Building body mass is a common goal for many people who have taken to working out and dieting. Of course, lots of people aim to lose mass, but for those seeking to gain strength and stature, increasing the amount we eat on top of how much we exercise is key. However, some people do end up following unhealthy diet plans and this can bring with it an increase of certain diseases and ailments that can be avoided with a bit of education and dedication. This guide will give you a good idea of what avenues to go down when searching for the right diet to compliment your workout regime and goals.
How Do We Build Mass?
When we look at building body mass, there are technically two major components to this: fat and muscle. Everyone needs a level of fat in their diets as fatty acids are essential in absorbing some very important vitamins. Vitamin A, D, and E are what is known as fat-soluble and can only be absorbed by fat. Fat is also used by your cells and converted into energy just like carbohydrates and any that doesn’t go through this process gets turned into body fat. A layer of body fat acts as cushioning for vital organs as well as for added warmth, which muscle can’t provide as effectively. Muscle mass is still your main aim for building healthy mass, as this will improve your strength and stamina and of course provides us with that much sought-after healthy appearance and ultimately, confidence.
Everything In Moderation
There is no reason to eradicate fatty foods from your diet, however it’s important to start turning away from too many foods containing saturated fats. These generally serve to build cholesterol which in large amount can build up in your arteries leading to severe diseases. It’s wise to switch to unsaturated fats found in things like nuts and avocado which actually help to reduce cholesterol levels when replacing saturated fats. When it comes to protein, most people believe that the more the better for building your muscles. But actually, the person you knew in university that would eat a plate of 5 to 6 chicken breasts for dinner was surpassing their limits of protein absorption and most of that protein would leave their body as waste. It’s so important to moderate your intake of food and ensure you’re getting as balanced a diet as possible—don’t skip nutrient rich fruit and vegetables for essential fibre, vitamins and minerals to aid in your growth.
Can A Vegan Diet Build Mass?
There are an incredible number of myths out there that suggest vegan foods aren’t effective in building body mass, but these are claims wholly untrue and shrouded in ignorance. Consider adding regular plant protein to your diet which can serve you in the same way as animal proteins. Humans aren’t carnivores and in fact, during our past as hunter-gatherers, we wouldn’t eat that much meat at all, and instead thrived on plant matter and fruits. Today, humans consume far too much meat, and while it may be easier to hit those calorie goals, having a balanced diet including plentiful nutrients from plants is a great step to take towards a healthier diet. Some body builders also thrive off of being entirely vegan and while it’s a much more challenging task, it’s entirely feasible. There are risks involved of course, such as potential nutrient deficiencies, but many vegan foods are reinforced with vitamins and minerals to make up for this, and it’s also very easy to just take vitamin supplements too.
Foods To Cut Down On
As well as saturated fats, it’s important to cut out as much processed food as you can. Regular binging on junk food is going to create more body fat, providing you with a harder time of finding a good balance between fat and muscle. Processed sugar is probably one of the worst things you can put into your body, at least in large quantities. It’s one of the largest causes of obesity and illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. There are also strong links to lots of other disorders and illnesses like mental health problems and liver disease. Cutting down on sugar isn’t easy and should be taken seriously. Refined sugar has some strong addictive qualities which can cause our intense cravings and leads to binging and frequent, unnecessary snacking. Be strong when cutting out sugar and try to find some suitably tasty replacement snacks to counter these cravings.
While it’s definitely okay to treat yourself to some unhealthy snacks once in a while, try to substitute regular snacking on these foods with some healthy and tasty treats, especially ones that you can take with you to the gym. Do some research to find some healthy snacks for you that can help to build up your muscle as well as your energy reserves. Foods like nuts and trail mix are perfect for getting your energy up and making you feel full. You can even add some low-sugar dark chocolate to the mix if you’re struggling to entirely cut out sweet treats.
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Meg is an author at Cinnamon Hollow. She writes on a variety of topics sharing tips and ideas for daily life.