Building Muscle Mass; Quality and Quantity.

4 mins
July 8, 2016

‍The Journey

You may have seen some people bristling with muscles, well-toned biceps and triceps and would like to have the same physique but the truth is that gaining muscle mass is not an easy work. It takes knowledge of the right information to have such a physique. It is essential to know the amount of nutrients needed to increase your muscle mass, many people are guided by what they see in different magazines, but the best thing is to go with the advice of a specialist in that area; the sports nutritionist. He or she will help you know the exact amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids (fats and oils), minerals and vitamins you need to build muscle mass.

Exercise is important, but there are different types, remember that people have different body types and food is also important but the size of our stomachs allows a certain amount of food. It is important not to overeat so that your body doesn’t store up excess calories.

The Nutrients You Need

Protein plays a critical role in gaining muscle mass, but it is not the only macro nutrient you need; you need to blend it with the right amount of carbohydrates and lipids. Proteins have different amino acids which have different functions in our body at different times, it is necessary to combine them with foods that are rich in insoluble fibre (sources include wheat, cabbage, lettuce and other vegetables) and soluble fibre (sources include oats, barley, legumes and citrus fruits). Lipids are also beneficial to our cardiovascular system (the heart and the blood vessels), if we choose the right ones. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in foods such as salmon, tuna, groundnuts, eggs, soybean oil, olive oil etc.) help in the effective transport of nutrients to our body before and after a workout. Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) also play very key roles in generating energy from the foods we eat as well as in different biochemical processes all of which contribute to building muscles.

Quantity of Nutrients and Nutrition Supplements

Before buying sports nutrition supplements, you should consult with a nutritionist, who can recommend a specific amount of protein that you can drink or eat. It is better recommended that you go with natural foods. The amount, however, will depend on several factors (such as weight, age and height, fat mass, bone mass, total body water, recent or congenital diseases, etc.). There are others that should be analysed by a health care professional, because some sports nutrition supplements have different additives that our bodies may not recognize or could even affect some of the organs in your body. Remember that every person is different so it is advised that you should not recommend the supplement that your nutritionist prescribed you, since that could affect the health of that person; every person is a ‘world’ to discover.

More Could Be Dangerous

Beware of abusing foods rich in protein or protein supplements because it is known that the abuse of it could damage your kidneys. The damage may not only be renal (related to kidneys), it may also come with problems in the digestive and cardiovascular systems and you must consult the doctor and perform general urine tests to continue consuming them or limit their use. Also, abusing protein-rich foods and supplements could result in fat storage in your body because the excess amino acids will be converted to fats not muscle. That is why it is strongly advised that you seek the counsel of a sport nutritionist to determine how much more protein you should consume to help you build muscle and not put your health at risk.

Invariably, the food you eat goes a very long way to affect how your muscle mass increase, hence, it is very important to consult a nutritionist when you are choosing foods and supplements to help build muscles.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts and experiences with us or ask questions you may have in the comments section below.

Edú is a Mexican Full-time Research Professor at Universidad del Istmo. He holds a Bachelors degree in Nutrition (Univsersidad Veracruzana, Mexico) and Masters degree in Food and Nutrition Security from Universidad Veracruzana (Mexico) and McGill University (Canada).