Protein has always been the “go-to” source to help fuel your body in order to build strong muscles and maximize your workout efforts. And there is good reason – the amino acids found in protein is what your body has within the muscles. Adults eat around 25 to 35 grams of protein at each meal to maintain strong and healthy bodies. Protein is also important to not only retain muscle grown after we exercise, but also help with functionality and even length our lifespan. But what we also know is that protein is not the only fuel that helps improve muscle and overall health. Here are five others to think about.
Calcium has been the hero for building strong bones but it is just as important for growing strong muscles too. Calcium is released into a muscle when you contract it, so it is paramount every time your exercise. Most adults needs around 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day, with the best source coming from dairy. But leafy greens, salmon and tofu all provide options to help meet your daily needs.
We all know the importance of being sun smart in Australia, but this has led to many becoming Vitamin D deficient. This results in poor muscle function and, as we age, puts us at risk for falls and other injuries. Apart from short sun exposure (with sunscreen applied, of course), egg yolks, mushrooms, fatty fish and fortified dairy provide some Vitamin D.
Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate or let’s just call it HMB, can be found in the bloodstream in small amounts when it needs to breakdown leuine. This is a type of amino acid found in eggs, soy, meat and fish. HMB is also responsible for breaking down muscle in sedentary adults or those who do not exercise regularly. HMB supplements are available or some protein shakes include this. First, read the label and consult your health professional to find the best solution for you.
Red meat and chicken are excellent sources of zinc. But oysters are the best giving you up to five times your daily recommended dose. Zinc not only helps build a strong immune system, it is vital to help repair muscles after exercise and aids in muscle protein synthesis – when your muscles absorb protein. Vegetarians have been known to use beans, dairy and peas as their source as adults need 8 to 13 milligrams a day.
You may think it’s just for the hardcore body building community, but creatine can help every body build strong muscles to take your workouts to the next level. Plus enjoy the other benefits including fighting depression, cardiovascular disease, and possibly even cancer. The key here is high intensity. Yep, creatine is not magical, you have to train using HIIT, or similar, high intensity movement to get the benefits. Reason being is that the body uses creatine phosphate as the main source of energy, so when you take creatine you may experience a better workout with more reps which ultimately leads to better results.