If you’re someone who’s looking to pack on some lean muscle mass, getting together a nutrition plan for yourself is one of the most important things that you need to be doing at this point.
Many people who set the goal to build muscle do a great job of making sure that they are doing everything they need to be in the gym, but then fail miserably when it comes to their diet.
If you want to build more lean muscle mass, you have to provide the fuel and raw materials to do so or you really won’t be making any progress at all. You can’t build something out of nothing so regardless of how hard you’re working in the gym, if you don’t have a mass gain nutrition plan in order, you’re going to be out of luck when it comes to your progress.
So what do you need to have in place with this nutrition plan to see success?
Let’s go over the main points to note.
A Higher Calorie Intake
The first and most important requirement if you’re going to be successful with adding lean muscle mass to your frame is to have a higher calorie intake in place. If you are simply eating at maintenance calorie level with your nutrition plan, you may find that you get stronger, but you won’t be getting much larger.
You must be eating more calories than you burn to add additional body weight.
The best approach for most people will be to keep their surplus around 200-400 calories per day. You can go over this but be aware that the higher the calorie surplus you use, the higher your risk of fat gain will be. The body can only build so much muscle each day, so if you’re really taking that calorie intake high, you may run into some issues in that regard.
Also note that those who are naturally very skinny may require a higher surplus in the first place simply because they have a very high metabolic rate naturally.
The second must-have in your nutrition plan for weight gain is sufficient protein. Many people get mixed up here and think they need a gigantic amount of lean protein to build muscle mass. This, however, isn’t the case.
You really don’t need all that much more protein than you do when you’re maintaining your weight to build more muscle. If you consume around one gram per pound of lean body weight each day, you’ll be right on track to see good results.
Keep in mind that you should be focusing on high quality sources of protein including chicken breasts, turkey, egg whites, fish, low-fat dairy, whey protein powder, and lean red meats.
These will best meet your needs while keeping you leaner at the same time.
Plenty Of Carbs
Next we come to the addition of carbs to your diet. Carbohydrates are going to be critical for success because not only will they give you the energy you need to complete all those hard workout sessions, but they’re also going to provide the fuel your body needs to generate more lean muscle mass.
You should be focusing on placing the vast majority of your carbohydrate intake with your nutrition plan right after your workout period as this is when you are in prime muscle building mode.
Still do be sure that you keep your carb choices as unprocessed and healthy as possible as this is what will ensure that you feel your best throughout the day and aren’t suffering from large blood glucose spikes followed by crashes.
Good carbohydrate options include brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, barley, oatmeal (raw oats is a good option for getting in more calories), as well as whole grain breads and pasta.
There’s no set recommendation as to how many carbs you have to eat, so you just have to look at your calorie requirements and go from there. You should be aiming for no fewer than 1.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight though.
Finally, the last point to touch upon is the healthy fats in your muscle building nutrition plan. Some people make the mistake of completely eliminating their healthy fat intake, thinking eating fat will only make them gain fat.
This isn’t the case at all. Eating healthy fats is a great way to sustain higher testosterone levels, which is going to be a must for those looking to build lean muscle mass.
If you aren’t getting a good testosterone release in your body, you won’t be as hormonally ‘primed’ for muscle building and may add additional body fat in the process instead.
Healthy fats are also very calorie dense, so for those who are trying to gain lean muscle mass this is a very good thing as well. If you struggle to get your daily calorie needs met, turning to healthy fats can make things that much easier.
Just do note that you should be avoiding dietary fats both before and immediately after the workout period in your nutrition plan as the goal here is rapid digestion and dietary fat tends to slow the digestion down.
The healthiest choices of fat to include in your diet are nuts and natural nut butters, olive oil, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, fatty fish, as well as avocados. Some saturated fat coming from dairy, eggs, or red meat is okay every now and then as saturated fat in particular does tend to increase testosterone, but to keep your health in check, do try and limit it to about 15% of your total fat intake. You don’t want to go overboard or you could set yourself up for heart disease down the road.
So there you have the need to know information to develop your very own muscle gain nutrition plan. I would highly recommend coming up with a meal plan to follow throughout the week so there’s never any question what you should be eating and when.
This will be your fastest route to success because all you then have to do is sit back and do as planned – and watch for results to happen.
[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now.[/stextbox]