It’s a pretty regular scene: Someone is working out regularly with a well-designed program but isn’t getting the results they’re looking for – whether it’s losing or gaining weight. In these cases, the first thing any competent trainer is likely to do is examine that person’s diet. It is absolutely stunning how often people neglect this vital aspect of fitness. The truth, though, is that you simply cannot out-train a poor diet.
If you’re trying to gain weight, for example, you could actually be doing more harm than good by lifting without making sure your diet is in check. Each time you exercise, you are damaging your muscles in the hopes that this will stimulate the repair work that will make them bigger and stronger. But this work cannot be properly carried out unless your body has the right nutrients in the right amounts. Nutrition, then, makes sure that you can actually benefit from all that hard work in the gym.
So, what follows is a list (in no particular order) of the best foods and best supplements for mass gains.
- Chicken – Not only is chicken fairly inexpensive but it is a complete, lean protein. This means that it contains all the necessary amino acids for muscle growth and very little fat. The fat that it does contain, though, is extremely beneficial and will help to support other biological functions – including a healthy metabolism and cardiovascular system.
- Tuna and other fish – Many forms of fish, including tuna, salmon and sardines are excellent forms of complete proteins. Again, fish is also a rich source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids that have a huge number of benefits for your brain and body. Fish also has the added element of convenience since it can purchased in a number of forms and prepared a huge number of ways. It should be noted, though, that quality fish can be a little on the pricey side.
- Whey – Derived from milk, whey protein has been considered one of the best supplements for mass by bodybuilders and athletes for decades both because of its convenience and nutritional merit. Not only is whey a complete protein but it is also quickly absorbed and put to use. Since whey is usually purchased as a powder, it can easily be mixed in with other beverages and used to make a shake for a quick meal or snack.
- Lean Beef – Red meats like beef tend to get a bad rap these days but the truth is that no solid science supports the idea that they’re inherently bad for your heart. In fact, quality grass-fed beef is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is actually good for your cardiovascular health. That being said, select lean cuts of beef so that you are getting as much protein per meal as possible.
- Casein – Although it tends to get overshadowed by whey, casein is another highly beneficial milk protein. Like whey, casein is a complete protein and is available as an easy-to-use powder. Unlike whey, however, it is absorbed very slowly – over the course of several hours. This makes casein a good choice as a meal replacement.