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As most of you probably already know, resistance exercise has a profound effect on protein metabolism and muscle growth. Basically, lift hard, grow big.
But while you most likely have your workout routine down, how’s that meal plan coming along? While you can get fairly far with exercise and supplementation alone, your physique is truly built in the kitchen.
So, what is the best diet for gaining impressive muscle? Here, we provide the ultimate guide to creating the perfect muscle building meal plan. With this muscle mass meal plan, your bodybuilding needs will be met.
In order to develop a solid muscle mass meal plan, you need to have proper training in nutrition. Knowing how to navigate the kitchen, nutrition labels, and how your body works with specific nutrients plays a pivotal role in your bodybuilding.
There should be a few givens with your muscle building meal plan. Facets like “don’t pig out on junk food” and “you get out what you put in” are tenents that blanket all diets. What matters is that you get proper nutrition consistently.
Research via YouTube, take a nutrition class, and learn from your family and friends the benefits of certain foods and drinks.
There’s a bunch of information out there regarding diet, some good, most bad. Your job is to wade through the bogus data and come out with a decent grasp of the science behind the human body and its response to what it consumes.
Training Day Meals
Time to get into the nitty-gritty.
Your meal plan for bodybuilding is broken down into two sections: Training days and non-training days.
Whether you’re lifting that day or not will determine how much food you’re going to consume, as well as what kinds of food.
As a general rule, on the days where you have an intense workout, you’ll need more carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen stores.
They enhance your lifting performance, plus they’re protein-sparing, which means it saves your muscle from being broken down.
These days will also be higher in calories compared to non-training days. To have a carb-fueled workout combined with enough protein to aid in synthesis, you want to get a decent amount of both on training days.
A simple way to calculate this is by multiplying your bodyweight by 17-20.
For example, if your bodyweight is 180, getting between 3,060 and 3,600 calories on a workout day is ideal.
The breakdown of macronutrients are:
- Protein = bodyweight x .85 (in grams)
- Fats = 25-30%
- Carbs = the rest
Truth is, you don’t need as much protein as you think. Instead of going a gram per pound of bodyweight, a proper nutrition plan for bodybuilders needs .85 grams.
For our 180-pound example, you’d be taking in 153g of protein, 85-120g of fat, and 342-550g of carbs. While this seems like an insane amount of carbohydrates, keep in mind you’re a 180-pound bodybuilder.
You need the quick energy for your intense workouts; make sure the majority of your carb intake surrounds your lift.
Non-Training Day Meals
If you followed the training day plan for each day of the week, spoiler alert! You’d get fat. The number of calories you’d be ingesting would be way too much.
So we go into a sort of “damage control” for off days. This means eating at a slight deficit to reduce the total weekly calories. Therefore, you would eat at about your bodyweight times 13.
Our 180-pound person will be eating 2,520 calories these days, a far cry from the 3,000+ calorie training days. The majority of the change in calories will come from a plummet in carbohydrates, as you’ll see in this breakdown:
- Protein = bodyweight x .85 (in grams)
- Fat = 30%
- Carbs = the rest
A few things to note here.
One, your protein remains the same. On a lower-calorie day, this will help keep you full.
Two, your fat would be at the top of the threshold, 30%. This is for recovery purposes. Healthy fats keep your muscles, joints, and ligaments well-oiled and help with overall maintenance of your body.
For our 180-pound bodybuilder, this comes out to 153g of protein again, 84g of fat, and 288g of carbs. This is still a fair amount of carbohydrates, so you won’t feel depleted. You will get a solid deficit in without feeling like you’re starving yourself.
Foods for Your Diet
Using a calorie calculator will help with the measurements of your meal portions. As for macronutrient sources, you want healthy sources to keep your body in peak physical condition.
Proteins should include:
- Low-fat beef
- Chicken and turkey breast
- Lean white fish
- Eggs and egg whites
- Tofu or tempeh
- High-quality protein powder
Carbohydrates are tough. Other than staying away from most processed foods, good carbs are foods like:
- Wholegrain rice or quinoa
- Potatoes or sweet potatoes
- Vegetables (cruciferous, leafy, or other)
Vegetables are the most important for micronutrient purposes.
Fats are crucial too. You want healthy Omega-3s and minimal saturated fat. Here are the best sources of fat:
- Nuts or nut butter
- Coconut oil (sparingly) or macadamia oil for cooking
If you make the majority of your meals with these foods, you’re well on your way to crazy strength and muscle gains.
How to Progress
Of course, this is simply an estimate. You’ll have to tweak your muscle building meal plan once you’re in the thick of things. Give it two weeks and track your weight and lifts; if you’re gaining too much weight or not increasing your lifts, adjust accordingly.
An unbelievably easy way to get exactly what you need out of your meal plan is to use a meal prep delivery service. Companies like Muscle Up Meals lets you order your meals a-la-carte and have the food delivered to your door. All you do is heat up the grub and devour.
This is a great strategy to use if you’re a busy bodybuilder or business professional. Your meals are created by you, for you, and the hard work is done by somebody else.
When you reach a new milestone weight (say from 180 to 190), recalculate your base calories and macronutrients. Then go through your first two weeks and adjust. This is also a good exercise to do when your lifts stall or your performance stagnates in the gym.
Use This Muscle Building Meal Plan to Get Some Serious Gains
If you were looking for a muscle building meal plan for massive results, increased muscle, and an impressive physique, look no further.
Use these guidelines to structure your daily food and water intake. When you implement your meal plan for bodybuilding purposes, you’ll look good, feel good, and perform at your optimal level.
If you want to learn more about nutrition, here’s why you should consider taking a nutrition class.