Best Muscle Building Food Chosen by Professional Athletes – Garage Strength

Best Muscle Building Food Chosen by Professional Athletes

Eating food is a pleasurable experience. The yummy goodness of fresh vegetables and a home cooked meal is like the hug of a blanket on a chilly day when it is as cold as shivers outside and a draft is hamburgerling through the floorboards. Like that word soup being read, you want your muscle building foods colorful, impactful, and at a high level.  

Envision it now. You go into the kitchen. You open the fridge. Your eyes glance over the contents. What do you land on? What is appetizing? What is for special occasions? What is your go-to meal to feel satiated? And most importantly, since you’re a dedicated athlete, or fitness enthusiast, what is it sit on the shelf of the fridge that you are going to throw in the oven or in the frying pan to let simmer so that the nutrients you consume make sure you are building some lean mass, better known as muscle, to not just recover, but get swole and yoked?

At Garage Strength, we have the great privilege of being able to train and interact with elite level athletes, many of which are currently professionals in their sport of choice; we also have a few coming up in the ranks looking like professionals to be as they grow in age and muscle mass.

We want to discuss the foods that professional athletes eat to ensure those muscles are expanding, growing, and filling out those shirt sleeves and making sure they need specially designed jeans to get over their quads, glutes and hamstrings. But first we need to look at the four macronutrients.

Let’s jump into discussing protein, carbohydrates, fats, and alcohol.

1. Alcohol

Alcohol is like stealing happiness from tomorrow. First, if you are not of legal drinking age, this is a no go. Second, if you are an athlete, fitness enthusiast, or lifter of weights, and most likely a combination of all three, alcohol is not your friend when it comes to building muscle. 

See, alcohol is this weird macronutrient that for every gram of alcohol consumed there are 7 cals present. Seems odd. In addition, alcohol has been shown to lead to Type II diabetes and in general isn’t the best way to improve muscle growth. 

Actually, alcohol consumption is quite at odds with professional behaviors and wanting to build muscle. Think about it. Alcohol can lead to increased joint pain and face it, training to be your very best is taxing enough, you don’t want the added irritation of your joints flaring up with ouches, soreness, and discomfort. 

If complete abstinence isn’t in the cards, moderation is the path to mitigating the negative effects. Alcohol is a big part of socializing. It is embedded in cultures across the world as a social lubricant and a source of periodical merriment by giving a glimpse of carefree shenanigans with compatriots in lively living life. 

Regardless, alcohol isn’t helping your muscles grow anytime soon.  

2. Protein

You know what is going to help your muscles grow? PROTEIN!!!

Yep, protein will help your muscles grow. This isn’t a secret kept close to the vest. In the fitness world and among professional athletes alike, it is common knowledge that protein consumption is an exceptional macronutrient for building lean muscle mass for a more sturdy frame with bigger muscles, more powerful muscles, and greater potential for more athletic muscles. There is a reason why professional athletes look so jacked and walk around showcasing the athletic physique, bodily aesthetic. Protein has a major role in creating that athletic physique.

For every 1 gram of protein, the body is energized with 4 calories. The bro science and the white coat science recommend consuming 1 gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight. And because professional athletes participate in rigorous physical exercise around lifting weights, namely resistance based training, their need for protein is tantamount to building lean muscle mass for increased power and kinesthetic abilities. 

Protein is also pivotal in allowing their muscles to recover and build back stronger. Acute resistance training is vigorous. Lifting weights puts a hefty amount of stress on the body, joints, ligaments, and tendons. The central nervous system feels the work toughening the body up. The intensity and volume accumulate and protein is pivotal in helping the muscles recoup and build into bigness. 

These aren’t quite foods yet, but whey protein and casein protein powders are great supplements to include in a post-workout shake. 

As an aside, people have dietary restrictions, whether for digestive purposes or self-determined purposes. Either way, all respect. For instance, a lactose intolerant individual isn’t too keen on whey protein or casein protein. Their belly just doesn’t digest the nutrients like people who aren’t lactose intolerant. Where a vegetarian is cool with animal derived substances like cheese, milk, and whey protein, vegans aren’t down for any digestible animal related. Having a whole foods, plant based diet with no animal by-products on the menu, plant based proteins like beans, tofu, tempeh, and lentils help fill out the needed protein profile. The carnivore and omnivores out there have the run of the menu. Chicken, fish, cow, and pig are all up for consumption after the butcher does all the serving prep. 

No matter your protein derivative source, it is safe to say that protein is a prime muscle building food your muscles are joyous to receive.  

3. Carbohydrates

Similar to protein, carbohydrates equate to 4 calories for every gram consumed. 

In the fad diet industry of losing weight, getting skinny, and the scale is the only metric of success, carbohydrates get a real bad rap. Which is unfortunate. Carbohydrates, better known by their stage name, carbs, are pivotal for athletes and building muscle. 

First off, carbs' numero uno role is providing energy to the body and muscles. Athletes need carbs to perform. In addition to carbs playing an important role in muscle building, they also do the following:

But not all carbs are created equal. Simple carbs aren’t completely undesirable. They do have a purpose in that they will give athletes a kick in the daire-aire an hour or two before a training session to get a pre-workout pick-me-up. Where it is beneficial in the acute moment, it can cause a cataclysmic crash. But that isn’t always bad. Sometimes athletes need a quick and immediate simple carb spike at half time of a game or immediately after a match in a tournament.

However, when it comes to carbs, the pros know that complex carbs is where it is at. Complex carb consumption is how all the cool kids go about eating food for the apex nutrient intake for muscle building desires. 

A few wonderful complex carbs to consider for breakfast, lunch and dinner to include in your meals, similar to professional athletes, are:

  • Sweet Potatoes: Full of dietary fiber and micronutrients, with an abundance of B6, which is good for building muscles because it helps synthesize amino acids. 
  • Yams: A near mirror image of sweet potatoes, yams are good for sustained energy without spiking blood sugar. They also have a high concentration of Vitamin C, which boosts production of collagen, helping with muscle repair after working out.

4. Fats

Fats are calorically dense foods. For every single gram of fat consumed, there is an accompanying 9 calories. If you remember back to alcohol, protein, and carbs, they each had 7 cals, 4 cals, and 4 cals respectively. Fats pack the caloric intake. But just because they are loaded in calories, it doesn’t mean they aren’t an integral part of muscle building, especially if you want to do it like a pro.

Here are three fat sources that many Garage Strength professional athletes swear by to build muscle: 

  • Avocados: With a litany of benefits for building muscle, avocados provide a healthy fat source, fiber, potassium, magnesium and a host of other essential nutrients which help with the boosting of testosterone production and an uptick in growth hormone. 

It is important to note that fat macronutrient intake needs to fill out your nutritional intake, meaning that the majority of your calories need to be coming from protein and carbohydrate sources. What is left over to fill out your daily caloric intake should then be filled in with fats.

And it needs to be noted, fats bring the flavor. Fats are yummy and delicious. So be careful when eating fats. Their scrumptiousness can have you taking in excess calories in the chew of a jaw. 


Remember freaks, cultivating your power starts with the meals you use to fuel your body. Want bigger muscles? Fuel your body with protein, protein, and protein. Carbs, carbs, and carbs. And fats, fats, and fats, while avoiding alcohol, and selecting foods that enhance your body’s ability to build muscles for that athletic physique just like the pros do. Consuming healthy, nutritional fibers and meals is key to building muscle. 

And if you need help developing a nutrition plan just like the pros that leads to apex muscle building, check out Garage Strength's High Performance Nutrition Plan linked here: High Performance Nutrition – Garage Strength

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Yo, It's Dane

Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!

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