Diet Advice for Making Your Muscles Grow
The stereotypical Silicon Valley job might require you to sit in front of a computer for 8–12 hours a day, but that doesn’t mean that the region’s populace isn’t active—and it certainly doesn’t mean San Jose gyms are struggling. Peek into 24 Hour Fitness San Jose at any time day or night and you’re likely to spot members hoisting free weights and straining against TRX equipment.
But when it comes to building muscle, exercise is only part of the story. It’s just as important to eat a proper diet, one rich in nutrients that help you bulk up and light on foods that hold you back. Here are some of the things your body needs to get bigger.
Like half the body’s dry weight, muscles are largely made of protein, so it makes intuitive sense that protein would be important for muscle growth. Certain proteins do an exceptionally good job of facilitating this: for instance, cottage cheese, eggs, and the protein-powder staple whey contain high levels of leucine, an amino acid that sparks muscle-protein synthesis. It’s also important to note that the body can only process so much protein at a time, so multiple servings throughout the day are better than large amounts all at once.
At the same time, you don’t want to force your body to rely solely on protein to meet its energy needs as you work out. For that, you’ll want lots of carbohydrates so your body has fuel to burn without sapping your developing muscles. That’s why many nutritionists recommend snacking on foods with easily digestible carbs—think bananas, whole-grain breads, and energy bars—about 30–60 minutes before hitting the gym.
Fruits and Vegetables
Aside from contributing the energy you need for working out, fruits and vegetables can also help build muscle in another way. Or rather, they can help keep the muscle you’ve already built from wasting away. That’s because the potassium found in foods like potatoes, spinach, and (again) bananas counteracts the incremental buildup of acids in the body—acids that trigger loss of muscle tissue, especially as we age.
Fats are only necessary in moderation. After all, when the body is performing high-intensity, resistance-based exercise such as weightlifting, it bypasses fat in the body’s pantry and reaches for carbohydrates first. It’s also a bad idea to load up on fatty foods before you exercise. Since the body processes fats relatively slowly, they may cause you to feel lethargic or even cramp up during your routine.