The Ultimate Muscle Building Diet
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 16 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
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:
- Roots and tubers
- Grains like rice and oats
- Vegetables of every color
- Fruits of all varieties
To build muscle, burn fat, perform at a high level, recover from workouts, maintain optimal brain and immune function, and high testosterone levels… you NEED carbs.
They are far more important than protein.
Don’t fear them.
If you try to train without carbs life is going to suck. You’ll be flat, tired, unfocused and have zero sex drive.
Once you have your carbs 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
3) 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 got suckered into the anti-fruit movement for a while but I found that with myself and my clients, it made no difference.
And almost everyone always feels better when eating fruit. So I added it back into all my diets and the results were better.
I recommend 4-6 servings per day if you want to stay healthy.
4) Avoid the High Fat Bandwagon
Don’t go overboard on the “healthy fats.” That’s another mistake a lot of people make because of the popularity of low carb, Paleo style diets.
Just because something is good for you it doesn’t mean you should consume huge amounts of it. You shouldn’t be putting a half a stick of butter in your coffee and recklessly eating bacon every day.
Kale is great but you don’t need to eat four pounds per 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.
Low carb, high fat diets are for sedentary individuals. NOT for hard training guys who want to build muscle and get strong.
5) 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 .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.
6) 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.
7) Eat Your Largest Meal at Night
Humans are nocturnal eaters. And who amongst us doesn’t like to wrap up a long, stressful day with a nice big dinner with friends or family members?
From a social/lifestyle perspective there’s nothing better.
There’s no need to resist that.
Studies have shown that those who had the majority of their calories at night, versus those who spread them out, lost more fat. Sure, this article is about muscle growth, but you still want to stay lean while you get bigger.
This is an easy way to do that.
Summing it All Up
- Start with 16x your bodyweight in total calories.
- Eat real, whole foods. Preferably organic.
- Eat 4-6 servings of fruit per day.
- Don’t go overboard with your fat intake.
- Eat around .8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, per day.
- Eat enough carbs to support training, recovery, immune and brain function.
- Eat carbs before, during and after training.
- Have your largest meal at dinner.
I’ve created an entire ebook on the ultimate muscle building diet.
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