Ever wonder what you should be drinking to improve your muscle gains?
Here’s a hint. Soda and sugary drinks don’t really make the cut.
A while back, a news story from New Zealand got my attention. A 30-year-old woman died after drinking an average of 10 liters of soda a day for years.
It took a heavy toll on her health. An enlarged liver, poor bone density, low potassium levels, an irregular heartbeat, fatty deposits surrounding her internal organs.
Obviously, drinking this much soda wasn’t going to do anything for muscle gains either.
Pretty crazy. Do you drink soda? How much and how often?
If you have a soda once in awhile, like on a cheat day, fine. But if soda and other sugary drinks are a daily thing for you, it’s time for a change.
If you’ve been wondering where you can cut a few calories from your diet to lose weight, get lean, and improve muscle gains, it may be time to rethink your drink.
The Trouble With Sugary Drinks
In the United States, the average adult drinks 53 gallons of soda a year, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and soda habits aren’t much different in Australia.
In an Australian survey, researchers found that half of the population, age 2 and older, drink about a can of soda a day.
And some even drink as much as a liter a day or more. Unfortunately, it’s easy to do when you’re not paying attention.
Soda Sabotages Muscle Gains
Gulp down a liter of soda, and you’re filling your tank with about 400 empty calories. It’s no secret that sugary drinks are bad for your health in more ways than one.
For example, the New Zealand woman lost all her teeth, among the other health problems she experienced, before her death.
But when muscle gains are on your mind, sugary soda is a big problem. When you consume more calories than you burn, your body has to do something with those excess calories. And it’s not what you want. Excess calories are typically stored as fat.
When you think of it this way, it puts that soda habit into perspective. If you’re drinking a lot of soda, working hard in the gym and eating an otherwise healthy diet, you’re sabotaging any chance of muscle gains.
Drink This, Not That!!
If soda and other sugary drinks (energy drinks, juice, coffee with cream and sugar, etc) don’t make the cut to help you improve muscle gains, what should you be drinking?
Let’s add one more drink to avoid to the list first. Alcohol.
In case you’re wondering alcohol isn’t going to help you make muscle gains either. It’s another form of empty calories that can impact your health and behavior in negative ways.
Your best bet, avoid or limit alcohol. If you do drink, health experts recommend no more than two drinks per day for men, one for women, zero if pregnant.
Fortunately, the right drinks can help improve muscle gains and performance. Here’s what you should be drinking to help fuel your workouts, improve mobility, boost energy levels, and increase metabolism.
6 Drinks for Muscle Gains
It’s an often overlooked element of nutrition to achieve muscle gains. When you’re working out, you’re putting a greater demand on your body to repair muscle damage, which works best when you’re hydrated.
Your muscles also need to be well-hydrated for peak performance.
Water is the perfect drink for keeping your diet on track because it contains zero calories. But there’s at least one other benefit to drinking water.
Drinking water can actually speed fat loss, according to a recent study. It’s called water-induced thermogenesis. And it’s one reason bodybuilders and athletes drink a gallon of water a day.
It’s another smart drink to include in your nutrition plan to help you achieve muscle gains. Why? It’s low in calories and contains catechins or epigallocatechin gallate, which function as a natural form of caffeine that boosts metabolism.
One recent study found that drinking green tea helps support weight loss and weight management goals.
3.Low-fat or fat-free milk.
If you’re lactose intolerant or followed a vegan diet, you’re not going to drink cow’s milk. Buy soymilk or coconut milk could be a reasonable alternative.
But if you are a milk drinker, low-fat or fat-free milk can help support your goals for muscle gains. Fat-free and low-fat milk are both low in calories and fat.
But they’re also a good source of protein. A glass of milk contains about 8 grams of protein. And you need to eat about 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, when you’re trying to build muscle and get lean.
4. Natural Fruit/Vegetable Juice
Get your fruits and veggies. You’ve probably heard the advice before. But are you getting the right amounts in your diet? Probably not.
A recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 87 percent of adults don’t consume enough fruit, and about 91 percent don’t consume enough vegetables.
Here’s an easy way to change that. Drink natural fruit juice or vegetable juice. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that support muscle growth and repair and help speed recovery.
When you’re on a mission to make muscle gains, aim to eat about 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. For example, a 175 guy should aim to consume about 175 grams of protein per day.
It’s possible to meet your protein goals from food, but it can be challenging. Drinking protein shakes is easy way to make sure you’re hitting your protein goal to make muscle gains.
Research shows that consuming 1 to 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day, combined with training, helps support muscle gains, growth, and repair.
Here’s another good alternative to drinking plain water. BCAAs, or branch-chain amino acids help support muscle growth and repair.
It’s comes in powder form that can be mixed with a drink. BCAAs are also available in tablet form. BCAAs, before, during, and after your workout can have big impact on performance and muscle gains
In a recent study, researchers found that BCAAs can help increase lean muscle mass, decrease body fat, and boost overall strength.
Take a good look at what you normally drink. If you already drink plenty of water, keep it up. If you don’t, rethink your drink.
The right drinks can have a big impact on weight loss and weight management, muscle gains, and strength gains.
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