20 Super Healthy Foods to Help You Gain Muscle

There is not one special food that will instantly result in you being able to gain muscle. Instead you need to eat a healthy mix of different forms of protein.

Healthy Foods to Help you Gain Muscle

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How to gain muscle

One of the most desired dreams of average gym goers and Crossfitters is building muscle mass and at the same time losing fat. The body cannot turn fat into muscle, however, it can enhance fat burning while maintaining lean muscle mass by choosing the right diet and exercises with strength components.

The first law of thermodynamics says: When energy passes, as work, as heat, or with matter, into or out from a system, the system’s internal energy changes in accord with the law of conservation of energy. It means that the body cannot produce more energy than it gets, which rules out building muscle and losing fat at the same time.

However, our body is an adaptable organism and this adaptability is managed by hormones. In a hormonally favourable environment, the body can switch into a mood where it preserves muscle mass and uses stored fat for energy.

BURN FAT

The main hormone responsible for directing energy into muscles is insulin produced by the pancreatic cells. When the muscle cells are refilled, insulin directs the excess energy into fat stores. Insulin blood level can be manipulated by diet, activity and sometime it is the result of medical conditions, such as diabetes. Therefore insulin sensitivity is the key to losing fat while building muscle mass.

6-pack-abs gain muscle

Build muscle – Photo courtesy of The CrossFit Games 

© Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc

Insulin is released into the blood, when there is too much sugar. Low carbohydrate intake keeps the sugar low and insulin is not triggered, therefore it won’t store the excess energy in fat tissue. Insulin sensitivity can also by improved by exercise. According to a study published in the Journal of Sport Medicine, a single bout of exercise can increase insulin sensitivity for up to 16 hours post workout.

BUILD AND GAIN MUSCLE

Testosterone is important for the growth processes in the body, including building muscle mass. Any type of exercise increases testosterone levels but lifting weights has bigger effect. It was proved by research on exercise physiology at the University of Southern California (USC). Dr. Todd Schroeder, associate professor at USC, listed heavier loads and shorter rest periods as the main testosterone boosters. Apart from building muscle mass, testosterone, improves body´s efficiency to burn fat.

Intensive workout uses up the energy stored in the muscles and also breaks down the muscle fibers. Naturally, they respond to this stimulus by repairing themselves in order to get stronger and more resistant. Sufficient dose of protein, which is the main building block, and healthy fats that take action in healing mechanisms, is needed. Therefore protein intake of 1 gram per pound of bodyweight is recommended, while also focusing on healthy fats, such as fish oil.

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