There’s nothing that screams out strength and power more than cranking out bar bending reps on the bench with hundreds of pounds on the bar at the gym. And of course, who among us wouldn’t love to run a sub 10-second hundred meter dash like Usain Bolt, or punch with the lightning fast grace of a Floyd Mayweather if given the ability?
Strength and speed require more than just gym and track work to be developed. Diet, as many of you may know is well over 80% of the battle when it comes to developing your body. There’s just no way your muscles will respond and get bigger, stronger, or faster without the right nutrition.
By making the following foods a part of your regular diet, you’ll quickly start to notice that you’ll be achieving your strength and/or speed building goals faster than you ever thought possible!
Making a trip up to the oyster bar can add tons of strength to your power lifts. Pound for pound, no other food found in nature offers more zinc than oysters. Zinc is a key ingredient needed to produce testosterone and the more testosterone surging through your body, the stronger and faster you’ll get.
Zinc is also crucial for immune system strength, along with several cellular repair functions throughout the body. One fresh medium oyster packs over 13 milligrams of this manly hormone-boosting mineral, which is about 100 percent the daily requirements for a 200 pound man.
Additional strength and speed boosting benefits from oysters (single medium oyster):
• 33% of the daily requirements for vitamin B-12, essential for muscle cell building.
• 1g of high quality protein, also for building muscle tissue (this can really add up after a few oysters!)
• 5 % daily value of iron, needed to create red blood cells which transport oxygen to hungry muscles.
Revered for packing a walloping 6g of protein per medium sized egg, this power food offers the most important amino acid that’s needed for both growing muscle, and preventing muscle breakdown in the body. Leucine is needed to begin the anabolic process that starts muscle growth and recovery once a trigger (ie., working out) is given.
Insulin is the main hormone responsible for infusing cells with recovery nutrients like amino acids, creatine, ATP, and glucose. Adequate leucine levels help trigger the body to release more insulin when it’s needed, making you stronger and faster as a result.
Additional strength and speed boosting benefits from eggs (one medium egg):
• Leucine is converted, as needed, to beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) which has been shown to be essential in preventing muscle loss (catabolism) during exercise.
• One medium egg offers up 22% the daily requirements of selenium, needed by the body to maintain thyroid function which is the starting point of all metabolic function in the body.
• Eggs contain 100mg of choline, a B-complex vitamin needed for building cell membranes throughout the brain and body.
Dark green leafy vegetables are all considered to be the most detoxifying foods one can eat to maintain good health. Spinach is loaded with fiber and plenty of vitamins and minerals, but the phytoecdysteroids in spinach are what make Popeye’s arms get massive when he eats this strength building food!
Phytoecdysteroids have been shown to increase protein synthesis in the body by 20% or more. While they aren’t as strong as “prescription-only” anabolic steroids, phytoecdysteroids essentially perform the same function as the pharmacy variety do. One study at Rutgers University found significant differences in strength and post-working recovery ability between subjects consuming large amounts of this compound and those who did not.
Other strength and speed boosting benefits of consuming spinach (1 cup fresh spinach):
• 56% of the daily requirements of vitamin A, essential for immune system strength.
• 1000% the daily value for vitamin K, needed for maintaining proper glucose levels in the body.
• Loaded with several kinds of antioxidants that combat free radicals, which can hinder strength and muscle gains.
While you might feel inclined to spend a few bucks less and opt for “healthier” chicken breasts to help build and repair your muscles, beef is way better for a few different reasons. The main benefit beef has over other meats is that it’s loaded with creatine; an essential ingredient needed for strength and speed.
Creatine’s sole function in the body is to increase the transport of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) into the muscles.
ATP is what gives us those short burst of strength and speed when lifting heavy weights, sprinting, jumping, etc. Basically any function that requires intense muscular contraction uses creatine to shuttle ATP into the cells. The great news for beef lovers is that this protein-packed food is the best non-supplement source of creatine you’ll find at the grocery store. This is why so many powerlifters swear by beef as being essential to their competitive success.
Other strength and speed boosting benefits of eating beef (3 ounce serving):
• The highest source of “complete” protein found in nature with 22 grams per serving.
• 36% of the daily requirements of B-12, which is needed for muscle cell repair.
• Loaded with CLA’s (conjugated linoleic acids) which help the body burn fat for energy and prevent catabolism during exercise.
Pumpkin Seeds (Arginine)
Arginine is another essential amino acid that’s a crucial part of the strength and speed puzzle. If you’ve ever tried a pre-workout supplement with nitric oxide as one of the main ingredients, you most certainly know how much more explosive and strong it can make you. Nitric oxide is also naturally converted in the body from arginine, which is found in abundance in pumpkin seeds.
Nitric oxide is a powerful vasodilator, increasing blood flow throughout the entire body, meaning you get more oxygen, aminos, glucose and essential nutrients to your brain and muscles when you’re placing strenuous demands on them. The presence of arginine has also been shown to increase the release of growth hormone after workouts.
Other strength and speed boosting benefits of consuming pumpkin seeds (1 cup of dried seeds):
• 42% of the daily requirements of magnesium, essential for normal nerve and muscle function.
• 48% the daily requirements of dietary fiber which is needed for scrubbing your colon clean after all the protein-rich foods you’ll need to consume in order to build muscle.
• 12 grams of protein, which although a plant protein, is dense with most of the essential aminos needed for muscle growth and strength.
Don’t Forget the Agua!
All the foods listed on this page will help you to build more muscle, speed and strength. However, if you don’t remember to drink enough water, you won’t be able to reap the benefits offered by increased zinc, leucine, phytoecdysteroids, creatine, or arginine in your diet.
There’s no one single process that water’s involved in when it comes to strength and speed during a workout, or any one thing that H20 does while you recover from said workout. Water plays a role in every cellular process that takes place in the body!
Don’t drink so much that you’re constantly bloated, or you’ll unnecessarily slow down the digestive process and will likely find it hard to breathe. Aim to drink somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5 – 2 liters on workout days, and 1 – 2 liters on off days.
Now, what are you waiting for? Get out there and build some more strength and speed!