If you are looking to build muscle, you must be training AND eating properly. In this article, you will learn three important strategies for your weight gain diet, helping you to build all the muscle you want.
First, we will look at calorie intake. How many calories should you be eating if you are looking to build muscle?
Next, we will have a look at protein. If muscles are made up of mostly protein, shouldn’t eating more protein lead to building more muscle? Well, there is a systematic approach we can apply to make sure we are getting enough.
Last, we will cover the MOST important component for muscle building nutrition, which may surprise you.
With these three elements in place, your diet will no longer be sabotaging your muscle building efforts, and you will set yourself up to gain more muscle than ever before!
So lets begin…
How Many Calories For a Weight Gain Diet?
If you are looking to gain lean body mass, you have to eat MORE than you are used to.
One famous strength coach would require all of his trainees to drink at least one gallon of milk EACH DAY to make sure that they were eating enough.
Calories provide much of the raw material required to fuel and build muscle.
So, how many calories should you be eating?
Here is a simple formula-
Depending on how easily you gain body fat, your calorie intake should be anywhere between 19 to 25 times your bodyweight.
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you would want to eat anywhere between 2850-3750 calories per day.
The more easily you tend to gain body fat, the more you want to err on the smaller end of that scale.
(and if you are actually are trying to LOSE a more substantial amount of body fat, shoot for even less, around 16 times your bodyweight in calories.
What about protein intake for muscle gain?
If you ask 5 different gym junkies how much protein one needs to eat to gain muscle, you are likely to get 5 different answers. One typical answer is around 2 grams per pound of bodyweight, per day.
This is too much! Don’t throw your money away on expensive protein powder. You actually don’t need that much.
Many TOP muscle gaining experts recommend between 1 and 1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, per day.
So if you weigh 150 pounds, that would mean you should be taking in between 150 and 180 grams of protein, per day.
The Most Important Part of Your Muscle Building Diet
Finally, EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT.
Your body won’t respond to the same diet in the same way as someone else. So, you need to pay attention to what you are eating and how your body is responding.
And what is the best way to do this?
KEEP A DIET JOURNAL
Are you gaining too much fat? You might want to reduce your calorie intake.
Are you getting that 1-1.2 grams of protein per day?
You don’t need to get neurotic about it and write down every last calorie consumed, but DO write down what you are eating and get familiar with roughly how many calories, grams of fat, and grams of protein are in the meals that you eat. This data is all freely available on the internet.
If you are a hardgainer and have been having a difficult time gaining weight, try writing down your meals for a couple weeks and compare your nutrient intake with the guidelines above. You might be surprised how little you have been eating!
Wrapping things up…
So, you now have a good idea on how many calories are required for weight gain, what daily protein intake is best for gaining muscle, and why keeping a diet journal is KEY to dialing in your nutrition for muscle growth.
Now all that’s left for you to do is train hard, eat well, rest well, and soon you will be packing on more muscle than you can handle!