Now that your routine includes several trips to the gym each week, you have probably started to notice positive changes in your body. Losing fat and building muscle are two of the most rewarding results of sticking to your workout schedule. These positive changes to your appearance can help you build confidence and become a better version of yourself.
However, the foods that you eat also play a key role in increasing the efficiency of your workouts, helping you to lose weight and build muscle as quickly as possible. In general, it is a good idea to eat a combination of protein and carbs after each workout. Protein will help your muscles recover quickly while carbs can help replenish your body’s glycogen stores. Glycogen gives your muscles the energy that they need to get through your workouts as well as all of your other daily activities.
Most people have no problem eating enough carbs throughout the day, so it is most important to make sure that you also incorporate a high protein food in your post workout meal. It is no coincidence that the foods on this list are all very high in protein. If you are looking to maximize the results of your workout program, consider incorporating one or more of these foods into your diet and exercise plan.
Muscle Building Food #1: Eggs
Many body builders eat eggs every day, and it is easy to see why. This high protein, low calorie food is perfect for those that are looking to build muscle without packing on the pounds.
Eggs also have the added bonus of being filled with easily absorbed micro and macro nutrients. While many people prefer to eat egg whites and skip the yolk, this is usually not the best long term plan. Egg yolks are high in cholesterol, but they are also high in key vitamins and minerals. Contrary to popular belief, a few eggs each day will not increase the risk of heart disease in an otherwise healthy person.
Egg yolks contain high concentrations of vitamin B12, a compound that helps you break down fat. Vitamin B12 also aids in muscle contractions both during and after your workouts, increasing energy and making it easier to get through your day without hitting a mid afternoon slump. In case you aren’t already convinced of the health benefits of eggs, they are also high in riboflavin, folate, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. This is in addition to their high concentrations of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and vitamin E.
Muscle Building Food #2: Salmon
Salmon is another great example of a high protein, low calorie food. In addition to its high protein content, salmon is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have been found to decrease muscle protein breakdown post workout. While it is normal to experience some muscle protein breakdown after a workout, you need to make sure that your muscle proteins are being built up more quickly than they are broken down. This is the key to building muscle long term. One way to do this is to make sure that you eat plenty of protein and omega-3s.
As an added bonus, salmon has been found to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease in many people. A diet high in omega-3s has also been found to decrease insulin resistance in obese patients, allowing those with prediabetes to lead a longer, healthier life.
Muscle Building Food #3: Almonds
If you are looking for a quick snack to help you build muscle, it is tough to beat the health benefits of eating almonds. Almonds are a great source of alpha-tocopherol vitamin E. This highly absorbable form of vitamin E is a great antioxidant that can help your muscles recover from tough workouts. Antioxidants help to minimize free radicals and free radicals can increase post workout muscle damage, meaning that it will take your body longer to recover from each workout if you do not consume enough antioxidants. Other studies have shown that vitamin E can help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, so keep some almonds on hand for your next afternoon snack.
Eating one or more of these high protein, nutrient packed foods can be a great way to ensure that your muscles recover as quickly as possible, increasing muscle growth and decreasing post workout muscle soreness. Check out our other blog posts to learn more about how your dietary choices can affect your workouts.