Muscle building workouts for mass
There’s no mincing words about it: if you want to bulk up like Kai Cutler or any other pro bodybuilding star, you’re going to have to be willing to sweat for your dream. Ample muscle mass, the kind where every vein, peak, and bulge is visible is not achieved without effort and intensity. This, of course, doesn’t mean that you’re going to have to spend two hours per day at the gym. In fact, such an approach is not at all recommended to most men. Your workouts need to be quick and intense, because that’s what gets your metabolism fired up enough to amass muscle fiber. In the following, we bring you a muscle building workout schedule that promises to help you put on 10 pounds of lean muscle mass over the course of a single week.
Does that sound impossible? It’s not, although it’s not sustainable for the long run. Eventually, your body is going to run out of space to expand muscle mass and the rate of lean mass growth will subside. However, there are plenty of programs and workout routines out there designed to help fitness enthusiasts pack on as much as 2 to 3 pounds of lean muscle mass on aweekly basis. In order to achieve such a goal, however, you’re going to have to dedicate yourself to it, both at the gym, as well as in the kitchen. The muscle building dieting plan has a separate section of its own, at the end of this article, so, for the time being, we’re just going to tell you that there’s no way to put on muscle if your body isn’t getting enough calories and macronutrients (specifically protein). But before we get to the bulking meal plan diet, let’s focus on the weight training aspect of your mission.
The workout plan for building muscle mass below has been designed with two distinct stages. It is inspired by pro weight lifters, as well as reputed online sources such as Bodybuilding.com, Mens Health, and Muscle & Fitness. It’s mostly dedicated to men and it aims to strike just the right balance between building muscle mass through workouts, making sure you’re gaining muscle volume at the right pace, and constantly challenging your body through boosting the intensity of your exercises. At the end of the next month, not only will you look more chiseled and sculpted, but you’ll also feel leaner, stronger, and up for any challenge.
Feel free to download the workout routine below in .pdf format, to print it out for your convenience. Also, if any of the exercises described below sound unfamiliar, we encourage you to check out video tutorials from experienced bodybuilders on YouTube. The guys will show you what you need to do!
Stage I: Heavy lifting
During the first two weeks of your muscle building workout, you’re going to be lifting heavier weights than usual, putting in compound exercises that aim to help you put on mass, and also doing fewer reps than you may be accustomed. That’s because the first stage of the bulking up program is all about increasing overall levels of lean mass within your body. Most exercises, except for the ones that target your ab muscles and the calves of your legs, will only ask you to put in 6 to 8 repetitions, so selecting heavy enough weights is essential. Also, bear in mind that isolating the various muscle groups is not the focus of this first stage of the program. Your chest, shoulders, legs, and back will all be working toward lifting more weight, which, in turn, means they’ll be getting stronger and larger.
The overall structure of this first stage is as follows: all muscle groups require 11 sets, save for shoulders, for which you’ll be putting in 15 sets. Each major part of your body will get one week to be worked out – no more, no less. The logic behind this is simple enough: you cannot amass muscular mass if your body doesn’t get enough time to recover. In other words, don’t overexert yourself, only to do longer, more drawn out sets. Your body might respond to this by entering the catabolic stage, during which it actually breaks down the muscle tissue, instead of building it up. As such, think of your days of rest as part and parcel of the workout routine for muscle building and don’t even think of getting to the gym on those days.
For the first two weeks, you’ll be exercising for four days out of 7. Each of the daily schedules target a larger body part (the chest, the shoulders, the back, the quadriceps and hamstrings), paired up with a smaller muscle group – or two, on occasion (triceps, biceps, trapeze muscles, calf muscles, and abdominals. This way, by the time you reach the most complex compound exercises in the program, the part which also involves the heaviest weight lifting, your muscles will be fresh to start all over again.
