Build Muscle: 3 Nutrition Tips | STACK

Build Muscle: 3 Nutrition Tips

April 10, 2012

Must See Nutrition Videos

In this series of posts, I am discussing various ways athletes can build muscle, from using strength training principles to getting sufficient sleep. Today, I focus on the importance of nutrition.

A year-round strength training program is incomplete if athletes overlook the important role of nutrition in their muscle development. Below, I share three basic tips that address nutrition's impact on your sports performance.

1. Make water your primary beverage for building muscle.

Young athletes require more water intake than their non-athletic peers, because their extensive physical activities—sports practices, games and conditioning workouts—make them perspire, creating the need for water replacement. Adequate water intake is essential for circulation and heart health as well as for the healthy functioning of body organs. Water also helps transport fuel to the muscles to aid in recovery and to enhance muscle-building.

A general guideline is to consume six to eight glasses of water per day—plus a sports drink if you are performing long, intense workouts. Water-based fruits and vegetables count as part of daily water intake.

Monitor your urine color to determine if you need to drink more water: pale yellow means you are sufficiently hydrated; yellow to deep yellow denotes inadequate hydration. Dehydration saps your energy for sports and strength training, so drink up.

2. Have a pre- and post-workout meal.

To fuel your workouts, eat a pre-workout meal about one to two hours before exercise, including carbohydrates (e.g., fruit, whole grain cereal) and protein (e.g., yogurt or cheese and nuts). It will give your body the energy source it needs for intense training.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Preferably within 15 to 30 minutes after strength training, take in a post-workout meal with a ratio of four grams of carbohydrate to one gram of protein. For example, to enhance recovery and promote muscle building, eat a banana, a whole wheat bagel and chocolate milk. Consuming carbs after exercise helps replace glycogen stores, the body’s main source of fuel for exercise, while protein supplies the amino acids needed for muscle tissue repair and rebuilding following intense exercise.

3. Athletes need more calories for building muscle.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, young athletes should consume between 3,200 and 3,600 calories per day when trying to build muscle. You can do this by consuming six meals—breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner and pre-bedtime snack. Each meal should contain carbohydrates, protein and essential fats from the basic food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, breads, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, milk and cheese.

Daily Muscle-Building Sample Meals

Breakfast: three hard-boiled eggs, two glasses of milk, two slices of buttered whole grain toast, one orange, handful of almonds (1,030 calories)
Morning snack: raisins, string cheese, almonds (360 calories)
Lunch: two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, yogurt, banana (700 calories)
Afternoon snack: apple, string cheese, sunflower seeds (330 calories)
Dinner: three pieces of meat, two potatoes, salad (450 calories)
Bedtime snack: oatmeal with milk, raisins and almonds (480 calories)

Total Calories:  3,350

Photo:  400caloriesorless.com

Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, a New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness director at the Greater Morristown YMCA in Cedar Knolls, N.J.

Take in a post-workout meal
Topics: BUILD MUSCLE
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Pack on Muscle by Wave Loading

Wave loading is a form of resistance training programming where the intensity (% of your 1-rep maximum) and repetitions of an exercise are adjusted each...

The 8 Craziest Things People Do to Build Muscle

The 4 Rules of Bulking Up

Build Muscle in Less Time With Massed Practice

When to Use Isolation Exercises for Growth

Pressed for Time? Try This 20-Minute, 200-Rep Workout

The Food Rules for Building Muscle

Get a Big Chest With 5 Stand-up Exercises

I Lift Weights But Can't Build Muscle. What's Wrong?

The 15-Minute Beach Muscle (Plus Hustle) Workout

Tips for Healthy Weight Gain

6 Skinny Pro Athletes Who Dominate Their Sport

Build Bigger Arms With This Bicep Workout

The Weakling's Guide to Working Out

How the Actors of 'Blue Mountain State' Get in Shape

Why You

Increase Metabolic Stress for Size and Performance

A Simple Strategy for Serious Muscle Growth

3 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Stronger

How to Build Muscle: A Game of Angles

What You Need to Know About Gaining Muscle Mass

5 Reasons Why You're Not Ripped

Q&A: Brad Schoenfeld on Maximizing Muscle Growth

Why You Need to Change Your Workouts More Often

Build Muscle Faster With This Simple Weight Room Trick

3 Simple Moves for Bigger Triceps

You Need Rest Intervals. Here's Why

How to Strengthen Small and Weak Muscles

Get Strong and Thick With Strongman Exercises

Quickly Build Muscle for Football

5 Reasons You Can't Build Muscle

Build Bigger Biceps Without an 'Arm Day'

Can Your Diet Prevent Sports Injuries?

5 Food Swaps that Help Athletes Bulk Up

Shoulder Workouts for Mass: 3 Tips

5 Easy Muscle-Building Tips for Hardgainer Athletes

Keys to a Successful Full-Body Transformation

5 Tips to Increase Lean Body Mass

Why Hard Work May Not Always Beat Good Genes

Mechanical Overload: A Strategy for Bigger Muscles