18 Foods To Help You Build Lean Muscle Mass

With the ever-changing trends of lifestyle and health, nutrition has also taken its due course of evolvement. We see a growing culture of junk and instant (basically unhealthy) foods.  The processed food industry is definitely on a big boom but as a grateful reaction, so is the other extreme- healthy, inorganic, “bad” fat reducing foods. People are becoming more and more conscious of WHAT to eat and WHY to eat. They are now more aware that what they eat clearly reflects through, from their personality to their physicality.

The fitness industry is re-inventing the ways of self-service by introducing simple to complex dietary, exercise and lifestyle regimes. There is a full-throttle defiance against “bad” food which hopefully will only get stronger with time.  We now see people from every age-group striving to KNOW what they allow into their tummies. We did promise to discuss everything food and taste and taste buds and meals which help in developing just the right muscle, which we will. But before that, you must KNOW YOUR BODIES.

It is imperative for you to understand your body types, tendencies and hormonal load in order to make the right food choices. Knowing about your inherent body shape will help you have a clear picture of the boundaries to play within, concerning your diet and fitness, not only that, but you will also be able to understand the methods of maximizing your capacities in favor of the body you dream to achieve.

muscle mass

Basic body types that affect your muscle mass: 

There are three basic body types, i.e., ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.  Ectomorph is basically the “skinny” body type. Gaining muscle weight is a real deal for the ones who fall into this category because they have abnormally fast metabolic rates. Hours of gym won’t twitch a muscle in them, and they would end up looking same ol’ lean despite hard workouts.

Mesomorphs are the ones who are genetically favored to have optimal metabolic rates and hence, great body structure and built with not much required to worry about. They tend to gain lean muscle very easily as their muscle cells are quite responsive.  Lucky them! Sigh.

Endomorph is the body type that is somewhat “round” structured. The individuals falling into this category have the disposition to store more fat in their bodies as compared to the other two body types. They have to cut down on many potential “risky” foods and be comparatively “cleaner” in their food choices. Though these three body types are clearly segregated, that does not, in any way take away an individual’s tendency to fall into the grey areas. One can, all at once, fall into all three types. Modern nutritionists and dieticians now rate an individual for his or her tendency to fall in all three of these categories.

Once you get a clear picture of your body type, the next step is to work towards a dietary plan that prevents unnecessary fat gain and encourages lean muscle build up. The first nutrient that instantly comes to ones mind as one tries to tread on the testing path of the healthy and clean body structure is definitely the Proteins. The ever so Palatable Proteins.

Let us quickly go through the two simple types of proteins, without going into any scientific mumbo jumbo. There are slow-digesting proteins, and then there are fast-digesting ones. The fast digesting proteins mainly contribute to the body protein gain thus increasing the net muscle mass. The slow digesting proteins, on the other hand, prevent protein loss from the muscles.


18 Foods To Help You Build Lean Muscle Mass

Which foods serve as great protein providers for us?


Red meat is the champion of all protein providers, hands down. This includes lamb and beef, obviously.


Beef, a type of red meat, is rich in protein content. Not only that, but beef also contains good amounts of vitamin B, iron, and zinc, which are essentially needed minerals. Meat that comes from cattle that graze on fresh grass is particularly rich in CLA – conjugated linoleic acid, which encourages muscle mass build up and loss of unwanted body fat. Having established that, it is important to understand that while consuming beef you have to be careful about not getting too many extra calories along in the form of beef fat. Try minced or grounded beef with as much reduced fat amount as possible.


Soybeans are known as a great vegetarian source of proteins, with a high content of proteins, many minerals and a variety of vitamins. It also contains iron and the good fats (unsaturated fats).


Just like soybeans, kidney beans are a rich vegetarian source of proteins too. Other than proteins, they contain vitamin B and a variety of fibers. And like soybeans, they are rich sources of Iron too. They also have other minerals like magnesium.  So if you wish to go meatless on a day, kidney beans are your perfect substitute.


White meat has a great significance when it comes to low-fat meat resources. Salmon does not only feel great to the taste buds but also to overall body muscles because it contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to maintain the muscle mass of the body.


As we know that, the strenuous the workout, the more prone are the muscles to damage from free radicals. Almonds are a wondrous means of prevention against the said damage. They contain the most effective form of vitamin E that is a great antioxidant which not only prevents free radical injury but also helps to cure the damaged muscle rapidly. Thus, promoting muscle health and growth.


Water is the ultimate source, reason, and essence of life. Up to 60 percent of our body is water, out of which 79 percent is present in healthy muscles. The lesser the water content in muscles, the delayed the protein synthesis. The more dehydrated we stay, the more our muscles lose their tone, structure, and resilience. If you are on a lean muscle gain regime, then don’t forget to carry your favorite water bottle wherever you go. Stay hydrated! Does wonders to the skin as a bonus!


