Foods to Avoid When Building Muscle: Making a Meal Plan

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Many people still don’t believe there are foods to avoid when building muscle, especially before they start trying to achieve their muscle gain goals. Similar to any other type of exercise, one of the most important things to focus on is the food that you eat. It might be tempting to indulge in all of your favorite treats because you’ll be working extra hard at the gym, but this will only slow down or halt your progress entirely.

Foods to Avoid When Building Muscle

From donuts to bagels, there are dozens of things which will negatively impact your muscle growth and cause you to see little if any, progress when working out. The most recommended food items to avoid include:

1. Bagels

Most bagels on the market hover somewhere around 400 calories and they are packed full of refined carbohydrates. As soon as you start adding your condiments and toppings, such as cream cheese, you’ll be eating more saturated fat than ever before. There’s nothing about bagels which makes them a good choice for building lean muscle.

As an alternative, consider a single slice of whole grain toast with natural peanut butter.

2. Alcohol

Not only is consuming alcohol regularly damage your liver, but it is also a bad idea for your gut. When you drink every week, you’re forcing your body to release an influx of antioxidants, which are normally responsible for recovering your muscles. As the antioxidants will be too busy trying to metabolize the alcohol, they’re not going to assist your muscles with recovering.

Alcohol is also a great way to pack on empty calories and to consume an ample amount of sugars. Even if you’re someone who engages in cardio regularly, alcoholic beverages aren’t going to assist you with building mass.

3. Sausages

You might be thinking that since sausage is a type of meat, it’s one of the better things to add to your healthy meal plan when in fact, it’s one of the worst.

Sausage is a highly processed meat which is chocked full of saturated fat, calories, and sodium, in addition to nitrites. When it comes to building muscle mass, you’re going to want to focus mainly on lean meats which aren’t heavily processed.

4. Pre-Made or Store-Bought Smoothies

Plenty of fast food chains advertise how healthy their smoothies are compared to burgers and fries when in reality, they’re just as bad. Unless you can find organic store-bought smoothies with a simple list of ingredients, you’re likely to consume more calories in a single beverage than in a whole meal.

The majority of pre-made smoothies not only contain fruits but also yogurts and an abundance of sugars. A large pre-made smoothie from a fast food chain can net up to 1000 calories on average as well as a ridiculous amount of sugar.

Even if you were to add a scoop of protein powder, it doesn’t cut away from all of the other harmful ingredients you’ll be ingesting. If you’re looking for a cool and sweet treat, make your own smoothies at home using fresh fruits and oat milk.

5. Ice Cream

We’ve all been in a situation where we wished the only thing we had on our plate was a pint of our favorite ice cream. As one of the most delectable sweet treats on any menu, it’s incredibly tempting but just as bad as pre-made smoothies, if not worse.

On average, half a cup of ice cream has up to four grams of saturated fat, 137 calories, seven grams of total fat, and two grams of protein. As it’s very unlikely you’ll be consuming just half a cup of ice cream, you’re looking at eating over 22% of your daily recommended intake of saturated fat.

A better alternative is to find a nonfat Greek yogurt flavor that you enjoy, pop it in the freezer, and enjoy it when you need something cold.

6. Processed Cheese

It’s unlikely you’ll find cheese which doesn’t contain at least some fat and sodium, but processed cheese is easily the worst. Regular cheese, on the other hand, has a variety of nutrients which your body actually needs to improve your muscle growth. Three of the most unappealing and unhealthy ingredients in a processed slice include food coloring, potassium phosphate, and tartrate.

7. Low-Calorie Vegetables

One of the most important parts of building muscle is to make sure you’re consuming enough healthy calories throughout the day. Unless you want to lose weight, you shouldn’t limit your calorie intake with low-calorie vegetables. People who are new to bodybuilding immediately assume things such as lettuce and celery are a great idea.

Though they are healthy, low-calorie vegetables contribute little to your daily diet and even though you’ll feel full, your muscles won’t see any improvement. It’s better to opt for other healthy alternatives such as broccoli, avocado, potatoes, beans, and butternut squash.

8. Soy

It is possible to gain muscle on a vegan or vegetarian diet, as there are hundreds of vegan and vegetarian bodybuilders. It just takes far more effort and time when you want to bulk up because soy doesn’t have as much of an impact on your muscle’s protein synthesis.

To see the most improvement, you’ll want to focus on animal-based proteins which synthesize faster in your muscles, as it’s easier for them to process.

You’ll also find that soy is an incomplete protein, which means you’ll likely have to combine it with another protein source in order to absorb amino acids. Many vegan and vegetarian bodybuilders rely heavily on amino acid supplements to help bulk their muscles.

9. Unrefined Carbs

Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source for energy, though you need to remember that not all carbs are designed equally. Minimally processed ones and simple ones exist.

Simple carbs can wreak havoc on your body so those that contain such are some of the foods to avoid when building muscle. They are typically found in white bread, candy, or snacks in your office’s vending machine.

When you’re building muscle, you’re going to want to focus mainly on whole-grain carbs which take longer to digest. As they take their time making their way through your body, you can absorb more energy from them. This helps to prevent the mid-day slump after eating a lot of simple carbs for breakfast and lunch.

Final Thoughts

The best piece of advice to use when you want to bulk up is to make a meal plan you can rely on. By choosing an assortment of healthy meats, vegetables, and carbohydrates, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your body goals. In combination with a workout regime, your muscles will look better and be healthier from the inside out.

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