Muscle Growth Foods: The Best Foods to Gain Muscle

To develop muscle mass, you need training in the gym and appropriate nutrition. Both of these factors must work together to achieve results.

Failures in building muscle may be because one of the components of the process was missing – a properly balanced diet.

To build muscle, you must focus on eating more calories than you need for daily activities.

The diet should contain foods high in protein. However, carbohydrates and fats are energy sources, without which classes in the gym will be less effective.

This article provides a list of foods that promote muscle building.

Nutrition for building muscle mass – the main rules

Weight gain depends on a calorie surplus. You need about 25% more calories to increase muscle mass than the daily requirement. However, calories can be empty.

Those who want to build muscle should follow a diet of essential nutrients. The main nutrients that provide the body with the necessary metabolic energy are:

  • Carbohydrates;
  • Proteins;
  • Fats.
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To distribute the energy obtained from these substances, it must be taken into account that 1 gram contains:

  • Carbs 4 calories;
  • Protein 4 calories;
  • Fat 9 calories.

How much protein should you consume per day?

Proteins are molecules made up of essential amino acids. Except for some, the human body cannot synthesize itself. Therefore, they must come from outside.

Protein is responsible for several functions in the body, including muscle building. It is the building block of muscles. Up to 60 percent of the protein consumed is found in muscle tissue.

Each intense physical effort causes damage to protein structures, which need to be restored. Therefore, the intake should be ensured by meals during the day, as well as with the use of nutritional supplements.

The daily requirement for this nutrient is 1 gram per 1 kg of weight. The recommended amount for people who want to build muscle mass is 1.8-2.2 grams of protein per 1 kg of body weight. In some cases, trainers recommend increasing intake to 2.5 grams.

However, it must be remembered that excess is also harmful to the body, can overload the kidneys, and lead to calcium loss and osteoporosis. With increased protein intake, you must increase the amount of water you drink – about 3 liters per day. Thus, it will be easier for the kidneys to eliminate harmful waste products.

Protein Sources:

  • Eggs;
  • Cottage cheese;
  • Milk;
  • Cheese;
  • Yogurt;
  • Meat.

Protein should be included in every meal, and dinner should consist only of protein foods. When you sleep at night, muscle growth hormone is released.

How many carbs do you need?

Carbohydrates are also needed for building muscle. In the body, they are partially converted into glycogen deposited in the muscles.

In addition, they provide energy, which is necessary for training.

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According to scientists, the daily intake of carbohydrates in adults should be at most 50%. Half of the calories per day should come from carbohydrates. Try to choose quality products.

It is recommended to use the following:

  • Vegetables;
  • Fruit;
  • legumes;
  • Potato;
  • Cereals;
  • Cereals.

These foods contain complex carbohydrates released slowly without creating stored glucose concentrations as fat. Allow you to not feel hungry for longer.

In addition, the food groups listed above contain fiber. Therefore, they support the proper functioning of the intestines and regulate cholesterol levels.

Fats and Muscle Building

They contain minerals and vitamins necessary for the proper functioning of the body.

Fats should make up 30% – 35% of your daily calorie intake. In nutrition for gaining muscle mass, a share of 15-30% of total calories is recommended.

Try to choose quality fats, such as:

  • Olive oil;
  • Walnuts;
  • pistachios;
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon and halibut;
  • Avocado;
  • Dairy;
  • Coconut oil.

Avoid trans fats.

Of the total fat intake, 20% should be unsaturated fats and 10% saturated.

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Fats are essential in an athlete’s diet. Increase the growth of muscle mass and even increase libido. They also serve as a source of energy for the muscles. Metabolism is slower than carbohydrates but more efficient.

Muscle Building Products

For some people, gaining weight or muscle mass is much more difficult than for others. Adding the right healthy foods to your diet can make the process more efficient.


Eggs are one of the best foods that promote muscle building. Provides the perfect combination of high-quality protein and healthy fats.


  • High-quality protein;
  • Healthy fats;
  • B vitamins;
  • Other nutrients such as choline.

One chicken egg contains 5-6 grams of protein.

Consist of amino acids, including leucine, which is needed to build muscle mass.