Day 1 – Pectorals and tricep muscles
For the chest:
3 sets of 6 to 8 reps of incline barbell presses
4 sets of 6 to 8 reps of flat bench dumbbell presses
4 sets of 6 to 8 reps of weighted dips
For the tricep muscles:
4 sets of 6 to 8 reps of close grip bench presses
3 sets of 6 to 8 reps of lying tricep extensions
Day 2 – Abdominals, calves, and leg muscles
For the quads, hamstrings and glutes
3 sets of 6 to 8 reps of Smith machine squats
4 sets of 6 to 8 reps of leg presses
4 sets of 6 to 8 reps of hack squats
For the hamstrings
4 sets of 6 to 8 reps of Romanian deadlifts
For the calves
3 sets of 20 reps of standing calf raises
For the abs:
2 sets of 20 reps of hanging leg raises
2 sets of 20 reps of cable crunches
Day 3 – Shoulder muscles and trapeze muscles
For the shoulders:
3 sets of 6 to 8 reps of overhead dumbbell presses
4 sets of 6 to 8 reps of Arnold presses
4 sets of 6 to 8 reps of barbell upright rows
4 sets of 6 to 8 reps of bent-over lateral raises
For the traps:
3 sets of 6 to 8 reps of dumbbell shrugs (but no more than 5x5 sets of reps)
Day 4 – Back muscles, abs, and bicep muscles
For the back:
3 sets of 6 to 8 reps of deadlifts
4 sets of 6 to 8 reps of barbell bent-over rows
4 sets of 6 to 8 reps of T-bar rows
For the ab muscles:
2 sets of 20 reps of crunches
For the biceps:
4 sets of 6 to 8 reps of barbell curls
4 sets of 6 to 8 reps of incline dumbbell curls
3 sets of 6 to 8 reps of preacher curls
Stage II: Getting intense about it
To perfect your muscle mass gaining workout program, you’re going to focus on giving your whole body an intensity boost, during weeks three and four of your routine. By this time, you will have already bulked up to some extent, but you’ll continue to add mass, while also focusing on pulling off more intense workouts. To this end, you’ll notice that the number of repetitions included for each exercise increases a bit – most will involve sets of 10 to 12. Bodybuilding experts believe this rep range to be the ideal one for muscular hypertrophy, or, in plain language, for muscle growth.
These final two weeks will also include isolation exercises, which precede compound circuits for your legs, shoulders, back, and chest. This is a workout technique that focuses on bringing you into a state of pre-exhaustion and it’s highly effective for raising the intensity bar, while also keeping the workout effective. You’ll still be working toward increasing volume and mass, but the growth will be more subtle and perhaps less visible. Underneath the skin, though, your muscles will be working up a storm, since isolation exercises will exhaust specific muscle groups, while compound exercises will lead your main muscles to failure, but before the collapse of the muscles that assist them. For instance, you’ll be putting in dumbbell flyes for your chest, directly targeting your pecs, but, at the same time, you’ll be sparing your triceps, to keep them from reaching failure pre workout end for the day.
On these last two weeks you’ll also be working out for four days a week, but the muscle group pairing will be entirely different this time. On one day you’ll be working on your bicep and tricep, while on another, you’ll be focusing on enhancing your back and pectoral muscles. This will effectively keep your body from getting used to these new levels of effort. Besides this, mixing it up will also keep your body challenged and ready to amass muscle. If you’re a fan of drop sets you’ll be glad to know that they, too, are included in each workout, because they’re great for intensity boosts. However, there’s just one drop set included for each bodypart, because, as explained above, you want to avoid overexertion and the catabolic state.
Throughout this whole month of training to chisel your body, sculpt your muscles, and ultimately pack on ten extra pounds of lean mass, remember to be consistent and persistent. It may get hard at times, but, after all is said and done, you’ll be ten pounds stronger. Also, remember that the point is not to keep you in the gym for as long as possible, but to offer you a boost in intensity, through fast-paced workouts, which will ultimately make your body work in more efficient ways.
Day 1 – Chest and back muscles
For the chest:
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of dumbbell flyes
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of bench presses
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of incline dumbbell presses
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of cable crossovers
For the back:
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of rack pulls
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of latpulldowns
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of one-arm dumbbell rows
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of wide-grip seated rows
Day 2 – Leg muscles, calves and ab muscles
For the quads, hamstrings and glutes
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of leg extensions
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of barbell squats
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of leg presses
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of hack squats
For the hamstrings
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of Romanian deadlifts
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of lying leg curls
For the calves
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of seated calf raises
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of donkey calf raises
For the abs:
2 sets of 12 reps of reverse crunches
2 sets of 12 reps of hanging knee raises
2 sets of double crunches to the point of collapse
Day 3 – Shoulder and trapeze muscles
For the shoulders:
3 sets of 10 to 12 cable lat raises
3 sets of 10 to 12 Arnold presses
3 sets of 10 to 12 Smith station overhead presses
3 sets of 10 to 12 leaning dumbbell lateral raises
3 sets of 10 to 12 reverse pectoral deck flyes
For the traps:
3 sets of 10 to 12 dumbbell shrugs
3 sets of 10 to 12 incline dumbbell shrugs
Day 4 – Triceps, biceps, and abs
For the triceps:
3 sets of 10 to 12 lying barbell extension reps
3 sets of 10 to 12 weighted bench dip reps
3 sets of 10 to 12 reverse grip pressdown reps
For the biceps:
3 sets of 10 to 12 close-grip EZ Bar curl reps
3 sets of 10 to 12 cable preacher curls
3 sets of 10 to 12 hammer curls
For the abs:
2 sets of 20 reps of hanging leg raises
2 sets of 20 reps of double crunches
Muscle building workouts with no bulk
Some people, women in particular, are afraid that weight training will cause them to bulk up to Hulk-like proportions and tend to avoid resistance training and lifting altogether. To be fair, this opinion is rooted in myth, to a far greater extent than it is based on reality. However, we do understand that for middle-aged women, people of both genders who’ve sustained muscle injuries, and those who are simply looking to lose weight and tone their muscles, instead of cutting and sculpting them, not bulking up is important. That’s because the above mentioned categories are already frail to begin with: more often than not, their back muscles are too weak to sustain massive development in their chest or shoulder muscles, for instance.
