Working out hard but not seeing the results you want? Then you’ve come to the right place! Read on to find out dietitian recommended Best Snacks for Muscle Gain, as well as what to eat pre and post workout!
What to eat to gain muscle?
I’m sure if you’ve landed on this page, you’re spending your fair share of time working out and not seeing the results you want.
Rest assured, while movement is 30% of the equation to seeing your health goals become reality, nutrition is 70%.
Meaning, if you aren’t fueling your body right, you won’t see the results you want.
Let’s break down first and foremost the #1 thing you must remember if you are trying to gain muscle (or really achieve any goals) while working out:
YOU HAVE TO EAT!
You’d be surprised by the number of people I counsel that aren’t actually eating enough in their daily meal plan.
Consuming not only an appropriate level of calories (aka fuel) for your body and energy expenditure is key, but so is ensuring you are eating the RIGHT kinds of calories.
How many calories do you need per day when working out?
This is highly individualized and takes into consideration not only your lean body mass, but also your activity level and goals.
While I recommend getting an individual nutrient analysis done to tailor your goals and calorie needs, this chart below is a good ballpark.
However, for some this may be over estimating, and for others, this may be under. Personalized nutrition care is key to getting the results you want!
What macronutrients are most important for building muscle?
Protein isn’t the only macronutrient you have to consider when you think about building muscle.
Carbohydrates and fat also play a big role too!
Carbohydrates provide not only a steady supply of glucose to fuel working muscles, but also are very important in recovery to help replenish glycogen stores.
Complex carbohydrates contain more of the “good for you” portion of the grain, including:
100% Whole wheat/grain products
+ many, many others!
The RIGHT kind of fat, on the other hand, can be very helpful both pre and post-workout to providing energy and helping with inflammation in the body.
Mono- and polyunsaturated fats have shown specifically to help gain more muscle and less abdominal fat, making them a great addition to your daily diet.
Sources of unsaturated fats include foods like:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
While the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends eating 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, often times with individuals who religiously workout this isn’t enough.
Needs are closer to 1.2 to 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight per day, especially to help replenish muscle protein after a tough workout.
For an adult female who weighs 150 pounds, this would be around 80 to 115 grams of protein.
Now, let me be clear: this isn’t a plug to get you to turn to protein supplements!
You can meet your daily needs for muscle building with whole foods and a well-thought out meal plan.
I stress the point “thought out” because there are certain amino acids (aka the building blocks of proteins) that are recommended during recovery over others.
For instance, naturally occurring animal proteins contain 2:1:1 ratio of the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. These proteins have been identified as providing optimal support of muscle adaptations with exercise training. In order to meet the recommended RDA a consumptionACSM.org
of approximately 45 mg/kg/day of leucine and 22.5 mg/kg/day of isoleucine and valine is suggested.
Let’s take a look now at what snacks to incorporate pre and post-workout to build that muscle.
What pre and post-workout snacks should I eat?
Depending on what type of workout you are going to do will dictate a lot about what to eat.
If you’re focusing on an endurance race, then checkout this Spartan Diet Nutrition Tips here to get a better picture of nutrition for those type of workouts.
For a general strength training workout (or cardio mixed with strength) like an hour long HIIT class, consider the following ideas for pre and post-workout snacks.
Pre-Workout HIIT Snack Suggestions
*Note, depending on your tolerance, try to consume the snack with water about 45 to 60 minutes prior to the workout to allow your body some time to digest before you begin.
Basic Snack Formula = 5 grams protein + 15 grams of carbs
1 Medium Banana + 1 TBSP Nut Butter
Roasted Peanuts + 2 Tbsp Dried Fruit
Post-Workout HIIT Snack Suggestions
*Consume the snack no longer than 30 minutes after workout ends. If you are going home to eat a meal, have an electrolyte replacement drink on the ride home such as Body Armour (made without dyes and added sugars.)
Basic Snack Formula = 10 – 15 grams protein + 15 grams of carbs + unsaturated fats
1 Cup Reduced Fat Chocolate Milk
How to plan a smart snack ?
With nearly 25% or more of the daily intakes of Americans coming from snack foods, it is no wonder snacks get a bad rap.
When you’re surrounded by vending machine snacks and some old bagel in the office break room with a questionable cheese, it’s hard to believe there is such a thing as SMART SNACKING.
To avoid the mindless munch and change your focus towards smart snacking, try to focus on these strategies:
Plan: Look at your week ahead.
Choose 3-5 separate snack items with a moderate calorie value and a blend of protein, a complex carbohydrate and fiber.
Prepare: Peel those carrots, puree that hummus, or pick up those granola bars at the market on Sunday.
Whatever your choice of snack may be, be sure to prepare it ahead of time so you have it ready to go when you’re in a rush.
Purchase: There’s no shame in buying the snacks you like to have on hand that will nourish and satisfy you!
My only suggestion is to make sure they have high quality nutrition to them and are lower in added sugars (more on the sorts of sugars to watch out for here.)
Many processed snack bars are loaded with added sugars or sugar substitutes (read not so easy on the stomach like I talked about here), so I highly suggest choosing one like KIND Snacks that has under 5 grams of added sugars in many of their Nuts & Spices bars.
Alright, that is a LOT to digest, right?!