In this post:
Tips, Foods & Supplements to build lean muscle!
We all know eating breakfast, lunch and dinner is essential but did you what you are eating pre and post workout is just as important!
Macro and micro nutrients are what make our food. These nutrients are what satisfies your hunger, fuels your workouts + repairs and builds your body!
Macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, fat.
Micronutrients: vitamins, minerals, other nutrients.
For athletes and active people, timing these macro nutrients (pre and post workout) can give the body the fuel it needs to build desired muscle and recover more efficiently as best as your body possibly can! Everyones nutritional requirements are different depending on your goals and genetics but these guidelines can be used for every one and every body type looking to build lean muscle and burn fat.
Nutrient timing is the application of knowing when to eat and what to eat before, during and after exercise.
Now speaking of nutritional requirements.. everyone thinks you need to be in a constant CALORIC SURPLUS to gain muscle but not necessarily. You don't need to be in a caloric surplus all the time.. of course YES, you need to be in a surplus to build muscle but I only eat in a surplus on days when I train.
Whats actually just as important or more important is WHEN you are eating your calories (nutrient timing) on the days you are training. Smartly timing when you are eating your food is whats really going to fuel and energize your body!
Think about it... if you wait 3-4 hours after your workout to eat something, you are literally going to be depleting your muscles from the nutrients they need to grow, change and repair. Now if you eat directly after your workout (45 minutes-1 hours) you will be providing your muscles with the nutrients they need to CHANGE!
Same goes with eating before a workout. While you are exercising your body is running off certain energy storage systems, these storage systems come from the food you eat! If you have ZERO food in your body before a workout, your body may not be in it's usual prime ability to be 100% during your workout.
The smart and proper way to train and build lean muscle, is to fuel them at the right time!
1. Avoid waiting hours after exercise to eat a meal or snack. Fuel your body with nutrients directly after your workout.
3. Try to eat before a workout (which I highly recommend, even something small - like a piece of fruit) to provide your body with energy stores needed for your workout.
BEST FOOD CHOICES
When it comes to macronutrients some carbohydrates sources are better than others; some protein sources are better than others and some fat sources are better than others. Which means the healthier more complex sources of these nutrients are going to be better for your body to utilize! By choosing your nutrients wisely you can regulate your metabolism and blood sugar levels, improve your hormones and change the composition of your body (gain weight/loose weight)
PLANT BASED PROTEIN:
nuts & seeds
lentils & legumes
lentils & legumes
sweet potatoes, potatoes
nuts, nut butter
olive oil, coconut oil etc. (don't over due oil)
PRE WORKOUT FOODS
A PRE workout meal is the meal that is most important in providing your body with everything it needs for optimal performance during your workout! Pre-workout meals should look moderate-high on protein, high in healthy carbs with a small amount of fat. Now you want to be eating the healthy kind of carbohydrates before your workout, not things like cereal and processed bread!
Oatmeal, with 1/2 scoop of plant based protein powder tends to be my morning go to!
Oats are a great source of carbs. Adding the protein powder provides a healthy ratio of carbohydrates to protein to fuel a workout.
POST WORKOUT FOODS
Aim for protein + carbohydrates after your workout. Protein on its own won't build muscle, it needs carbs! A 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein (30+ g from protein) will help replenish the muscle and your glycogen stores. Also include a small amount of fat with your meal to be hitting all necessary macronutrients for optimal health.
Roasted vegetables are one of my favourite sources of healthy carbohydrates and Teriyaki marinated tofu is a delicious side of plant based protein! I always have a protein shake (30g) immediately after my workout, but my post workout meal usually looks a little something like this. Carbs + Protein, with some healthy fats!
This meal could easily be made right after your workout or had for dinner like I did! This is how I like to incorporate a plant based lifestyle with a little bit of animal protein a few times throughout the week. Adding meat to this salad DOES NOT mean this is not a "plant based" meal.. you want to be eating more vegetables (source of healthy carbohydrates) or plant based products and eating animal products in a minimal/moderation.
There are also certain supplements that can be very beneficial for fitness fanatics!
I personally don't take pre workout supplements or powders but I have shared what I sometimes use as a pre workout if I feel like my body needs a boost!
As a pre workout stimulant I use herbal tinctures. Some herbs have the ability to energize and help the body deal with stressors (adaptogenic herbs) in the most natural way possible. These are 3 herbs that I use and a couple extras that have amazing benefits!
- Cordyceps Mushroom
Here are 2 supplements I recommend taking post workout and during your workout.
PROTEIN - Post workout, I always have a plant based protein shake on hand. If you watch my latest YouTube video "WHAT I EAT IN A DAY" I go in depth about the protein powder I use and all the benefits that come with it.
Protein allows the body to recover/repair and build new muscle tissue! Having a protein shake after your workout ensures you are immediately feeding the muscle, allowing for the best recovery possible so you can train hard again. A protein shake can also hold off your hunger for a few hours if you are on the go and don't have time for a meal!
Choose a protein powder that comes from a reputable brand. These days there are so many fillers and artificial sweeteners and colours added to protein powder, its going to be best for your health to AVOID cheap protein.
BCAA's - Since I am plant based and there are many people heading into that lifestyle, BCAA's (branched chain amino acids) are a great supplement to be taking for people who may have a limited protein intake than others (daily meat eaters).
Protein is made up of amino acids, so taking BCAA's (which are essential amino acids) will increase your body's ability to synthesis and create new protein! Pretty cool.
Now our body's burn off amino acids very fast which is why there is some controversy with taking them.. BUT if you are plant based and are not eating meat on a regular basis you can highly benefit from supplementing BCAA's!
If you enjoyed this blog post, watch my latest YouTube video where I talk about What I eat in a Day - plant based!