5 Foods Besides Animal Protein That Can Help Athletes Gain Muscle

These five foods will help you build lean muscle.

Gaining muscle helps an athlete become more durable and more athletic. Unfortunately, gaining lean mass isn't easy for many athletes. Most turn straight to protein. But many athletes are lean to begin with, so they end up in a constant state of breakdown and calorie burn due to the amount of sport activity they perform.

More functional mass means greater ability to produce force. This translates to better speed, agility, balance and more. It's also easier to absorb contact or impact from sport with lean mass. Often, athletes tend to eat like their non-athlete peers, who can get away with taking in insufficient calories and low-intensity calories. An active athlete looking to gain muscle can't get away with that. If you want to be an athlete, you have to eat like one!

Here are 5 foods that will help athletes support muscle gain:

Avocado - Adding half an avocado to a meal brings healthy calories, fats, potassium and other key nutrients to help spare muscle breakdown.

Pastured Butter - Athletes who strive for a low-fat diet aren't helping themselves. A strict low-fat diet can cause the level of muscle-promoting hormones such as testosterone to drop. Pastured butter packs a big calorie punch with plenty of healthy fat calories. Consuming enough healthy fats promotes appropriate levels of testosterone and growth hormone. Both are keys to muscle maintenance and gain.

Beans and Legumes - Great sources of protein and fiber, beans can help you meet your protein needs. Beans also provide tons of vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, magnesium, and iron to promote muscle function, recovery and growth.

Olive Oil - Many athletes don't get enough calories to support muscle gain. Adding a few tablespoons of olive oil to any dish can improve flavor and quickly bump calories up to muscle-supporting levels.

Nut Butters - High in protein and calories to help spare muscle breakdown and promote muscle growth.

For more tips, follow me on Instagram.

Photo Credit: baibaz/iStock/Thinkstock


5 Side Effects of a Low-Protein Diet for Athletes

8 High-Protein Breakfast Ideas

How to Incorporate Healthy Fats Into Your Diet