By Carol Trehearn

Although there is no shortage of well-built men and women just about anywhere you look these days, it’s not as easy as it seems to achieve such a physique.

You will have to work very hard to make even the slightest of gains, especially after your first year at the gym.

Building muscle naturally is the fruit of combining workouts, nutrition and rest together in an intelligent manner, and if you are lacking in even one of those departments, your gains won’t match your efforts.

On that note, instead of pointing out the protein shakes and the boiled eggs that help you to grow, today we are going to take a look at six foods that are actually responsible for stunting muscle growth. Check out some of the cheap meal plans at Pocket Change Gourmet to know how you can devise a meal plan that doesn’t break the bank or your bodybuilding dreams.

Sports Drinks: The electrolytes might be temporarily useful if you are doing an intense cardio session, but they are not helpful if you are working towards building musculature. Anaerobic exercises and sports drinks do not go well together and you should not take them frequently if you want to see proper muscle growth.

Too Much Protein: While protein does help to cut fat when taken in the right quantity, if you take too much of it, the excess protein will be converted into fat and that’s probably not what you are looking for while trying to supplement your diet with a few protein shakes. Calculate the ideal amount of daily protein for your body and make sure you do not go over the upper limit.

Alcohol: A few drinks on occasion is not really bad for you or your gains, but if you let that six-pack of beer get hold of you, the six-pack that matters will disappear pretty fast. Alcohol interferes with protein synthesis and muscle recovery, not to mention the amount of fat all those carbs put on you.

A lifestyle that involves regular drinking and chasing bodybuilding goals is similar to chasing your own tail; you will always see it right in front of you, but you will never really get there!

Snack Bars: Whether it’s a granola bar with nuts and fruits or just a plain old chocolate bar, it’s bad for your gains and your health. Refined sugar is one of the worst foods out there for anybody and it will inevitably mess up your muscle goals if you let it. Stick to pure protein bars for a post-gym snack, unless you want to add more than what you just burned at the gym.

Breakfast Cereal: No good nutritionist will ever recommend that you eat cereals for breakfast because they just have so much sugar in them. Even the ones that claim not to have sugar aren’t good for you. Stick to oatmeal, eggs, wholegrain bread, etc., instead.

It is surprising how much the regular food we eat hurts muscle growth and these five are only a few of the many more foods out there. Eating healthy can get quite expensive though, but it doesn’t always have to be.

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