An average training session lasts around one hour… but what about the remaining 23 hours of your day? Training is not the complete story to build muscle; nutrition has a huge role in the play. In this post, 13 DIET TIPS to build muscle!
1. Fall In Love With Protein
Protein is the most important macronutrient to build muscle (1). Dietary protein provides the amino acids needed to repair, maintain, and build muscle mass.
If your goal is to build muscle, you must fall in love with protein. Around 2-2.5 g/kg protein per day is the recommended intake.
The best sources of proteins are generally from animal origin. Whey protein, milk, beef, salmon, eggs… However, there are also a lot of vegan foods packed with protein.
Try to include 20-40 g/protein on each big meal. This is the maximum amount of protein your body can destinate to build muscle (2).
2. Reconcile with Fats
Far from what most people think; fats are not on your enemy. In fact, fats can help you build muscle.
Compared to protein and carbohydrates, fats are much more energy dense. This is, one gram of fat provides 9 kcal, while protein and carbohydrates only provide 4kcal/g (3)
Because building muscle requires of a high amounts of calories, including larger amounts of fat in your diet can help you achieve such calorie levels.
Reconcile with fats and include them in your diet. Out of the different types of fats available, prioritize the use of unsaturated over saturated fats. Foods containing unsaturated fats are avocado, olive oil, nuts, salmon, tuna, chia seeds,…
3. Be Your Grandma
Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food
If your grandma doesn’t recognize it as food, it’s trash. This simple rule can help you follow a much healthier and convenient diet.
Processed foods provide empty calories with no nutritional value. Chips, cookies, biscuits,… nothing from which you can use to build muscle.
Instead, base your diet on real food. Not only the quantity, but the food quality makes a difference when it comes to building muscle (4). The nutritional matrix of food can make an impact on your muscle mass.
4. Don’t Forget the Carbs
If you want to build muscle, carbs are going to become your best friends in the following months. Carbs are the main source of energy.
The more carbs, the more energy you can burn during your training session… and the higher your performance (5).
Eating carbohydrates before and after the training session can help you build muscle and recover faster from the session (7)
The presence of carbohydrates increase the production of insulin. This hormone is one of the most anabolic hormones in your body, and can greatly affect the process of muscle building (8)
5. You Will Get Fat
The best and most important diet tip to build muscle…. you will get fat. In the upcoming months you will be eating a lot. And with a lot, I mean a lot.
Eating every three hours, sometimes suffering to reach your calorie needs, and all of that with a progressively expanding belly.
It is almost impossible to gain muscle mass alone. In company to that, you will unavoidably gain fat as well.
But that is alright; you can lose everything you gain now. The sacrifices you make now to cover your six pack will bring a better version of yourself. Trust me, it’s worth the wait!
6. There’s Never Enough Planning
All actions need of a plan to make sense. Else, you will be walking in circles with no direction.
Like in other facets of your life, you need to plan your building muscle journey. Making a training program can tell you what to do, how, and when.
Similar to the training program, you will also need a diet plan. With this work done beforehand, the journey will be much smoother.
You will feel much more motivated and with more commitment than if you had not a plan ready
7. Don’t lose on calories… track them!
The extent of excess calories you take during the day sets the ratio muscle to fat gain over time. In the best scenario, your body can build half a pound per week (9.). The more calories you take, the more muscle you build…. up to a point.
Beyond that point, you will not gain more muscle, but more fat instead. In the long run, high fat percentages may slow down the process of muscle building (10)
To avoid sky-rocketing the ratio fat to muscle, track your calories. Download an app calorie tracker in your phone and enter all the foods you eat during the day.
This tool will help you stay on track and maximize muscle building while keeping low the amount of fat gained.
8. A Milkshake?
To build muscle, you need to put some calories in. Sometimes taking such high amount of food can cause problems with your digestions, time cooking,…
In this is the case, liquid calories are a great option. Making a protein shake, soups, milkshakes, smoothies,… can help you easily digest calories and contribute to the overall calorie intake.
9. Include More Meals
Reaching the calories to build muscle is a challenge. A possible solution to such problem is to do more but smaller meals.
This will help you with the digestion process, as you are not feeding that much food at once.
Distributing protein along the day can also augment the overall muscle growth (11)
10. Stuff Yourself in the Morning
As the old say quotes…
Breakfast like a king; lunch like a price; dinner like a pauper
In the case of muscle building, the old say is more like…
Breakfast like god; lunch like a king; dinner like a prince
A simple and easy tip to build muscle is to include around 50-60% of your total calories in the morning; between breakfast and lunch.
This will give you more room to reach the calorie target and make sure you are getting enough food to build muscle.
11. The Veggies Still Like You
Eating to build muscle is not only about how much you eat, but also about what you eat.
Fruits and vegetables, although they are low in calories, present a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, also called micronutrients.
Micronutrients can help you build muscle and optimize your metabolism for greater health in life (12)
Remember the old times with veggies… they still like you. Try to include fruit and vegetables in almost (if not all) your meals, and stay healthy despite the tremendous amounts of food you are putting in your body.
12. Eat the Entire World
People are often afraid of eating to build muscle… lose that fear, and eat.
Building muscle is something temporary, one more phase of the year. It’s time to eat, forget about the salads, and put as much food in your mouth as possible.
Follow a healthy diet, but eat the entire world
13. Drink the Whole Ocean
And the same way, drink the whole ocean. Most of your body is made of water.
A lot of food can dehydrate you before you notice (13). Maintaining hydration levels high can help you optimize your metabolism and make sure everything is working as it should (14).
Have a bottle always with you and try to drink around 2l every day.
Training is not the complete story to build muscle; nutrition has a huge role in the play.
In this post we’ve gone trough 13 Diet TIPS to include in your life and help you build muscle!