Have you been hitting the gym on a regular basis and are not seeing the results you hoped for? Maintaining a consistent weight lifting routine is unsurprisingly, one of the most important elements of the muscle building process. However, what many novice gym-goers fail to recognize is the significant role that their diet plays in muscle growth or stagnation. By pairing an effective workout routine with the right diet, you will quickly start to see the results you’re looking for.
Contrary to popular belief, simply choosing ‘healthy’ or nutritionally dense options is not enough to expedite the muscle building process. Instead, workout enthusiasts must educate themselves on the three macronutrients that comprise all foods, that is - carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Continue reading to learn how you can fine tune your muscle building diet by monitoring your macronutrient intake.
Carbohydrates are the body’s most readily accessible form of energy. One gram of carbohydrates equates to four units of energy or, ‘calories.’ Therefore, if you have consumed 100g of carbohydrates and burned 500 calories during a workout, your body will use all 400 calories worth of the carbohydrates, and subsequently begin drawing energy from your fat stores. This is one of the reasons why bodybuilders often cut carbohydrates. By reducing carbohydrate stores in the body, they are able to target their fat during workouts, and in turn, achieve more defined-looking muscles. Conversely, when you are low on energy as is the case after an intense workout, consuming carbohydrates is the easiest way to repair the body’s tissues. Some examples of carbohydrate-dense foods are bread, pasta, rice, fruit, vegetables, and sweets.
Fat is unique among the three macronutrients in that it requires the most amount of energy to burn. One gram of fat equates to a staggering nine calories. Therefore, maintaining a diet that is high in fat typically causes people to gain weight. Although consuming dietary fat does not necessarily mean that you are not building muscle in the process, it will make it more difficult to see definition in areas such as your abdominals, where fat layers are stored. Additionally, dietary fat is broken down into three categories, that is - saturated, unsaturated, and trans fat. Saturated and trans fat are found in things like fried foods and baked goods. Unsaturated fat however, contains excellent micronutrients, and should therefore be prioritized over these less healthy options. Unsaturated fat can be sourced from foods such as avocados, nut butters, and olive oil.
Protein is by far, the most important topic of conversation when we think about a diet targeted towards muscle building. Protein is last on the body’s list of energy sources, which means unless you are severely undereating, it is difficult to lose protein stores. This is good news for bodybuilders as protein is the nutrient that is responsible for building muscle tissue. Like carbohydrates, one gram of protein equates to four calories. To effectively build muscle, experts recommend consuming at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight, per day. For example, a 170 pound man should consume at least 170g of protein on a daily basis. By prioritizing protein, you will likely find that your fat and carbohydrate consumption naturally drop as you fill up on high-protein meals. Foods that are high in protein include meat, eggs, fish, whey protein powder, and more.
Muscle building takes hard work and consistency. Joining a community of like-minded people is a great way to keep yourself on track. Contact us today to sign up for a membership at Fog City Fitness or to learn more about our facility.