If you want to gain muscle or strength then you need to focus on getting bigger. Yes, which also means putting on some fat as well as muscle in an attempt to bulk up. But you don't have to put on all that much fat and you can simply get rid of the fat later on.
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Anyways, here are my top 10 foods for building lean muscle (and drinks)
1. Milk If you're not lactose intolerant then I strongly recommend milk. A client of mine started including a ½ gallon of milk in his diet each day in addition to the other food he was eating and he put on an additional 15lbs and got much stronger over the course of 12 weeks.
If you're very skinny then you can even try a gallon of milk per day (GOMAD) .
2. Meat Probably some of the best protein sources you'll find for gaining muscle come from lean cuts of meat. Things like chicken, turkey, steak, ground beef and pork are all fantastic examples of this. Although I'm not a big fan of Wal-Mart, I do go there to buy my steaks, since they are of high quality and sell for about $4-5 each.
3. Whole Wheat Pasta Pasta is a food that is naturally high in calories and carbs, so it makes a fantastic muscle building food. Just stick with whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta, unless you want your waistline to take a turn for the worst.
By mixing your pasta with some parmesan cheese and some butter, you can easily hit the 1000 calories mark.
4. Peanut Butter Peanut butter is a great source of protein and healthy fats if you're trying to build muscle. Just make sure you're going with the natural variety of peanut butter, since the regular store-bought version is often high in sugar, artificial preservatives and hydrogenated oils, all of which are not good for your health.
5. Nuts Almonds and walnuts are my favorite choice when it comes to nuts. Both of them are high in calories and healthy fats. A single ¼ cup serving of almonds contains about 200 calories in it. By simply snacking on almonds in between meals, you can easily add 800+ calories to all of your meals.
6. Olive Oil Just like nuts and peanut butter, olive oil is high in healthy fats as well. A single tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories and about 13 grams of omega-3 and monounsaturated fatty acids, which are extremely healthy for you and can even increase your testosterone levels.
You can include olive oil in almost anything you cook, from fish to eggs. You can even add a couple tablespoons in a high-protein fruit smoothie. It's a great way to get the extra calories, fruit and protein you need to gain muscle and trust me, you won't even taste the olive oil in there.
7. Eggs Eggs are also high in healthy fats and protein, with about seven grams of protein per egg. They're easy to make and are a great breakfast food I eat them everyday. Forget about egg whites, egg yolks are fine. After all, you're trying to pack on lean mass here, so eat all of the calories and fat!
8. Fish Fish is actually a fantastic food rather you're trying to gain muscle or lose weight. It all boils down to how much fish you eat. A 4oz piece of fish can have a positive effect on your metabolism and is great for fat loss, while a piece closer to 10oz would be substantial for muscle growth. Fish packs a ton of protein and omega-3 fatty acids as well.
9. Brown Rice Brown rice is a favorite of mine pre and post workout and is a great source of whole grains. You can cook brown rice with a variety of different foods, including chicken and stir fry.
Brown rice typically contains about 300 calories per 1 cup serving.
10. Potatoes Rather it's mashed potatoes, baked potatoes or sweet potatoes, they are a staple in most bodybuilders diets and are an excellent source of carbohydrates. You can also use potatoes to cook up some homefries or hashbrowns with breakfast in the morning.
You should include bacon, cheese and butter for some healthy fats and additional calories. Now I know you're thinking that all of this saturated fat is bad for you and will clog your arteries, but there is absolutely no truth to this. Just do a quick Google search on the truth about saturated fat' and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.
As you can probably see, I'm eating nothing but all natural foods with this list. There's not really anything that's processed on this list. Eating for muscle growth isn't really much different than eating for fat loss, besides the fact that you will eat many more calories if you're trying to gain muscle.
Always make sure you're eating at least 3-4 meals per day and if you have time, I would recommend getting about 5-6 meals in per day. Regardless, never go more than 5 hours without eating something, since your body needs a constant supply of nutrients to gain muscle each day.
Anyway, these 10 foods are great for building muscle so by following the advice in this article, you'll be well on your way to muscle growth success.
About the Author
Drew Stegman has been a fitness coach for the past 10 years, helping my clients with the art of gaining muscle and losing fat. He's helped hundreds of people to achieve great success and to build killer physiques. Drew absolutely loves what he does. For more information, please visit http://how2gainmusclefast.com
As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.
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