By Dhriti Udeshi,
Nutrition Consultant & Fitness Trainer
Rule number 1 to gaining muscle is to challenge your body through weighted physical activity. Focus on adding more weight each time to get stronger and increase muscle mass. Working out on compound exercises that work several muscles at the same time is the key.
However, without proper nutritional support, your progress will stall. Your body uses food to fuel workouts, and recover muscles. Your muscles can’t recover and grow if there’s a shortage of food. Your body uses protein to build new muscle, and recover damaged muscle tissue post-workout and therefore Consuming High protein foods are very important for gaining lean muscle. My top picks are as follows;
1. Chicken Breast
There’s a good reason why chicken breasts are considered a staple for gaining muscle. They are packed with protein, with each 100 gram serving containing about 26 grams of high-quality protein. They also contain generous amounts of the B vitamins niacin and B6, which may be particularly important if you are active. These vitamins help your body function properly during the physical activity and exercise that’s necessary for optimal muscle gain.
Eggs contain high-quality protein, healthy fats and other important nutrients like B vitamins and choline. Eggs contain large amounts of the amino acid leucine, which is particularly important for muscle gain. One whole egg contains 6.5 grams of high quality protein, it contains zero carbs and no sugar.
3. Greek Yogurt
Dairy not only contains high-quality protein, but also a mixture of fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein. However, not all dairy is created equal. For example, Greek Yogurt often contains approximately double the amount of protein as regular yogurt and therefore should be included in your diet, especially if you are a vegetarian.
4. Cottage Cheese
One cup (226 grams) of low-fat cottage cheese packs 28 grams of protein. Like other dairy products, cottage cheese can be purchased with varying fat contents. High-fat versions like creamed cottage cheese provide more calories.
Choosing which type of cottage cheese is best simply depends on how many extra calories you want to add to your diet (especially important for lean muscle building)
Regardless of which type you choose, it’s a great muscle-building snack.
Peanuts contain a mix of protein, fat, and carbs. A half-cup (73-gram) serving contains 17 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbs and large amounts of unsaturated fat. if you’re having a hard time getting enough calories to drive your muscle gain, eating peanuts could be a good way to get some extra calories and nutrients.
Many different varieties of beans can be part of a diet for lean muscle gain. Popular varieties, such as black, pinto and kidney beans, contain around 15 grams of protein per cup (about 172 grams) of cooked beans. What’s more, they are excellent sources of fibre and B vitamins, in addition to being high in magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. For these reasons, beans are a good source of plant-based protein to add to your diet.
7. Protein Supplements
While any good diet should focus on whole foods, there are times when dietary supplements can be beneficial.
If you struggle to get enough protein from foods alone, you could consider adding protein shakes to your daily routine.
Dairy protein powders, such as whey and casein, are some of the most popular whereas vegan protein powders use soy and peas.
To reach your goal of gaining lean muscle, focus on exercising regularly with progressive overload on weights and eating more calories from the above protein rich foods.