A good diet made me feel better about myself daily, it helped me to practice discipline and has generally improved my life.
Many people neglect the importance of diet when building muscle, whether that’s a beginner or someone more adept. I’ve seen both be complacent with their diet, and it’s holding them back. It will hold you back too.
In this post I will tell you how to diet for muscle gain. I will cover some key areas of diet that you must focus on to build muscle and the things to avoid doing. By doing do these, you’ll increase your chances of quicker success.
In my opinion, as a beginner in the fitness world you will need to focus on altering your diet before training harder. This is because your current diet may not be sufficient to match the demands of training and muscle building. Below are some key areas to keep in mind.
Increase Protein Intake
Firstly, if you want to build muscle effectively, you must consume protein rich foods. Some of the best options include chicken breast, lean beef, salmon, eggs, cottage cheese and almonds. All of these foods are important. I’d recommend basing your diet around lean meat since having it every day made quick improvements for me. Another useful tip is if you do consume a lot of bread, try to have wholegrain as there’s more protein per slice, this does build up.
The recommended protein intake for the average male to increase muscle mass is 1.5-2.2g of protein per kilogram of body weight or 0.73g per pound of body weight. So if I weighed 60kg my protein intake should be between 90g and 132g of protein per day and if I was 160 pounds I’d need 116.8g of protein daily and so on. If you are overweight, use the weight you’d like to be to calculate your daily protein intake. I’ve found that closer to 2.2g per kilogram of body weight is the most effective for me when eating around 2500 calories a day.
Decrease saturated fat intake
The main thing for me after increasing my protein intake was cutting out the foods high in saturated fat. I still had fatty foods and you will need them too, but focusing on avoiding cheese in meals or full fat milk in my protein shakes made a surprising difference. Also, I practically cut out butter and granulated sugar, and replaced them with mayonnaise and fruity sugars, and this worked very well.
However, if you want size, I have seen many people include a lot of fat, obviously they can put on weight a lot quicker that way. You do have to realise that a fair proportion of the weight you put on will be fat as opposed to muscle. Although, once you’re happy with a certain size, you can cut calories and increase the intensity of your workouts in order to lose body fat, it’s totally up to you.
If you want to gain muscle, or to lose fat, then drinking water is more important than you think. High and consistent water intake can boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories, which is good for fat loss. Also, the muscles need water for strength and energy to perform well whilst training which will help you get those extra reps done each week. It’s also used for recovery purposes post training. This is because water transports all those muscle building vitamins and minerals in your diet to the right places efficiently and effectively.
There are two proteins found in milk, casein and whey. Whey protein is up to 90% protein and very low fat and cholesterol. This makes it a perfect lean muscle builder. It helps to promote protein synthesis and may improve your ability to recover after training. However, despite its benefits whey protein is not essential for muscle building. If you just focus on a healthy balanced diet then you’ll put on muscle in no time, it’s up to you.
Cut out alcohol, sorry!
Alcohol basically does the opposite to water, it dehydrates the body and therefore your muscles don’t get the nutrients they need to recover properly and get stronger. Alcohol has been scientifically proven to prevent protein synthesis which is vital for muscle growth. Testosterone is a massively important muscle growth hormone. Drinking alcohol lowers the levels of testosterone in your system, therefore making it hard to gain lean muscle mass. In effect alcohol prevents you properly building muscle, so ask yourself, do you want the bod or the beer?
I’ve found that it’s important to eat the same amount of calories and protein per day. At first, I was having a lot more protein on gym days as opposed to rest days. This was a big mistake. This because on rest days your muscles are recovering and getting stronger, so they need the protein on those days too. As soon as I realized this, my gains came a lot quicker.
Furthermore, many people say ‘cheat days’ are okay and I suppose they are, if you want average results. I used to believe that a cheat day a week wouldn’t matter at all because every other day of the week I was doing everything right, but then I didn’t see all the results that I do now. In my opinion if you want to see quick results you are proud of, then you have to compromise and not have that cheat day once a week.
Remember everything is under your control. In order to look like athlete you have to eat like one first. Do you really think cheat days are fine?
I hope you have a good idea of things to do and avoid when muscle building. From now on if you can follow these points you’ll see faster gains and a better physique.
You’ll also notice you’ll have more energy in the morning and you’ll get out of bed quicker. You’ll be more motivated to carry on once you’ve started. All I can say is I’ve been through it, many others have to, diet is difficult, but once you start at least you’re doing more than you were.
If you want some pointers about muscle building foods and supplements then you can also find this on the site under diet.
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What do you think of this topic? Any questions?
Hi, I’m Nick and the creator of thefitnessfeeling.com. I have a passion for health and fitness, and I want to share my knowledge and experience with you. I’m here to help you with any questions you have.