7 Best Muscle Building Foods You Should Be Eating To Gain Mass
Very few people know how to build muscle mass. Most people try to gain size and get lean at the same time, this is an impossible task – the body just doesn’t work this way. Every competitive bodybuilder who has stepped on stage knows they real secret; you absolutely must dramatically increase the amount of food you eat, the frequency of eating and the level of effort lifting heavy things in the gym. But what are the best things to eat? We’ll cover that and more!
Eating enough calories to build mass can be a herculean task at the best of times – the sheer volume of food you need to shovel into your digestive system can itself become a full-time job! Coupled with a lack of variety, eating essentially the same thing day after day and your chances of failure just multiply. Getting enough protein, fats and carbohydrates in the correct ratios to ensure we do not become bloated beyond recognition is also a tricky proposition.
Bottom line – you gotta eat big to get big! But here is where we give you the tools you need to pack on the mass and stay on track with your gains!
Ideally, when designing a mass construction plan we must include mostly clean supplemental and whole food macronutrient sources. Poorly assimilated junk foods comprised of harmful trans-fats and excessive simple sugars may only clog up our digestive system and compete with our muscles for quality nutrients, rendering our muscle gains sub-optimal at best.
I have, as an advanced trainer, personally seen it time and again: off-season bodybuilders who gorge on all manner of harmful foods actually beginning to lose the muscle mass they had nurtured and fine-tuned pre-contest. Such lifters begin to lose sight of what built their muscle in the first place: quality nutrients divided into precisely apportioned meals consumed every 3 hours, without fail. They begin to include more junk, fewer clean calories, and the period between meals grows ever larger.
Below are seven off-season foods that fall outside of the standard chicken, fish, broccoli, rice and sweet potato regimen that is so commonly advocated. Add these to your current mass building regimen to achieve greater variety without having to resort, out of boredom, or sheer laziness, to poor nutritional choices.
7 Best Muscle Building Foods
#1 – Whole Milk
Providing a generous helping of nutritious calories per glass, easily consumed, rich in both casein and whey proteins, packed with the electrolyte minerals magnesium, potassium and calcium, and rounded out with vitamins A, B and D, whole milk could be considered a perfect mass gain food.
Containing a hefty dose of fat to boost testosterone production (to support quality body weight gains), the ubiquitous cow juice, an old school bodybuilding favorite, has unfortunately fallen out of favor by many of today’s iron brethren.
With the advent of low fat, high protein supplements, milk, a standalone complete protein beverage, is today more commonly used to accompany our favorite breakfast cereals. My solution: have the best of both worlds – supercharge your next shake by mixing it with whole milk.
While on the subject of milk, the chocolate variety works great as the perfect (bulking) post workout treat – high in sugars and essentials proteins, it is easily absorbed to enhance post-training recovery. Mix it with 30 grams of high quality whey protein to reap maximum benefit and taste.
Note: For those of you who are unable to properly digest milk because of its high lactose content, ALLMAX provides an amazing alternative that will allow you to get all of the muscle-building benefits of cow juice. I suggest mixing one scoop of ISOFLEX pure whey isolate with one scoop of CASEIN-FX, pure micellar casein, to get a similar protein profile to that of milk, but without the added fat and sugars. This mixture will provide you an optimal combination of fast and slow digesting proteins (52 grams!) that tastes absolutely delicious.
#2 – Quinoa
A highly nutritious grain native to South America, quinoa is largely regarded as one of the world’s healthiest foods, and for good reason. Packed full of complete proteins (14 grams per 100 gram serving), thus providing all nine essential amino acids, and high in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber, quinoa is also gluten-free, easy to digest, and full of vitamin B6, magnesium and iron (providing 25%, 49% and 25% of our daily requirement for these nutrients respectively) to support cell growth and general health. It is recommended that this superfood be substituted for 1-2 comparatively boring rice meals per day.
Note: Without a doubt quinoa is one of the highest quality and healthiest carbohydrate sources available. However, it is not optimal as a post workout carb because it is not absorbed very rapidly. Once training is complete the goal is to shuttle nutrients into cells and refill muscle glycogen as quickly as possible to facilitate the anabolic process. ALLMAX’s CARBION is scientifically engineered for mega-rapid and complete absorption, so that muscle repair, recuperation and hypertrophy can begin within minutes of completing that final rep.
#3 – Ground Beef
Red meat, in particular ground beef, has been unfairly stigmatized as a dietary catalyst for heart disease and other health concerns such as obesity (mostly because it is most often eaten in the form of cheeseburgers). But in our more enlightened times we must now see such unwarranted accusations for the complete nonsense they are. Granted, a sedentary person eating fatty cuts of beef each day (often topped with highly processed, sugar laden, sauces and cheeses) in conjunction with many additional high fat, sugary foods might be a heart attack waiting to happen. But, for those who are looking to bulk up and who train with full force intensity (both cardio and weights), red meat, in particular extra-lean ground beef, is an unsung hero.
While many bodybuilders eat so much chicken they begin to grow feathers, few do as the old school crowd did – have beef form the basis of their daily meat consumption. Containing 27 grams of complete proteins and 11 grams of saturated fats, and a whopping 200-plus calories per 100 gram serving, and loaded with a massive compliment of iron, zinc, and B vitamins, ground beef is one former bodybuilding staple that is due for a resurgence. As an off-season weight gainer it is without equal.
