Gaining lean muscle mass in a healthy way is extremely challenging. Not only do you have to work hard in the gym, but you also have to follow a strict diet. Unlike losing weight, which is simply a matter of consuming less calories than your body uses, to gain lean muscle mass you must eat the right types of food in the right amounts.
Best Ratio to Gain Lean Muscle
There is much confusion about the ideal ratio for building muscle. However, many muscle builders have had success by eating a diet comprised of 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat. Some may note that these ratios differ considerably from what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends, which suggests that healthy individuals should consume significantly less fat. However, those seeking to gain lean muscle have different nutritional needs than those concerned only about their health due to the enormous demands muscle building places on the body.
The Types of Fats, Carbs and Protein Matter
Not only must you eat the proper ratio of macronutrients in order to build muscle, but the types of macronutrients are also important. Those seeking to gain lean muscle mass should obtain most of their carbohydrate needs from nutrient-dense, high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and avoid sugar completely.
Although you must get a significant portion of calories from fat to build muscle, you must limit your fat intake to healthy monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, and polyunsatuated fats, which are contained in nuts and seads. Avoid saturated fats as much as possible
For protein, those seeking to gain muscle should stick with lean meats and avoid those high in saturated fat, such as ground beef. Turkey and lean cuts of beef and pork are ideal for obtaining protein. Seafood is also a good way to meet protein requirements and has the added benefit of being a good source of Omega 3 polyunsaturated fat.
Timing is Also Important
Eating at the right time is also important in gaining muscle. When trying to gain lean muscle, you should aim to eat several small meals throughout the day to maintain a steady level of insulin, a chemical that is necessary for muscle growth. Additionally, it is important to consume carbohydrates immediately before and after workouts to quickly replenish the body’s glycogen stores. Between workouts, meals need to contain more protein and fat for muscle recovery and hunger control.