Aid Muscle Recovery With Healthy Fats
Healthy fats don’t get nearly as much publicity as protein in bodybuilding circles. However, if you want to help your muscles recover between workouts and ensure that they grow to their full potential, you need to be filling up on healthy fats. This post will discuss how healthy fats help fire up your muscle growth, list some of the best fat rich foods and explain how much healthy fats you should be eating for optimal muscle growth.
How Healthy Fats Support Muscle Growth
Healthy fat stimulate muscle growth and recovery in countless ways which are highlighted in the list below:
- Constructing Muscle Cell Walls & Membrane Fluid: One of the main ways healthy fats support your muscles is by being used to build the cell walls and membrane fluid for all the muscles in your body.
- Enhancing Your Energy Levels: Healthy fats improve the efficiency of the energy producing cells and organs within your body which enhances your overall energy levels. This additional energy allows you to complete your muscle building workouts at a higher intensity and enjoy better results from them.
- Improving Protein Absorption: Protein is used by your body to build, maintain and repair all your muscle cells. Healthy fats help your body absorb more protein and therefore enhance the effects of this muscle building nutrient.
- Reducing Inflammation: When you lift weights, your muscles and joints become temporarily inflamed while they recover. Healthy fats help to minimize this inflammation, reduce any discomfort you feel between workouts and speed up the recovery process.
- Supporting The Production Of Muscle Building Hormones: Your body uses healthy fats to produce numerous muscle building hormones such as testosterone which help to increase your muscle mass.
- Strengthening Your Bones: One final way healthy fats help your muscles grow is by strengthening your bones. Your bones support all your muscle contractions during weightlifting workouts and so the stronger they are, the better results you’ll get.
Healthy Fat Food Sources
Healthy fats can be sourced from a wide range of foods and the list below contains some of the best food sources:
- Dairy: Dairy products such as butter, cheese, milk and eggs contains between 5g and 20g of healthy fats per serving. Most dairy products are also an excellent source of muscle building protein.
- Fatty Fish: Fatty fish such as anchovies, mackerel, salmon and sardines contain over 10g of healthy fats in a 4 oz. serving. They’re also a top source of protein and contain high levels of B vitamins which enhance your energy levels and allow you to perform at your peak during muscle building workouts.
- Nuts: Nuts are a perfect portable snack and contain around 20g of healthy fats in a 1 oz. serving. Nuts are also rich in protein and vitamin B1.
- Oils: Oils such as avocado oil, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil are a pure source of healthy fats that can be used during cooking, as a salad dressing, as a marinade ingredient and much more.
- Seeds: Like nuts, seeds are a great healthy snack and pack between 10g and 15g of healthy fats in each 1 oz. serving. They’re also loaded with energy boosting B vitamins.
How Much Healthy Fats Are Required For Optimal Muscle Growth?
The amount of healthy fats that are required for optimal muscle growth does vary from person to person. The list below explains how to calculate the right amount of healthy fats for you:
- Calculate Your BMR: Your BMR (or Basal Metabolic Rate) is the approximate amount of calories your body needs to perform the essential functions that keep you alive. You can calculate your BMR using this calculator.
- Calculate Your Fat Calories: Once you know roughly how many calories you should be eating each day, you need to calculate your approximate fat calories and grams. Fat contains 9 calories per gram and most experts recommend that between 20% and 30% of your daily calories come from healthy fats for optimal muscle growth. So if your BMR is 2000 calories, you want to make sure between 400 and 600 of your daily calories come from healthy fats (which equates to between 44g and 67g of healthy fats).
- Monitor & Adjust Your Fat Calories: The BMR is an approximate calculation and you may need to increase or decrease your fat calories for optimal muscle growth. If you find that your muscles aren’t growing at the rate you desire after two weeks, try increasing your daily calories by 200 (which equates to an increase of 40-60 fat calories or 4-7g of healthy fats). If you find that your muscles are growing at the rate you desire but you’re gaining excess body fat, try decreasing your daily calories by 200. Continue adjusting your daily calories every two weeks until you’re consuming a level of calories and healthy fats that give you the results you desire.
I hope this article has helped you learn more about the importance of healthy fats when it comes to building up your muscles. If you stick to the recommendations above and incorporate a variety of fat rich foods into your diet, your muscles will feel fresher between workouts and grow back bigger and stronger every single time.