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Building Muscle Mass and Strength

It can be very easy for most people to get frustrated when trying to build muscle, that’s why they often look for shortcuts. Getting the ideal body seems extremely difficult, and muscle becomes even harder to build and maintain as people age due to the lower estrogen levels in women and lower testosterone levels in men. These hormones play a big role in muscle building. Adding muscle mass is generally a slow process, but anyone can build and maintain muscle mass by performing the right workout routines, properly recovering in between sessions, and eating the right kinds of foods.

A very important factor in the fitness equation is strength training. You should perform activities that will strengthen your muscle while focusing on working your major muscle groups, including chest, hips, legs, abdomen, arms, and shoulders. Sit-ups, pull-ups, using resistance bands, and weight lifting are examples of strength training exercises.

Good nutrition effectively supports strength building. Sticking to a balanced eating plan that includes carbohydrates, protein, and fat consumed in 5 to 6 small meals per day can fuel muscle growth. Many people think that the more protein in the diet, the faster it is for the body to grow more muscle. Not necessarily. When working to build muscle with strength training exercises, your diet should make up 10 to 35 percent protein of the total calories. If you work to maintain muscle mass, then you require less protein than when trying to build muscle.

A very important group of foods for building muscles are carbohydrates because they can be partially converted to glycogen, and become stored in your muscle to give you power and endurance during workouts. If you perform strength training twice a week or more often, you need half or more calories from good carbohydrates. Examples of low fat, good-quality carbohydrates that will boost your strength training are cereals and whole grain breads. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, and yogurt are also a good source of some carbohydrates.

Some people working to add muscle mass are sticking to a fat-free diet. On the contrary, you need to include fat in your diet. The body heavily relies on fat to provide energy to your muscles during workouts. The amount of fat an individual needs varies. In general, fat should consist of 20 to 35 percent of the total calories while limiting trans fats and saturated fats. Foods with higher fiber content should be avoided before and during workouts.

For muscle growth and strength and overall health, you need to focus on heart-healthy fats such as walnuts, canola oil, olive oil, almonds, pistachios, avocados, halibut, mackerel, salmon, trout, and sardines.

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