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 one pound of fat for every pound of muscle. That’s if you’re lucky.
The worst case is that you gain two 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 a lot of food. 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. When you grossly overeat the scale will go up but so will your waist and body-fat percentage.
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 week or two based on your results.
If you’re getting fatter, cut calories. If you’re losing weight bump them up.
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 such as eggs from free roaming chickens, wild caught seafood, grass fed beef, cage free poultry, potatoes, fruit, vegetables, nuts and some healthy oils (coconut, red palm, olive, fish).
3) Focus on Protein
Your muscle building diet should be built around a base of protein. Consume about one gram of protein per pound of lean bodyweight per day. Ideally you’ll want to chew as much of your food as you can but for some that can become difficult and time consuming.
In this case you can have 1-2 protein shakes from a high quality product like Pro Grade, or Sun Warrior (if you are vegan or can’t/don’t eat dairy). I realize this is an exception to rule #2 but it’s sometimes necessary.
4) Time Your Carbs Properly
To fuel high intensity muscle building workouts you definitely need some carbs. But if you overdo it they will also pile on fat like nobody’s business. The way to avoid this is by eating more carbs on training days and fewer carbs on off days.
The majority of your carbs should be eaten post workout and/or at night as prescribed in The Renegade Diet.
When you eat carbs your body produces insulin. Insulin is a growth and storage hormone so it helps you build muscle. Unfortunately, if insulin is high for too long it won’t only make muscle grow, but it will impart its effects on fat cells as well.
If you limit insulin production throughout the day you’ll remain in fat burning mode. Then, after training you intentionally crank up insulin production by eating carbs so you switch over to muscle building mode.
It’s the best of both worlds. Lean muscle gains without the fat.
But even on days you don’t train you’d still want to have some carbs at night with dinner otherwise your workouts the following day will suffer.
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