Note: Another very important fact about beef is that it is also loaded with the massive muscle and strength-producing compound, creatine. Even so, one would have to eat a very large amount of beef on a daily basis in order to saturate muscles cells with enough creatine to significantly enhance performance and lean mass. ALLMAX offers the purest and most effective forms of creatine (monohydrate and HCL) in a convenient powder form so that your gains can skyrocket even if you choose to forgo beef in your diet.
#4 – Cottage Cheese
While most bodybuilders will pound down the chicken, turkey, fish, egg whites, and whey protein en route to building big biceps and killer quads, one often-overlooked high protein superstar is afforded secondary status. Providing a hefty 30 grams of amino-rich protein, less than four grams of fat, and approximately 250mg of bone-building calcium per cup, cottage cheese is an extremely versatile food that should be on all smart bodybuilders grocery lists.
An excellent source of phosphorus, magnesium and iron, and also high in vitamins A, B1 and B2, cottage cheese furthermore contains casein protein which is both slowly released into our system to sustain the muscle building process, and more readily absorbed than that found in red meat, chicken or fish. Low fat versions can be used pre-contest whereas the higher calorie full fat kind can be incorporated off-season.
Note: Cottage cheese is an excellent source of slow-absorbing casein protein, which is often consumed before bedtime to ensure a “trickle-feed” effect of amino acids into the system all night long. However, many people do not enjoy the taste and/or consistency of cottage cheese, and may not be able to digest it very effectively. Two scoops of delicious ALLMAX’s CASEINFX provides 50 grams of the purest micellar casein available, with a texture and taste that is unmatched. This is the perfect alternative to cottage cheese if your preference is to end the day with a smooth, thick and tasty protein shake.
#5 – Raw Nuts
As well as getting enough saturated fats from the aforementioned animal sources, a dedicated bodybuilder must also ensure his or her essential fat intake is on point. Boosting brain function, nerve conduction, cell wall integrity, heart health (and just about every other critical biological function one can name), raw nuts, in particular Brazil nuts, walnuts and almonds, are an excellent way to round out our nutrient balance.
By providing an optimal blend of protein, carbohydrates and fats in addition to a generous serving of antioxidants (including the difficult to obtain and all important free radical scavenger alpha tocopherol vitamin E) per handful, raw nuts, also extremely calorically dense, pack a significant nutritional punch.
#6 – Olive Oil
Olive oil will help to accentuate your muscular development by keeping your cellular machinery functioning as it should. Because of its monounsaturated-fat status, and due to properties uniquely its own, olive oil, in particular the extra virgin variety, boosts our health, well being and performance in just about every conceivable way.
High in vitamin E, which, among other important actions, stimulates the expression of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), a gene responsible for wound healing and the regeneration of damaged tissues, olive oil is also calorically dense so may safely boost our daily calorie intake to support mass building. Containing an unusually high proportion (75%) of oleic acid (a monounsaturated omega 9 fatty acid which specifically acts upon our cell membranes to change their signaling patterns, thereby significantly reducing blood pressure), this wonder oil also has potent anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular, bone, cognitive, and digestive health benefits. It is recommended that olive oil, along with the additionally important omega-3, form a major percentage of total daily fat content.
Note: As mentioned above, raw nuts and olive oil are both excellent sources of omega fatty acids, which are absolutely vital to heath, performance, metabolism and muscle growth. ALLMAX’s OMEGA-3 provides omega-3 fatty acids, which is known as the “healthiest of fats.” This product is the perfect adjunct to the diet, since most people are deficient in omega-3 and overloaded with both omega-6 and 9 fatty acids. Additionally, OMEGA-3 is an excellent source of both EPA and DHA.
#7 – Oysters
Far from front and center of most nutrition plans are oysters, and for good reason: a comparatively poor protein option, they are also very low in most vitamins. However, with their low-fat composition and high mineral content (in particular calcium, iron and selenium, a trace mineral that is important for thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism and difficult to achieve through whole food nutrition alone) oysters are a great nutritional option for hard training lifters.
That being said, the primary benefit of oyster consumption, other than their tantalizing taste, is their high zinc content at 78.6mg per 100 gram serving compared to 12.3mg per 100 gram serving of beef. Important for testosterone production, protein synthesis, immune function, and sexual health (among many other markers of good health and cell growth) zinc is seldom achieved in sufficient enough quantities to fully exert its beneficial effects. Having 1-3 medium sized oysters (approximately one 100-gram serving) will cover your zinc needs as well as provide around 10 grams of protein.
Note: Deficiencies in zinc (and magnesium) are common amongst athletes and bodybuilders because the frequent and intense training involved in these activities quickly drains reserves of these two vital minerals. The result of insufficient supplies of zinc and magnesium can result in compromised athletic performance, reduction in ones ability to recover, increased frequency of muscle cramps, and a general feeling of lethargy and fatigue. ALLMAX’s ZMX2 provides the most bioavailable forms of zinc, magnesium and B6 so that maximum progress from each and every workout is assured.
It’s Time To Switch It Up
Eating the same foods each day can be draining and rather boring. Such an approach may result in excessive cheating and compromised muscle gains. By including a greater variety of nutrient dense foods we may find off-season (bulking) dieting not only more enjoyable (and the first rule of encouraging nutritional adherence, aside from incentive, is to make our plan manageable and fun) but a great deal more productive. With the introduction of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutritional co-factors we become healthier and better functioning. As a result, muscle growth occurs faster. So, make the change, include the foods listed above, and boost your training progress.