Muscle mass is not just a product of exercise. To build muscle mass, you also have to pay special attention to the foods that you eat, this is especially true if you are recovering from an accident. Muscle strengthening exercises should be coupled with adequate caloric intake to build muscle mass more efficiently. Adequate caloric intake also needs to be balanced in terms of nutrients to ensure muscle gain.
So what kind of nutrients should be present in a muscle-building diet? Here are some of them:
Carbohydrates are a ready source of energy for the body, especially during exercise and stress. The carbohydrates that we take in are stored by the body as glycogen which is then burned as fuel to provide short bursts of power. We need to take adequate amounts of carbohydrates to sustain our energy levels and so that the muscles can contract powerfully. This is why athletes who do strength training exercises should take in adequate carbohydrates to achieve lean muscle mass.
Carbohydrate intake depends on the intensity of your physical activity. If you do moderate intensity exercises, you will need about 2 grams of carbohydrate per pound of your body weight per day. Those who do more intense activity will need about 3 to 4 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight per day. Experts recommend an intake of 400 to 600 grams of carbohydrates per day for people with regular physical activity for them to maintain muscle mass.
Proteins repair damaged muscle cells and body tissues broken down after exercise. This nutrient is the basic building block of muscle tissue, thus you should not miss on it. If you want to build muscle mass, you should consume more protein than the normal requirement for individuals with regular activities. The average person requires about 0.4 grams per pound of body weight per day, so you should aim for an amount higher than this (about 0.6 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day but not over 1 gr/pound/day). Good sources of high quality protein include lean meat, eggs, fish, chicken, nuts, legumes and fruits.
Fat is not all that bad. For the body to build muscle mass and to have enough energy, there should be a minimal amount of healthy fat in the diet. Fat should be unsaturated fat, such as that found in avocados, nuts, seeds, lean meat, live oil and fish.
Antioxidants are natural plant-based substances that eliminate free radicals from the body. Free radicals slow down the body’s performance so that you cannot exercise effectively to build muscle mass. Examples of antioxidants include Vitamin C, selenium and Vitamin E. Vitamin C can also reduce muscle soreness after a workout while Vitamin E and selenium can protect muscle tissue from free radical damage.
The B vitamins are composed of Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin or niacinamide), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, or pyridoxamine, or pyridoxine hydrochloride), Vitamin B7 (biotin), Vitamin B9 (folic acid) and Vitamin B12 (cobalamins). These vitamins help muscles metabolize carbohydrates and protein to build muscle mass. They also help amino acids build and repair muscle tissue.
Iron and Zinc
Iron facilitates transfer of oxygen from the blood to the muscle tissues. Adequate oxygen is needed for our muscles to perform its functions and in building muscle mass. Zinc helps build protein, nucleic acids, testosterone and insulin which are all related in building muscle mass