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If your goal is to increase your muscle mass, we have one thing to say to you: You better eat like you mean it. Despite what you may think, lifting weights doesn’t mean that you will automatically build muscle. Consuming the right muscle-building foods, which are replete with lean protein, is just as important as lifting weights.

After a session of strength training, your muscle fibers are mildly damaged. While rest is necessary for muscle recovery, nutrition plays a large role in how your muscles repair themselves. This is why most bodybuilders say that 80% of bodybuilding is nutrition. As you continue to workout and eat the right foods before and after exercising, your muscles can naturally become bigger. Not only does eating the proper foods help you build muscle, but eating healthy also works to satisfy your nutritional needs and keep you energized throughout the day.

Prioritize your food sources if you are considering building muscle. The five sources below will set you on the right protein-powered path.

Lentils:
Containing 18 grams of protein and 40 grams of slow-digesting complex carbohydrates per cup, lentils should be a staple in your mass-building diet. They take almost no time to cook and can be mixed in with wild rice or soups, used as a salad topping, or made as a side dish.

Chia Seeds:
Historically, the indigenous people of South America consumed chia seeds for strength and energy. They are rich in potassium, protein, antioxidants, omega-3s, omega-6s, and soluble fiber. You can incorporate them into oatmeal, smoothies, or make chia pudding by simply adding them to liquid.

Broccoli:
As one of the best protein sources in the cruciferous vegetable family, broccoli should be one of your primary protein sources. In addition to aiding the development of bigger muscles, broccoli works to boost energy levels and the immune system with the powerful phytonutrients. It is also rich in soluble fiber.

Quinoa:
This is probably the best alternative to grains if you want to abstain from unhealthy refined carbs. Quinoa actually contains the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own, making it a fantastic source of complete protein. Quinoa has about 14 grams of protein per cooked cup and it is rich in potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, folate, and beta carotene.

Almonds:
This heart-healthy nut is considered to be one of the best nuts to consume on a bodybuilding diet. Due to the fiber and protein, almonds help to keep you satiated, while the powerful antioxidants work to fight free radicals in the body. Don’t eat more than 1 cup per day because eating too many can upset digestion and increase fat storage.