Protein synthesis, which is key to muscle growth, begins within 2-4 hours of strength training. When we train to build muscle, our muscles experience hypertrophy, which is when the body repairs the fibers that are damaged in training by fusing them back together, increasing the size and mass of the muscles. This process relies on testosterone, insulin growth factor and human growth hormone, which increase protein synthesis and enhance muscle growth. Diet, therefore, is key if we want to create an environment that gives the muscles the best chance of growth. Grass fed beef is a valuable addition to the diet for someone aiming to build muscle – and its benefits go beyond protein.
A source of complete protein
Beef is a source of complete protein, which means it contains all the essential amino acids. Plant proteins, while nutritionally valuable, tend to contain fewer of these amino acids, and often not in the ratio the body requires in order to build muscle. A 3oz serving of beef contains approximately 20-30g of complete protein, depending on the cut, and this protein is easily digestible. Consuming protein with every meal is key to muscle growth and repair, and if you’re looking to build muscle mass, high quality proteins like beef are vital.
Three key players: zinc, iron and creatine
Testosterone is vital to increasing muscle mass, and consuming the right nutrients to facilitate its production is important in order to get the most benefit from strength training. When testosterone levels are good, the levels of protein synthesis are increased, and its effects can then be enhanced through the use of selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), which can make the body more receptive to its effects.
There are several key nutrients contained within beef that promote healthy muscle gain. It is rich in zinc, which is key to protein synthesis, helping to determine how much protein the body absorbs. It’s important to consume sufficient zinc in order to encourage testosterone production in the body; this is particularly important for those who train hard, as it is lost through sweat.
Beef is also a valuable source of iron, which helps the blood deliver oxygen to the muscles during training, and creatine, which is produced naturally in the body and increases muscle in high-intensity training. A 16oz portion of beef contains roughly 2g of creatine, which is a valuable boost if you’re trying to build strength.
Choose grass-fed for optimum benefits
Grass fed steak comes high on the list of muscle-building foods. Grass-fed steak contains five times as much omega-3 as grain-fed steak: consuming healthy fats will help you get leaner while you build muscle, helping your muscles to look more defined as they grow. Although there is some saturated fat in all beef, there is often less than there is in grain-fed meat, and consuming small amounts will help you keep your testosterone levels higher for maximum muscle growth. Leaner cuts can contain under 5g of saturated fat in a 3oz serving: choosing grass-fed sirloin top side, top sirloin, top round, bottom round or eye round roast will give you a good protein to fat ratio and keep saturated fat levels down.
Grass-fed beef is a valuable source of nutrition for anyone aiming to build muscle. It is an easily digestible complete protein containing high amounts of zinc, iron and creatine, all of which are vital to building lean muscle mass. Choose leaner cuts to keep saturated fat levels down, and be sure to match your protein intake with your training needs for optimum effects.
Meet The Author
After taking a career sabbatical to become a mother, Jackie now writes full time on topics ranging from health and wellness, right through to news and current affairs. She has, in the past battled problems with anxiety and panic, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local charities that support people with mental health issues.