7 Best Foods for Rock Star Arms

Great arms don't just happen. Here's how your nutrition can help.

August 19, 2016
coconut

One of the side effects of being in the public eye is that people ask you awkward questions. This one on Facebook made me laugh out loud: You photoshopped your arms, didn't you?

Ha! No, but I'll take that as a compliment. These days, I suppose it's only natural to assume that if it looks too good to be true, it's probably digitally enhanced. But I worked hard to get my arms lean and sculpted, and you can do the same.

More: 5 No-Brainer Healthy Meals for Busy Days

Great arms don't just happen. Even if you won the genetics lottery and can easily build muscle, fabulous arms require both resistance and burst training. Combining lifting weights with quick bursts of fat-blasting activity is the best way to get strong and toned.

However, when it comes to building muscle, a lot of the work actually happens outside the gym. Aim for seven to nine hours of great sleep every night, and make it a priority to address your stress levels. Sleep deprivation and chronic stress both increase hormones that prevent fat loss and muscle building.

More: 7 Fat Loss Myths That Are Total Garbage

There's also some key foods you can eat to make the most of your workouts. These seven provide serious support to help you get lean, toned, and healthy:

salmon
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1. Wild salmon

Chronic inflammation is every athlete's worst enemy, stalling all your hard work. Wild salmon provides a fabulous source of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, which one study found helps build muscle in young and middle-aged folks. It also comes loaded with quality protein and nutrients. 

Spinach
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2. Spinach

Spinach comes loaded with crave-busting fiber and nutrients galore. Researchers in one study found that compounds in leafy greens like spinach boost production of proteins that contribute to muscle strength. Plus, you don't need Popeye quantities to get those health benefits. Make a big salad, sauté some spinach with coconut oil and garlic, or add a cup to your protein shake (You won't taste it!).

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3. Quinoa

This versatile seed (yes, seed) fits the definition of a perfect slow-low carb (as a bonus: it's gluten-free!). It packs an impressive plant protein profile with all nine essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein. ("Essential" means your body can't make these amino acids; you need to get them from foods like quinoa.) Protein is a must if you want to build muscle and burn fat.

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4. Protein shakes

A protein shake is a quick, tasty way to get the protein you need to build muscle. Quality protein powder makes all the difference here. Try superior-quality Paleo and plant-based protein shakes, free of soy, gluten, dairy, artificial sweeteners, and other additives that can prove harmful.

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5. Slow-roasted nuts

Nuts are an amazing source of magnesium, an incredible mineral that plays numerous roles in building strong muscle. A handful of almonds or other tree nuts also packs impressive amounts of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Just remember, portion control is key here so you don’t overdo it on the calories.

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6. Grass-fed beef

Beef that's been raised conscientiously is a perfect source of protein, healthy fats, and nutrients. Grass-fed beef also comes loaded with the multi-tasking amino acid L-glutamine to help build muscle while preventing muscle breakdown.

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7. Coconut

The MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) in coconut are ideal workout fuel. Add unsweetened coconut milk to your protein shakes and use coconut oil for medium-heat cooking. You can also get an extra boost of coconut's health benefits with delicious, low-sugar impact Dark Chocolate Coconut Fiber Bars.

Pair these foods with great sleep, stress management, and the right workout strategies, and you've got a comprehensive plan to build amazing arms! What one food would you add to this list to build muscle and get lean and healthy? Share yours below or on my Facebook page.

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