When it comes to building muscle, there are a few cornerstones that need to be in place. First, your muscle will only grow if challenged to do so, which means regular exercise is required.
Adequate rest is also essential for muscle growth. If your muscles are overloaded and under-rested, this can slow progress towards your muscle gain goals and even make injury more likely.
Nutrition is the final piece of the puzzle when building muscle. Getting adequate amounts of protein and total calories at the right time is essential in the muscle building processand there are some other nutrients that play an important role as well.
Building stronger muscles requires effort and attention to nutrition. Using these simple and tasty recipes can kickstart your progress and help you get the most out of every training session. Remember to get a source of protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of each workout, and add fruits and vegetables to your meal to add vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
Here are the best breakfast options for building stronger muscles. So, for healthier breakfast tips, here are 5 breakfast combinations to help you live longer.
To build muscle, you need to eat enough protein and essential amino acids. One egg provides 6 to 8 grams of protein, depending on size, making eggs a rich source of this muscle-building nutrient. One of the other benefits of having eggs for breakfast is that they cook quickly, are versatile, and pair well with many other flavors.
When combined with black beans in this recipe, you end up with a well-rounded breakfast that contains protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber, among many other essential vitamins and minerals. Protein should be present in each of your meals, but for those who train first thing in the morning, a protein-rich breakfast within 30 minutes of finishing their workout is especially helpful for recovering and building muscle.
Get our recipe for vegetarian black bean omelette.
Another protein-rich breakfast option, this recipe is sure to please the sweet tooth. While protein is the most important nutrient for repairing and rebuilding muscles, especially after exercise, carbohydrates are also essential.
When you exercise, especially cardio-style training, your body uses carbohydrates as its main source of fuel. Consuming adequate carbohydrates throughout the day helps fuel your workouts and will allow you to get more out of each training session.
When carbs come from quality ingredients, like bananas and whole wheat flour, you get the added bonus of fiber and a slew of micronutrients that support everything from your immune system to muscle contractions and fluid balance.
To incorporate some healthy fats into this meal, try garnishing your pancakes with nut butters or chopped nuts. These ingredients can also help fight inflammation that occurs naturally during exercise.
Discover our recipe for light and fluffy banana pancakes.
Although eggs are considered a complete protein because they contain all nine essential amino acids, getting additional protein and amino acids from other sources, such as chicken sausage, ensures that you are consuming adequate amounts of these essential nutrients. The chicken egg and sausage in this recipe provide abundant protein and are supplemented by the carbohydrates and fiber of the sweet potato.
Additionally, sweet potatoes are a source of potassium, a micronutrient that helps in muscle contractions and is lost in sweat. When doing strenuous exercise that induces sweating, especially in hot, humid climates, you can lose enough potassium to affect muscle functioning, so choosing potassium-rich foods is essential to replenish what may be lost during exercise. Although potassium alone does not create stronger muscles, having adequate amounts of this electrolyte in your system can help with adequate muscle discharge during exercise, helping you reach your full potential every training session.
Check out our easy breakfast hash recipe with sweet potato and chicken sausage.
This recipe is packed with protein from Greek yogurt, fruit and granola carbohydrates, and antioxidants from the included fruit variety. For those who watch your sugar intake closely, simply reduce the amount of homemade ginger syrup you pour over the yogurt.
Similar to potassium, antioxidants alone do not lead to stronger muscles, but they still play an important role in the muscle building process. Exercise can cause oxidative stress in your body, and while this is a normal physiological process, too much can hinder your muscle growth goals. Antioxidants found in fruits and other foods, such as vegetables and nuts, help buffer oxidized stress and free radicals produced by exercise, which can improve muscle recovery between workouts. Aim to consume at least 5 total cups of fruit and vegetables each day to meet your antioxidant and fiber needs.
Get our recipe for Greek yogurt with pineapple, kiwi, mango and ginger syrup.
For those on a plant-based diet and prefer to limit their intake of animal products, this oatmeal recipe is a great way to get the protein your muscles need to pack into a vegan meal. Nuts and seeds, including nut butter, contain about 8 grams of protein per serving. While a serving of peanut butter alone isn’t enough to meet muscle recovery needs, when combined with the almonds and oats in this recipe, you can get enough protein to start the recovery process.
Ten to 20 grams of protein within 30 minutes of finishing a workout is a good goal for promoting muscle recovery. While this recipe provides the low end of that range, you can easily garnish your oatmeal with additional peanut butter or almonds, or add a protein source like veggie sausage, eggs, or garnish with Greek yogurt to boost your protein intake.
Get our recipe for healthy peanut butter and banana oatmeal.