Nutrition to Build Muscle by Donna Hayek



  • Amino acids are in every cell of the body
  • They are needed for performance, recovery, and growth
  • More protein is needed as we age since the muscles are more resistant to growth
  • Animal proteins consist of poultry, beef, fish, eggs, yogurt, cheese


WHEY PROTEIN is the best animal protein since it is a milk byproduct and has an amino acid composition similar to muscles

  • Plant proteins consist of beans, quinoa, nuts, seeds, soy (tofu, tempeh, seitan)



  • Stored in muscles as glycogen which performs muscle contractions
  • Builds and repairs muscles maintain and builds muscles
  • If there are not enough glycogen stores, it will take from the muscle and there won’t be enough left for maintenance and repair which causes muscle mass to decrease
  • Complex carbs consist of wheat/multigrain breads, brown rice, wheat pasta, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, black beans, lentils, quinoa



  • Helps with muscle function or contractions and muscle recovery and regeneration
  • Calcium food sources include milk, cheese, yogurt, sardines, salmon, kale, broccoli, Bok choy
  • Vitamin D sources include trout, salmon, tuna, mackerel, liver, egg yolks, cheese



  • Helps muscles make and use energy for exercise
  • Food sources for iron are lean meat, seafood, nuts, beans
  • 8mg-18mg are needed daily to prevent anemia



  • Helps transport calcium and potassium into the muscles to facilitate muscle contraction and protein synthesis
  • Sixty percent is stored in the bones
  • 300-400 mg daily is needed to prevent a deficiency
  • Magnesium is found in beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, milk, yogurt, cheese


  • Helps with muscle contraction and fluid retention 
  • Potassium foods include bananas, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes, beef, chicken, fish, yogurt, milk, nuts
  • 2600-3400 mg is needed per day for optimum function


  • Need a balance and diversity to promote lean muscle mass; when this does not occur, there is a problem with the digestion of proteins and carbohydrates
  • Probiotic food sources are yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, aged cheese
  • Prebiotic food sources are bananas, potatoes, onions, garlic, soybeans, artichokes


  • The building blocks of protein that the body does not produce
  • 20 amino acids build muscle and 9 that are essential
  • Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) function is to build muscle
  • Leucine (BCAA) stimulates muscle protein synthesis
  • Isoleucine (BCAA) boosts energy
  • Valine (BCAA) promotes muscle growth and tissue repair
  • Complete proteins include beef, chicken, fish, eggs, yogurt, quinoa, soy, hempseed
  • Incomplete proteins include nuts, seeds, beans, vegetables


  • Non-essential amino acid stored in the muscle; which is called phosphocreatine is used as energy during exercise
  • 3-5 grams of creatine monohydrate are needed to maintain adequate muscle stores, support athletic performance, muscle recovery, and growth 
  • Seafood and beef contain one gram; which is the highest amount found in food