Fruit and Your Muscles: The Unexpected Truth You Need to Know

Most people know fruit is an excellent source of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. However, too much fruit can lead to problems down the line – especially if you’re looking to achieve serious muscle gains.

The majority of fruits have a lot of good things going for them. But it’s important to choose the best fruits to consume for your individual goals. Timing when you eat fruit can go a long way toward helping you achieve those goals, too. For example, did you know the best times to eat fruit are in the morning or 30-60 minutes before you hit the gym?

Fruits and You Muscles: Separating The Good & The Bad

Before we get into how you can maximize muscle gains and recovery with fruits, let’s identify some of the good and bad when it comes to your muscles.

The good:

  • Complex carbs break down slowly for sustained energy
  • Glycogen stored in your muscles fuels physical performance
  • Micronutrients encourage optimal health and fitness
  • Potassium-heavy options can be good for muscle recovery

The bad:

  • Some fruits are overly high in sugar and calories
  • Can trigger symptoms in people with GERD 
  • After exercise, fruit is not the best form of carbs to boost insulin
  • Too much can be bad for body fat levels
  • Fiber can be a shock to your digestive system

Now that we have an insight into the good and bad associated with fruits and your muscles, we can get into what to look for – and avoid – when adding fruits to your diet.

14 Tips to Optimize Muscle Gains & Recovery with Fruit

Choosing the right foods to put into your body is vital for muscle gain and recovery. Fruits are no different. Some fruits are good for your goals, and others can hinder the overall outcomes you experience. Today, we’ll discuss how you can avoid the most common pitfalls associated with fruits and your diet.

#1: Look for “High-Protein” Fruits

Protein is essential if you’re going to build lean muscle mass. Unfortunately, the majority of fruits you find won’t have a ton of protein. In fact, the average serving of fruit offers up just 1 gram of protein – a very small fraction of what you need daily. Eating enough fruit for adequate protein could cause unwanted blood sugar fluctuations.

Tip: Look for fruits that contain higher than average protein, like guavas, avocados, kiwis, apricots, and blackberries.1

#2: Skip the Fruit Juice

While fruit juices may taste amazing, they’re not all they’re cracked up to be health-wise. In fact, consuming fruit juice can put you at risk for excessive sugar intake, which can give you a short burst of energy followed by an unwanted crash. In addition, when you juice a fruit, you’re removing all the fiber that counteracts the sugars.

Tip: Stick with whole fruits that will offer up the nutrients you need without the potential downsides associated with juices.

#3: Eat Fruit on an Empty Stomach

There are actually quite a few reasons to eat fruit before filling up on a meal. Opting for a piece of fruit on an empty stomach allows for better digestion. The acid in your stomach is able to more easily break down fruit so you can get the most out of what you’re eating. Additionally, a piece of fruit before a meal can help prevent weight gain by making you feel fuller and more satiated.

Tip: Go for a piece of fruit when you wake up or 30-60 minutes before your first meal of the day.

#4: Source Vitamin C Based Fruit

Vitamin C is a great muscle-healthy nutrient. It helps the body form collagen, which is essential for strengthening connective tissue, tendons, and muscles. Citrus fruits are generally high in Vitamin C and the ideal accompaniment to your post-workout routine to relieve exercise-induced oxidative stress for faster recovery times.

Tip: Mix up your Vitamin C sources with fruits like grapefruit, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, and papaya.

#5: Choose Fruits with High Fiber

Increasing your dietary fiber intake with certain fruits can help increase muscle mass. Additional benefits from choosing fruits that are high in fiber include increased metabolism for weight loss. High-fiber fruits include passion fruit, avocados, and berries.

Tip: For muscle growth, it’s better to consume high-fiber fruits before a workout rather than after.

#6: Stick to One Fruit at a Time

While a big bowl of mixed fruit may sound like a great way to get all your servings in at once, it could lead to some digestion and bloating problems. In addition, all fruits have different “purposes” and should be treated accordingly. While one fruit may be potassium-heavy and ideal for muscle recovery, another might be carbohydrate-rich, which isn’t ideal following a workout.

Tip: Eat individual fruits when they’re going to provide you with the best possible outcome nutrition-wise.