In addition, B vitamins are critical for various processes in the body, including energy production.

Almost all of the beneficial nutrients of eggs are found in the yolk. In addition, low-calorie quickly absorbed by the human body.

There are no restrictions on the amount of consumption during the day.


Milk contains both high-quality protein and a mixture of fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein.

Studies have shown that muscle mass gains are faster with a combination of fast and slow-digesting milk proteins.

However, not all milk and dairy products are the same. For example, yogurt contains more protein.

It can be consumed after exercise or before bed.


Milk provides a mixture of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Like other dairy products, it contains quickly and slowly digested proteins.


Cheese has been one of the staple foods of man for centuries. Protein source. Contains a lot of calories and healthy fats if eaten in large quantities.

Chicken breast

Chicken breast is considered a muscle-building fiber for a reason. Contains 23 grams of protein for every 100 grams.

Easily digestible and does not threaten with a large amount of fat, so it does not cause a feeling of heaviness after eating.

Niacin and vitamin B6 are also present, which is useful for active people. These vitamins help the body to function normally during exercise.

Some studies have shown that a high-protein diet containing chicken can promote fat loss.

To avoid extra calories, cook on the grill, in the oven, or steam. Avoid frying and the use of unhealthy additives.

Lean beef meat

Source of energy, vitality, and amino acids. It allows you to build muscle mass faster and is extremely popular among bodybuilders.

Contains many vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Iron, zinc, selenium;
  • B vitamins, including niacin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, and cobalamin;
  • fat-soluble vitamins;
  • Creatine

Studies have shown that lean red meat can increase muscle mass gained during strength training.

100 grams of 70% lean beef contains 228 calories and 15 grams of fat.

However, the same amount of lean ground beef contains slightly more protein and only 145 calories, and 5 grams of fat.

Turkey breast

One hundred grams of turkey breast contains up to 25 grams of protein and almost no fat or carbohydrates.

Turkey is also a source of niacin, which helps the body process fats and carbohydrates.

Having an optimal level of B vitamins supports the body’s ability to train, helping to build muscle over time.


Every 100 grams contains 17 grams of protein, 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, and several B vitamins.

Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in muscle health and promote growth during exercise programs.


While not as good in omega-3 fatty acids as salmon, tilapia is another high-protein seafood. A 100-gram serving contains 21 grams of protein and lots of vitamin B12 and selenium.


In addition to protein, tuna contains vitamins A, B12, nicotinic acid, and vitamin B6. These nutrients are involved in energy production.

In addition, it provides the right amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which can support muscle strength.

It is recommended to include tuna for the elderly. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids slow down the loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with age.

Easy to prepare, tasty, and does not cause problems in the digestion process.


Shrimp are almost pure protein. Each 100-gram serving contains 18 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and zero carbs. Few calories.

Like many other animal proteins, they are rich in the amino acid leucine, which is essential for muscle growth.


Soybeans are known for the presence of amino acids. It can be consumed in any form, such as tofu or soy milk.

In addition to amino acids, they contain:

  • Healthy unsaturated fats;
  • vitamins;
  • Minerals.

Source of vitamin K, iron, and phosphorus.

Iron is used to store and transport oxygen to the blood and muscles.


Many types of beans can be part of a healthy muscle-building diet. It is a source of vegetable protein. Popular varieties such as black beans, pintos, and kidney beans contain up to 15 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Rich in magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. Sources of fiber and B vitamins.


In addition to protein, a lot of fiber and other carbohydrates. Buckwheat is a popular food product due to its content of vitamin and minerals.

There are B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. These vitamins and minerals help build muscle.


Rich in protein and amino acids, essential for muscle recovery after a workout. In addition, it is a source of complex carbohydrates, thanks to which the body receives the energy for a long time.


Source of carbohydrates and proteins. Like many plants, chickpea protein is inferior to animal proteins.

brown rice

Brown rice, in addition to protein, is a source of carbohydrates, which will allow you to work out longer, stimulating muscle growth.


Lentils are one of the popular members of the legume family due to their nutritional value. Low calorie, contains fiber and antioxidants that are beneficial to health.

