Foods That Build Muscle

Knowing the foods that build muscle is important. That's becuase what you do in the gym is only part muscle building puzzle.

In business, asking questions and getting answers often leads to other questions. Something about asking a question flips a switch in our brains to go into “exploration” mode.

That’s exactly what happened with today’s question...


That was a good list on foods that burn fat. Are there any foods that build muscle?

Josh V.

Josh, that’s an excellent question, and a logical extension since Middle Management focuses on both burning fat and building muscle...

With that said, let’s just jump right into a list of muscle building foods (well, that help build muscle - you still have to do the work ;-) ).

I am going to do this one a little differently than the what foods burn fat list. In that one, I just listed off the foods as they came to me.

With the muscle building muscle, I want to do it in three categories. Most people will know that you need protein, but I also want to very quickly also touch on what carbs and fats will also help you to build muscle.

So let’s start with the obvious - protein.

Foods That Build Muscle: Protein

Protein is clearly the building block of muscle. Don’t get enough and you are going to have a hard time building muscle. It’s as simple as that.

  • Lean Beef
  • Chicken breast
  • Turkey
  • Tuna
  • Egg whites
  • Protein Shakes

Carbohydrates for Building Muscle

Why are carbs muscle building foods? Carbohydrates are the fuel for your muscle building workouts. To achieve maximum muscle, you have to be able to finish your workout just as strong as you started.

Complex carbohydrates, such as oatmeal, brown rice, potatoes, pasta, whole grains, etc. These slow burning carbs keep you fueled with energy longer and keep your blood sugar levels fairly even throughout the day. This minimizes fat storage (bonus!) and encourages insulin production. Insulin is critical for building muscle.

Now, when you do hit the gym hard, you drain those carb stores. So after training, quickly replacing those carbs can create an insulin spike, which puts your body into a muscle building (you’ll hear people say anabolic, sometimes) state. As a result, if you can (and you can if you really want to), try to limit simple carbs (fruit, honey, milk, etc) to immediately after a workout.

Complex Carbs for Building Muscle

  • Whole Grain Bread
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Potatoes
  • Pasta

Simple Carbohydrates for Muscle Building

  • Fruits
    • Apple
    • Orange
    • Grapes
    • Raisins
    • Banana
  • Honey

Fats for Building Muscle

Believe it or not, to optimize muscle building, fats are definitely on the foods that build muscle list. That’s because essential fatty acids, or EFAs, support the production of testosterone. And, as you are certainly aware, you need testosterone to build muscle.

  • Salmon
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Sunflower Seeds

Bonus Muscle Building Food

The best energy drink in the world is...



Your muscles are 70% water. Don't get enough of this magical potion and you won't grow period.

So thats the list of foods that build muscle! This list contained not only muscle building protein, but also carbs and fats that are necessary to really take your body to the next level.

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