Muscle Building Diet Plan – Maximize Gains With Proper Diet

By | February 12, 2015

Muscle Building Diet Plan – Maximize Gains With Proper Diet

Muscle Building Diet PlanYou’re working out on a constant basis and you know that you’re doing everything right in the gym, aiming for progression, sticking to compound movements and using proper lifting technique. But then there is the another vital part to your muscle gains which is optimal muscle building diet plan. Proper diet along with optimal training and rest is truly the secret to packing on some serious beef to your frame.

But remember, building muscle takes time a lot of time! So don’t be discouraged if the results won’t show up right away. You should be looking the progression in about 3-6 month intervals. One month muscl growth means virtually nothing if you’re not using steroids, ofcourse you’re building muscle at that time but not enough to see it yourself!

Ok but on we go so basically building the right diet plan for your goals should consist of handful very important principles which are:

  1. Calorie Surplus
  2. Sufficient amount of protein
  3. Fats and Carbohydrates

These two components will basically be all you need to have in pristine condition when the aim is to build some muscle. Overlook one or the other and you won’t be experiencing the best gains possible!

Let’s get a bit more in depth to both of these key principles…

#1 Calorie SurplusMuscle Building Diet Plan

You need to be in Calorie Surplus when you want to build muscle. This is absolutely vital to understand. When the goal is to build muscle you have to give your body enough fuel so it can actually repair the microtears in your muscles. These microtears come from your weight training. So opposed to the general belief you’re not actually growing in the gym, you’re growing outside of the gym! In the gym you’re giving your body the reason to grow.

That being said there is a small group of people who can still build muscle even though they’re not in a calorie surplus and those people include:

  • One-In-A-Million genetics
  • Steroid users

But for average Joe like you and me it’s way safer to just stick to the proven and working principles of muscle growth.

You got basically two different options when planning your calorie surplus diet. You can do either a Dirty Bulk or Clean Bulk.

Dirty Bulking means a diet where you don’t calculate any of your calories, you just make sure that you’re eating enough protein and on top of that you can eat as much as you possibly can. This is very easy system to pack a lot of strength and muscle but to be honest it’s not the best way to go about it. With this method you’ll gain a shitload of unnecessary fat along the process and when you finish your building phase you have a lot more fat to lose and it will take a lot longer to be in great shape to show off the results of your hard work. Some people just don’t like to keep track of their calories and see this as the best option since they’re just interested in lifting. To each to their own I would say. But just remember, when you want to burn that excess fat off and still maintain your muscle mass which you’ve put a lot of effort you have to burn that fat at a gradual phase in order to preserve your muscles. Check my other article out HERE!

Clean Bulking is a bit different approach with the same goal in mind. With clean bulking you’ll keep a track of what you’re eating and this allows you to calculate exactly how much you’ll have to eat to gain muscle while minimizing excess fat along the process. Needless to say this is a way better option since you’ll be relatively good shape the whole duration of the bulk and you don’t have to cut much when you reach your goal. To do this you have to calculate your maintenance calories and you can do that with Harris-Benedict Calculator HERE! And once you know your Calorie Maintenance you can top it up with 10-20% to stay in a good calorie surplus so you won’t gain much of excess fat. It is a good idea to make the 10-20% increase of calories in form of carbohydrates and fat.

So ultimately the decisions which one to choose is up to you. If you don’t mind the excess fat go with the Dirty bulk if you want to do a bit more work and stay in better shape go with the Clean Bulk.

#2 Sufficient amount of proteinMuscle Building Diet Plan

So this is another key principle in your muscle building diet. To repair those microtears what you do in the gym by exercising you need to give your body enough fuel to be able to repair them and you need to give it building materials. These materials are called Proteins. They are the nutrients responsible for building your muscle and the carbohydrates and fats are the fuel. Needless to say these protein building blocks are absolutely vital when the goal is to build muscle.

Fitness industry has put it to our heads that we need crazy amounts of protein (especialy Whey Protein) in order to build muscle and this is completely wrong. They have put out information that you need about 2-3 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. And according to studies this holds no real value. By eating too much protein your body will actually turn them into sugar so basically when you eat more protein than your body can utilize it will convert them to sugar. So basically when you eat too much protein your eating an expensive form of carbohydrates.

So what is an optimal amount of protein?

Studies suggest that about 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight of protein is enough for you to ensure optimal amounts of protein when the goal is to build muscle. There is some researches which implicate that even 1 gram per pound of Lean Body Mass is sufficient enough.

#3 Fats and Carbohydratesfats

These are the fuel for your body. There is nothing too complex about these so let’s take a quick look to them.

Of all your total calories fats should cover about 25%. Some good sources of fats include:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Grass fed butter
  • Fish oil

Carbohydrates will cover the rest of the diet what is left after 0.8g grams of protein per pound of bodyweight and 25% of fats. Good sources of carbohydrates include:brown_Rice

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • White rice
  • Brown rice
  • Pasta

So putting it all together would look something like this: 26 years old, 5 feet 11 inches, 180lbs man with moderately physical work and heavy exercise 5-6 times a week amount of maintenance calories are 3230 this multiplied by 1.1 will give us a 10% calorie surplus so 3553 is your target calories per day. Then we figure out the protein which is 0.8 x 180 = 144 grams of protein a day and it makes 576 calories of our daily diet. Then we calculate the fat which is 3550 x 0.25 = 888 so 576 + 888 = 1464 calories in form of protein and fat so 3553 – 1464 = 2089 is the amount of calories we have to digest in form of carbohydrates.

