4 no-fail nutrition hacks for building muscle
As a dietitian, I’ve heard every so-called muscle-building ‘hack’ under the sun. Questionable supplements. Dirty bulking. Most of which often leave you in worse shape than when you started.
We already know the headline nutrition goals when it comes to building muscle: a calorie surplus and protein, protein, protein. But I want to help you nail the smaller targets that will help you take your gains over the top.
The best thing about these bite-sized goals? They actually work.
1. Make a daily smoothie date
That mass gainer powder the guy at your supplement store tried to sell you? You don’t need it and there’s a good chance it’s full of junk.
If you’re struggling to increase your overall energy and protein intake to build muscle, start with one extra smoothie a day. Smoothies are one of the best ways to get in loads of calories and nutrition with as little effort as possible.
A Choc Caramel Super Smoothie makes it easier to get the calories and protein you need without feeling like you’re constantly eating.
Your daily Super Smoothie is the perfect way to get a high-calorie, high-protein hit. You can also make your own nutrient-dense smoothie by combining these ingredients:
1 serve of a high-quality protein source like dairy, tofu, or whey or plant-based protein powder
1 serve of fresh or frozen fruit
Extra calories in the form of coconut milk, avocado, nut butter, oats, or seeds like chia, flax or hemp
2. Don’t fear fat
With over twice as many calories per gram compared to protein and carbohydrates, healthy sources of fat can be a bulker's best friend.
Aiming to incorporate sources of healthy fats such as avocado, olives, olive oil, nuts, seeds and fatty fish with each meal and snack will make it easier to hit your daily energy needs for building muscle.
I’m a big fan of avocado, so I can’t go past the Avocado Hummus Dip with Pita when I’m in need of a fat-rich afternoon snack.
Fat also provides your body with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, vitamin A, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
3. Set a snack timer
Eating every few hours or snacking between meals is a great simple goal that can help you build muscle. I work with a lot of busy people (including athletes), and it’s not unusual for them to be so focused on work that they forget to eat.
Prepping some easy bites and setting a snack alarm or reminder on your phone can help you to get the nutrients you need with ease.
Calorie-dense foods are great for building muscle, but it’s still important to limit fried or highly processed foods, alcohol, and excess sugar – these might not lead to the type of ‘gains’ you’re after. As always, Centr has you covered with a wide variety of seriously nutritious snacks.
4. Go back to sleep
Seriously – get some rest! One of the reasons I love Centr is the holistic nature of the program, because how you Live has a big impact on how you Eat and Train.
Let me break down why jumping into bed is so important. Sleep is essential for muscle recovery, as well as maintaining optimal hormone levels. (Let cortisol run wild through your body and you will start to lose muscle, instead of gaining it.)
Poor sleep is also linked to a decrease in athletic performance, which will stop you from bringing your best in your next lifting session.
So how much sleep are we talking about? Most adults need 7-9 hours a night, so if you’re getting less than that, a healthy goal is to aim for an extra hour each night. This is where the sleep visualizations on Centr come in handy – check them out in the Explore section.
Sports dietitian Angie Asche will power your plate with no-nonsense food advice. Founder of Eleat Sports Nutrition, Angie works with MLB, NFL and NHL athletes to get the best from their bodies. With a Masters of Science in Nutrition & Physical Performance, and as a certified exercise physiologist and personal trainer, she’s got the expertise you need to achieve your goals.
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