Foods To Avoid When Trying To Gain Muscle Mass
If your fitness goal is to gain lean muscle mass, regular strength training to progressively challenge your muscles is essential. Most people trying to gain muscle mass understand this basic concept and do a good job at either completing higher reps lifting weights or doing body weight exercises.
But strength training is only one part of the equation necessary to build muscle mass. And too many people ignore the nutritional part of the equation to gain muscle mass. There are foods for muscle gain, and then there are foods you should avoid.
Endurance athletes like long distance runners and cyclists can get away with large servings of carbohydrates because they’ll burn off the excess energy in training and competition. But for the average person or gym-goer eating excess carbs, especially refined carbohydrates like white rice, white bread, and pasta made from refined grains, is a problem.
Refined grains are processed into glucose rapidly, and if you’re not burning through loads of calories, the excess glucose will be stored as fat, and that’s not going to help you get the definition in your muscles that you want.
According to a recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American drinks an estimated 53 gallons of soda a year. It’s loaded with empty calories and large amounts of sugar, and it’s one of the leaded dietary causes of the obesity epidemic in the U.S. If you’re trying to build muscle and burn fat, drink water, and give up soda for good.
Candy is loaded with sugar, and many chocolates contain high amounts of unhealthy fats. The high calorie content in candy is going to cause weight gain. While you may be gaining muscle through your strength training workouts, if you’re packing on pounds of fat, you’ll never see your abs or the muscle definition you want.
Processed foods like microwave meals, frozen pizza, fast food, grilled hot dogs from the quickie-mart, and even the old poor-man’s standby Ramen Noodles, are all high in sodium. If your diet is high in sodium, you’re raising your risk for high blood pressure.
But high sodium also encourages water retention that can hide all your hard work in the gym. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends eating no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day, but the average American consumes double that amount.
Here’s What You Should Eat – Plenty of Protein & Healthy Foods
If the foods to stay away from listed above represent the bulk of your diet, you’re got some serious changes to make to your eating habits. In order to build muscle, there are two primary nutritional guidelines you should follow along with regular strength training workouts.
- First, aim to eat about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. If you’re 180 pounds, aim to eat about 180 grams of healthy protein per day.
- Second, eat healthy food. Your diet should consist of protein-rich foods sources like lean meats, low-fat dairy or soy products, nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, and legumes, in addition to plenty of fruits and vegetables.
And, if getting adequate protein from food sources is a challenge, a protein supplement shake or bar can help.
Mark is a fitness enthusiast and freelance writer who writes for Fitness Direct. Please visit www.fitdir.com for more information about rowers and rowing machines.
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