You are what you eat, or so goes the saying.
For men who are looking for ways to add lean muscle instead of fat, what you eat, when you eat, and what you do after eating is of the utmost importance.
When you were a teenager, you could probably get away with eating two pizzas and an order of cheesy breadsticks before heading out to gym for a two-hour weightlifting session. The speed of your metabolism made up for your poor diet.
As you grow older and your metabolism slows, however, you will need to fundamentally change your eating habits.
If you are interested in staying in shape and building a sculpted, muscular body, staying faithful to a workout regimen is important.
To help your body build muscle faster, however, a quality, nutritious diet is also essential.
Below we look at three different eating tips to help you help your body add lean muscle instead of fat.
Find the Right Balance of Carbohydrates
Traditional nutritional wisdom for bodybuilders used to urge them to eat as many carbohydrates as possible. It was thought that by having enough calories in your body through high carbohydrate intake, your body would have sufficient energy reserves to prevent muscle protein breakdown and avoid using dietary protein for energy. Both bad if building muscle is your goal.
While there is still truth to that (your body will break down muscle for amino acids that it can turn into glucose, a type of energy), many men use this as an excuse to “bulk” and add on too much fat in the process. One study written by Dustin Elliot states that the average body can store about 400 calories at a time. Any more than that and you run the risk of having those excess calories slowly turn into fat.
Another important aspect regarding your carbohydrate intake is when you eat them. Foods that are high in carbohydrates are best consumed early in the morning after waking up (think whole grain granola and wheat bread for breakfast) since this is the best time to take advantage of the protein sparing properties of carbohydrates. After an intense workout, you can also take in carbohydrates to recover from the workout.
Do Not Be Afraid to Pack on the Protein
You know that protein helps grow muscle. You will want to add some protein to every meal throughout the day. A general rule of thumb is a palm-sized serving or two. However, make sure to prioritize lean meats such as fish, olive oils, and unprocessed peanut butter.
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for lean muscle growth and they also help to regulate your blood pressure which usually shoots through the roof every time you are in the gym. If you cook for yourself, get rid of the butter and margarine and purchase a huge bottle of virgin extra olive oil to help your body get the good fats and proteins it needs.
One recent study done by McMaster University found that overweight men who were introduced to an intense weight lifting regime while eating large amounts of protein lost more weight and built more muscle mass than the other group that only ate regular amounts of protein.
Leave Behind Processed Foods
Fast food joints and most of the boxed and canned stuff on your grocery store shelves should be left behind if you want to put on lean muscle without the fat.
Highly processed foods are loaded with empty calories. Sorry, you know this, but it needs to be said.
While you will get more than enough calories, you will also notice a loss of energy and a growing amount of body fat. In addition, for men who care about taking care of their appearance and have high standards for grooming, these processed foods are notorious for leading to acne, oily skin, and other skin and hair problems.
Eat Well, Hit the Gym Hard, and Cultivate Good Habits
Unless you are still a sophomore in high school with a fast metabolism, eating right is an essential part of building lean muscle.
By finding a balance in your carbohydrate intake, consuming healthy fats and proteins, and avoiding highly processed foods, you can build a muscular, toned physique that will help you lose weight and feel stronger and healthier.
Aron James is the founder of StubblePatrol.com. Stubble Patrol is a site on male grooming. He loves to write about his personal experiences.