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Nutrition for Muscle Growth

Muscle is FINALLY having a moment! Well known physicians and articles in magazines and on newscasts are all touting the importance of adding and maintaining muscle mass to positively impact longevity, vitality, metabolic health and functional strength. Speaking to your clients about the importance of adding muscle, and the nutritional interventions that should be present in order to grow muscle, would be a huge value add to your practice.  I wanted to provide you with four talking points on nutrition for muscle growth to use as you work with your clients.

Muscle Requires Calories!

Ensure your patients know that you cannot build muscle while in a calorie deficit. I have seen quite a few adults and some youth athletes reduce their calorie intake tremendously while in recovery since they are nervous about weight gain. Reassure them that recovery demands calories and a better approach would be to minimize low-nutrient foods (like fast food, junk foods, alcohol) and emphasize protein rich foods since this will allow their bodies to continue to rebuild along with supporting their immune systems and other essential metabolic processes. 

Muscle Growth Requires Adequate Protein!

You may know the importance of protein and eating adequate amounts of it but I can assure you that people do not come close to consuming the amount of protein needed to grow muscle mass. In general terms this typically looks like 100g+ per day for women and 130-150+g per day for men in order to grow muscle. Another way to say this is no less than 30g of protein per meal. If you have a client who is curious about the amount of protein they consume, tell them to track their diet on a food tracking app for 48 hours and that will allow them immediate feedback on whether or not they are consuming adequate volumes of protein. 

Muscle/ Protein Synthesis Requires Leucine!

Leucine is one of the three branch chain amino acids which is a critical component of muscle tissue repair and growth. In order to trigger protein synthesis (i.e. muscle growth) one must consume at least 2.5-3g of leucine. This can be easily accomplished by consuming a high quality whey protein powder or eating high quality animal protein like eggs, salmon, chicken, red meat or cottage cheese. If you are vegan or strict vegetarian, a high quality essential amino acid powder would be extremely helpful and can be added post workout or with any meal during the day. 

Supplements that Support Muscle Growth!

I always say, “Supplements should supplement a good diet and healthy lifestyle”. While supplements can cover gaps during high stress periods at work or illness, they should not be relied upon for muscle growth, but instead should support one’s efforts with training, sleep and a well balanced diet. Supplements that can support muscle growth include whey or vegan protein powders, essential or brain-chain amino acids, glutamine, and creatine. 

For more information about any of the topics listed above feel free to reach out to me directly! I truly hope this helps you guys speak to muscle growth, and the nutritional interventions needed to support it, with a bit more confidence. In Health & Happiness, Jessica Murgueytio 

-In Health & Happiness, Jessica Murgueytio 

Nutrition Therapy Services

R2P is proud to offer individual nutrition counseling with our new registered dietitian, Jessica Murgueytio. Personalized nutrition helps your body function optimally and increases the body’s ability to heal and strengthen itself. Both In-Person or from the comfort of your home, get started with your Nutrition Plan Now. Learn More Here!

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