The food you eat on a day-to-day basis serves more of a purpose than simply filling your empty stomach or settling a craving. A balanced intake of food combines fats, carbs, and proteins. When you eat a balanced combination of these macronutrients, your body is getting all the necessary nutrients it needs for growth and development. Food gives you the proper amount of calories and energy as sustenance for your daily activities and workouts. If you want to really build muscle, focus on muscle building foods to make every workout count.

Get Your Vitamins. If you have a healthy diet, you can get all the vitamins you need from the foods you eat. Taking a good multi-vitamin is never a bad thing either. Talk to your doctor about any recommendations for adding too much of a particular vitamin to your system just to be safe. In the meantime, find foods with good muscle building vitamins:

  • B1 vitamins can be found in fortified oatmeal, rice, whole grains, and meats. Vitamin B1 functions in muscle growth and tone.
  • B6 vitamins can be found in fish, poultry, lean meats (like turkey and lean beef), bananas, prunes, dried beans, whole grains, and avocados. Helps build muscle tissue and aids the body in metabolism of protein.
  • Other great muscle building vitamins include B2, B12, Biotin, Niacin, and C.

Vitamin C found in citrus fruits and peppers is essential for the structure of muscle.

Other Muscle Building Foods include:

  • Milk and milk products (like yogurt) to strengthen muscle tissue.
  • Eggs. The “perfect protein”.
  • Black beans
  • Mussels
  • Brown Rice
  • Spinach
  • Buffalo
  • Bok Choy
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Lamb
  • Peanut Butter and other nuts (like almonds and cashews)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentil (TIP: make a soup!)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salmon
  • Water. Your muscles are composed of mostly H20. Drink plenty.
  • Coffee. Caffeine improves athletic performance, and with a cup or two, you can lift more weight and build more muscle.

However you choose to get your muscle building food, just be sure to get it. You don’t want to spend hours in the gym and have little return for your sweat and pain. You work hard for those muscles, so give them what they want. Get creative with your muscle building diet and try different combinations of your favorite foods. Avoid foods high in fat, as it will make it hard to see the muscle hiding underneath the excess fat tissue.