by Martyn Ford April 26, 2018

What this actually means

I have read so many social media posts, advice, tips and guidance about the so called “expert athletes” we have adopted in the world of fitness.  I have stressed over and over again the importance of GOOD and INFORMED role models.  Men in particular love muscle, love seeing the scales moving up and are motivated by increases in size, weight and strength.  For some reason, our generation all like to follow the more is better mentality and patience seems to be a trait many lack in today’s world. 

The body can only process, use and work with a certain number of calories.  Feeding massive amounts of excessive calories will not help you build muscle and in fact, as ironic as it sounds, will actually hamper your progression.  When you consume crazy amounts of calories that the body cannot handle or utilise, it is simply stored on the body as FAT.  Let’s make this crystal clear, fat is not and never will be muscle. You cannot turn fat into muscle. 

The old adage of EAT big to GET big is a lovely saying and prints really well on a T-Shirt to sell, however, it can be very misleading.  Food is the key.  Don’t get me wrong, yes we need to eat regular and plenty of good quality, nutritious food to grow muscle.  However, we only need around 500kcals above our daily intake in order to grow muscle. 500kcals is not that much as we are talking about just adding an extra meal on a daily basis. 

What really counts?

People really need to be more focused on what they are eating to increase size. Too many people ram in empty calories, which are pointless.  Yes, eating good quality food is more expensive and sometimes you may need to opt for cheaper options, but newsflash… life is all about prioritising and affordability.  The basics however are the same; eat clean, quality nutrients and get big.  Eat empty, low value, low quality foods and forever be chasing that dream. 

What should we consume?

We need a combination of macro and micro nutrients in volume.  Below are a list of top foods which are a must for consumption to add quality muscle mass and not fat weight.

  • Beef – a key player in the muscle building process for many reasons.It is a food rich in good cholesterol, zinc, B vitamins and iron.  If you consume beef from grass fed cattle it holds much higher levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which will give you a boost in shedding body fat. 
  • Brown Rice – this is a long lasting, low glycaemic carbohydrate food.It allows you to stay fuelled for longer and provides an excellent source of energy for your workouts ahead. 
  • Oranges – a great fruit that actually helps to boost muscle growth, strength and endurance especially when consumed before workouts.
  • Cottage cheese – a very versatile and easy food to consume. Rich in casein protein making it a great option before bed.  Being the slowest form of protein you can eat if eaten at this time it will prevent catabolism while you sleep.
  • Eggs – often referred to as the perfect protein. However, this is not just due to the high quality protein that it provides.  The yolk also plays a huge part in the process where all the good cholesterol is found. 
  • Milk – contains both casein and whey protein. It is also very rich in aminos, glutamine in particular.  Organic milk has up to 70% more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk. 
  • Spinach – there is a lot of glutamine found in spinach, this amino acid is vital for lean muscle growth.
  • Apples – there are specific polyphenols in apples which actually helps increase strength, while preventing muscle fatigue, meaning you are able to trainer harder and longer. The polyphenols have also been linked to fat burning properties, making an apple a great pre- training option.
  • Salmon – this is definitely a fish that you need to take full advantage of.Not only is fish packed with high quality protein, but it is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids.  Both protein and omega 3 are essential nutrients that help to build and repair muscle tissue.  Salmon will also keep your cravings to a minimal.  Packing key nutrients such as selenium, vitamin d, b12, niacin and vitamin d, making salmon a must have food. 

As you can see, variety is the key when it comes to packing on the size.  Food should play a huge role in your quest for muscle gain. Below is a basic shopping list that you may find useful.  Preparation is key.  Plan what you are going to buy and how much.  Know when you are going to eat these meals, the more regimented they are, the more chance of success you have. 

Protein

Salmon, cod, tuna, mackerel, sardines, eggs, beef, chicken, turkey

Carbohydrates

Brown and white rice, sweet potato, yam, oats, wholemeal seeded bread, rye bread, wholemeal pasta

Fats

Olive oil, rapeseed oil, nuts, seeds, avocado

Fruits and Vegetables

Asparagus, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, apples, pear, blueberries, strawberries, orange

 

Martyn Ford
Martyn Ford



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