#7: Try Folate-Rich Fruits

Folate plays a critical role in the development and function of muscle cells. Fruits that are rich in folate (folic acid) can help your body make the most of the proteins you consume. With this additional protein absorbency, folate-rich foods encourage muscle growth for bigger gains with the same workout. 

Tip: Citrus fruits rank the highest when it comes to folate. While oranges top the list, you can also get folate from grapefruit, papayas, grapes, bananas, strawberries, raspberries and cantaloupe.

#8: Go for Potassium-Heavy Options

Fruits that are high in potassium are the perfect post-workout accompaniment. Watermelon, pomegranate, bananas, and avocado are all potassium-heavy. Potassium is a key component for muscle recovery. Adding one of the aforementioned fruits after a workout can help you feel better faster so you can get back to crushing your plateaus in the gym.

Tip: Opt for a quick and easy banana after a workout to introduce both carbohydrates and potassium into your system.

#9: Avoid Fruits that Aren’t in Season

Fruits grown out of season likely won’t have the same nutritional value as those that are in season. Aside from better nutrition, buying fruits that are in season are cheaper, tastier, and have a better environmental impact. Strawberries, for example, are high in iron and Vitamin C, which is essential for muscle building, but buying them out of season could be a waste of your hard-earned money.

Tip: Pay attention to seasonal fruits and buy locally whenever possible to ensure maximum nutritional value.

#10: Eat Dried Fruit in Moderation

Dried fruit is a concern with dieticians because of their higher sugar content. A little dried fruit can go a long way. The smaller size can be deceiving, making it easier to eat too many at a time, but in reality, each piece of fruit is packed with sugar and calories. Additionally, the high fiber in dried fruit can lead to bloating, diarrhea, flatulence, cramps, and constipation.

Tip: Portion out your dried fruit before snacking to prevent over-consumption.

#11: Cut Fruit Right Before You Eat

After being cut, a fruit can start to lose its nutritional value. Before you cut fruit, the interior is protected from the three main factors that make it spoil: heat, oxygen, and light. Use a sharp knife to prevent nutrient leakage, and store cut fruit in the refrigerator to maintain nutritional value as long as possible.

Tip: If you don’t have time to cut fruit each and every time, opt for a “grab and go” fruit that doesn’t need to be pre-sliced.

#12: Choose the Best Pre-Workout Options

Choosing the right fruit before a workout can help prevent muscle fatigue and keep you going longer. Certain fruits deliver targeted amounts of fructose that are steadily delivered to muscles as you go about your workout. Some of the best pre-workout fruits include pear, watermelon, apple, raspberries, grapes, and strawberries.

Tip: Time your fruit choices well and make sure you’re eating the whole fruit rather than sugar-laden workout drinks or smoothies.

#13: Maximize Recovery with Post-Workout Fruits

While, in most cases, fruit isn’t the ideal post-workout option, there are several that you can go for if you’re really craving a bit of sweetness. Cherries, for example, reduce inflammation and enhance recovery post-workout. Apples are packed with strength-boosting polyphenols, which can facilitate faster muscle recovery.

Tip: You won’t get enough of the protein you need after a workout from fruit alone. Opt for a post-workout whey protein powder that contains at least 20 grams of protein.

#14: Balance is Key

One or two pieces of fruit a day isn’t going to set you too far back. In fact, if you opt for fruits that are high in protein, potassium, folate, and Vitamin C, you’re headed in the right direction. Mix up the fruits you eat based on what’s in season and available to you. Just remember, the key to any diet is all about balance.

Tip: Remember, the average adult should ideally have 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (2 fruits to 3 vegetables).2

Maximize Your Gains with Whey Protein Isolate

There’s no denying that fruit in moderation can be good for muscle gains and recovery. However, you need to be careful when opting for post-workout fruits that are laden with sugars and unwanted carbs. Too much fruit (like anything) can have a negative impact on your overall fitness goals.

Instead, opt for our PrimeGENIX® Whey Protein Isolate that delivers a full 25 grams of pure protein with no additional sugars, carbs, or unnecessary fillers. Our Whey Protein Isolate has everything you need and nothing you don’t to maximize your gains.




About Eric Barnett

Avatar photoEric is a personal trainer and avid outdoor enthusiast who strives to always be on the forefront of health innovation. A father of two who recognized early on that as he aged, he needed to keep his body and nutrition in check to keep living life to the fullest.

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