If your workouts are intense and you are still struggling to put on muscle, then it will be your diet that is lacking in preparation. Alongside minimizing cardio, lifting heavier weights and varying your routines, follow these golden rules and watch the gains return:
- Eat plenty of fish
Fish is an outstanding supply of good protein and should be used religiously for anyone looking to put on lean muscle mass. Some forms of sea food provide a large amount of health fats while others contain minimal fat levels. Fish that are high in natural fats provide a number of advantages to weight lifters. These fish oils vastly improve insulin management when taken in high doses.
All of our articles put a great emphasis on the incorporation of Omega-3 fatty acids in any diet and fish such as sardines or salmon include high levels of these. Omega-3s are important for muscle growth and recovery as well as boosting the immune system and are a MUST for any body builder. We recommend at least eight ounces of fish twice a week.
- Get your vegetables in
Vegetables are considered just as important as protein for gaining muscle and general health and it is important to have at least five servings a day. They are rich in minerals and low in calories and support the immune system and free radical damage. The list is endless.
They also help the body by adding fibre and bulk into your diet which aids the body in processing a high protein diet.
- Make sure you take Glutamine
Alongside the many different types of supplements and legal steroids that are currently available on the market, Glutamine plays a key role in protein synthesis and prevents the break down of muscle. It is also the most common amino acid in the body and It is extremely important for muscle growth and repair. If your training is intense, then your natural levels are depleted and must be restored. Research has shown that taking glutamine directly after a workout increases recovery time by 25%.
It is recommended you take 10 to 40 grams of Glutamine daily.
- Incorporate Tyrosine into your diet
Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid and a big building block of protein. It plays crucial roles in the enhancement of thyroid deficiency, a strong immune system and protection of the skin. It at can help offset the problems of overtraining, lack of sleep, the use of thermogenic supplements and also physical and mental fatigue.
- Increase protein intake before you go to bed
Muscle develops when you are asleep and it is important to provide your body with a source of protein throughout the night to feed and repair your muscles. Try taking a protein shake, lean meats such as turkey or a handful of nuts about an hour before bed.
- Switch between high and low carb days
Preservation as well as adding muscle is a fine balancing act and depends greatly on your training regime, but more important your eating cycles. If you were to eat a large amount of carbohydrates all the time, this will trigger your body to enter fat storage mode and increase body fat. Eating a diet that is strictly protein will only attack your hard earned muscle for energy. Switching between low and high carb days keeps your metabolic rate in check and constantly burning fat. The best option is to have one high carb day after every three to five low carb days.
- Add Arginine to your supplements
L-Arginine supports muscle growth because it is one of the catalysts needed for the synthesis of many proteins. L-Arginine works by signalling muscle cells, motivates the production of growth hormones and encourages the body to metabolise fat. The outcome is lean and well toned muscle tissue. L-Arginine lowers fat stores underneath the skin and promotes muscle growth. A must have amino acid! You may also want to try the use of supplements that can help build muscle. The key to muscle gain is also making sure you combine the right nutrition and diet plan alongside these types of supplements.
- Keep up with your minerals
Be sure to make sure that you include your vitamins and minerals every day into your diet plan. Calcium, for example, is beneficial for metabolism, potassium aids muscle cell volume and magnesium can support training and performance. Vitamin A is good for protein synthesis and is a powerful antioxidant that helps in the protection of cell membranes.
Some of the best vitamins and minerals for weight lifters include Vitamin C, Thiamine (Vitamin B1), Niacin (Vitamin B3), Vitamin D, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Biotin and Cobalamin (Vitamin B12).
- Do not skip breakfast
Breakfast is undoubtably the most important meal of the day. Combining protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre will kick start your metabolism and fuel the fire for the day ahead. Great breakfast choices are omelettes, protein shakes and cottage cheese. If you are going to eat carbohydrates, make sure they are complex and not simple as complex carbohydrates take longer to break down and are acceptable at breakfast and after a workout. Try oatmeal, porridge, beans and whole grains.
- Eat, Eat, Eat
In order to gain mass, you need to make sure you provide your body with the right amount of protein. 20-30% of your diet should be made up of natural fats and it is important to eat at least 1.5 times your bodyweight in protein each day.
Have a look at a sample diet to give you some inspiration:
Breakfast: Vegetable and Turkey Omlette with whole grain toast and a banana
Mid morning snack: Handful of mixed nuts
Lunch time: Salmon salad with spinach, cherry tomatoes, red onion and feta cheese
Pre-workout snack: Cottage cheese and a handful of blueberries
Post workout snack: Protein shake made with water
Dinner: Chicken breast with boiled carrots, parsnips and asparagus
Post bed: Gradual release protein