No one likes fat mass these days. Not only it has aesthetic reasons but it can severely affect our health by giving rise to modern day ailments.
Fitness is the new catch phrase, especially for youth. 7 of 10 university goers like to hit the gym and follow a strict bodybuilding regime. The trend is absolutely fine because this is the time when the energy levels are on top. We can sweat all day.
But how often do we see that despite spending hours working out and taking pre workout meals, we aren’t gaining on lean muscle? Isn’t this common?
The reason is the choice of certain foods. These foods although are sweet on flavor but poor when it comes to lean mass. They do more harm than good.
Let Me List The Ones That Are The Most Common
1. Sports Drinks
There always seems to be a lot of debate about sports drinks. I used to drink them personally until I found a trainer who was extremely against them. He asked me to read him the amount of sugar that was listed on the back of the label.
I looked, and to my surprise, it said in my 16-ounce bottle of Gatorade, there were 26 grams of sugar. I’ve never drunk it since.
Instead of sugary sports drinks try to incorporate some Branch-Chained Amino Acids (BCAAs) in your routine. They come in great flavors and offer many of the same benefits.
Remember, this article is about building muscle. This is what BCAA’s are for. Gatorade is meant for replenishing fluids.
There might be a place and time for Gatorade, but it might be better to stick with other effective muscle building liquids.
Alcohol is considered one of those “empty calorie” items. There are no health benefits or nutrients in alcohol and putting it into your body adds unwanted calories to your daily routine.
Alcohol, believe it or not, is burned first by your body for fuel. So, unfortunately, your body will try to burn through that glass of wine or beer you had first, before working towards burning the fat.
Alcohol also contains a lot of simple sugar, and can contribute to that “beer gut.” Whatever sugars your body cannot burn, it will store up as fat, so remember that when you are about to order that next glass of wine.
The bottom line is, make sure to limit your alcohol intake when trying to build lean muscle.
3. Diet Soda
A lot of people get caught up on the subject of diet soda. After all, isn’t it ok to drink diet soda because of that fact there are no calories?
The famous fitness instructor, Jillian Michaels, from The Biggest Loser even weighed in on this subject a few years ago.
The facts in this story come down to the artificial sweeteners and chemicals that replace the sugars in a regular soda can be extremely harmful to your health. You are on your fitness journey to become healthier, not kill yourself.
I remember when I was in college every morning I used to go to this little bagel shop not far from campus and order a bagel with cream cheese and a diet coke. I used to think that I was healthy because everything was low in fat. Man, was I wrong!
That was about 20 years ago, but believe it or not, the bagel still gets some points for being a low-fat option, but it is made up entirely of carbohydrates.
And, you guessed it, simple carbs are bad for you when trying to build lean muscle. Simply stay away from them if you can.
Bread is another carbohydrate that should be reduced. I understand that it may be difficult to avoid these types of food altogether but reducing them in your diet is key to losing weight.
Dietary guidelines recommend that 45-65 percent of your calories come from carbs. So if you eat 2000 per day, that’s 225 – 325 grams per day of carbohydrates. But if you are trying to lose weight, you will want to eat much less than that.
6. Pre-made Smoothies
Another mistake I used to make when I first started weight lifting is I used to love to go to Jamba Juice and grab a Rasmattaz smoothie. I thought I was being healthy and getting tons of antioxidants in my body, etc., etc.
While this was true, I was getting a ton of unwanted sugar and calories as well. A large Razzmattaz smoothie has 500 calories a measly 3 grams of protein, and 96 grams of sugar! This isn’t the best combination for building lean muscle.
If you are craving a smoothy make them at home using foods that hold nutritional value and not merely sugar.
Again, we have a carbohydrate that should be avoided to a large extent when building muscle. These calories, if not burned, will turn into to sugar and be stored as fat. Remember, the key to burning fat is avoiding bad carbs.
Always remember that your goal is to focus on eating complex versus simple carbohydrates.
8. Granola Bars
Granola bars are one of those food items that can be very deceiving. There are so many of them out on the market today that it’s hard to tell which ones are healthier for you.
These big food companies are smart, and they know what you are looking for such as fat-free, organic, non-GMO, etc.
None of this means that these products are “healthy.” Most of these granola bars are loaded with sugar. If you are looking for a quick on-the-go snack, try Greek Yogurt cups or protein bars first. Another way is to opt for energy bars made of natural sugars than processed or synthetic.
Sausage is an interesting product because you might think at first that it’s meat, so it must be high in protein.
While this may be true, most sausages are very high in saturated fat. You want to stay away from sausage, especially breakfast sausage, as much as you can.
Ice cream is so good, yet so bad at the same time. According to an article in Men’s Journal one serving (1/2 cup) of ice cream contains 137 calories, 7 grams of total fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, and 2 grams of protein.
The amount of saturated fat in one serving is 22-percent of the daily recommended max for the day.
Building lean muscle mass has everything to do with eating the right foods with right concentration of whey protein. Making a strict gym plan and performing correct exercises are equally significant.
It is not an overnight process by any means and requires dedication and commitment on your part to see results.
You will learn a lot in the process, so enjoy the ride. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.