Looking for foods to help you gain more muscle, and not sure where to start? There’s plenty of information out there for a would-be gainer to drown in, but not all of it is particularly useful or accurate. Fortunately, you’ve found a nice starting point—we’ll lay out five foods proven, tested, and proven again to improve muscle gain from your workouts.
Protein shakes. Let’s get the obvious answer out of the way first—if you know anything about fitness, or know anyone who does or have watched television in the last decade, you probably know that protein shakes are a key way to get the protein you need to gain more muscle. Meat, plant sources, these can’t compete with the sheer completeness and bioavailability of the protein in a protein shake, nor can they be consumed as conveniently or at as low a cost per gram of protein. If you want to push yourself to your limits, you’re going to need protein shakes or a metric ton of food.
Glutamine sources. You probably still need animal tissue (or an alternative, we’ll get to that for the vegans and vegetarians in the audience) even if you’re drinking shakes. Why? Because there’s a lot more than protein to be obtained from meat. You’ll want to get plenty of glutamine from your food, as it not only reduces the pain you’ll experience after an intense workout (letting you work out longer and more often), it helps build tissue back up stronger than ever. Want to gain more muscle? Get glutamine. If meat isn’t your thing, try lentils, soybeans, or cabbage.
Beet root juice. While this won’t directly improve your muscle gains, beet root juice will allow you to train longer and harder with less pain. Scientists attribute this to the natural presence of a high concentration of nitrates in the juice—this is a legal, healthy, safe performance enhancer. Well, except for your taste buds; they might come out of the experience worse for the wear.
Coffee. Associated with dozens of health benefits, black coffee also directly impacts your ability to train longer and recover faster. Few foods have as much to offer, and as long as you don’t load it down with cream and sugar you get all these benefits for ‘free’—which is great if you’re looking to pair your muscle gain with fat loss.
Fish. Your body needs certain fats to operate at peak capacity, and fish is your best possible source—especially once you add in the protein, the glutamine, and everything else. If you only eat one thing on this list other than the shakes, make it fish. There’s just nothing more effective for a would-be gainer to eat.