Muscle building is not an easy task but then again, it is not as difficult a job as well. In order to build strong, lean muscles you need to understand the biology and science behind muscles.
Although muscles are built in the gym with specific strength and muscle building exercises, diet plays an important role as well. Many fitness experts say that abs is built 90 percent in the kitchen and 10 percent in the gym. This is absolutely true!
What are Muscles?
Muscles in the human body are of three types. The first ones are those connected to our organs like, the heart muscles which have specific functions. The second are those connected to the inner layer of the body like, tendons and secondary muscles, the last type, are the ones that are connected to our bones. They are the ones we are most concerned with.
These are the muscles that are strained when we lift heavy objects, the stomach muscles you suck in to loft a box, or the muscles in your biceps. These muscles become more and more visible as layers of fat surrounding it are reduced with the help of a specific muscle building diet and exercise.
No need to be scared cause you won’t bulk up like the hulk. These short and bulky muscles are formed by taking supplements and going through a very rigorous diet and exercise plan which not many people can do.
What we can do, is take care of our diet, reduce the fat content in it, muscles exercise and eat a good muscle building diet. The end result will be strong muscles and you will have a firmer and tighter appearance.
Vegetarian diet vs. Non Vegetarian Diet:
There is a common theory that a vegetarian diet does not provide enough proteins but this is not true. The main point of contention though, is that a vegetarian diet does not provide enough of animal proteins to the body.
Human beings are basically animals and animal protein is much easier for the body to digest and use up, than other plant based proteins. This is where a vegetarian diet fails when it comes to providing muscle building nutrients.
Importance of Meat in a Muscle Building Diet:
Meat or animal protein is a very important source of protein for the human body, especially for muscle building. It provides the following macro nutrients that are essential for our body:
Proteins are the basic building blocks of nature. Protein is bit slower for the body to digest; hence it stays for longer in the system. The body utilizes its energy in trying to digest it and the metabolism is maintained at high levels. One doesn’t have to suffer from hunger pangs either.
As a building block, protein is made up of a chain of amino acid and so is the human muscle tissue. As a result, both of these combine and give way to stronger muscles in the body.
Meat contains many vitamins and vitamin sub groups which are not found in plant based foods and are very compatible with the human body’s digestive system. Some of these are: vitamin B12, vitamin B3 and vitamin B6. Vitamin B12 is very important, as it cannot be obtained from any other plant source and is very essential for the human body, as it prevents many diseases and ailments.
Among minerals, meat is rich in iron, zinc selenium and other animal based minerals that are not found in plant sources like creatine, which forms energy reserves in muscles and brain; carnosine, which is a strong anti-oxidant and DHA and EPA, which are active omega 3 acids.
Animal fats are much more compatible with the human body as compared to plant based fats and the absorption of unhealthy fats is much less when you consume animal fat as compared to a plant based fat. This fat is converted readily into energy.
Understanding the need of protein in the human body:
Like any nutrient, you need to understand how much protein the human body requires. Ideally, you require a gram of protein for every kilogram of body weight. This means, if you weigh 60 kilos, you require 60 grams of protein everyday.
But, you do not need to gulp down all this protein in a single sitting. You can space out your protein intake between your meals. For example, a single egg contains 13 grams protein and a large chicken breast contains 21 grams. You can add these up and improve the intake of protein in your diet.
The main advantage of eating your minimum required protein is that you not only build muscles, but your metabolism increases and requirement of unhealthy fats and excessive carbohydrates reduces in the body.
You do not feel like eating junk food and the sudden insulin rush that you seek with sugar laden treats is curbed as there are enough nutrients and energy stores in your body to take you through the day.
Foods to include in a non-vegetarian muscle building diet:
Here are few protein rich foods that you should include in your muscle building diet:
These tasty and surprisingly nutritious oval, little things are highly rich in protein and are considered a rich source of pure animal protein. A small egg white contains up to 13 grams of protein.
2. Red Meats
Red meat, especially lean cuts like the T-bone cut of beef, or the tenderloin of pork, are very rich in protein. A 100 grams of T-bone steak contains 24 grams of protein and pork tenderloin contains 26 grams of protein. These cuts contain low fats and are very good for you if you are on a muscle building diet.
This oily fish is the best thing you can eat when on a muscle building diet. A 100 grams of this fish contains 20 grams of protein. It is also basically free from all harmful fats and carbohydrates, and is a pure source of animal protein. You can broil it, smoke it and use it in sandwiches as a great protein rich meal.
Chicken is white meat and is not as harmful as red meat as it has less amount of fat in it. Choose healthy cuts of chicken like, chicken breasts or chicken drumsticks.
A chicken breast contains 21 grams of protein and is a staple with fitness enthusiasts. Easy to cook and grill, chicken breasts can be added to any recipe and cooked without fat. A great inclusion to make in your muscle building diet.
Turkey is another white meat choice, which is a great source of protein. A 100 grams of turkey contains 22 grams of protein. Turkey has even less fat than chicken and if you can find it, you can grill it, roast it and use it in salads and sandwiches to make a great meal.
6. Dairy products
Dairy products are another rich source of protein and you can use them to make delicious shakes and smoothies to add more protein quotient to your muscle building diet.
Greek yogurt is by far the best source of dairy protein. A 100 grams of Greek yogurt contains 10 grams of protein. A 100 grams of low fat yogurt has 4.4 grams of protein. The by-product of making Greek yogurt, whey is also a rich source of protein and you can use it smoothies and salads to increase the amount of protein you ingest.
A sample non-vegetarian muscle building diet plan:
A 2000 calorie diet for a person that weights 60 kg is: Amount of protein required: 60 grams (minimum)
- Two egg whites (26 grams protein)
- One brown bread
- One cup chopped fruit
- One cup oatmeal (26 grams protein)
- Tuna sandwich with greens (22 grams protein)
- 100 grams cottage cheese (11 grams protein)
- One large banana/apple/papaya
- Grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables (21 grams protein)
(Note: As you progress through the day, you should start reducing the amount of carbohydrates you take. Your dinner should contain no carbohydrates. This diet plan is specifically for muscle building which ensures that at least 40 percent of the calories come from protein)
Muscle building is not an easy process and even if you are not interested in professional body building or getting ripped, eating a diet rich in protein will ensure that your muscles remain strong and healthy.
A protein rich diet will help you curb unhealthy cravings that occur due to a drop in blood sugar. This drop in blood sugar occurs when the stomach is completely empty and taking in enough proteins throughout the day, means that your stomach will not be empty and you will always feel energised and fresh.