When trying to build muscle mass, it's important to be mindful of what you eat.
Alcohol, foods with added sugar, fried foods, and sugary drinks should be avoided or limited. In addition to your diet, whey protein, creatine, and caffeine may be useful supplements. Regular consumption of alcoholic beverages can place more stress on the body and increase the demand for antioxidants.
If you decide to drink, do not consume more than two servings of alcohol in one day. One serving of alcohol is equivalent to 12 fluid ounces of beer, 5 fluid ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-grain liquor (such as rum or vodka). Milkshakes may seem like a smart choice when you're out, but they are usually packed with calories (between 600 and 1000 on average) and overloaded with sugar. Some cereals may seem healthy, but they can contain a lot more sugar than you think.
If you find sugar in the 3 main ingredients (or you suspect it's another name for sugar) or 5 grams of sugar more, omit it. Choose cereals with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving and ideally less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. Bran rolls may seem like a good option when you're traveling, but they are anything but. Oversized muffins can contain more than 500 calories each without much nutritional value.
Coconut oil is very healthy for your health, but it should not be included in everything due to its high calorie content (120 calories per tablespoon). Coconut oil also contains no omega-3 fats to help reduce muscle inflammation (after exercise). Choose oils that are high in omega-3 fats, such as canola oil. And regardless of which oil you choose, use it sparingly in portions of 1 to 2 tablespoons.
A 12-week randomized trial found that two groups of participants followed the same program with a difference; one group ate 3 whole eggs after exercise, while the other ate 6 egg whites. The whole egg group improved the most on almost all markers, including strength, body fat percentage and hormone levels.
Alcoholcan affect muscle growth in two ways. The first is that it can actually inhibit muscle growth through several mechanisms.
One of these mechanisms is causing drops in the level of testosterone, both acutely and chronically. In fact, this has been tested on men after resistance training; this study found that men who consumed alcohol after training had significantly lower testosterone levels than a group that didn't. Alcohol can also decrease protein synthesis and the functions of IGF-1.Low-carb diets, specifically ketogenic diets, have been found to mitigate muscle gain even when following a low-calorie diet (more than enough calories). So save low-carb diets for when you're in maintenance mode or even when the priority of muscle mass isn't high.
However, if you're trying to gain mass, make sure you're eating enough carbohydrates.
Caffeinehas been shown to be a very effective ergogenic aid (fancy term for a supplement that can improve performance). However, like alcohol, the problem comes from drinking too much caffeine too late and not being able to sleep. If you consume caffeine, make sure it doesn't affect your restful sleep.
The diet is based on both variety and moderation. While you don't have to completely eliminate the foods you love the most, such as ice cream and cheeseburgers, you don't want to limit them either. Granola bars at the local supermarket are often filled with chocolate chips and sprinkled with fudge; these “granola” bars are high in sugar and calories and often contain hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, and other unnatural ingredients. Eat granola bars that contain 200 calories or less; these bars will be filled with nuts, seeds and fiber and will avoid unnecessary sugar.
Muffins may seem like a healthy alternative to muffins but they are very wrong; even “healthy” varieties such as bran can contain up to 500 calories. In addition to sugar, these muffins are mainly made from refined flour and butter. If you're addicted to muffins consider making your own with flax, wholemeal flour and nuts; you can even add whey protein to make protein-rich muffins. Most home cooks know that oil is a key ingredient in most recipes; however the oil is very high in calories so it is important to choose the oil wisely.
Sugary water or carbonated water is a major contributor to obesity around the world; just one bottle of soda will give you 200 calories full of nothing but sugar - more than your daily value! If you must have a soft drink opt for one made with natural cane sugar instead of refined sugar or chemicals. Nowadays most cereals are full of sugar which provides roughly the same nutritional value as a bowl of ice cream; in addition to enormous amounts of refined sugar these cereals are often made of simple carbohydrates and are full of chemicals such as hydrogenated oils - big bowls full of empty calories that will leave you lethargic and feeling full. While there are TONS of incredible foods that can stimulate muscle growth there are also TONS of not-so-surprising foods that can limit or diminish your results; however even with a bad program you can gain muscle if your nutrition is adequate - the same cannot be said if your nutrition is poor. Most articles about foods that are bad for muscle growth actually only talk about “unhealthy foods” such as pizza or bagels that aren't necessarily going to hinder muscle growth.