At the same time, women over 40, recovering patients of muscular injuries, and beginners to the world of fitness, too, could definitely use stronger, leaner, longer muscles that would help them give their metabolism a much-needed boost. This is why we’ve put together a list of eight exercises that will help define your muscle tissue, without adding any unnecessary bulks and bulges. They will simply make you feel fitter and more powerful, even if you’re a beginner, while also improving your overall energy levels.
Engaged muscle groups: your lower and upper abs, oblique muscles, thighs, butt
Begin in standing position, with your feet close together. Bend your legs at the knees and push back your hips so that your knees are now positioned behind your toes. Squat to the point that your thighs are parallel to the ground and, at the same time, lift your arms in front of you, then push them straight up. Twist your upper body to the right and grab a hold of your left palm with your right one, so that your left elbow touches the side of your right thigh, precisely above the knee. Hold this stance for three seconds, then resume the initial position. Switch sides to the left for a full repetition. A full set involves at least 3 reps.
Dancing half-moon kicks
Engaged muscle groups: obliques, upper and lower back, butt, arms, hips
The initial position is a straddle, with both knees bent and your feet at a wide distance apart. Your toes should be slightly pointed to the lateral. Straighten out your left leg and switch your whole body weight to the right one. Draw a half-moon figure with both your arms to one side, as if you were holding a large circular object. Bend over to one side from the waist, over your bent knee. Hold this pose for as many seconds at a time as you can, but not to the point of collapse. Then switch sides to get both sides of your obliques going.
Engaged muscle groups: the quadriceps, of course, but also your leg muscles, thighs, and hips
The initial position will have you down on the ground on all fours on the floor, with both your feet either pointing to a wall, or to a large stability ball. Raise your right leg into the air and have your toes point directly upward. Push your knee in front, about 4 inches away from the wall or ball. Perform a slow lunge with your left leg, while your left foot is still firmly planted on the floor. Your knee should be positioned right above your ankle. Raise your torso into the air, then kick the upper part of your right foot into the ball. If you’re not using a ball, make sure this kick is soft and safe, to avoid injury. As you perform the kick, engage your quads, then push your body back and upper body up, by pushing through your left leg. As you push up and back, stretch your quads – this completes one rep. Do 5 to 10 reps on each side.
Engaged muscle groups: arms, shoulders, abs, back muscles
The initial position is the same in which you’d start a push-up: your palms should be placed right underneath your shoulders, while your whole body should be positioned in a straight line, from the head right through the heels. Engage your core, push upward and hop straight in front. As you land, make sure your hands are positioned right next to your feet. Resume the initial position by hopping, digging your elbows into your sides, and then lowering yourself back down to the ground. You’ve just completed one rep and you’re going to want to shoot for at least 10 to 12 reps.
Kneeling gluteus toners
Engaged muscle groups: the glutes, of course, but also your hamstrings, the inner and outer parts of your thighs, abdominal muscles
Kneel down on both legs and keep your knees and shoulder width distance. Grab onto the backrest of a sturdy chair, engage your core and push your pelvic region back. Slide your left leg to the back, raise your knee and foot off the floor. Push your leg back, with your knee still bent and repeat this movement for 20 reps. With your knee positioned behind your hip and your pelvis still pushed back, slightly turn out your leg and lift your foot for 20 reps. Then, raise your leg into the air in a diagonal line, to one side, for another 20 reps. Switch to the other leg and perform another triple set of 20 repetitions.
