Muscle gain and building muscle mass is one of the things that many athletes, bodybuilders included, want and many people will go through extreme measures to reach their optimum body image and maximize their strength. However, extreme measures are unnecessary when you know that there are some very simple rules you need to apply to your daily routine in order to see the best results.
Rule 1: Keep Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is a vital part of detoxification in our bodies, and as you train, it also allows you to help other processes to occur more effectively such as oxygenation to your muscle fibers, better protein synthesis to your muscle cells and increased blood flow to your target muscle groups. Drink about 8 -10 glasses of water per day to ensure that you can gain muscle effectively whilst also improving your digestive health for better metabolism.
Rule 2: Get Enough Fats into Your Diet
Although fat shouldn’t be consumed in excess, a bit of fat is good for growth and development of muscles as well as weight gain. Saturated and unsaturated fats are the two types of fat that you can find in a range of foods. Avoid foods that are high in saturated fats and try to go for unsaturated fats instead which can be found in foods such as almonds, olive oil, salmon and avocados. If you’re unsure about fats you should be eating, check out WGN for a complete weight gain diet.
Rule 3: Have the Right Amount of Protein
Protein is an essential nutrient for building muscle therefore having enough of it is vital for muscle growth. However, eating too much protein can mean that your body isn’t able to digest it and therefore some of the excess protein that you eat can be converted into body fat. If you’re bodybuilding or working towards gaining muscle then try and get 50g protein per meal and try not to exceed 350g protein per day as the body can’t process it all and it may end up as excess fat instead of hard muscle.
Rule 4: Eat Good Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a great way of giving your body the fuel it needs to do an energetic and effective workout for maximum muscle mass gain. Carbs are great for muscle gain, but if you eat carbohydrates which are high in saturated fat or sugar you are more likely to gain unwanted fat. You need complex carbs in your diet to ensure that you are slowly releasing energy into your blood stream over a longer period of time. These complex carbs also make you feel fuller for longer so that you don’t end up reaching for unhealthy snacks.
Rule 5: Don’t Rely on Supplements
Although supplements are an important part of gaining weight and muscle and increasing overall strength, you shouldn’t totally solely rely on them to give you the nutrients that you need for a balanced diet. Instead, you should aim to get the majority of your minerals and vitamins from your foods such as protein, carbs, fruits and vegetables and grains.
Dukan diet and Slimming World have both been around for a total of around 70 years, both are proven to work but in different ways. Both are lifelong diets, looking to change your way of eating and outlook on food, but these two diets use very different methods.
Dukan is a relatively straight forward weight loss plan focusing on four dukan diet phases. The first two phases limit the foods that are available to you to eat, the first attack phase only includes 72 high protein foods, this phase is short and kick starts the diet. The second phase includes an additional 28 vegetables allowing you to choose from the dukan 100 foods. The third and fourth phase work at consolidating and stabilizing your diet and eating, allowing you to return to a more normal way of eating but including one pure protein day a week to ensure you continue at your target weight.
The pros of this diet is the very strict list of foods you are allowed, often less choice is better, however this is also the downside as the lack of choice can be hard for some people.
Slimming World works using a food optimization method. There are a list of superfree foods, mainly fruit and vegetables, that you can eat as much as you like of. There are free foods which include lean meat, chicken, fish, pasta, rice, potatoes, eggs, fat free dairy products and Quorn. Each day you chose to eat either an extra easy choice (meals made up from superfree foods, unlimited amounts of most carbs, lean meats and low fat dairy and one choice of a healthy A and B choice plus Syn (treats)), a green choice (higher in carbs) or a red choice (higher in protein).
The main pro of this diet is the freedom to eat as much of you want of so many foods, there is no limit on a lot of foods so you definitely will not be hungry on this plan. However, it does seem a bit complicated at first and takes a while to work out what to be eating on what days. As there are unlimited quantities available it is also harder to learn about portion control.
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