Lean muscle acts as a metabolic powerhouse, burning calories even at rest, making it a valuable asset for weight maintenance and loss.
Lean muscle helps regulate blood sugar levels by improving your body's insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and aiding in its management. Research by experts like Dr. Gerald Shulman shows that just one workout session can temporarily improve how your body stores carbohydrates.
Lean muscle contains immune cells and proteins that support your immune system.
Building lean muscle through resistance training also strengthens your bones, increasing bone density and better joint stability.
Boosting lean muscle should be a health goal for us all. We naturally lose 5% to 8% of it every decade after reaching 30, and this loss accelerates after turning 60. Muscle mass serves as a biomarker for ageing. The good news is that it's reversible with the right lifestyle choices.
Walnut Crusted SalmonDownload PDF
When we engage our muscles in exercise, we create tiny tears in the muscle fibres. These microscopic tears then go through a process of repair and regeneration, which is how lean muscle grows and strengthens. Think of it as flicking through the pages of a magazine, with each page representing these very fine layers of muscle development, gradually getting stronger and more resilient over time. For this process to happen, we need effective exercise and the correct nutrition. Strength and resistance training are the most common ways to build lean muscle. Goldster has a range of exceptional classes and trainers to guide you.
The following foods are rich in essential nutrients that promote muscle development, enhance recovery, and contribute to overall strength and vitality. Incorporating these options into your diet can help you on your journey to a stronger, healthier you.
Protein is the building block of muscle tissue, making it a crucial element in any muscle-enhancing diet. It is the branched-chain amino acids from protein that heal the microscopic tears. Foods like lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, legumes, and nuts & seeds contain these amino acids. Try to have an even distribution of protein throughout the day. One of my golden rules is always to include some protein every time you eat.
Focus on foods like whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats), sweet potatoes, and legumes. These complex carbs provide your muscles with long-lasting energy called glycogen, helping you get more from your workouts. You may have heard of "pasta packing" before sports events, and it's the same concept here—include complex and healthy carbs in your meal plan about 4 hours before your workout to boost your energy and maximise your exercise performance. If you're exercising first thing in the morning, you can have your complex carbs with dinner the night before to ensure you're well-fueled for your early workout session.
Calcium isn't just for strong bones; it also helps your lean muscles work correctly. It's like a signal that tells your muscles when to move and contract, which keeps them strong and functional. Foods like sardines, leafy greens, dairy, and fortified plant-based milk alternatives are excellent sources of calcium.
Magnesium is important for lean muscles because it helps them relax, preventing cramps and tension. You can find magnesium in foods like green leafy veg, almonds, brown rice, and black beans.
Hormones, especially testosterone, play a crucial role in muscle development. Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and oily fish, contribute to hormone production and regulation. These fats also provide a steady source of energy for your workouts and daily activities, ensuring you have the endurance and stamina necessary to support muscle performance and recovery.
Fruit and veg help reduce inflammation, support immune function, and contribute to the repair and growth of muscle tissue. Berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are excellent choices to include in your diet.
As you embark on your journey to power up your lean muscle, remember that even small changes in your lifestyle can make a big difference. Consistency is key; the right exercise and nutrition plan can enhance your muscle health and overall well-being.