Conversations about the damaging effects of diet culture and fad diets are ever increasing. And they should be. Fad diets are rarely sustainable and often breed food phobias and bad relationships with food in general. But that does not mean that we shouldn’t be talking about food. Proper nutrition can do wonders for your body. And if you are involved in a training program or have the goal of building more muscle, what you fuel your body with can either help or hurt your goals. That is why today, Junkyard Training wants to discuss some ways to properly fuel your body so that it is primed to build strong, lean muscle.
First and foremost, in order to gain muscle, eat. With any sort of fitness goals, the most common mindset for people to have is that you need to be restrictive. Some basic science behind muscle building, however, is that if you are not providing your body with enough calories, it will take it from your muscles. This is because to your body, muscles are highly expensive to keep on board. So, it is best to not try to lose fat and build muscle at the same time. Stay balanced and stay well fed calorically.
If you are tracking your food intake, it is wise to make sure you meet a macro quota rather than a calorie quota. Macros or macro nutrients consist of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Tools like My Fitness Pal allow you to enter your specific goals and it will offer you a suggested daily macro guide in return. Tools like these can be helpful for all but especially beginners.
It is vital to meet your protein needs in order to build muscle. It is also essential to bump up your daily protein intake to 0.55 – 0.77 grams per pound of body weight. And while supplementary items like protein powders and shakes can be useful, it is best to strive to make room for protein sources like, eggs, chicken, beans, salmon, and tofu.
As was touched on, when dieting many people think the secret to success is to cut out whole food groups. A major fear for many is that eating carbs will make them fat. On the contrary, carbohydrates can be an excellent source of fuel that can give you power behind your training sessions. So, do not omit carbs but do make wise choices. Stick to nutrient dense carbohydrate options like root veggies, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and legumes.
Saturated and trans fats are not necessary to your diet, but healthy fats are. Healthy fats are imperative to your brain health, can boost your metabolism, and help you feel satisfied. Many people developed a phobia of fats back when everything was advertised as “low-fat” and “non-fat”. To reach your fitness goals, do not let that be the case with you. And while you may recognize coconut oil and olive oil as sources of good fats in moderation, some other items to implement into your diet can be, avocados, Greek yogurt, nuts, ghee, and dark chocolate.
Overall, do not fear food but rather make food work for you. And enjoy it! If you have been training independently but do not seem to be reaching your goals, give Junkyard Training a call! We are dedicated to educating and assisting people of all levels to achieve their fitness goals.