Why Is Eating So Important To Gain Muscle
Eating is what will fuel your muscles and also repair them after training has broken them down.
If you train hard but don’t eat right, your broken-down muscles won’t get the nutrients they need to repair and grow.
To illustrate my point, imagine building a wall.
The bricks are your muscles, and your calorie intake is the mortar.
If you don’t have enough mortar, you will never be able to build a bigger wall.
Also, if you don’t let the mortar set , it will never be stable enough to get bigger or stronger.
Growing is a result of using your muscles to their limits, which causes micro-tears that heal and strengthen when you eat and rest.
Therefore, to gain muscle, you must eat more calories and rest your muscles!
What Happens If You Consume Too Many Calories
If you consume too many calories, you could be doing yourself more harm than good. Here are all the possible things that can happen to you when you consume calories in excess:
- Your body will start storing the fat
- You are at risk of overstressing your digestive system
- It may contribute to organ damage
- You will be putting too much stress on your heart.
- It can affect your ability to think straight
- It can increase lethargy and sleepiness
Calorie & Macro Calculator: How To Use It
This calorie and macro calculator allows you to estimate how much weight youll lose or gain each week based on how many calories you consume. Choose from a standard, keto, or leangains calculator.
You can use the macro calculator to calculate and tweak your protein, fat, and carbohydrate macronutrients. You can use this as a bulking calculator , cutting calculator , or even a maintenance calculator .
- Bulking = weight gain
- Cutting = weight loss
- Maintenance = the calories you need each day to maintain your body weight after you factor in all of your activity
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How Many Calories Should You Eat To Build Muscle
If youre looking for the fastest way to gain lean muscle mass quickly, you will need to have a real nutrition plan that is optimized for bulking. To achieve safe muscle gain that lasts, you have to provide your body with the right raw materials at the right times. Well take a look at some of the best ways to do that below.
The Anabolic Window And Protein Timing
Youve probably heard of the anabolic window, or the theory that theres a limited amount of time where muscles can rapidly absorb protein and carbs following an intense workout, and thereby improve muscle growth. This is a popular urban legend among gym bros, but theres limited proof that its real.
New studies have shown that the so-called anabolic window is only effective for dedicated bodybuilding athletes, so unless youre dedicating your life to the sport, you dont need to rush to down a protein shake after your workout.
Instead, pay attention to evenly distributing your protein intake throughout the day. Studies have shown this strategy has led to increased protein synthesis and improved body composition.
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How To Measure Muscle Gain
Its not always easy to tell if the weight you gain is the result of putting on muscle rather than fat.
How can you measure muscle gain?
The simple answer is that you cant, not with any degree of precision anyway.
Instead of splashing out on a DEXA or InBody scan, I think youre much better off monitoring your waist size, your weight on the scales, and your performance in the gym.
Is your weight on the scales going up? Is your performance in the gym improving? Are you seeing minimal changes in waist size? If so, the chances are very high that muscle is being gained.
If, on the other hand, both your waist size and body weight are going up, but your gym performance is flatlining, then something isnt quite right, and your training program may be in need of an overhaul.
What if your gym performance is improving, your weight is going up, but your waist size is expanding far too quickly? This is a sign that your overall calorie intake is too high, and you could do with cutting back slightly on the food intake.
How Much Should You Eat
You can work out roughly how many calories you need to eat to maintain your weight using our calculator below and adjust accordingly to your exercise schedule. Experts recommend keeping a food diary for a couple of weeks to work out how much you already eat, as it is common to underestimate your calorie intake. From there, you should start out eating at your maintenance calories and increase them very slowly until you begin to see around a one-percent increase in body weight per month with the right amount of weight training. Any more than this and you could risk gaining too much fat.
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Can You Build Muscle And Lose Fat At The Same Time
At higher levels of body fat, your body can be in a calorie deficit and still build muscle, as long as strength training and higher protein intake is incorporated . This is because your body will use fat stores to fuel itself. Of course, this is difficult to achieve and can take longer than focusing on muscle gain or fat loss alone. It is also not an ideal approach for everyone.
Fuel Your Workouts With Carbohydrate And Creatine
Eating the right carbs is important too. Carbohydrate is stored in your body in the form of glycogen. Glycogen in the muscles is an important fuel reserve during intense physical exercise or in times of energy restriction protein sparing. It is best to restrict or to keep away from junk carbohydrates such as sweets, cakes, and biscuits, and stick to foods like porridge, pasta , rice , bread , and cereals . For more on carbohydrate and the effect of sugar on the body, .
Creatine is a proven ingredient for increasing strength, building muscle size and supporting training intensity.
