Marry up some rice and veg and you’ve got yourself a quick and healthy meal, containing more than 27g of protein and a number of vitamins and minerals.
If you would like to know more information about exercise and dieting, why not check out one of our Personal Trainer Q&A episodes, which can be found on our website through the BLOG section. Here they answer a number of popular questions and try to pass their knowledge down to you!