In order to gain muscle, it is essential that you are in a calorie surpass: consuming more calories than you are expending. If you fail to do so you will maintain or even lose size and likely strength. If you live an active lifestyle or you naturally have a high metabolism, it can become tough to make sure you’re consuming a sufficient amount of calories on a regular basis. I found that the difference during this stage often lies with my snacking habit, ensuring a regular influx of calories throughout the day. Here are some of the best snacks I recommend during your bulking phase:
I don’t complicate the process by sticking to particular types of nuts, nor the inclusion of nut butters, but as nuts are calorie dense and packed full of fiber and valuable micronutrients, such as vitamin E and selenium, they are a great addition to the nutrition armory, especially if the goal for you is to add some muscle mass and strength. I would recommend eating redskin peanut prior to training, as these contain the non-essential amino acid, l’arginine, which acts as a vasodilator and improves blood flow to the muscle.
This is a form of cured meat – usually beef – however can rarely come in the form of various other meats. Biltong is incredibly high in protein content of over 80% and – if beef – comes with the benefit of containing creatine. It also tastes great and has a very long shelf-life, something can’t can’t be said for many forms of meat.
Arguably the most cost effective and efficient protein source is whey protein. Ideally you won’t replace meals with protein shakes as they don’t contain all the vital macro and micronutrients, such as fiber and vitamins, however as a snack – to get your protein/calories requirements – this can be a great source. Whey protein also has an optimal bio-availability score, meaning it is easily digested and used by the body to repair damaged cells.
Cottage cheese is contains high amounts of casein protein and is a relatively lean source of protein. Casein protein is broken down at a slow rate, relative to other sources such as whey. This is particularly effective at times where fasted bouts and lack of food is imminent, such as before going to bed or travelling long distance and enables the muscle to get sufficient nutrients to recover and rebuild.
Produced mainly using whey protein, along with a fiber such as oats,therefore combining both a high quality protein source which digests at a slow rate, maintaining blood sugar levels along with satiety. These are also incredibly convenient and something I’d use to bridge gaps of no/poor quality food whilst travelling.