Nutrition

What can you eat to get ripped?

20150115_073248Have you ever wanted a flat stomach, cellulite free thighs or non-flabby arms? If you do then you’re goal is to build lean muscle to get that nice toned body that we usually only see on athletes or in fitness magazines. Although it may seem impossible, there are a few strategies that you can adopt to get the body of your dreams. Today we’re going to zero-in on the best muscle building foods, although with workout and overall health strategies to get you ripped and stronger than ever.

The first item on our muscle building food list is wheat germ. This the most vitamin and mineral rich part of the wheat kernel, that contains 1.5 grams of unsaturated fat and 4 grams of protein in every 2 tablespoons . It’s rich in zinc, iron, potassium and vitamins B1 and B6 for good heart health and a mood boosting properties. It’s also loaded with branch chain amino acids and fiber for a good blood sugar balance, cholesterol control and intestinal health. Wheat germ is a fantastic source of slow digesting carbs and quality protein; I like to include a tablespoon in my post workout protein shake and in my oatmeal at breakfast. The next powerhouse food we’re going to look at is beets. This root vegetable contains betaine which enhances liver and join repair, increases muscle strength and power (helping you push harder during your workouts), and provides a nitrous-oxide boost in the body to enhance energy and speed recover after a tough workout. Keeping with root vegetables, next up is the sweet potato which is a slow digesting complex carb, loaded with fiber and vitamins A and B; plus they are pretty delicious and easy to prepare – poke holes with a fork, pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes, flip it and pop it back in for another 2 minutes, slice it in half and you’re good to go. Another great carb is brown rice which boosts the body’s natural growth hormone level and encourages muscle growth, fat loss and strength gain, which are all key to getting a nicely toned figure. Apples are also awesome for muscle building as they contain polyphenols that increase muscle strength and prevent muscle fatigue helping you train harder and longer, which makes these great a part of a pre-workout meet. Lentils are particularly great as well (1 cup contains 18 grams of protein), along with chickpeas and almonds for their blend of protein and fiber.

The most important aspects of building lean muscle without gaining fat is to eat a good pre and post workout meal. Pre-workout you really want to focus on getting a mix of carbs, protein with a little bit of fat about 1 to 2 hours prior to exercising. Post-workout, and this is super important, have fast digesting carbs and protein, a ratio of about 2 to 1 of carbs to protein, 30 to 60 minutes following your workout. Keep in mind that your pre-workout meal is meant to help fuel your body to give you enough energy to train hard and your post-workout meal is meant to help your body recover from the strenuous activity. Don’t ever skip either of these meals, they are detrimental to your body being at its best.

Fitness wise, when you want to get a nice build you have to lift heavy weights. I’ve said this before: lifting heavy weights will not make you bulk like a body builder, but they will help your make you strong and lean. When lifting weights keep in mind you want to lift heavy enough to challenge yourself while still being able to maintain proper form; if you lift too much you can injure yourself pretty bad so don’t overdo it. Another important point is to never workout the same body part two days in a row; each muscle group needs adequate time to recover in order to get stronger and shapely. That being said once I started lifting weights I saw real changes in my body, more than I ever had before from just doing cardio and bodyweight training alone. That’s not to say that these aren’t good exercises because they are, in fact a good mix of cardio, weight lifting and bodyweight training are essential to getting and maintaining a rocking bod. Just be sure to warm up properly with dynamic stretching for 5 minutes prior to starting and cool down with static stretching for 5 minutes following your workout.

If you’re still not sure if building muscle is for you then consider this: weight lifting exercises have shown to increase muscle mass and strength (obviously) which helps protect bones as you age and ultimately helps prevent o. What’s more is that studies show that weight lifting also helps preserve memory function and ultimately aid in preventing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as you age. If that’s not reason enough to get yourself into great shape, then I don’t know what is. Think of it as a method of maintaining good health and preventing disease; the lean toned body is just an extra perk. Regardless of your age, current level of fitness or health status, it’s never too late. Always strive to be better, to keep growing and improving yourself. It really is possible to build a great body that’s both lean and strong, it just takes work. Remember, if it was easy we would all look like well trained athletes all the time, but it’s not, you have to put the effort in. These strategies mentioned here are all things that I have incorporated into my routine and I can honestly say that they are all very effective and really not too complicated to adopt. Before starting any kind of routine take time to talk to your doctor and consult a fitness trainer to get the right form for weightlifting; nobody should ever be derailed by a nasty injury. Fuel yourself, lift heavy and build the body of your dreams!

Start It, Finish It

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