In an industry where we all obsess over the “pump” a popular question is how to get the best pump, well outside of supplements simple foods can be your answer. Before we jump right into your new grocery list though we must first understand what the “pump” really is. Two words, nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a powerful vasodilator that pretty much provides you that “pump” feeling. Whilst it being a short lived effect it is helpful during a lift because it improves blood flow to the muscles therefore aiding in higher energy and training intensity. Now aside from supplements for example arginine where it can be converted to nitric oxide you can also see this same conversion through dietary nitrates. Also, your muscles need to be filled with glycogen if you want that insane pump but glycogen is not only a source of energy to fuel your training but also very critical in the part you probably care about which is making your muscles look big and full. Just to name a few here are only a handful of foods and why you should consider making them part of your diet;
– Beets: Something I eat at least once a day! Beets are packed full of the essential nitrate which is what converts into that nitric oxide.
– Arugula: Dark leafy greens contain high level of nitrates but arugula actually has the highest trumping even kale.
– Garlic: Now garlic is a natural blood thinner as well as anxiety reducer. Studies have shown that people who were given 600mg of garlic were shown to have increase blood flow in their calf muscles afterward then when they were not ingesting the garlic. It’s recommended to consume a good 2-4g of fresh garlic daily or if you’re like me I eat about three cloves with every meal.
– Spices (cayenne, cinnamon, turmeric etc.): You may have heard how beneficial spicy foods are for your metabolism but for the same reason they also aid in producing better blood circulation given the thermogenic compounds.
– Dark chocolate: IN MODERATION! Okay now that I got that part out of the way before everyone goes and buys a chocolate bar with their pre workout. Dark chocolate has antioxidants called flavonoids that impact and improve vascular nitric oxide and also reduces blood pressure.
Your options are definitely not limited to those listed above many other foods provide many benefits including blood circulation that being said incorporate a couple of these into your diet and slowly watch your pumps grow.