Never Skip Breakfast
It’s the most important meal of the day for building and maintaining muscle, says Jose Antonio, Ph.D., CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. The longer you go without eating after you wake up, the longer your body remains in fasting mode, making it more likely that your muscle will be broken down and used for fuel. Eating as soon as possible after rising in the morning ensures that won’t happen.

Eat Protein and Carbohydrates After a Workout
After exercise, your muscles are primed to take in glucose and amino acids. Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch found that you can speed muscle growth by consuming 6 grams of essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein), or about the amount in 12 ounces of milk. Add carbohydrates to the equation, by drinking chocolate milk, and you will speed up muscle repair, says Antonio.

Take a Daily Dose of Creatine
Exercise scientists at the University of Hawaii found that older men who took creatine increased muscle, strength, and power after just 7 days of supplementation. “Creatine is the single most effective supplement in existence, and it has no harmful side effects,” says Antonio. One 5-gram serving per day will do the trick.