In my opinion, working out to build muscle is a healthier goal and mindset for your health than working out to lose weight. Inevitably, when you build muscle you end up losing weight. The way this works is that while one pound of fat and lean muscle weigh the same, their composition varies immensely. Muscle is denser than fat, which means muscle takes up less space, or volume, in the body compared to fat. So muscle has a leaner appearance due to its high density, whereas fat takes up more space, or volume, in the body.

So when your goal is to “lose weight” you may focus too much on limiting the foods you are allowing yourself to eat, whereas when your goal is to “build muscle” you focus on becoming stronger, which then positively impacts your mind, body, and spirit. Adding good things in seems a lot easier to me then taking away bad things.

Now when it comes to working out to build muscle, many people are obsessed with meat and protein in general, but there are many other foods that help to build muscle, too.

Honestly, protein doesn’t deserve all the attention it gets, as I have mentioned before in a previous blog. Understandably so, foods that are protein-rich can help to boost muscle protein synthesis, but when it comes to energy for exercise, very few foods will beat complex carbohydrates or nuts.

Nuts for the win! Yes! Nuts are one of my favorite “healthy fats that keep me full for a long time” snacks. Read below to learn why nuts are so important if you’re working to build your muscles and which ones are best for your personal workout goals.

Why Nuts are Important for Strength

Any food that contains a wide spectrum of nutrients is important for muscle mass and strength. Nuts and seeds bring many essential nutrients to the table.

Consider these reasons to include more nuts in your diet while you’re working on building your muscles:

  • They are plentiful in vitamins and minerals – especially those that you cannot obtain in any other source, like magnesium and zinc.

  • Most nuts have a great amino acid spectrum and a large supply of protein. They support muscle development and general growth.

  • Nuts are a very good source of fat – mainly unsaturated fats. Many nuts have even been shown to lower cholesterol levels, which is amazing considering their fat levels.

These characteristics make nuts versatile tools to use for strength sessions. You can eat them before a workout for energy during your training session or wait until after your workout to assist in the recovery of soft tissue.

What Nuts are Best for Strength and Size?

When it comes to building muscle, there are a select few nuts that stand out from the rest. Please note that cost doesn’t figure into this analysis. These tips are based solely on which nuts are best for total strength because of the nutrients they provide.

These nuts best support working out for strength and muscle size:

  1. Pistachios. Hands down the best nut for overall health and strength, pistachios have a unique ability to remove plaque and other buildups in the body while also having a very high protein content for building muscle.

    • This means cleaner and better blood flow for a dense nutrient delivery to working muscles – the perfect combination for strength.

  2. Cashews. The gold standard in strength training has always come from cashews. Cashews are popular for two reasons:

  • First, they contain a very good dosage of iron, which is great for cardiovascular exercise and general health.

  • Second, they contain one of the best amino acid spectrums among other nuts and protein sources.

  1. Walnuts. Walnuts aren’t just for the holidays! They could be the best-balanced nut you can buy. Stock up on these nuts, as the protein content, vitamins, and minerals found within walnuts provide immense strength benefits (and win the award for “Top Nut for Brain Health”).

If you’ve been struggling to find more energy during your training session, or perhaps you aren’t recovering as fast as you thought you would, this could be the secret formula for your workout success.

Do yourself a favor and make a tasty trail mix with nuts, cranberries, and raisins! Enjoy!