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fruit bodybuildingCan Fruit Help You Build Muscle?

One 0f the most common questions I get is whether or not fruits belong in a muscle building meal plan.  The confusion lies in the usually high sugar content in fruits and the fact that most have heard that sugar is generally a bad thing when it comes to building lean muscle. Well, let me help to clear up the issue right now with an explanation of how fruit not only fits in, but at certain times…is the BEST option for fueling new muscle growth.

The first distinction that needs to be made is that of the chemical makeup of the sugars in fruit. Fruit is not made of pure glucose but rather a mixture of slower digesting carbs called fructose and the already stated glucose.  Pure glucose is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and can cause a quick reversal of plummeting blood sugar.  This is why, high glucose foods are often the choice of diabetics who are having a hypoglycemic attack!

Fruit juice often reverses this and makes the person feel better within minutes, but this is due to the simple glucose related sugars that are abundant in juice and not fructose.  On the other hand, fructose (because of it’s molecular shape and makeup) is broken down and absorbed almost entirely in the small intestine.  What this does is limit the effect of fructose on insulin response and therefore acts like a “non-sugar” sugar in that case.


Fruit…A Powerful Muscle Recovery Food

Now, that said…remember that fruit is NOT pure fructose! It has almost half of it’s carbohydrate content coming from good old fashioned fast acting glucose as well.  So what does that mean?  Simple.  Fruit, when used as your carbohydrate, can provide BOTH immediate blood sugar spikes and longer term sustained energy responses via it’s glucose/fructose one-two combo.  It’s very unique that way and definitely a powerful muscle recovery food that can’t be ignored when factoring in where your calories are coming from.

Taking all of this into consideration think about when the ideal time might be for including fruit in your meal.  When would your body and muscles benefit most from the short term burst in blood sugar/insulin and also a slower, longer acting source of energy?  Exactly…right after a workout.

With your muscles natural glycogen stores most likely depleted from your high intensity workouts, you’ll want to immediately act to replenish these broken down carbs with immediate sources of glucose.  At the same time, remember, you’ll want to flush into your muscles (along with that sugar) a hefty does of recuperative protein.  The perfect solution?

A meal replacement shake (carbs + protein) with some fresh fruit used for flavoring!  Throw this all in a blender and you’ve got the perfect option to take in during the crucial 45 – 60 minute window for post workout replenishment.

So that said, if you’re stuck on trying to figure out whether or not fruit belongs in your muscle building meal plans…don’t be.  It does.  It just needs to be timed correctly and combined with other essential nutrients in the right amounts to produce the optimal effects you’re looking for.  Throw in the antioxidant benefits and vitamin/mineral doses that fruit has been proven to deliver and you’ve got more than just a few reasons to go bananas for fruit as part of your “gain” plan!

Stay Strong,



Still not sure about the best timing for not only fruit, but specific proteins, carbohydrates and even essential fatty acids when it comes to putting together the optimal meal plan for muscle building?  Don’t be.  Let the AthLEAN-X Factor Meal Plans show you exactly how to combine your foods for fastest muscle gains.  CLICK HERE to learn more about these step by step plans.

Jeff Cavaliere Headshot

Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS

Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.

Read more about Jeff Cavaliere by clicking here

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