Opposite arm and leg lifts
Engaged muscle groups: shoulders, upper back, lower back, glutes, entire lower body
The initial position is down on all fours. Your palms should be positioned directly underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Put your right hand out and simultaneously push your opposing leg straight out and back. Hold this position for some 5 seconds, with all your muscles flexed. Relax the muscles and switch over to the opposite side to complete a full repetition. Aim for at least 10 to 15 repetitions.
Twisting knee planks
Engaged muscle groups: upper back, lower back, shoulders, arms, obliques, buttocks
Assume planking position and, with your whole bodyweight supported by your arms, turn your body toward the left, then twist it to the right. Resume the central planking position and touch your left elbow with your left knee pushed in front. Hold this pose for one second, then resume the central balanced position and switch to the other side. Do 20 reps for a complete set.
Single leg deltoid raises
Engaged muscle groups: core, biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, hamstrings, glutes
With a moderately heavy dumbbell in each hand (5 to 8 lbs), orient the palms of your hands toward your body. Bend over from the waist, with your arms hanging neutrally by your sides. Then, raise your left leg behind it, to align it in a straight line with your upper body. Engage your shoulders to raise your weights until your arms are parallel to the floor. Then lower your arms to complete a full repetition on one side. Perform 15 reps on each side.
Triceps down dogs
Engaged muscle groups: upper body, shoulders, bicep, tricep
Begin in plank position, or the initial position of a pushup. Lower your whole body as close to the floor as you can by bending down your elbows. Then, assume the position best known to yoga practitioners as the ‘down dog’ by pushing your hips up into the air and digging the balls of your heels into the ground. Slowly lower yourself back down into a plank. Repeat this entire movement ten times.
Quick and effective muscle building workouts
One of the seemingly ever elusive goals of fitness and training is that of finding exercises and workouts that help build muscle mass fast. As is the case with most things in today’s society, we want instant gratification and many actually give up too soon on their muscle building workouts, because they don’t see obvious results quickly enough. While throwing in the towel only after a couple of trips to the gym is a bad idea, it is no less true that some exercises will burn fat and build muscle quicker than others. So, what sets fast muscle building exercises apart? It’s two factors:
1. They work on the major muscle groups. The bigger the muscular area involved in a particular workout, the more effective the workout will be and the more intense the state of anabolism that it induces. Anabolic states are the ones that determine your muscle mass to expand.
2. They don’t overexert your joints. Joint injuries are particularly dangerous because, unlike muscular tissue, the soft tissues of the tendons and ligaments take a long time to heal. As such, when vying for fast muscle growth, one should always opt for exercises that put less pressure on the joints and more on the muscles. This can be achieved with weightlifting, too, contrary to popular belief, since some exercises simply take a heavier toll on the soft tissue around the bone joints than others.
That being said, let us take a look at the top ten exercises that will help you put on more muscle mass in a shorter span of time than you thought was possible. If you’re having trouble building muscle, perhaps you should throw a few of them into your regular workout routine for good measure.
10. The deadlift
Many a pro weightlifter will swear by the deadlift and tell you there is no quicker way to put on muscle mass. To a certain extent, their opinion holds water, since the deadlift puts the highest number of muscles to work simultaneously, of all the strength training and weight lifting exercises out there. It literally helps you pack on muscle, both on your upper body, as well as on your lower body. Some worry about its risks, but with the proper form, it should pose no threat to your integrity. This exercise engages no fewer than 25 main muscles, among which your entire back (the lower back, upper back, and middle back), your glutes, abs, hamstrings, quadriceps, and forearms.
09. The leg press
There are several similarities between leg presses and squats, in the sense that both rely mainly on your leg muscles. While the leg press is effective in fast muscle building in routines, it’s comparatively less efficient, since it engages fewer muscles. That’s because you perform it while seated on an incline bench; the upside to this is that it’s far easier and safer to do a leg press. The support the bench backrest provides will help you stabilize your core easier, and, consequently, exert less pressure on your ab and back muscles. Since your core has a low range of motion, the hamstrings and glutes are also less involved in the leg press than they are in the squat. However, if you’re looking to build leg muscle, the leg press is great for your quads, which it directly targets and hits with very heavy loads.
