If your goal is to build up the strength of the muscles throughout your body, from your shoulders to your calves, you need to do more than just exercise. While working out is certainly a crucial component to a muscle building routine, you should not neglect the importance of food. Think about it: eating the right foods could help you lose weight, but there are also plenty of foods that help you build muscle fast, so those should also be included in your meal plans.
Are you stumped when it comes to what you need to eat to make your body big and strong? Then check out our list of the foods that help you build muscle fast, so you could not only slim down, but also bulk up.
Foods That Help You Build Muscle Fast
Carbohydrates are often looked down upon when there is a discussion about weight loss and getting in shape, but the truth is that carbs are what your body uses for energy. Plus, they are necessary after your workout to give your body the energy needed to rebuild the muscles you worked on. Therefore, when it comes to foods that help you build muscle fast, you should not ignore whole grains. Consume these before a strength training routine to get some much-needed fuel, and then enjoy them post-workout to help your body begin the process of repairing and rebuilding your muscles to make them even bigger than they were before.
A few good examples of whole grains that support muscle building:
• Brown rice – This is a whole grain that your body will digest slowly so that you can enjoy longer stretches of energy. Beyond that, brown rice could even help to increase the level of growth hormone (GH) in the body, and GH is an important component to fat loss and muscle growth. This is one of the most versatile foods that help you build muscle fast, as you could enjoy it at every meal.
• Wheat germ – This food provides your body with a range of nutrients, including protein, fiber, B vitamins, selenium, iron, zinc, and potassium. On top of that, it also has branched-chain amino acids, which are also known as BCAAs, to support the growth and maintenance of strong muscles. Consume some wheat germ before your exercise routine to reap the benefits of this slow-digesting carb that could give you plenty of energy for your weight lifting session.
• Quinoa – This is another one of the many whole grain foods that help you build muscle fast. It is a complete protein that could boost IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1) to increase strength and lean muscle mass. And, as is the case with other whole grains, quinoa is a slow-digesting carbohydrate that will be able to give you the energy that you need to get through even the toughest workout routines.
• Ezekiel bread – If you have never heard of Ezekiel bread, it is time to give it a try. This tasty and nutritious bread is made using organic sprouted whole grains, and it contains legumes and grains, so it is healthier for you than traditional breads. Like quinoa, Ezekiel bread is also a complete protein, providing your body with all the amino acids that your body is unable to make on its own. The result of eating this bread is sustained energy and additional nutritional support for lean muscle growth.
You might not think of vegetables when you think of foods that help you build muscle fast, but the truth is that these nutrient-packed foods could greatly support your strength-training efforts. And if you need proof that veggies work when you are building muscle, all you must do is look at all the incredible plant-based athletes and bodybuilders that are out there.
A couple of good examples of vegetables that support muscle building:
• Beets – This root vegetable is a great source of betaine, which could help repair your joints and liver. On top of that, betaine can also be beneficial when it comes to increasing the power and strength of your muscles. Enjoy beets before your workout for a boost of energy, as well as after your workout to support your body’s recovery.
• Spinach – Many people don’t think of spinach when they list foods that help you build muscle fast, but the truth is that this leafy green is a great source of glutamine, which is an amino acid that plays an important role in the growth of lean muscle. Beyond that, spinach also has the ability to boost the endurance and strength of your muscles. No wonder Popeye was such a fan!
Beans, Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds
Beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds are all healthy options that contain a wide range of nutrients, from protein and fiber, to antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Yet, they are often overlooked when people are shopping for foods that help you build muscle fast. The truth is that there are so many beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds to choose from, so you can add these to your diet rather easily and enjoy the perks of a varied meal plan that never gets boring.
Some good examples of beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds that support muscle building:
• Cashews and almonds – These nuts are just a couple of examples of the many nuts that you can indulge in to get a healthy dose of beneficial fatty acids, protein, and fiber, according to Men’s Fitness. Plus, snacking on low-calorie nuts a single ounce of almonds or cashews will have anywhere from 150 to 170 calories could give you a much-needed boost of energy without causing you to go over your daily calorie limit.
• Chickpeas – Packing a healthy dose of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber, chickpeas could be used to replace some of the whole grains in your diet if you are having difficulty building muscle and maintaining a lean physique. A cup of chickpeas will provide you with around 45 grams of carbohydrates that will digest slowly for sustained energy. Plus, chickpeas contain around 12 grams of fiber per cup, so you can feel fuller sooner and feel full for longer.
• Beans – With so many delicious beans to choose from, you can vary your diet with ease. But, why are they considered some of the best foods that help you build muscle fast? Well, they’re packed with muscle-building protein and filling fiber, yet they’re low in fat.
• Lentils – A lot of people overlook lentils, but these are yet another food that could help build your muscles quickly. Just a cup has 18 grams of protein, along with 40 grams of slow-digesting carbs.
• Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds – Tiny but mighty, these seeds supply a good dose of healthy fats, antioxidants, fiber, protein, and potassium. Translation: eating these seeds could give you energy and strength. They could help you maintain your overall health, while also ensuring that your muscles get big and strong as well.
Like some of the other foods on this list, you might be surprised to find out that, when it comes to foods that help you build muscle fast, fruits also make the cut. Packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, fruits could provide you with energy through their natural sugars and carbs. And they are perfect for when you need to get energy fast, so having them before your muscle-building workout could be beneficial.
Some great examples of fruits that support muscle building:
• Oranges – Considered one of the top foods that help you build muscle fast, oranges can increase the growth of your muscles, as well as help you attain a much-needed boost of endurance and strength. Consume some oranges prior to your workouts for the best results.
• Apples – They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but did you know that apples are yet another one of the top foods that help you build muscle fast? There are polyphenols in this powerhouse of a fruit that could help boost the strength of your muscles, while also helping to prevent fatigue. This means that, when you eat apples before your workout, you could train even harder and do it for longer.
• Cantaloupe – If you are a fan of cantaloupe, you will be happy to learn that this fruit can help you meet your muscle building goals. It is a fast-digesting carbohydrate, so it will be able to give you a quick boost of energy before your workout. Plus, you could also enjoy it post-workout to re-energize your fatigued body.
In addition to the foods that help you build muscle fast that are listed above, there are the obvious lean protein sources that you can add to your meal plan as well, from poultry and beef, to soy products like tempeh and tofu. The best results, however, are most likely to come from a diet filled with low-fat foods that provide plenty of fiber, protein, and high-quality carbs for energy.