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Successfully Building Muscle

Building muscle is a lengthier process than many people realize, and it can be more challenging than you might expect, too. In addition to weight training, a healthy diet that includes foods that build muscle is an important part of the muscle building process. People that focus solely on weight training may get discouraged because they don’t seem to be building muscle as quickly as they’d like. If you approach muscle building with a two pronged approach, including weight training and foods that build muscle, you’ll see better and quicker results.

Weight Training

Most people that want to build muscle turn to weight training, which is quite effective. You can use free weights or various types of exercise machinery to build muscles. Start with lighter weights and then, as you build muscle and grow stronger, increase the weights you use to train. While weight training is a form of exercise you can practice on your own, consult a fitness professional to help you develop the best routine for you and to learn to safely perform various exercises. Poor technique can lead to serious injury.

Foods That Build Muscle

While weight training alone will build muscle, adding muscle building foods to your diet will also help immensely. Foods that build muscle include many forms of lean protein, including lean beef, chicken, turkey, fish and other seafood. Other good sources of protein include skim milk, low fat yogurt, cottage cheese, beans and lentils, tofu and other soy products. We need plenty of protein for building muscle mass, maintaining muscle mass and repairing any stress or damage to muscle, which can occur if we work out vigorously.

Madelyn Fernstrom, Director of the Weight Management Center of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, suggests using the following formula to determine how much protein you need each day: Divide your weight by two, then subtract ten. That means if you weigh 180 pounds, you should eat about 80 grams of protein each day. However, some experts recommended using your ideal body weight, not your current body weight, as a starting point. So if you weigh 180 pounds but are really about 20 pounds overweight, take 160 and divide that by two and then subtract ten, giving you a protein goal of 70 grams per day.

Some fitness trainers recommend eating significantly more protein when building muscle, as much as one or two grams of protein per pound of body weight. If you weigh 180 pounds, that would mean eating 180 to 360 grams of protein a day, which seems rather unrealistic. Medical experts don’t believe people need that much protein. It is safe to eat very large amounts of protein if you want to, as long as you don’t have liver or kidney problems, but it’s not necessary and not beneficial to your health. If you’re watching your weight, eating so much protein may cause you to take in far more calories than you want to eat. In addition, eating so much protein may leave you little room for other nutritious foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables.

Your best bet for building muscle is to eat a reasonable about of lean protein and make sure you’re eating other foods that build muscle, too. For instance, vitamin A, found in foods like beef, eggs and liver, helps build new muscle cells. Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers and strawberries, helps repair damaged muscle cells. The easiest way to make sure you get all the vitamins you need to build muscle is simply to eat a wide variety of whole grains, fruits and veggies. Eating fruits and veggies of many different colors ensures you get plenty of vitamins and minerals.