08. The pullup
It’s also known as the chinup and it’s considered the best way to develop muscle mass in your upper body. It works several major muscle groups in this area, including the latissimusdorsi (upper back), posterior deltoids (the back of your shoulders), the biceps, and the brachialis (the elbow flexors located in your forearm area). The slight difference between pull-ups and chin-ups is that the former will have your palms facing away from you, while the latter will have them directly turned toward you. If you’re looking to give your wrists and, implicitly, your bicep, a better workout, then do pull ups, since they also activate one of the muscles in your rotator cuff. If, however, this hurts, or if you’ve previously suffered injuries in this area, then go for chin ups.
07. The dip
A quick and easy way to build tricep muscle mass is to start putting in massive numbers of dip reps. This exercise will effectively activate all the sub-groups of muscles in your tricep, as well as the anterior deltoid (located in the frontal part of your chest) and the rhomboidal muscles on your back. Careful not to push your pecs, shoulders, and elbows beyond what they can take. Dips are usually not recommended for people with shoulder issues, unless they perform a variant that allows for a more narrow ROM (range of motion).
06. The dumbbell calf raise
If you’re looking to give your calves a good workout, but don’t care for cardio like treadmill and elliptical training, then look no further than the standing dumbbell calf raise. You can easily perform this muscle building exercise right at home, using nothing more than a pair of dumbbells. Proper form includes flexing your muscles thoroughly at the top of this movement and stretching them during its negative segment, but without losing control over the stability of the muscle. There are numerous variations of this exercise, which target different parts of the calf muscle complex. For instance, seated calf raises are better for the soleus, but they are less efficient for working out the gastrocnemius.
05. The frontal squat
Without a doubt, squats are some of the most commonly performed exercises for the lower body. When performed with weight plates on a barbell, they also become very efficient for increasing muscle mass. The myth regarding the difference between front and back squats said that while the back squat is better for the gluteal muscles, the front one targets the quads. Yet a recent scientific report from the University of Florida seems to suggest that both the frontal and the back squat target the exact same muscles, with the exact same degree of intensity. This means that, in terms of muscle building efficiency, the two exercises are relatively equivalent, with one important difference: frontal squats will put less pressure on your knee caps, which makes them more effective for building mass. Also, given the nature of the movement, frontal squats also recruit the deltoids, which help keep the bar rested on your shoulders. Though, by and large, the frontal squat is more difficult than the back one, since it involves the back muscles to a smaller extent, it’s also less stressful for the muscles in your lower back. Don’t spring for 30 reps right off the bat, but do try at least 8 to 12.
04. The cable chest press
You may have been living under the impression that the top exercise for building chest muscle mass is the barbell bench press. You are, in fact, wrong, since nothing really beats the cable chest press, when it comes to quick muscle building in the pectoral area. First off, the bench press does nothing for your upper body in terms of horizontal adduction, though it does stimulate growth in other areas of your torso. Secondly, barbells can never recruit your chest muscles as well as cables do, for the very simple reason of natural pectoral movement patterns. Cable presses follow them to a tee, which make them more efficient; at the same time, chest presses also make copious use of horizontal adduction, which means they engage more muscles in your upper body than most other mass growth training exercises.
03. The dumbbell bench press
There are as many advantages as there are downsides to performing dumbbell bench presses: for one thing, they exert a lot of pressure on your shoulders, which increases the risk of shoulder injury. For another, they recruit your biceps and triceps in the upward and negative segments of the movement – this means that your pectorals aren’t getting as much direct action as they would with other types of mass building exercises. Yet the dumbbell bench press remains a great compound exercise, which can greatly stimulate muscle growth. To boot, it’s better to use dumbbells rather than a barbell, because the former will allow you a greater range of movement. This freedom of motion will benefit your rotator cuffs, which may otherwise be exerted beyond their means, with a single, fixed bar. As an extra trick for added efficiency, you could choose to perform dumbbell bench presses off the floor. This way, you’ll be making sure that your elbows don’t go behind your shoulders during the negative part of the exercise. That’s a great way to avoid putting unneeded pressure on your delts and wrist rotator cuffs.
02. Bicycle crunches
You’ve probably never considered this very simple and very common ab exercise as being one of the most efficient muscle building workout ingredients, have you? There’s a lot to be said about TV ads that will try to get you to buy some bulky, overpriced machine to do much of the same that a simple set of bicycle crunches can do. They are scientifically proven as the most efficient exercise for your abs, since they recruit all your core muscles. To boot, they’re also very safe and require no extra equipment to perform. Now, if you’re going for the ripped six pack look, bicycle crunches alone are not going to do the trick – at least not without the help of a proper muscle building eating plan and some good old resistance training. Put in some aerobics or HIIT cardio and you’ll be on your way to achieving the chiseled look you’re dreaming of.
