Intense training is not enough for building muscle. Of course, you can get bigger by lifting heavy weights, but you’ll see no quality muscle gains and muscle definition unless you stick to a clean diet and eat enough calories for growth. When it comes to building muscle, good nutrition is the key to success. What you eat can make or break your progress. For natural bodybuilders, looking fit and strong is 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise. Here are five nutrition secrets for gaining muscle fast:
Get the Right Muscle Fuel
The key to building muscle fast is to eat quality protein and complex carbs, take in healthy fats, and train hard. It’s important to understand that not all proteins are created equal. The same applies to carbs and fats. These macros should come from whole, natural foods such as chicken, lean beef cuts, walnuts, seeds, vegetables, brown rice, sweet potatoes, dairy products, and legumes. Junk food contains protein, carbs, and fat too, but their quality is not the best.
Pay Attention to Meal Timing
Meal timing is often the key to lean muscle gains. For optimal results, eat simple carbs right after your workout. This is the best time to provide your muscles with fuel to replenish glycogen stores. Before working out, have a meal rich in complex carbs. This will provide with your body with a steady flow of lasting energy. Eat carbs in the first part of the day or pre/post workout. The rest of your meals should contain protein and healthy fats, such as chicken or turkey breast and veggies, eggs and avocado, cottage cheese, green beans, or tuna.
Eat Quality Protein
The protein in soy, hemp and other sources is not as good as the protein in meat. Whey protein concentrate is inferior to whey protein isolate or hydrolyzed whey. As a bodybuilder, you should choose the highest quality protein sources. There is no need to spend your hard earned money on fancy brands, but you should use decent products. Bulk protein powders are your best option. Make sure you get up to one and a half grams of protein per pound of body weight (men) and about one gram per pound (women)
Cheat on Your Diet
Have a cheat meal once a week. It may seem weird, but it actually works. This simple trick will revamp your metabolism and help you burn more calories throughout the day. If you eat clean all the time, your body will get used to it. As a result, your metabolism will slow down and you’ll bur fewer calories at rest. In other words, you’ll hit a plateau. For best results, increase your overall calorie intake for one day. Eat pizza, pasta, fries, and even sweets. Return to your diet the next day. Most bodybuilders have only one cheat meal a week. Others plan a whole “cheat day” weekly.
Have More Snacks
Have several snacks between meals. This will keep you full and reduce cravings. It’s also a great way to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Eat healthy snacks such as a handful of walnuts, almond, trail mixes, cottage cheese, canned tuna, eggs, bacon slices, and veggies.