Build Muscle the Paleoista Way!
Trying to get that toned, lean beach body before baring it all in bikini season? Or, maybe you’ve been spending some extra time in the gym doing strength work to prepare you for whichever athletic endeavor you have approaching?
In any case, there’s simply no down side to crafting a training plan that results in a stronger you, and what you do in the gym or in your Pilates class is only part of the picture when trying to build muscle.
The rest, my friends, depends on what you’re doing in the kitchen, at the restaurant, and in the break room.
While there’s no surefire way to estimate what percentage of the equation of how we look and feel comes from how we move versus what we eat, I’d venture to guess that the latter plays a far more significant role than the former. We can spend endless hours lifting weights, busting our bums during TRX sessions, and sweating like crazy in that level three flow class, but if a proper eating regimen isn’t in place, it could very well be that the aesthetic result we’re all after just isn’t happening.
It’s so easy to fall prey to what the media tells us. For instance, we’re told we need to supplement each and every recovery meal with a pre-made, protein-powder based shake (as if one of the three key macro nutrients could be a supplement!), regardless of session length, intensity level, or type of training. While eating protein is clearly a key component of any healthy eating approach, to categorize a powder under the same heading as a fresh piece of wild salmon or a grass-fed New York strip is ridiculous. Period.
Another media myth is that we must avoid cardiovascular activity. True, trying to train for your marathon at the same time as participating in a strengthening program for those weak gluts doesn’t make sense, but completely nixing it isn’t accurate either. A balance of both is ideal, and is often best implemented through a training program planned in periods over the course of the year.
So what should you do to build muscle, then?
Simple; eat real food!
Perhaps fitness guru Jack LaLanne said it best, “If man made it, don’t eat it.” While he may not have known it at the time, his advice falls right in line with the recommendations of a True Paleo diet approach to keeping healthy and supporting a lean body with muscle tone to die for!
Some of the best foods to help build muscle are:
- Farm fresh eggs (including the yolk!) are a rich source of balanced protein needed for building and maintaining muscle, organs, skin, and tissue and producing antibodies, enzymes, and hormones.
- Grass-fed meats provide muscle supporting protein and are packed with essential amino acids, B-vitamins, and creatine.
- Pasture-raised chicken contains significantly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than chickens raised without access to fresh forage.
- Wild salmon is rich in Omega-3 fats, which inhibit muscle breakdown while increasing the anabolic capacity of amino acids.
Of course, it’s not just about the protein; eating an array of fresh, local, in season produce and a healthy portion of fat at each meal is essential!
Now that we’ve covered what to eat, the only part that remains is how to eat it!