01. The barbell bench press
As you may recall, we discussed the myth of barbell bench presses being dubbed the single most efficient pectoral developing exercise. This is, indeed false – barbell bench presses can do far more than that. It works a lot of the major muscle groups in your upper body area, including (but not limited to) your shoulder and chest muscles, as well as your triceps. There are a few things to bear in mind, when including the barbell bench press in your muscle building workout program. For starters, it won’t do that much for your pecs, since it doesn’t fully engage your chest muscles, even at the topmost point of the movement; for better pectoral recruitment, you might want to try chest flies on the butterfly machine, or cable crossover presses. Then, you need to be very careful not to cause damage to the soft tissue in your shoulders when performing barbell bench presses. However, if you abide by the standards of proper form and want an exercise that will help sculpt your deltoids and triceps, this one is it. Proper form entails never bringing the bar fully into your chest, but only lowering your arms to the point at which they’re parallel to the floor.
The best diet for muscle building
Muscles are built in your (home) gym, but also in the kitchen. There is no way you can achieve sustainable results, in your quest for trimming fat and possibly even burning it, toward the goal of weight loss, without the aid of a balanced, muscle enhancing eating regimen. The essential takeaway, as far as losing weight with the aid of training and dietary plans, is to include enough protein and plenty of slow-release carbohydrates into your meals. You will want to match each kilo of bodyweight with a gram of protein, while also avoiding refined carbs and fatty foods. Our list does not include any supplement, such as whey or other types of protein extracts, for, while we don’t have anything against supplements, we’re choosing to focus on whole foods for the purpose of this article. Here are the top ten foods for lean muscle mass, as collected from around the web:
1. Grass-fed beef
All lean protein is great for building muscle, but beef is probably the best source. Not only are lean cuts relatively low calorie and can help you get skinny, but they also contain a lot of other healthful goodies, such as zinc, several vitamins in the B complex, and iron. Plus, the HDL (‘good’ cholesterol) contents of grass fed beef are amazing. It’s essential to pick organic beef, since this type of meat contains a lot more conjugated linoleic acid (also known as CLA) than that from industrially bred cattle.
2. Oranges (as well as other citrus fruit)
Their high levels of citric acid will give you a great vitamin C boost. Now, as anyone who’s ever treated a cold with lots of lemons knows, vitamin C enhances your overall energy levels. Opt for oranges, pomelo (Chinese grapefruit), mandarins or other citrus fruit as a pre-workout snack. You’ll be amazed at how much stronger and more resilient your body feels during the exercises.
3. Brown rice
Whole grains are great for building muscle mass, because they are slow to digest and, consequently, release energy at a slower pace within your body. Instead of feeling depleted and exhausted after your workouts, you’ll be feeling energized and up for any challenge. Additionally, brown rice is a particularly good option, because it enhances your GH (growth hormone) levels. This hormone, in turn, will make it easier for your metabolism to pack on lean mass, trim fat, and improve strength levels.
Most fruits are high in sugar (i.e. fructose), but not this species of melon, which is essentially processed as a quickly digested carb. Have it early in the morning, right after you’ve woken up, or immediately post workout, to recover your energy levels.
Think beets are bland and boring? Think again, if you want to pack on some muscle. These amazing fruits are great for your liver and joints, as they contain a substance called betaine (or trimethylglycine), but also for your nitric oxide levels. NO helps propagate oxygen within your metabolism with more efficiency, thereby aiding in muscle fiber recovery, post-workout.
6. Organic cottage cheese
This is a great source of casein, the one protein that your body takes the longest time to process. In other words, if you want to avoid your metabolism ‘feeding’ on your muscles during the night, have a serving of cottage cheese right before you go to sleep.
The benefits of eggs have been endlessly touted and for good reason, too. The whites contain a lot of useful protein, the yolks are rich in HDL and, overall, eating eggs will lower LDL levels, thus helping you prevent atherosclerosis.
If you’re squeamish about introducing whey protein into your diet, you can opt for a food that naturally contains it: milk. It also includes casein and amino acid, not to mention those coveted omega 3 fatty acid (found in far higher quantities in organic milk).
It’s more than a fad ‘super food’ – it’s a slow digesting carb and a whole protein, which will spur your IGF-1 levels, thus raising your insulin levels. There’s no simpler way to improve your strength and encourage muscle mass development through what you eat.
Popeye knew what he was talking about. Spinach is rich in iron, of course, but also in glutamine. This amino acid is essential for building lean muscle mass.