Last Updated: Feb 2, 2018
It's true - your muscle building diet will <b>make or break</b> your success in gaining weight, building muscle, and achieving the body of your dreams. You can train as hard as you want in the gym and do all the right things...but if you're not eating properly to support lean muscle gain then it's all in vain. Literally.
Here you will learn the important guidelines to eating properly to encourage maximum muscle growth. Performing effective workouts is half of the equation - nutrition is the other.
Proper nutrition and rest is just as important if not more important. Many people overlook how important your nutrition is in gaining muscle. They go to the gym and train hard, but they don't feed their body the right nutrients to build muscle.
So they never see any decent results from their training and wonder what they're doing wrong. You don't want to fall into that trap, so let's take a look at what needs to be done in terms of eating to encourage your body to put on more muscle mass.
The most basic rule you need to follow for your muscle building diet in order to gain muscle weight is to consume more calories than you burn. Without doing this, you aren't physically able to put on any weight at all.
But you must remember that not all calories are created equal, and you need to eat the right types of calories to gain lean, muscular weight and not fat. So forget about all the junk food and crap that you might normally eat.
You need the right high quality food to build muscle effectively, and to avoid gaining extra unwanted body fat.
You can't totally avoid gaining a little extra fat when putting on size, as it's inevitable, but you can greatly reduce it by eating mostly healthy nutrient-rich foods that your body will actually use instead of storing as fat.
To gain weight and build muscle effectively I'd personally recommend to forget about the traditional "3 square meals a day" approach of eating. For your muscles to build and repair you need to constantly provide them with the right nutrients throughout the day. So this means you need to increase your meal frequency.
Every 2-3 hours you should have a meal consisting of high quality protein, carbohydrates, and some fat, to keep your body in what is called an anabolic, muscle-building state. These meals should be small in size and spread throughout the day. So this makes for 5-7 meals a day in your muscle building diet.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals instead of 2-3 larger ones will also help you greatly in having steady energy throughout the day. We all know about the energy crash you can get after having a huge, heavy meal.
To build muscle you must follow a high protein diet plan. Protein is the most important nutrient in your muscle building diet, it's purpose is to build and repair muscle tissue in your body. It's important that all your 5-7 meals throughout the day include a high quality protein source.
For best results in building muscle, you should consume anywhere between 1-2 grams of protein a day per pound of bodyweight. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds then you will need to have between 160-320 grams of protein spread through each day.
The protein you eat should come from high quality protein sources. Some examples of good sources of protein are the following:
Carbohydrates are also important in the muscle building process. You should try to eat carbs that are lower on the glycemic index, since they won't promote fat storage as much as higher-glycemic carbs might.
Some examples of quality carbs to build muscle are apples, brown rice, oatmeal, wholegrain bread, wholegrain pasta, and of course vegetables. Learn more about which carbohydrates you should include in your diet with our article Good Carbohydrates For Muscle Building.
Believe it or not, fats are essential to your muscle building diet. Good fats (unsaturated fat) have positive effects on your muscle gains and should be included in the diet.
Some good sources are flaxseed oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, natural peanut butter and avocados. Try to stay clear of saturated fats as much as you can, but a little is ok now and then. Read more about healthy fats as a food for building muscle.
The Pre Workout Meal
Explains the importance of the meal before your workout and tells you when and what to eat for the best results.
Post Workout Nutrition
Your post workout nutrition is critical to your muscle gains. Here we explain how to take full advantage of this stage of the muscle building process.
Importance Of Water Intake to Build Muscle
Explains why water is so vital to your muscle building efforts, and how much you should be drinking each day to help your cause.
Sleep Is The Key to Building Big Muscles
Learn all about the importance of getting enough sleep every night. If you're lacking sleep, you're missing out on gaining maximum muscle mass.
Muscles and Alcohol
Takes a look at the negative effects alcohol has on your muscle gains. Drinking too much does more harm than you might think.
How To Build Lean Muscle
Some very useful nutrition advice on gaining lean muscle without the extra unwanted body fat. You need to watch when and what you eat to stay lean whilst packing on muscle.
Top 3 Sources Of Carbohydrates
Learn about the best types of carbohydrates to eat on a bulking diet.
What Is Fiber And Why Do Bodybuilders Need It?
Explains what fiber is and how this nutrient effects the muscle-building process. Your should aim to consume 25-30 grams each and every day.
Muscle Building Motivation: Sticking To Your Diet
Learn how to keep your motivation on a strict muscle building eating plan. After starting a new routine, most people will give up and never see the results they wanted.
Weight Gain Tips
For skinny guys looking to gain weight it can be a frustrating time as it seems you will never be able to pack on the pounds. The tips here will help you along your way to gaining muscular weight.