Having defined, sculpted muscles starts way before you ever hit the gym. Muscle growth requires a formula. Along with lifting weights, you must drink plenty of fluids and eat the right energy-rich foods. This formula will fuel workouts, repair muscle tissue and help you sculpt your physique. Use the power food game plan below to help you reach your fitness goals!
- Fruit and vegetables are the foundation of all healthy diets, providing fiber, vitamins, minerals and fluids. Vegetables even contain small amounts of protein.
- Low-fat dairy provides high-quality protein, carbs and essential vitamins such as vitamin D, potassium and calcium. Some sports nutritionists recommend chocolate milk (with low-fat or skim milk) as a good workout recovery beverage. If you are lactose intolerant, you can try yogurt with active cultures.
- Lean meat is thought to be a trigger for muscle growth. It is more than a great source of protein. It contains iron for oxygen transport to your muscles and amino acids like leucine, which can aid in muscle building.
- Dark-meat chicken, compared to white meat, provides 25% more iron and three times the zinc for a healthy immune system.
- Eggs contain all of the essential amino acids your body needs. Try eating one a day, including the yolk. Over half of the protein in the egg is in the yolk, along with other important nutrients like lutein for eye health.
- Nuts -- unsalted and either raw or roasted -- are a good source of protein. They also contain vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats.
- Beans and whole grains are quality carbs that contain small amounts of protein for energy and muscle repair along with fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.