The minerals it contains help prevent muscle breakdown and dehydration. Offers amino acids that help build and maintain muscle mass.

Complex carbohydrates support energy levels, improving physical performance.


Oatmeal is a source of valuable carbohydrates that provide energy for the whole day. Thanks to this, the body will burn carbohydrates instead of proteins when exercising in the gym, and the accumulated muscle mass will not be lost.

Every 100 grams contains:

  • 352 kcal;
  • 11 grams of protein;
  • 55 grams of carbohydrates;
  • 9 grams of fiber;
  • 7 grams of fat.

Best consumed in the morning during breakfast.

Nuts and nut butter

Nuts and oils are ideal for those looking to build muscle. This is due to the high content of healthy fats and amino acids.

Sources of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant compounds. Fiber helps maintain optimal digestion.

Because they are high in calories, just two handfuls a day with meals or as a snack can quickly add hundreds of calories to your diet.


Peanuts are a source of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Half a glass contains:

  • 17 grams of protein;
  • 16 grams of carbohydrates and unsaturated fats;
  • 425 calories.

In addition, it contains more leucine than other plant foods.


Almonds are a protein, vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorus source.

As with peanuts, you should not consume too much due to the calorie content.

Olive oil

Olive oil contains vitamins A, E, D, and K. It prevents the formation of free radicals. The contained omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids positively affect the production of testosterone, the most important hormone associated with the development of the body when building muscle mass.


This green vegetable is low in calories and fat. Rich in antioxidants and essential amino acids to help build muscle.

Nutritionists recommend spinach for weight loss, as it prolongs the feeling of fullness and improves metabolism.

Key minerals help prevent muscle weakness and balance electrolyte levels. Provides the energy needed for exercise


Potatoes and other starchy foods are an economical and easy way to add extra calories to your daily diet.

Potatoes help build muscle mass and increase muscle glycogen stores. Glycogen is the main source of energy for most sports.

Many foods also contain other nutrients, fiber, and resistant starch, which feeds gut bacteria.

Red fruits

They provide the body with vitamins C and E, which support the regeneration and growth of muscle cells. In addition, vitamin C is essential for synthesizing collagen, a protein that builds tendons, skin, and strong bones.


This is a healthy pre-workout snack due to its potassium content. After a workout, they will help to restore strength quickly. The sugars in bananas are not broken down in the liver but are used to make muscle glycogen.


Unlike other fruits, avocados are quite high in calories and, therefore, suitable for weight gain.

One large avocado contains:

  • 322 calories;
  • 29 grams of fat;
  • 17 grams of fiber.

Rich in vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial plant compounds.

Versatile and can be added to many dishes.

Dried fruits

Dried fruits are high-calorie foods. Suitable as an appetizer. Contains antioxidants and trace elements.

Suitable for weight gain. Easy to use and tasty at the same time.

Although many believe that fruits lose most of their nutrients during drying, this is not true. Dried fruits are rich in fiber and retain most of the minerals and vitamins.

Whole wheat bread

Whole grain bread is another source of carbohydrates that help increase body weight.

You can make simple, high-calorie, and balanced meals by combining bread with protein sources such as eggs, meat, and cheese.

Buy natural whole grain and grain bread.

Cereal bars and protein bars

Some cereal bars on the market can be an out-of-home, pre-workout, or post-workout snack, as they contain a mixture of slow-acting and fast-digesting carbs.

As with cereal, stick to healthy whole-grain bars. For an on-the-go snack or snack, you can pair the cereal bar with other protein sources such as yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, cold cuts, or a protein shake.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate contains many antioxidants and is good for the body. Using chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70% is recommended.

Like other fat-containing foods, dark chocolate is high in calories.

Muscle Building Supplements

Taking protein supplements is a common strategy for athletes and bodybuilders looking to gain weight. However, the best and cheapest way, in this case, is mass nutrients, the so-called gainers.

Whey protein supplements and weight gainers can be an easy and cost-effective muscle-building strategy, especially when combined with strength training.


Creatine is naturally produced in the body. Provides energy to muscles and other tissues.

However, supplementation can increase muscle creatine content by up to 40% of normal levels.

