Bulk Up Foods
Various types of strength athletes seek to increase their muscle mass through strength training and diets designed to help them "bulk up." While it has long been accepted that the consumption of calories above the necessary amount needed to maintain your current body weight will allow you to gain muscle mass, certain foods allow you to bulk up more efficiently than others.
Protein is the building block of animal tissue, including your muscles. Proteins in turn, are made up of amino acids. A complete protein includes all the amino acids. One of the few whole foods to contain whole proteins is the egg. Sports nutritionists like Dr. Dan Benardot consider the egg to be the measure against which other protein sources should be measured for muscle-building value. Besides protein, eggs contain essential dietary fats and cholesterol, which are necessary precursors to building skeletal muscle. Eggs are one of the most essential bulk-up foods.
One of the most popular protein sources for bulking up with lean muscle mass is lean chicken. Skinless chicken breasts are low in dietary fat, while providing a good source of healthy protein. For the athlete concerned about too much fat in his diet and protein source, chicken provides a a good protein source for bulking up.
Although it is often viewed as less desirable than chicken for muscle-building athletes, because of its higher fat content, beef may actually be a better protein source for muscle-building than chicken specifically because of its fat content. According to nutritionists like Dr. Lon Kilgore, dietary cholesterol and fats are crucial to building muscle mass, since they are the precursors of the body's production of testosterone. Testosterone is the natural hormone that allows the body to synthesize muscle mass into new muscle.
For the same reason, whole milk is a critical food source when you want to bulk up with muscle. While skim milk and 2% milk may provide some of the benefits, the fatty acids in whole milk will provide an exponentially better rate of return than the lesser forms of milk. Milk has been a key part of mass-gaining diets for decades at least, utlizing the fats to increase testosterone production, leading to an accelerated rate of muscle gain.
Often looked at solely as a supplement, whey is actually a whole food product. A by-product of cheese production, whey provides a nearly fat-free source of protein. When used as part of a well-balanced bulking nutrition program, whey protein is a good method to increase the whole foods nutrition supply of protein in your diet. Whey can then be mixed with water and fruit to increase its effectiveness, since the sugars will help the protein be delivered to the muscles where it is most needed.
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