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There are two crucial aspects to building lean muscle: nutrition and physical activity. Many individuals will start training hard but not pay enough attention to what they are eating, stalling their progress. Challenging the body with intense workouts is a great starting point, but those that don’t give their body the nutrition it needs can only go so far. Qualified nutritional therapist and personal trainer Bernard McGowan believes that the secret to muscle gain success is to eat a balanced diet with a focus on good quality muscle-building foods.

Lean Beef

Beef is naturally packed with protein and nutrients that can encourage lean muscle building. If you are trying to gain muscle without consuming too many unnecessary calories, choosing lean cuts of beef will eliminate extra fat from your diet. A typical lean 6oz fillet steak contains 32g of protein which will naturally support muscle growth.


Eating a balanced diet containing fish is a great choice for those interested in muscle building and improving overall health. An average 85g serving of salmon naturally contains 17g of protein along with a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids and crucial B vitamins. Like salmon, tuna contains a good amount of protein alongside high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin B12, niacin and vitamin B6, all of which are beneficial for exercise and muscle building.


Eggs are an affordable source of high-quality protein, amino acids, healthy fats and vitamin D. Proteins are made from amino acids, and eggs contain large amounts of leucine, which plays an important part in muscle gain.

Whey Protein

Supplements can sometimes be beneficial to a diet when trying to gain muscle. Whey protein is a common ingredient in protein powders because it is naturally very affordable, and it can prove to be a highly effective dietary addition when trying to gain muscle mass.


Soybeans are a natural source of protein, vitamin K, iron, and phosphorus. Just half a cup of cooked soybeans contains 14g of protein, along with healthy fats and a generous helping of vitamins and minerals that can all help with lean muscle gain. Soy protein is found in foods such as tofu and soybeans and is widely considered to be one of the highest-quality plant proteins available today.