In this section I’m giving my ideas for optimal muscle building diet. And it might be a bit shocking to you if you’ve been doing research about diets online before which usually without a question promote huge amounts of protein.
So I’m going to divide this page into a good “digestiful” portions for you!
This is absolutely vital in order to build muscle. You have to determine how much calories you’re eating and how much you should eat.
There is not a one-diet-plan-that-works-for-everyone!
Because we are unique as a humans. Everybody has a more or less different body types and mechanics. This means what works for me doesn’t guarantee optimal results for you.
In order to build muscle you have to be in a Calorie surplus state!
Which means you have to take calories in more than you burn out. This calorie intake varies a lot depending on your daily habits and hobbies.
For example a competitive MMA fighter who trains twice a day for 6 days a week his calorie intake for a single day could be 3500 kcal but he would still LOSE weight. And on the other side you could have an average Joe who goes to gym 4-5 times a week with main objective to build muscle and the calorie intake could be somewhere in the 2400-3000 kcal per day range he would actually GAIN weight.
So a good rule of thumb is to top up your calorie intake by 10-20% from your maintenance calories!
So this is where we have two major muscle building diets called “Clean Bulking” and “Dirty Bulking”.
– In Clean Bulking you’re calculating your calories quite specific to build LEAN muscle without the excess body fat.
– In Dirty Bulking you’re basically just making sure you eat enough calories and protein. It does not matter where the carbs and fats come from.
Needless to say Clean Bulking is a LOT better way to build your muscle building diet.
Let me give an example. Your goal is to eat 2800 kcal per day with 140 grams of protein. So that would be 560 calories from protein and you’re left with 2240 calories to digest in the form of fats and carbohydrates. Would you devour burgers and pizzas to fulfill that calorie requirement OR would you eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, brown rice, sweet potatoes, etc?
You really don’t have to be an rocket scientist do see which option would be better for your health.
So to determine you daily intake and what it should be, you can use this wonderful free site www.myfitnesspal.com
Maybe the most important part of your muscle building diet. Protein is the nutrient that “builds” your muscle. No protein, no muscle gain. Period.
You should aim for 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight OR 0.8 grams of protein per pound of Lean Body Mass!
Now this might be a bit of a shock for many people since the fitness industry has been preaching of ridicilous amounts of protein intake if you want to build muscle. Like for an example 2-3 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight a day.
So for me this would mean since I’m 180 pounds at the moment 360-540 grams of protein per day. And in chicken breast the protein is approximately 22g / 100g of breast. So I’d have to eat a frigging 2 kilos of chicken breast a day? How crazy is that?
I read Brad Pilons how much protein you really need for building muscle e-book. And it opened truly my eyes. And after reading this book my proteins for a day stay with the 0.8 gram per pound of LBM or Bodyweight and I’ve been making steady progress in the gym.
So let me list some GOOD protein sources here:
– Nuts and seeds
– Cottage cheese
– Whey protein
So as I mentioned eating protein is a very important thing to do when you’re trying to build muscle. But what the fitness industry claims that you SHOULD eat is total BS. Read the Brads book if you want to gain more knowledge to this subject but basically what the fitness industry tries to do is make protein requirements over the top and then guess what? SELL you their protein products to meet the “required” demand.
Carbohydrates play a big role in our energy production. Eating carbs is an important thing to keep in mind since they come in as various different forms.
Stay away from REFINED and PROCESSED carbohydrates!
Here are some examples what you should AVOID:
– All “microwave” foods.
– White bread
– Sugary beverages (coke, sprite)
– Junk foods (pizza, hamburger)
– Snack foods (donuts, cookies)
It is really easy to group these processed carbs. Quite often all of these products have long self-lives and the products ain’t fresh. The “foods” here can be stored for months or years without getting bad since they’re so processed with different chemicals that they simply will not age. These “foods” are made in order to make profit NOT to getting your essential vitamins and minerals.
That being said let’s look a bit into the HEALTHY carbs and how they should be eaten.
These carbs should make about 80-90% of your daily intake of carbohydrates.
The reason behind this is these fresh foods will be packed with the essential vitamins, minerals and fibers what your body requires to operate in a best possible manner.
Here is a list of some good sources:
– Brown rice
– Sweet potatoes
These foods will be packed with all the essential nutrients that your body requires. Out from the 80-90% of carbs I daily consume I always put in 2 servings of dark leafy vegetables and 1-2 servings of fruits. The vegetables such as Broccoli, Spinach, Cauliflower, Kale etc. make a huge different in my colon health, my stomach just functions so much better when I eat these daily.
So this leaves the 10-20% intake up to YOU to decide what form of carbs you want to take. You might want to eat just more of these healthy ones OR you could also cheat a bit and eat some snack foods. Since your main sources are coming from the fresh and healthy sources it really won’t hurt your gains if you decide to eat that 10% something on the junk side.
Fats are essential to our overall health. The same thing with carbohydrates, fats come in various different forms and it might be very confusing to you what fats are good and what bad. I’m going to try and give you some idea here.
The bad fats:
– Trans fats (commercialy baked pastries, packaged snack foods, margarine, fried foods)
Ok so now you would guess that why I did conclude only Trans fats here, where is the saturated fats right? Well this is a topic on its on so I’m not going to go to any details here. I’ll probably make own post regarding the fats and what I believe in. Now I’m just giving my opinion what is healthy and whats not according to my studies.
The good fats:
– Monounsaturated fats (Olive oil, Avocados & Nuts)
– Saturated fats (Butter ideally from grass fed cattle, Virgin coconut oil, Fat in meat cuts, Cheese)
– Polyunsaturated fats (Omega 3-fatty acids, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds)
As you see in MY opinion there is good fats to be found in all the other fat types excluding Trans fats. I listed some of my favourites but if you dig deeper and search that what other kind of fats are part of these groups there is a lot of different foods that I believe should not be considered healthy.
And how much should one consume fat in a day?
I think number between 20-30% of your daily calorie intake should come from fats.
So with this covered we’re cleared that how you should plan your muscle building diet with your Macronutrients. Then there is a group called Micronutrients which basically mean Vitamins and Minerals but let’s not go there in this page!
This is another topic which I want to briefly give my insight. There was a big thing in the fitness industry for a long time that you should space your meals on 2-3 hour apart from each other and if you missed one meal lets say for an hour your muscles would just melt away.
And oh boy how wrong was that.
The new studies have shown that Fasting (means you won’t eat for a long period of time example 16 hours) might actually be really beneficial for gaining muscle mass and burn fat and get rid of all the toxins in your body!
What I’m trying to say here is that don’t stress about how many meals you eat if you want to build muscle.
Eat whenever you are hungry.
With that being said it doesn’t matter if you eat every 10 minutes a spoonful of your daily calorie needs or just one or two big meals a day, as long as you eat the calories required for one day!
Personally I eat all of my foods between 14.00 – 22.00 so I’m doing some fasting a bit every day and this works for me really good, I’m making progress constantly on my muscle building goals.
Whoah! So there you have it. My take on Diet regards of building muscle and strength.
What you think about this page? I’d love to hear if you have some suggestions or questions in the comment section below! Drop me a line and I’ll reply back 🙂
Happy lifting and eating everybody!
– Jesse 🙂