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What should I do for gaining muscle mass?

Q: I am a 28 years old male want to gain extra muscles and build well shaped body. What should be the ideal diet or nutritious food for muscle gain?

A:For increasing your muscle mass, a combination of a well designed training program accompanied by an energy rich, adequate protein diet, is essential. Muscle mass is influenced by many factors including your genetics, training program, training history and current diet. If all are in place, gains of 0.25 kg-0.5 kg of muscle mass, per week are possible initially, but a lot will depend on genetics and training history.

Nutritional support of weight training with both pre and post training snacks, which are rich in carbohydrate and high quality protein, stimulates gains in muscle size and strength. The protein helps to promote muscle building (please remember, more protein is not equal to more muscle, so avoid any protein supplements, no matter what your gym instructor says, or, what celebrity he has helped build rippling muscles!), while carbohydrate provides additional energy to fuel training, besides reducing protein breakdown by the `protein sparing effect'.

If its been an hour or more since you last ate, include a pre training snack. This should be matched by a post training snack following training, to achieve both muscle building and recovery goals, particularly if your next meal is scheduled one to two hours later.

  1. Pre training snack ideas:
    30-60 minutes before exercise (any one of the following)-
    • A commercial sports drink
    • A cereal based snack bar
    • Fruit (any seasonal)
    • Jam sandwich or toast with honey
  2. Post training snack ideas (any one of the following):
    • Bowl of breakfast cereal (cornflakes, wheat flakes, muesli, oats), combined with milk (don’t opt for skimmed milk, toned milk will do).
    • Chicken or paneer sandwich with a vegetable salad (any seasonal vegetable) on the side.
    • A bowl of plain or flavoured yogurt (even undiluted curd will do), with a fresh fruit (any seasonal).
    • Instant noodles or pasta with added grated cheese (about a tbsp of regular cheese)
    • Milkshake made with milk, honey, banana (or any other suitable fruit like mango).

    Keep an eye on adequate hydration while the training session is going on and you should do well.

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