Burn Fat, Build Muscle, Look Great, Feel Great

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Many people have no problem going to the gym on a regular basis, but many find it difficult to build significant muscle mass. This is because the real gains are made in the kitchen with a balanced diet and for building muscle.

When you eat a diet optimized for muscle growth, you can train at peak performance and recover faster, so you can hit the gym harder and more often. Dr. Amy Lee, Head of Nutrition for Nucificshares her top tips for building muscle in the kitchen and getting results faster.

Shaped, healthy body building man holding a fresh salad bowl, shaped abs
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How your body builds muscle

First, let’s look at how your body builds muscle. Your body constantly fluctuates between a catabolic (breakdown) and anabolic (buildup) metabolic process. Muscle grows when your body stays in a net positive anabolic environment.

Many factors can influence whether your body is in a catabolic or anabolic state. Some include the quality of sleep you get, the foods you consume, how often you exercise, the amount of alcohol or processed foods you consume, and the amount of stress you are under.

Building muscle is like a gentle dance; more is not always better. Too many calories and your body will start storing the excess as fat. Not enough and your body won’t be able to build muscle as expected. Balancing macronutrients is key when it comes to a muscle building diet.

Macronutrients are the three essential nutrients our bodies need to survive. They are fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Each of them plays an important role in keeping us healthy, but protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to building muscle through diet.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the building blocks of muscle and “induce what we call an anabolic state by stimulating muscle protein synthesis and reducing inflammation…” said Dr. Lee.

Reducing inflammation helps with muscle repair and recovery. Consuming BCAAs provides your body with the nutrients it needs to build muscle.

“BCAAs are going to be your best friend,” Dr. Lee explained. When it comes to building muscle, the body needs 20 amino acids to function properly, 9 of which are essential, meaning our bodies cannot create them on their own. If so, they must be consumed through our diet.

One of the best ways to do this is to eat a wide variety of whole foods and opt for the least processed option whenever possible. Eating a balanced muscle building diet will give your growing muscles the micronutrients and vitamins they need.

Person writing in a notebook that has a meal plan template inside.
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Meal planning for muscle growth

When it comes to losing fat and building muscle, being consistent and planning ahead are your two best options. We’ve all been there: 9:56pm on a Wednesday and haven’t eaten since breakfast. You have an early morning meeting and are debating whether to eat or go to bed.

You wouldn’t even be in this situation if you had a ready meal in the fridge. YES, meal planning requires some adjustmentbut once you get the hang of it, you’ll probably never run out of a meal plan again. It’s up to you how complicated or simple you want to plan your meal. For some, meal planning for three weeks at once may be the best option. Others just plan their meals on a calendar, and that’s enough to keep them on track.

You can eat strategically to meet your nutritional needs by planning your meals. So, what should your macronutrient requirements look like? Second research, an optimal balanced diet for muscle growth consists of consuming 15% to 20% of calories from fat, 25% to 30% of calories from protein, and 55% to 60% of calories from carbohydrates. With this you can calculate your macronutrient requirements online calculator.

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Meals and recipe ideas for a muscle building diet

You should include a variety of whole foods in your muscle-building diet and avoid processed foods containing chemicals and additives. These foods contain sodium, trans fats, and refined sugars that can slow recovery. But instead of focusing on the foods you can’t eat, focus on the ones you can.

Since protein is your new best friend, it’s important to note that quality matters. The good news is that protein comes into play so many delicious shapes. Even for vegetariansthere are many ways to consume the required amount of protein from a variety of sources, such as tofu and nuts.

According to Dr. Lee, “BCAAs are found in lean protein like tuna, chickenand lean cuts of beef. They can also be found in cereals and beans like chickpeaslentils, whole wheat and brown rice.

When it comes to getting quality macros from your diet, whole foods are always the best option. But if you’re stuck, many supplements and protein powders also contain BCAAs. These supplements can be a good option when you’re short on time or need to significantly increase your calorie intake.

What’s the point of creating a system if it doesn’t work for you? The best meal plan is one that you stick to consistently and that allows you to get through the week stress-free, knowing you’re fueling your body with what it needs to achieve your fitness goals.

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