Confused about the best muscle building diet to use?
Sick of trying to gain lean muscle only to end up softer and fatter?
You’re not alone.
That happens to just about everyone but the rarest genetically gifted freaks.
Most people end up gaining two pounds of fat for every pound of muscle. That’s if you’re lucky.
The worst case is that you gain three pounds of fat for every pound of muscle you gain.
Below are four very important muscle building diet tips to help you gain size without the unwanted body fat.
1) Eat Slightly More Calories Than You Burn
If you want to build muscle you have to eat. But not as much as many people think. Skinny teenagers can get away with it, but the rest of us won’t be so lucky.
Unless you’re between the ages of 15 and 22, and are relatively new to training you cannot force feed muscle growth.
Eating massive quantities, trying to force feed muscle growth only works under those circumstances.
When you’re over 22 and no longer a newbie to strength training you can’t take that approach. When you grossly overeat the scale will go up but so will your waist and body-fat percentage.
Everyone who tries this ends up looking like a fat slob within a few months. Then they get depressed and start trying to diet off all the fat. In the process they lose all the muscle they gained.
Back to square one again. And the dance continues.
A better approach would be to eat just a bit more than you burn so you have some calories left over to build muscle but not enough to gain fat.
Most people should take their bodyweight and multiply it by 14 for a very rough idea of how many calories you will need each day to start with.
Adjust up or down by about 250 calories per day in a couple weeks based on your results.
If you’re getting fatter, cut calories. If you’re losing weight bump them up.
Pretty simple stuff.
2) Eat Real, Whole Foods (Primarily Plant Based)
If it comes from a box or a bag it probably isn’t good for you.
“If man made it, don’t eat it.”- Jack LaLanne
The majority of your diet should come from real food that a caveman or someone living 100 years ago would recognize. If it has more than five ingredients it’s probably crap. If you never heard of or can’t pronounce some of the ingredients it’s definitely crap.
The foundation of your diet should be plant based foods:
- Vegetables of every color
- Fruits of all varieties
- Roots and tubers
- Grains like gluten free oats and rice
- Nuts and seeds
To build muscle, burn fat, perform at a high level and recover from workouts you NEED carbs.
They are far more important than protein.
Don’t fear them. Don’t buy into the low carb/ high fat nonsense.
That’s only good for couch potatoes. Once you start training the game changes. If you try to train without carbs life is going to suck. You’ll be flat, tired, unfocused and have zero sex drive.
And don’t fear fruit.
If you’re getting fat from eating some strawberries or an orange you’ve got bigger problems that this blog post can help you with.
But it’s highly unlikely that’s going to happen.
Fruit is one of the healthiest things you can eat. I recommend 4-6 servings per day if you want to stay healthy.
Once you have that covered you want to fill in some protein and healthy fats from foods like:
- Organic eggs from free roaming chickens
- Wild caught seafood
- Grass fed beef
- Wild game meat
- Organic, cage free poultry
Don’t go overboard on the “healthy fats.” That’s another mistake a lot of people make.
Just because something is good for you it doesn’t mean you should consume huge amounts of it. You shouldn’t be putting butter in your coffee and recklessly eating bacon and eggs every day.
Almost every physique athlete in history has followed a moderately low fat and high-ish carb diet. They all know that you don’t get ripped eating sausage and mayonnaise.
3) Don’t Believe the High Protein Myth
No matter what the supplement companies and bodybuilding mags try to tell you the fact is you don’t need a ton of protein to build muscle. It’s a bunch of hype and bullshit all conjured up to sell more crap.
Eating huge amounts of protein does NOT lead to more muscle growth.
Believe me, I wish it were that easy. All we’d have to do is drink five protein shakes per day and we’d get HYOOOOGE.
Of course that doesn’t happen. All that does happen is we pee more, stress our internal organs, get fat, smelly, gassy, acidic, inflamed and lighter in the wallet.
Save your money, my friends.
Take it from someone who pissed a ton of it away on super high protein diets.
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I have thrown away well over $100k on protein supplements and excessive trips to the butcher. None of it did any good.
You will grow just fine on .6-.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day.
And you could probably get away with less than that.
Trust me. I’ve never had someone lower their protein intake and NOT look, feel, recover, perform and grow better than they did on high protein.
4) Time Your Carbs Properly
As mentioned you NEED carbs. But for best results you should time them properly. That will help ensure that you don’t get fat.
Have some before or even during training.
A piece of fruit before and some coconut water during a high intensity workout would be perfect. Or you could have some oats with blueberries and nut butter an hour or two before your workout.
Everyone is different so you have to see what works best for you.
Then have some carbs after you train.
If you need extra carbs there have some oats or rice. Your reaction to the carbs and your energy levels following their consumption should dictate what kind of carbs you have here and in what amounts.
Then have the rest of your starchy carbs during a four hour feeding window at night.
Humans are nocturnal eaters. And who amongst us doesn’t like to eat a big dinner or snack while watching TV at night? There’s no need to resist that.
For more muscle building diet tips check out some of our top posts below:
1) Warning: Do This and You WILL Get Fat
2) 50 Renegade Nutrition Rules
3) Why You Should Never “Bulk Up”
4) How Many Meals Per Day Do You Need to Build Muscle?
5) How Many Carbs Should You Eat Per Day to Build Muscle?
6) How to Eat Whatever You Want & Look Freakin Amazing
7) How to Eat Your Way Jacked… Even With a Crappy Appetite
I’ve created an entire ebook on the ultimate muscle building diet for you to download now.