How To Eat For Maximum Muscle Gains
Eating for maximum muscle gains is completely different than your average persons diet.
They are typically concerned with looking slim and trim or fighting the battle of the bulge. Whereas you’re concerned with putting on as much lean tissue (muscle) as possible in the shortest amount of time.
Disclaimer: We are not dispensing medical advice. Please seek the advice of counsel of your nutritionally educated health care practitioner prior to any exercise or dietary changes.
Before we begin we really have to say that eating for muscle growth won’t do anything unless you’re providing the stimulus. You have to be doing the exercises that will cause your body to build muscle by compensating and adapting to the training stimuli.
If you’re not doing that then no amount of dietary changes will help you. You must provide the stimulus for this to work.
Micro’s, Macro’s And Total Calories
It’s really all about ensuring you provide adequate micro nutrients, macro nutrients and total calories without such excess as will put on unwanted fat stores.
First let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.
Micro Nutrients: These are your vitamins, minerals and other trace elements needed in very small (micro) quantities. In most cases you only need these in milligram or even microgram amounts.
Macro Nutrients: Here you’re talking about proteins, fats and carbohydrates (carbs).
They are called macro nutrients because you need these in much larger quantities called grams.
Total Calories: This means the total number of calories you consume per day.
What To Eat
Instead of getting into individual food recommendations which would be better suited for a lengthy book, what we’ll do here is talk about broad sweeping recommendations. These are the things you really must do to have success in your insane sports activities.
Be sure to follow the guidelines below to maximize your success.
Eat whole foods: Whole foods are what our bodies developed on over 100’s of thousands to millions of years (there are different theories as to how long humans have been around and we’re not getting into that). But, let’s just say that during human development fast food was the one that got away.
Make sure that the foods you eat are in as natural a state as possible.
A few examples are:
A). Eat muesli or oatmeal instead of junk breakfast cereals.
B). Eat whole roasted chicken instead of chicken nuggets.
C). Eat whole oranges and whole apples instead of orange or apple juice.
How Much To Eat
How much to eat can be broken down two ways. First, how many total calories to eat and second how much of each macro nutrient to consume per day. So, we will cover them in that order.
How Many Calories To Eat.
Eat enough calories so that you’re gaining 1/2 a pound to one pound per week without any cardio. This means that you’re weight training very intensely
OR, if you’re an aerobic athlete such as a sprinter, runner, cyclist etc.. Lower any of your training volume that involves a cardio component by one third and eat sufficient calories until you’re gaining 1/2 a pound to 1 full pound per week.
Then add back your 1/3rd of your cardio volume that you removed.
If you’re weight training now add medium intensity fat burning cardio into your regime 3 days per week.
The reason you do it this way is you’ll put back or add in the cardio so that you can burn off the extra fat while keeping your calories high and maintaining an anabolic environment.
Using this strategy you should put on high quality lean tissue while minimizing fat gains.
If you see you’re getting a little extra fat on your body, don’t cut the calories, instead increase the cardio by either intensity, duration or frequency. It’s better to add frequency first, duration second and intensity last.
This will keep you lean while maintaining the anabolic environment needed to put on muscle size.
What Macro Nutrient Profiles To Consume.
You’ll need to experiment with what works with your body and training the best. But, some general recommendations are.
For strength athletes or bodybuilders keep your macros in a about a 40/30/30 ratio.
That means 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat. These are your percentages of total calories.
If you’re a sprinter, endurance athletes, cyclists etc… Keep your macros in about a 60/20/20 ratio.
This means 60% carbs, 20% protein and 20% fat.
The logic here is that your training requires more carbohydrates to fuel it.
Remember: if you find you’re getting a little extra body fat added on, first increase your cardio, don’t reduce your calories unless you absolutely have to.
When To Eat
You should really be eating 4 to 6 times per day with your calories spread out over those meals.
The reason is that you’re going to get a more even distribution of fuel and building blocks for recovery and repair.
Sure you can stick to 3 meals per day. However, spreading them out will make such a difference that once you do it for a week you’ll see what we mean.
If you’re interested in eating for maximum endurance gains please see our article called: How To Eat For Maximum Endurance Gains