Affects muscle cells, and physical fitness increases muscle growth. Studies show that creatine improves muscle strength.

Greater strength allows you to perform exercises better and, over time, increases muscle mass.

Creatine can also increase the water content of the muscle cells, which can lead to a slight swelling of the muscle cells and a muscle growth signal.

In addition, this supplement increases the hormones involved in muscle growth.

Some research suggests that creatine can reduce protein breakdown in muscles.

Protein Supplements

Getting enough protein is critical to building muscle. In particular, you need to consume more protein than the body can break down to build muscle mass.

Although it is possible to get the necessary protein from foods, it is only sometimes possible to do so. Taking a protein supplement is a good choice.

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There are many protein supplements out there, but some of the popular ones are:

  • Serum;
  • Casein;
  • Soy.

Other protein supplements are supplements isolated from eggs, beef, chicken, or other sources.

Studies show that adding extra protein results in more muscle mass gains than adding extra carbs.

However, the effects are better in people who do not get enough protein in their regular diet.

Some people believe that whey protein is unhealthy or not natural. This is not true.

Whey protein is made from dairy products. Improves health outcomes and reduces the risk of disease. In particular, it is recommended for people who exercise because they have an increased need for protein.

Like meat and other animal products, whey protein contains essential amino acids to stimulate muscle growth.

It can be consumed after training or as an addition to cocktails, as a snack during the day.


Beta-alanine is an amino acid that reduces fatigue and improves performance. As a supplement, it can help increase muscle mass if followed by an exercise program.

Branched-chain amino acids

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are made up of three separate amino acids:

  • Leucine;
  • Isoleucine;
  • Valina.

Found in most protein sources, especially in animals such as:

  • Meat;
  • Chicken;
  • Eggs;
  • Milk;
  • Fish.

BCAAs are critical for muscle building and makeup about 14% of the amino acids in muscle.

Almost everyone consumes BCAAs in food every day. It is also popular to take BCAAs as supplements.

BCAA supplements can be helpful if you can’t get enough protein from food.

Beta-hydroxy beta-methyl butyrate

Beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl butyrate is a molecule formed when the body processes the amino acid leucine.

Responsible for some of the nutritional values ​​of protein and leucine. Important in the breakdown of muscle proteins.

Although produced naturally by the body, taking it as a supplement provides higher levels and may benefit muscles.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

CLA belongs to the group of omega-6 acids that have various effects on the body. Studies of this substance for increasing muscle mass have yielded mixed results, and it is unclear whether it is beneficial.

Testosterone Boosters

Testosterone-boosting supplements include:

  • D-aspartic acid;
  • Rye;
  • Ashwagandha.

Presumably, these compounds are considered beneficial for people with low testosterone levels.

Glutamine and carnitine

Not expected to be effective in increasing muscle mass in active young or middle-aged individuals. Studies have shown that carnitine may have a beneficial effect on muscle mass in the elderly.

Homemade protein shakes

Homemade protein shakes are a fast, nutritious way to gain weight.

It’s best to make your own, as pre-made ones are often high in sugar and low in nutrients. In addition, you can independently control the taste and availability of nutrients.

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Here are a few options you can try.


Combine 1 cup fresh or frozen berries, 1 cup natural high-protein yogurt, one scoop vanilla flavored whey protein, and ice.

Chocolate hazelnut

Mix 400 ml of chocolate milk with one scoop of chocolate whey protein, one tablespoon of peanut butter or hazelnuts, and one avocado.

Caramel apple

Combine one chopped apple, 1 cup natural high protein yogurt, one scoop caramel or vanilla flavored whey protein, and one tablespoon (15 ml) caramel sauce or sugar-free flavor.

Blueberry vanilla

Combine 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, one scoop of vanilla whey protein, 1 cup yogurt, and sweetener (optional).

Super green

Combine 1 cup of spinach, one avocado, one banana, 1 cup pineapple, and one scoop of vanilla protein.

These shakes contain 400-600 calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Proper nutrition for muscle building is just as important as regular exercise. The main thing is to have useful products at home.

Remember that meals should contain the right combination of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.

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