Home Fitness & Health How to Build Muscle: Part IV – Muscle Building Diet Plan

How to Build Muscle: Part IV – Muscle Building Diet Plan

by nick

In How to Build Muscle Part III we discussed the requirements for a quality weight training program that builds muscle fast. We also provided a sample weight training program that you can use in your gym sessions. In How to Build Muscle Part IV we will discuss the importance of your overall diet and how it’ll help you achieve your goal of building muscle.

A Diet That Builds Muscle

As mentioned in How to Build Muscle Part II, a small caloric surplus is an important part of the diet of someone whose goal is building muscle. As we’ve already discussed this, we’ll now talk about the rest of your diet and layout a couple of general guidelines that you need to follow, many of which are similar guidelines of a standard healthy diet. In order of significance, they are:

Calorie Intake – I know, I know…it’s already been mentioned in Part II, but I’m mentioning it again. You must consume the right number of calories to build muscle, which is a 250 – 500 calorie surplus. This allows you to gain between 0.5 and 1 pound per week.

Protein Intake – Almost every recommendation that I’ve ever seen for protein intake when building muscle is 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Meaning, if you weigh 150lbs, you’d consume 150 grams of protein per day (this does mean every day, whether you workout or not). I’ve seen other recommendations as high as 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day, which some people feel is beneficial, and others feel is too high. I think a daily protein intake anywhere in the range of 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound is sufficient for the average healthy man who is trying to build muscle.

Most of your protein should come from the following foods:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Egg whites
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • A Protein Supplement

Fat Intake – Your daily fat intake should range between 20 – 30% of your total calorie intake. So, if you eat 2,500 calories per day, 20 –30 percent of that would be 500 – 750 calories. And, since 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories, this calculates to be about 56-83 grams of fat per day for example.

Most of your fat intake should come from the following foods:

  • Nuts
  • Olive Oil
  • Avocados
  • Fish
  • Fish oil supplements

Carb Intake – With protein and fat out of the way, working out your carb intake is relatively straight forward – whatever is left over once a sufficient protein and fat intake are factored in. I’ll explain more later…

Most of your carb intake should come from the following foods:

  • Brown Rice
  • Beans
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole grain foods

Creating Your Muscle Building Diet Plan

I’ll now give you an example of how to set up your muscle building diet. In this example, we’ll assume that a person weighs 185lbs and has a daily calorie maintenance level of 2250.

Set Calorie Intake – For this example our person has a calorie maintenance level of 2250 calories. In Part II, they learned that they need to create a daily calorie surplus of 250-500 calories. So, when he starts his weight training program, he will need to consume 2500 -2750 calories per day, every day. So that this example is easier to understand, let’s say our example person consumes 2500 calories per day, creating a 250 calorie surplus.

Set Protein intake – So, with a daily calorie intake of 2500 all set, the next thing our example person needs to work out is their daily protein intake.  Since he weighs 185lbs, he’ll be looking to consume 185 grams of protein per day. 1 gram of protein contains about 4 calories, this calculates to be 740 calories from protein per day.

Set Fat Intake – Our example person knows that 20 – 30 percent of their total calorie intake should come from fat, and he’s decided to go straight down the middle with an even 25%. With a calorie intake of 2500, this works out to be 625 calories from fat. Because 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories, this works out to be 69 grams of fat per day.

Set Carb Intake – With 740 calories from protein and 625 calories from fat, we now have a total of 1,365 calories. Since our example person should be consuming 2,500 calories per day, this leaves us with 1,135 calories not yet accounted for. As mentioned above, the remaining calories will come from carbs. As 1 gram of carbs contains about 4 calories, this calculates to be about 284 grams of carbs per day.

Make Adjustments – Our example person came up with a muscle building daily diet plan containing 2500 calories which came from 185 grams of protein, 69 grams of fat, and 284 grams of carbs. Of course this is just an example, and adjustments can be made if you want to make them. For example, if our example person would rather get closer to 1.5 grams of protein per pound instead of 1 gram per pound, that’s ok. They just need to remember to reduce carb intake so their total calorie intake for day remains at 2500.

More Diet Tips For Building Muscle

Drink lots of water – Your drink of choice should be water. Forget fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, sodas etc. Some milk is ok. Keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum. 0.5 – 1 gallon of water per day is good for the average healthy adult that exercises regularly.

Spread your calorie intake out over the course of the day – Eat 5-6 smaller meals instead of 1-3 larger meals, with about 2-3 hours between each meal.

Follow the general health guidelines – Keep your saturated fat at no more than a 1/3 of your total fat intake. Avoid Trans fats completely, keep sodium and cholesterol intake within their healthy ranges, keep sugar intake low and try to avoid eating junk food.

Consume pre-workout and post-workout meals – An hour before your workout, eat a significant amount of protein, carbs, and little to no fat.  Then immediately after your workout (or as soon as you can), eat another similar meal containing a significant amount of protein, carbs and little to no fat.

  • Pre-workout meal – Any source of protein and carbs will be fine – chicken and brown rice for example.
  • Post-workout meal – Solid food will be ok, however it takes your body longer to digest. The goal is to get nutrients into your body and digested as soon as possible. Therefore a liquid meal containing fast protein and fast carbs is best. The ideal “fast protein” is whey protein supplement. The ideal “fast carb” is dextrose, and the ideal “liquid” is water.

What to Look Forward to in Part V

Next we’ll cover the requirements for rest and recovery that’ll help you achieve your muscle building goals.

One More Thing

As discussed above, your diet is extremely important when building muscle. If you want to create your ideal muscle building diet plan by consuming the correct nutrients that you need to build muscle and lose body fat, we recommend that you read Dave Ruel’s Anabolic Cookbook. It’s full of tasty recipes and meal plans that are easy and cheap to make, and will help you achieve your muscle building goals

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