You have probably heard the old saying that abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym. The popular fitness saying points out the truism that proper nutrition is critical when it comes to building muscle and shaping physiques.
It remains important to follow a good exercise and weight-lifting routine to build strength in your biceps, triceps, pecs and calves. But your hard work and muscular gains can be hidden behind layers of chunky fat if equal attention isn’t paid to what goes into your mouth.
While candy bars and French fries aren’t ideal for six-pack sculpting, keep in mind it’s not all about the foods you should skimp on or skip.
These seven foods combined with heavy lifting can help you “whip up a batch of biceps in no time,” as a Men’s Health article puts it:
- EGGS: This nutrition-packed orb packs more muscle-building-friendly protein per punch than any other food. Eggs also have vitamins B6, B12, D and E, iron, riboflavin, folate, phosphorus and zinc. Be sure to eat the whole thing (shells not included).
- ALMONDS: Full of Vitamin E, these nuts provide an antioxidant that limits free-radical damage after workouts and encourages muscle recovery. Bonus: The Journal of American Medical Association found that men who eat vitamin E have a 67 percent lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease than those who eat the least.
- SALMON: This fish combines great protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Not only does salmon help in the muscle-building process, but it also reduces risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- BEEF: Supplies your body with protein, iron, zinc and more muscle-aiding creatine than any other food.
- OLIVE OIL: Monounsaturated fat prohibits muscle deterioration and gives your body free-radical fighters in vitamin E, especially when it’s extra-virgin olive oil. Good for your heart, colon, diabetes prevention and foils osteoporosis.
- WATER: Muscles consist of about 80 percent water and keeping hydrated will help protein synthesis that builds muscle.
- CAFFEINE: This stimulant can help you lift more weight, although those with a high blood pressure history should avoid using it.
That isn’t the only grub that’s good for your muscles, either.
Mydailymoment.com listed eight nutrient-rich foods that can help you pack on good pounds without dinging your wallet. Their list, which includes some duplicate foods:
- Eggs: Packed with protein, healthy fat, vitamins
- Ground beef: Inexpensive protein
- Whole milk: Bulk-helping protein, fat
- Peanut butter: Good fat and protein
- Oats: Quality carbohydrate and fiber
- Whey protein: Cheap, useful protein
- Olive oil: Healthy fat
- Tuna: 25 grams of lean protein