By Jay Cardiello
If you're living a fit lifestyle, include these foods in your diet for the best gains.
This power-packed snack is a great source of both casein and whey protein. For newcomers to the world of fitness, whey protein is not only a staple protein source for bodybuilders, but it's also a key player in building muscle and burning fat. Casein on the other hand is a slower digesting protein protein, which makes cottage cheese the optimal bedtime choice to help keep your body in an anabolic stage overnight.
Besides being packed with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Peanut butter is the muscle-building food that is also known to help support the repair of muscles after injury. It makes an ideal addition to your post-workout shake.
When it comes to getting lean and packing on the muscle, salmon swims far ahead of its competitors. The fish is extremely high in protein—the typical can of salmon can have up to 30 grams of protein. Another plus that will get you hooked (no pun intended) is that the fats found in salmon are healthier compared to other protein counterparts, chicken and beef.
Can we say any more about this bodybuilding bird that has become a gym rat's best friend? Chicken has a good protein-to-fat ratio—the typical 6 oz. chicken breast is approximately 200 calories, 40 grams of protein and only two grams of fat. It's one of the most versatile foods for salads, wraps, sandwiches or even on it's own. Whatever your fitness goal, this bird has got you covered.
These quick and easy treats are staples to the any fitness meal regimen. They are loaded with approximately 5 to 6 grams of protein at the very low cost of only 60 calories per medium-sized egg. It's also important to note that eggs are high in BCAAs, which aids in muscular growth and development. Be sure to include a few of these in your daily dietary arsenal.
Fish on a budget! Tuna is a perfect food for those of us who want to bulk up our bodies without leaning out our wallets. One can of this budget delicacy contains approximately 41 grams of protein and just 5 grams of fat, all while only costing about $2.50 for a can. However, limit yourself to one can per week due to mercury content.
Muscle is built outside of the gym and ample recovery is critical. What you do in the gym is destroying muscle and with proper nutrition and rest you'll be able you to complete your gains. After a workout session you have approximately 30 minutes to help replenish lost glycogen stores, replace energy nutrients and preserve lean muscle tissue. Most brands of chocolate milk supply around 20 to 25 grams of carbohydrates and between 8 and 11 grams of protein (per 8 oz.), which makes for an optimal post-workout replenishment choice. Another key selling point to chocolate milk is that it comes from cow’s milk, which contains about 80% casein protein and 20% whey protein. Whey protein amino acids are immediately shoveled right into the muscles and casein protein amino acids are digested slowly over time.
Broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange and contains high amounts of antioxidants that will help to repair your muscles and bulk up your immune system. It also contains phytochemicals which have anti-estrogen properties that help lower estrogen levels, increase testosterone and help fight off body fat storage.
Beef is a tried and true go-to among those looking to add size to their frame, while simultaneously staying lean. Approximately 100 grams of beef contains 30 grams of high quality protein and is a strong source of creatine and L-carnitine, which have both been shown to boost cardiovascular health and aid in muscle growth. You wonder why gym goer's have been coined "meatheads." But before you run to your local butcher, take these quick tips: Always ask to have your meat wrapped in paper as opposed to plastic and opt for the leanest cuts such as top round and flank steak.