So all in all:

  • Protein 16%
  • Fats 25%
  • Carbohydrates 59%


That is really all there is to it. One really good tip to consider is to top your calories bit by bit if you choose to go with the clean bulk method. Don’t automatically go 20% higher with the calories and stick with it because this might be more than you actually need. All of our bodies and activities vary and what works for someone might not work for you. So start out slow and start increasing your calories gradually and see where you’re gaining strength and weight on a progressive basis and stick with that calorie amount. Then when you hit a plateau your body has reached a new level of maintenance through increase in muscle mass and then you have to make a increase again.

Another good tip is to think your calories on a weekly basis rather than daily. Once you figure your daily calories out multiply it by seven and go from there. Some days you might eat more than your daily needs are but then you can compensate on the next day of the day after. Just make sure that you round up with your weekly calories at the end of the week and you’ll be golden. This weekly planning will make it much better for you since it’s only natural to not to stick with exactly same calories every day, sometimes you’ll go and have a big ass dinner with your friends etc. so don’t stress about it. Life is much more than just nutrition and gym!

Here is a bullet point list for you to recap all the important points:

  • You have to be in Calorie Surplus to gain muscle
  • Clean bulk is better than dirty bulk
  • When Clean bulking start out with gradual increase of the calories and fine tune it to proper range
  • Eat 0.8 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass or total body mass
  • Think of your calories in one week periods opposed to one day
  • Fats should take 25% of your calories and carbohydrates take the rest whats left after protein and fat

So here we have it. Start implementing these principles and you’ll be experiencing positive results for sure!

Did you find this article helpful? Have suggestions or opinions in mind? I’d love to hear if you have some suggestions or questions in mind. Leave a comment down below and I’ll get back to you!

Remember to train hard and train SMART!

10 thoughts on “Muscle Building Diet Plan – Maximize Gains With Proper Diet

  1. Jeremy

    Wow. This is really good information. I had no idea that you had to be in calorie surplus to build muscle. I thought if you didn’t eat extra you would just lose fat in addition to gaining muscle. Thanks for the lesson!

    1. Jesse Post author

      Jeremy it all depends. You can also eat at maintenance calories where you won’t gain anything and won’t lose anything. But yeah being in a surplus is essential if you want to build muscle.

  2. Vince

    Good article with some good tips there, like the thinking about 7 days instead of one day for how much you eat. I know that days definitely vary in terms of what I eat and activity level.

    What are your views on a high (good) fat diet?

    1. Jesse Post author

      Personally I tested high fat diet couple of years ago when I was grappling about 4-5 times a week. I kept my carbs really low, I probably ate about 50 grams of brown rice a day and some carbs from green vegetables. After about 30-45 minutes into the training I always hit a wall, a complete exhaustion. Felt like I didn’t have any fuel in the tank so to say. The idea behind high fat diet is to change your body to utilize fat as the primary fuel for activities BUT according to my own experience it didn’t work for me. Although at the time I didn’t know what I know now and a good strategy to implement would’ve been to count about how much calories I’d need when going to grappling and eat that amount well before training so I’d have the carbs as a fuel to push myself through the workout. BUT I’ve also tested the same diet with only weight training and there it worked just fine.

      But what are my views? Well personally I like to keep my diet in a good balance with all of the macro nutrients proteins, fats and carbs. In my diets good carbohydrates always make the majority of the diet to keep my body fuelled.

      I think the best way to figure out is to test it out for yourself. What comes to health benefits of high fat diets they’re shown to be really awesome. And I’ve read some people who have run marathons and what not with those diets so they are a really legitimate stuff!

      Hope this cleared out my view to you Vince 🙂

      1. Vince

        Hey, thanks for answering that fast! I agree that especially when training a lot, if I lack carbs then I just don’t have the energy I need. I remember one guy at training would eat this sugary buns at a day long seminar and he always had energy, and in good shape as well.

        I’ve heard about getting fat to be used as a source of fuel, but for me it hasn’t really worked either, especially during intense training camps.

        I think one of the main things I have learned is that fat isn’t bad, and rather it’s quite essential and I would be more likely to have not enough rather than too much. Keeping it clean is the best, and cheating at times is fine 😉

        Thanks for sharing

        1. Jesse Post author

          You’re on point Vince! Good fats are essential for our bodies to function in the most efficient manner. Keep training and dominating!

  3. Tony

    Hi Jesse, great post. This is some good solid information, covers everything I was thinking about. It’s a real science getting it right. Always worry about carbs, but as long as your doing the hard work you really need them.
    Cheers, Tony.

    1. Jesse Post author

      Yeah and refined sugars are the worst form of carbs. I’m happy if you got something out from this post! 🙂

  4. Dave

    I’m glad you mentioned about excessive protein consumption. You hit the nail on the head…so many “experts” out there that keep pushing the need for insane amounts of protein in one’s diet for adequate muscle development. Heck, our ancestors consumed nowhere near these amounts and they were strong and fit. Thanks for the great read.

    1. Jesse Post author

      Yeah Dave the ridicilous guidelines for protein intake come from fitness industry and their marketers. Basically they made up the figures and started promoting them and ofcourse selling protein powders as a must to really boost your daily intake so you could build the most muscle which is complete BS. Thanks to researches conducted it’s not hard to see what really the adequate levels are!


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