Progain contains an easily digested source of carbohydrate, providing much needed carbohydrate to fuel your workout before or after. By adding creatine to your diet, in a shake, in food or in capsules, is proven to increase strength, build muscle size and support training intensity.
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How To Keep Calories In Check
Here are some effective ways to keep calories in check:
- Regularly weigh yourself to see you are gaining, losing, or maintaining the ideal weight for your body.
- Eating breakfast every morning will help you get less hungry during the day. You are less likely to consume lots of calories when you dont feel too hungry.
- Performing regular exercise will also help you keep calories in check.
- Plan your meals so you will know the number of calories that go into your meal preparation.
- Use a calories counter to keep track of the calories you consume.
Why That Probably Wouldnt Happen
Although that level of weight gain COULD happen, its unlikely to.
Calories in vs calories out has some complications the amount of calories you take in affects the number of calories you burn.
No, your metabolism doesnt magically speed up, but you are more likely to move around more, whether thats through NEAT like fidgeting or subconsciously getting up and walking around more, or through formal exercise like running or weight training eating more will give you more energy, therefore making it more likely that youll exercise
Also, if youve taken in more protein than usual, the thermic effect of food will go up. The thermic effect of food is the process of digestion actually burning calories. Thats right you burn calories simply by eating food. But heres the clincher you burn a LOT more calories eating protein than you do carbs or fat.
So, its unlikely all of those 7,700 extra calories will be stored, meaning you probably wont gain exactly one kilo of bodyweight.
But most people dont eat enough to gain a kilo in a day, or even a week.
Weight gain is usually much slower, which is why people dont notice it being an issue before its too late.
To gain a pound of body weight in a month, youd only need to eat 257 calories above maintenance .
So if we take the example of the person who maintains their weight at 2,000 calories, eating 2,257 calories per day would result in a kilo of weight gain.
And thats VERY easy to do.
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Your Hours In The Gym Will Go Nowhere If You Have Poor Nutrition Heres What You Need To Know
There are tons of diet and nutrition clichés we can throw at you: Muscles are made in the kitchen, not the gym, you cant out-exercise a bad diet, and the age-old classic you are what you eat. Heres the thing, though theyre all true. Lifting weights for one hour burns 266 calories. To put that into perspective, thats the same amount as one pack of Skittles. So, yeah, you can easily out-eat your training program. And dont think that more is better when your goal is to gain muscle. On average, you want to be eating just 200 calories above your total daily energy expenditure .
When it comes to gaining muscle , your diet should be treated like a high-wire balancing act. Eat too little, and youll burn up your hard-earned muscle. Eat too much, and by the time youre fully bulked, your new muscle will be hiding under a fat sweater. Use this guide to nail down your diet and ensure your endless hours in the gym are not wasted.
How Should I Eat To Build Muscle Mass
Asked by Charles, Atlanta, Georgia
I’ve been wondering how many extra calories I should consume to build muscle mass. One program on Fit TV suggested that I should take in between 700 and 1,000 extra calories another said I should take in only an extra 250 calories. How many extra calories do I need to gain muscle mass?
Diet and Fitness ExpertDr. Melina JampolisPhysician Nutrition Specialist
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How Many Meals A Day Should You Eat
To gain muscle mass, aim for at least 3 meals a day. Each meal should contain 20-40 grams of protein.
Ideally, youd have a dose of protein within the first few hours after waking up, before a workout, after a workout, and before going to bed.
That protein can come from whole foods, such as chicken, mackerel, salmon, cottage cheese, tuna, greek yogurt, beef, turkey, or a few whey protein shakes.
Some vegetable-based protein sources, such as pea protein or mycoprotein , have been shown in some studies to work just as well as other high-quality protein sources when it comes to stimulating muscle protein synthesis and supporting muscle growth .
In many cases, the addition of 1-3 protein shakes to your regular diet is an easy and convenient way to get the extra protein you need to maximize the speed at which muscle is gained.
In total, your daily protein intake should be around 0.7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. That can come from a mixture of animal and vegetable-based protein sources.
Theres no good reason why you cant eat more. If anything, Id rather err on the side of eating a little too much, rather than not enough. But, for most people, 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight will do the job.
Eat Every Three Hours
Make it a habit to eat right at the right time to adequately build muscle mass. Consider interspersing your regular meals with up to two snacks and post-meal workouts.
Eating well translates to less hunger and less or no cravings. Also, all your meals should be at fixed times every day to train your body to get hungry at those fixed times.
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Eat Carbs Only After Your Workout
While you need carbs for energy, most people eat more than they need. Limit your carbohydrate intake to after your workout only. Eat fruit and vegetables with all meals. These contain few carbohydrates compared to whole grains with the exception of corn, carrots and raisins. Another Carbs Post Workout Only. This is rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, quinoa, oats, etc. Avoid white carbs and eat whole grain.
