7 Muscle Foods for Men
More than half your calories should come from healthy carbs, Clark says. “Carbs supply fuel for energy and prevent protein from being broken down and used as an energy source. So always fuel up before working out.”
But be careful: It is a delicate balance of eating enough calories to build muscle but not too many calories, which can lead to gaining body fat.
Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue in addition to performing other functions, like producing hormones and immunity factors. The ADA suggests male endurance athletes get 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, whereas male body builders may need 1.6 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
“Two cups of milk contain about 20 grams of protein, which is the amount recommended to stimulate muscle protein synthesis," Rosenbloom says.
But most people don’t eat by the numbers. Clark advises her athletes to divide their food into four equally sized meals and choose three out of these four options: fruit or vegetable, grains, healthy fats, and calcium-rich or lean protein at each meal.
“The foundation of each meal is based on healthy carbs, with additional protein like oatmeal with nuts and yogurt, turkey and cheese sandwich with veggies, or spaghetti with meat sauce and a salad. These are all great for body building,” says Clark, author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.
For a food plan designed just for you, consult a registered dietitian.
Get Muscle-Building Results by Fatiguing Muscles
The only way to build bigger, more defined muscles is with progressive resistance training -- gradually increasing weights and endurance. Use a weight heavy enough to cause muscle fatigue after 9-12 repetitions. If you can easily do 13 repetitions with good form, you need to increase the weight.
“It is the act of pushing the muscles past the comfort zone that promotes muscle growth and more definition," Clark says.
Strength training results show up quicker than aerobic exercise. “It’s encouraging to start seeing enhanced definition fairly soon after working out at least twice a week for 30-45 minutes," Rosenbloom says.