Chicken breast is known to be one of the richest and easily available sources of non-vegetarian protein. Underweight and skinny people are readily recommended to have diet that contains good amount of chicken breast meat as it helps in a rapid gain of muscle mass. It is also thought that chicken-rich diet plans help in a rapid fat loss.


Cottage cheese is a good dairy source of protein. It also contains extra calories too, obviously. But it is available in the market with varying amounts of calories. So add it up in your diet in a calculated and careful way, keeping check of the number of calories you can afford to consume along with some great protein-forming amino acids.

9. MILK:

Milk is probably the healthiest dairy product out there. It contains all necessary sources of energy like proteins, fats, and essential carbs. It is said that adding milk to the dietary plan while training for muscle gain can help boost the process of growth.

10. EGGS:

Eggs contain Albumin, very high quality and rich protein which helps in lean muscle gain. The yolk of an egg contains vitamin B, which is pivotal in causing contraction of muscles and breaks the bad fats down. It also contains a variety of amino acids that in turn are forming blocks of proteins and encourage protein synthesis/formation.

eggs - lean musle mass


While proteins build the muscle, other nutrients like carbohydrates and good fats are essential for healthy physical activity and to carry out all the necessary metabolic processes involved in muscle gain. Lack of useful calories can actually hinder mass muscle gain. Brown rice, though have a lesser protein content, contain beneficial carbohydrates that provide energy for physical activity and essential metabolic activities to take place.


Peanuts again are not an absolute source of protein rather they are the providers of mixed form of energy, containing good carbs and fats along with lower quality proteins. They are basically a fairly good source of nutrients and calories which can be added in the muscle gaining diet plan to balance the calorie content and maintain a decent source of energy to bring about physical and biochemical activities.


Regular yogurt is an ideal combined source of carbohydrate and proteins. It is also rich in CLA – conjugated linoleic acid which as discussed before plays a pivotal role in the loss of bad fat.


The benefits of olive oil are unknown to none. Olive oil is rich in good fats aka the unsaturated fats. The virgin olive oil is unusually high in vitamin E apart from the unsaturated fats, which is an excellent antioxidant for fighting off the free radicals that cause muscle injury. The good fats in olive oil help in controlling and reducing TNF-a, a factor which is responsible for the breakdown of muscle cells leading to weakness. As a bonus, olive oil prevents cardiac issues and development of diabetes.


Coconut oil does not contain any proteins, carbohydrates or vitamins and yet it is crucial for lean muscle mass gain. Why? Because it contains a particular saturated fatty acid called lauric acid which is an instant source of energy for the body.

Coconut oil is known to improve testosterone production. Testosterone is a great muscle growth stimulating hormone, which has a huge role to play in heavyweight training for muscle gain. Unlike most of the oils, coconut oil can even be easily retained in an absolutely fat-free diet because it fastens the metabolic rate and thus, helps in reducing unnecessary body fat.


Though nature is full of protein stores, while on vigorous lean muscle mass training, one may also need energy providing supplements especially the ones that are rich in proteins. Whey protein is one of the most popular proteins used in dietary protein supplements. It has the highest BV – biological value, which tells us about the rate of absorption and thus utilization of the said protein.  Though it must be kept in mind that any dietary supplement should only be taken in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines and on strict recommendation and plan of one’s dietician/nutritionist/ doctor.


Remember Popeye? Remember all the muscle power he used to get from his magical can of spinach? There is surely a serious reason behind it. Spinach is rich in glutamine, an important amino acid which is necessary for protein synthesis and hence muscle growth. It also increases resilience and strength of the muscles.


Wheat germ is a highly recommended staple before commencing the muscle building workouts because it is rich in high-quality proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates, and fibers along with other minerals like iron, potassium and vitamin B. All of which are great sources of energy for heavy workouts and muscle growths.


Food indeed plays a crucial role in defining the destiny of your body. And equally crucial is the choice one makes while deciding what to consume and what to leave untouched. While we went through some pro muscle gain food choices, it is very important to know that food alone does not help to achieve your ideal body dream, but also the proverbial hard work(out) regime that helps to utilize maximum energy from the products one consumes.

Heavyweight training with the right kind of food can boost lean muscle gain weight regardless of the body type one belongs to. With consistency, hard work, and perseverance a predominant endomorph can get amazingly close to being a healthy mesomorph. Genetics can indeed limit one to a certain level, but it does not – cannot – in any way, decide the long-term course our body would take along the health path. It is our choice and ours only to determine whether to take the healthier road to future or leave it to mere fate to play around with our bodies.

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