If you're looking to start seriously putting on the lean muscle mass this winter, it's time to revamp your diet and make sure it's where it needs to be to make this goal a reality. Far too many individuals overlook critical aspects of their diet that could wind up costing them pounds of muscle they should have built.
If you get both the diet and workout combination right, you'll find your results skyrocket because you have everything working in your favor.
While protein will definitely be an absolute requirement to build lean muscle mass, the second thing that needs to be in place is a good carbohydrate source. Carbohydrates will provide the energy that's required to generate the lean muscle mass, taking your results up a level.
Typical muscle building carbohydrates that are commonly used include potatoes, raw oatmeal, fruit, pasta, rice, and bagels, all which are relatively cost friendly and easy to prepare.
These are all great sources to have with your muscle building diet, but at the same time, it's nice to have a bit more variation in your day.
Here are some forgotten sources of carbohydrates that you might want to consider.
What appears to be a cross between oats and rice, quinoa is an excellent carbohydrate source that's higher in protein than both the former foods. For every one cup of cooked quinoa, you'll take in 254 calories, 4 grams of fat, 47 grams of carbohydrates, and 9 grams of protein.
Quinoa is also very high in manganese, magnesium, and iron. One especially beneficial thing about quinoa is that unlike rice and pasta, it is a complete protein source, so if you're vegetarian this is a very good way to meet your needs.
If you're eating rice then you're going to have to spend some time making sure you're combining it with other foods to get the full spectrum of amino acids, whereas with quinoa this is unnecessary.
There are many ways you can eat quinoa including having it as you would a regular bowl of oatmeal, adding it to your salads, serving it as part of a casserole, or just having it as a side.
Another very good source of both carbohydrates and protein is beans. Beans pack a very high calorie punch so are great for those who require more calories in order to build muscle effectively.
One cup of black beans (dried measurement) contains 227 calories, less than one gram of fat, 40.8 grams of carbohydrates, and 15.2 grams of protein. If you combine this with some cooked rice, chopped chicken breast and slivered almonds, you have a very good muscle building meal that will provide all the nutrients your muscles need to grow effectively.
If black beans aren't for you, then you can look into kidney beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans, or pinto beans. Just remember that green beans are very low in calories so they aren't going to be as beneficial in your quest to build lean muscle mass.
Often found in soup, barley is another very good source of carbohydrates you may want to consider adding. Barley has a rich, nut-like flavor to it and can easily be used to replace rice in most of your dishes.
One of the nutritional highlights of barley is that it is very high in selenium, which helps to prevent our body from damage by free radicals. Each cup of cooked barley has 193 calories, 0.6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of protein, and 44.3 grams of carbohydrates.
As you can see it is lower on the protein content side, but as long as you're combining it with a good meat source, you will have no problems reaching your protein needs for the day.
Finally, one last source of carbohydrates that isn't eaten all that commonly but is actually a good choice for those who are trying to gain muscle mass is perogies. This traditional Polish food consists of dough rounds that are filled with a variety of stuffing variations —mashed potato with cheese being the most common.
While these aren't going to be a whole grain like barley would be, they do pack in quite a few calories and will enable you to reach your calorie goals. Plus, most people really do enjoy the taste of them so it gives a really great break from the standard meals you may be eating.
To prepare perogies, all you need to do is boil them in water, and then lightly fry them in a bit of olive oil in a pan if you desire.
You can eat these with sour cream, or for someone who wants to boost their protein intake higher, cottage cheese would be the perfect accompaniment.
Each serving of five perogies will contain about 250 calories, 3 grams of fat, 46 grams of carbohydrates, and 10 grams of protein.
So keep these carbohydrate sources in mind. Having variety in your diet will keep you interested in eating (which can start to wane when you're taking in high volumes of foods), make sure you meet all your nutrient needs, and allow you to make the most of the workouts you're doing in the gym.