Foods You Should Avoid If You're Trying To Build Muscle

Building muscle takes commitment on the fitness front. Spartan recommends increasing your training volume and decrease your resting time between lifts for speedy results. In addition to sweating for success, it is also recommended that you increase your calories by eating more than you burn every day to allow your muscles to build at the quickest rate.

But before you go through the drive-through twice in one lunch break, Spartan notes that the extra calories should be limited to 250 to 500 per day. If fitness is the star in your muscle-building regime, then your diet should be taking the essential supporting actor role. All of that work you are putting in with the dumbbells and resistance bands could show zero effect if your diet is bulldozing your committed efforts. Here are some foods you should avoid if you really want to see extra growth and definition in your muscles.

A happy hour can turn into a sad hour for your fitness goals

First thing you should avoid is happy hour. We know it's a great deal, and incredibly fun to socialize with a frothy beer at your side. But that 2-for-1 special before dinner may be destroying your muscle growth. According to Men's Journal, regular consumption of alcoholic beverages increases antioxidant demands to help your body process the booze. Unfortunately, those same antioxidants are then nowhere to be found when they're needed to help your muscles recover from a workout. Switching to a diet soda instead may also be unwise. As Muscle & Fitness warns, that fake sugar in your glass can trigger your insulin levels to rise, in turn causing cravings for those unhealthy happy hour snacks.

It's likely you already know to avoid the sugary sodas and the chocolate treats in the vending machine if you're trying to gain muscle and not fat. But what may surprise you is that you should also avoid dried fruit. Healthy? Yes. But very hard to fill up on. Franci Cohen, CEO of Fuel Fitness in New York and creator of SpiderBands, explains to Muscle & Fitness: "When you eat a fresh apricot, apple, or peach you might be full after eating one with something like come cottage cheese. But with dried fruit you can eat the whole box and consume thousands of calories and not feel it because the water has been removed."

Fresh is best

All foods are ok in moderation. But if you want to see the effects of your sweaty hours at the gym, results may come quicker if you put more effort into your kitchen as well. Fresh is best! Men's Journal warns that pre-made foods such as bottled smoothies and store-bought muffins are loaded with sugars and preservatives. You should also stay away from the quick bites you can find in a pastry case, and pretty much any food where all-purpose flour is the main ingredient — these foods are mostly empty calories, without the filling fiber that can be found in whole grains.

We love to see healthy transformation, and believe those who put in the physical work to gain more muscle should be rewarded for their efforts. While there's no need to avoid tempting and delicious treats entirely, relegate these foods to periodic indulgences rather than daily habits. Your muscles will thank you.