The Right Macronutrient Ratios To Build Lean Muscle
Now that you know the amount of calories you need to gain lean size, your energy requirement should be divided between the three macronutrients protein, fat and carbohydrates. Youre going to eat a certain amount of each, all of which have a caloric value that will add up to your surplus.
Below are the basic guidelines on how to work out your macros.
Protein: 0.8-1.1g per pound of bodyweight.
Fat: 20-30% of your overall calories.
Carbohydrates: These should make up the remainder of your calories.
Lets bring Mike back to break down these ratios further. We know he weighs 180lb and his daily calories needed to gain lean size are 2,720. So, firstly, lets work out his protein requirements:
So Mike needs 180g of protein daily.
Next, lets work out how much fat he needs to eat:
2,720 x 0.25 = 680
Be careful, because thats not 680g of fat, but 680 calories. Now take that amount and divide it by nine because thats how many calories there are per gram of fat:
680/9 = 75.5
So Mike needs to eat 75.5g of fat per day.
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Building Muscle Simplified: Not As Complicated As You Think
Reading Time: 6 minutes 16 seconds
When your goal is to build muscle, protein is key. Thatâs why a muscle building diet often includes foods high in this macronutrient. Eating cottage cheese, egg whites, and Greek yogurt are often recommended to help clients increase protein intake.
If clients engage in strenuous exercise, adding a protein powder shake after their workout can help muscle fibers recover and repair. The ISSAâs Guide to Protein reveals that whey protein isolate is one of the best for this purpose. Protein powder is also beneficial to those on a plant-based diet.
But building muscle isnât just about eating more protein or consuming only high-quality protein sources. There are other factors to consider as well. This is where it is common for confusion to set in.
Part of this confusion is because many health experts seem to have different ideas of how to best support lean muscle gain. In some cases, one personâs advice on how to build lean muscle contradicts another. How do you begin to decide what works and what doesnât?
Calories In A Pound Of Muscle
In general, there are 700 calories worth of energy in a pound of muscle tissue.
And because there a fewer calories in a pound of muscle, body weight will go down quicker if more muscle is lost, as opposed to body fat.
For instance, in a theoretical example in which a person loses 100% muscle as a result of a 3,500-calorie deficit, they would lose 5lbs .
Unfortunately this does not work the opposite way. And before you get your hopes up, I must clarify that it does take more than 700 calories to build a pound of muscle. Some people have assumed that if a pound of muscle only contains 700 calories then to create a pound of muscle, you only need to eat 700 calories above maintenance. If this thinking was correct, then you could gain a pound of muscle every month by eating 23 calories per day over maintenance. If that sounds too good to be true…..it is.
It takes more energy to store calories in the body when weight is being gained.
So even though one pound of muscle may only contain about 700 calories, it may take 2000 or more calories to build that muscle in the first place.
And therefore, even if you create a 3,500 surplus and 100% muscle was being gained, you wouldnt gain 5lbs of muscle. In reality, youd gain closer to 1.75lbs.
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Calories In Vs Calories Out
It is a rather simple concept, really. It comes down to your calories in VS your calories out.
Heres how it works
Calories InEverything you consume each day that contains calories , and there is no such thing as a negative caloric food.
Calories OutThis mean everything you burn in a single day, from breathing, your body doing its work, you walk to the car…
So, we have only 3 things that can happen now…
Here Are 3 Important Principles To Understand:
Consuming a diet high in protein is necessary to build muscle, especially when in a caloric deficit
Fueling resistance training with adequate amounts of carbohydrates to provide the energy necessary to get stronger
Keeping a caloric deficit within a safe range can contribute to the success of getting stronger without a caloric surplus
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How To Actually Calculate Your Protein Needs
Perhaps, then, the best way to measure how much protein you need to consume daily is based on lean body mass, or everything in your body that isnt fat. This could provide a more accurate figure than focusing on just your total weight.
Of course, if youre a fitness model sitting comfortably at four per cent body fat, then theres obviously not going to be much difference whether protein intake is expressed relative to your weight or lean body mass. For the average guy, however, it’s a considerably different story. They’re likely to be carrying more weight around their midriff and have a higher body-fat percentage.
On the flipside, let’s look at an obese man who weighs 135kg. In this case, it would be unwise to base his protein intake on his total bodyweight. Using the 2g of protein per kg, he’ll be eating a whopping 270g protein on a daily basis.
Needless to say, our hypothetical overweight man definitely doesnt need to be eating the equivalent of 10 chicken breasts a day, even if he’s looking to build muscle. In fact, most research shows little benefit to consuming more than 2.2g of protein per kg of lean body mass.