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Selecting Food that Builds Muscle

Updated on May 23, 2013
Lean chicken is an excellent source of protein and leucine
Lean chicken is an excellent source of protein and leucine

When you begin lifting weights, and you are hoping to gain muscle mass because of your efforts, it is very important to select food that builds muscle, or food that aids in the muscle building process.

The Three Building Blocks

There are three different building blocks to the muscle growth equation. The first is protein, and that is the most obvious of them all because muscles are made from protein. The muscles need this protein in order to make repairs to themselves after a hard workout. Typically you need to shoot for between .4 and .8 grams of proteins for each pound of your body. When you are taking in these proteins, make sure that you don't eat more than 30 grams at a time, because anything more than that isn't going to be utilized effectively by your body.

Leuicine is the next nutrient that you have to focus on, and your goal is to hit around 10 grams in a day. Leucine has been shown to actually stimulate muscle growth, in studies, so it's pretty important to get. Leucine is more difficult to get than protein is, and your body handles it best at around 2 to 3 gram amounts at a time, so don't go crazy with it for any single meal that you have.

Finally there is choline. Choline is the precursor to acetylcholine which is a substance in your body that helps you maintain performance and focus during difficult workouts. While it won't really aid in muscle repair, it still helps with muscle growth because it allows you to work harder in the gym when you have a fresh supply of it in your body. You need around 1 gram a day, and it will help you feel better, and perform better after each of your workouts as well.


Although supplements aren't really necessary, they are pretty useful for keeping the muscle building process going when you don't have enough time to eat all of those natural foods that your body needs.

Look for supplements that have all three of the different nutrients of muscle growth, protein, choline, and leucine, and make sure that you carry them around with you so you can use them when you need them. The powders for use in shakes are usually much more affordable than the bars are, for the amount of nutrition that you get from them, but they are also less convenient.

With the powder you have to find something to put it in before drinking it. While you can just pour some into your water bottle after you are done at the gym, it tastes much better if it has been thrown in a blender, and mixed with some ice, or some fruit to help combine it better.

If supplements are the only way that you are going to get the protein and the rest of the nutrients that your body needs right after a workout, then they are well worth the investment, because you will notice better gains that way.

Selecting food that builds muscle doesn't have to be a difficult task at all. As soon as you understand the nutrients that you need, you can just check to see what food has them and build up a mental list of helpful foods as you go.


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    • bskinner profile image

      bskinner 4 years ago

      No problem I'm in a similar situation and glad to help.

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 4 years ago from United States

      I'm a bit skinny and want to boost my body a little. Thanks for your dietary suggestions! :)