What Foods Are Great for Building Muscle

BEEF - The complete Protein

Beef can play an integral role in the muscle building process. It has an extremely high content of good quality protein, and also contains additional amino acids that are known to interact with insulin in a way that promotes the shutting of proteins from the blood into the muscle tissue – which promotes muscle growth.

Beef also contains an abundance of important vitamins and minerals, including the B-vitamins, Iron, and Zinc, and a substance known as Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), all of which have been suggested to increase muscle growth.

Brown Rice

BROWN RICE- The Slow Release Carbohydrate

Brown rice can play an indirect, yet important role, in the muscle building process. Brown rice is high in a lower GI carbohydrate, providing us with prolonged energy throughout the duration of the day – without a crash. This energy can be used to fuel high intensity training sessions, which is the key driver to build new muscle tissue.

Furthermore, brown rice has also been suggested to increase the levels of growth hormone in the blood, which can lead to increase muscle growth and fat loss.

EGG - The Lean Protein

Eggs are one of the most complete sources of protein on the planet. They contain a vast array of amino acids that are essential to building lean muscle tissue, while also providing the body with a host of essential vitamins and minerals that can lead to optimal metabolic function and immune health.

Eggs also contain a decent portion of good quality fat that has been associated with improved levels of blood cholesterol and increased health. The Kicker? You need to eat the yolk!


CHICKEN- The Slow Release Carbohydrate

Similar to beef, chicken is a fantastic source of good quality protein, which in itself is absolutely essential to the repair of damaged muscle tissue, and of course the building of new muscle tissue. Chicken typically has a lower fat content than other meats which makes it a great option for those looking to put on lean mass.

As an added bonus, chicken is extremely versatile and can be cooked in HUGE batches, making it the perfect option those who don’t have access to healthy lunch options at work on the go.

OATS – The Mass Building Carbohydrate

Oats are another great source of carbohydrates that registers a low GI value. This ensures a steady stream of energy is provide to the body, without a ‘sugar crash’. Furthermore, oats are minimally processed, and contain a high amount of fiber. This increases satisfaction after eating, while also promoting improved gut and digestive health!

Due to a high satiety rating, oats can curb hunger signals, which can also promote fat loss over time, making ideal for those trying to add lean mass and reduce fat mass.


SALMON– The Well-Rounded Protein

Salmon is arguably the most well rounded food on this list, and when it comes to building muscle, its ability is unparalleled. Salmon contains an abundance of high quality protein, while also providing a HEAP of omega-3 fatty acids [6]. Both of these components are essential to the muscle building process.

Salmon is also extremely rich in key nutrients – one of which includes Vitamin D, a vitamin that plays a key role in the development of new muscle tissue.

MILK – The Calorie King

For those looking to pack on size quickly, milk is a fantastic choice that consumed at any time of the day. Milk is high in protein and contains all 8 essential amino acids that are required for the growth and repair of muscle tissue.

Additionally, althrough milk does have a relatively high fat content, the fat in milk has been associated with an increased production of growth hormone, which is known to contribute to muscle growth. So there is no need to worry about that!

Sweet Potatoes

SWEET POTATOES – The Starchy Carbohydrate

Of all the vegetable based carbohydrates available, sweet potatoes are unquestionably the best of the best. They register quite low on the GI scale, meaning they provide a sustained release of energy to the body, and they are full of fiber, which can improve gut and digestive health.

Furthermore, sweet potatoes are extremely rich in both Vitamin A and Vitamin B, both of which play important roles in the body as antioxidants that can improve health.

GREEK YOGURT – The Healthy Protein

Greek yogurt, similar to cottage cheese, contains a decent amount of protein per serving, while also providing the body with a bunch of good quality fats. As such, Greek yogurt can both increase muscle tissue, while improving the health of those muscle cells.

Greek yogurt also contains a HUGE amount of healthy gut bacteria which can improve the function of our digestive system, while also increasing general health. This can go a long way to improving our ability to absorb food, which can increase energy and protein absorption. 

COTTAGE CHEESE – The Dairy Protein

A 100g serving of cottage cheese contains 100 calories, 11 grams of protein, 4grams of fat, and 3 grams of carbohydrate. Cottage cheese has two key factors that can contribute to the muscle building process. Firstly, Cottage cheese contains a huge amount of casein, a dairy protein that is absorbed extremely slowly into the blood. This makes it ideal to consume before bed as it will provide our muscle tissue with a steady supply or muscle building protein throughout the night.

Secondly, cottage cheese contains a heap of good bacteria that will help you breakdown and digest the food you eat, which can further improve the protein absorption of other foods!

Knowledge/Skills/Abilities - Human Anatomy & Physiology, Assessment and exercise prescription, Strength & Conditioning.
Paul Hardy
Fitness Trainer

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