Design Your Muscle Building Diet With These 4 Elements
When you’re looking to gain muscle mass, the most important element (other than weight training) is to construct an effective muscle building diet that will promote muscle growth as well as recovery.
For best results, you’ll have to focus on both what you're doing in the gym, as well as what you're doing in the kitchen. If you neglect your diet, you’re only factoring half the equation that goes into building muscle mass, thus you won’t make the desired gains in muscle size and strength that you’re after.
For optimum results, you’ll need to have both elements in place – Diet and Training. In this article, we’ll go over the key diet elements that you must know in order to construct a solid muscle building diet that will promote both muscle size and strength gain.
Element #1: Caloric Intake
An effective muscle building diet consists of eating enough total daily calories. Quite simply, without enough calories, building muscle mass will be next to impossible. It’s extremely important to consume plenty of high quality calories every single day.
For the average person looking to gain weight and put on muscle mass, caloric intake needs to be around 17-20 calories per pound of bodyweight per day. If you're someone who's naturally skinny or if you’re a “hardgainer”, then you'll want to consume at least 19 calories per pound of bodyweight per day, where as in if you're someone who tends to gain body fat easily, use the lower range (17-18)
It’s important to eat the required amount of calories each and every single day in order to support muscle growth and to recover form hard and heavy weight training sessions. Remember, consistency in training and diet are both key when you’re trying to put on muscle mass.
Element #2: Food Timing
The second aspect to take into account in your muscle building diet is food timing. For best results, you’ll want to overemphasize post-workout nutrition, as this is when your muscles are literally starving for nutrients and are able absorb them like a sponge.
Aim to consume a large amount fast-digesting carbohydrates and fast digesting protein immediately to 1 hour post-workout, as this is when carbs restore muscle glycogen (muscle tissues primary energy source) which support high energy levels during workouts and promote new muscle growth.
Throughout the rest of the day, focus on eating plenty of lean protein, moderate amounts of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats in each meal.
Element #3: Proper Food Sources
Once you have your calorie intake figured out, you’ll need to know about where you’ll be getting your calories from. It's important to focus on healthy food sources (whole foods, unprocessed and natural foods) as you’ll want to stay healthy while you’re gaining muscle mass.
While it may be tempting to fill your muscle building diet with junk food in order to increase your calories, it's not going to be helpful in the long run as you’ll end up gaining excessive amounts of bodyfat and your health will start to decline. Instead, focus on getting most of your calories form wholesome complex carbohydrates, lean protein sources, and healthy omega-3 fats.
Element #4: Tweak Things Every Once In A While
Finally, the last step to constructing an effective muscle building diet is to make sure that you're periodically tweaking your calories. Trainees who eat the same amount of calories day in and day out, and never monitor their progress, are not going to see optimum results.
About every three to four weeks, take some time to evaluate your progress to see if you’re gaining mass and seeing an increase in strength levels.
For example, if you aren't building muscle mass as fast as you’d like, consider increasing your calorie intake by another two to three hundred a day.
On the other hand, if you notice that you're gaining too much bodyfat, you'll want to decrease your calorie intake by about two to three hundred.
To summarize, if you have your muscle building diet in order, building muscle mass will be ten times easier when combined with an effective, consistent, intelligent and intense weight training program.
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