My intention isn’t to give you a step-by-step “Diet” because that’s not necessary… and it will vary for many different people… instead I’ll just give you some important guidelines and tips that you can apply to your current nutrition plan to help you gain muscle.
First, you should read my article on How to eat to build muscle and lose fat… and if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, read my article How Vegetarians and Vegans Can Eat For Muscle Building.
Here’s some more important things to remember…
1. Calories — Eat up!
One thing most people don’t realize is you have to eat a LOT to gain muscle. The faster your metabolism, the more you need to eat. So if you’ve been an athlete for a while — you need to eat a ton!
Michael Phelps has been quoted about consuming 12,000 calories per day — and he’s still super lean. Why? Because he has a naturally fast metabolism and spends hours a day practicing his sport (Swimming).
Here’s a rough guide for how many calories you need to gain weight: your body weight in lbs x 20 calories. That’s 2,800 calories for a guy that ways 140 pounds and wants to gain weight.
I know you probably think you’re eating enough if you’re trying to put on size, but look at it this way, if you’re not getting fat — then you’re not eating too much. So just keep eating till you get bigger or fat.
2. Recovery Meals
The most important meal is the one immediately after you’re done working out. This is your “post workout recovery meal” and it’s important to cram in the majority of your calories in this time frame.
Within 30 minutes of working out, you want to get a recovery shake in, these liquid calories are easy for your body to digest and go directly into your hungry muscles to start rebuilding them back up.
Then eat every couple hours afterwards. If you’re intermittent fasting, break your fast with your recovery meal after working out and keep eating every two hours afterwards until you eat your big “feeding” later on that night (this applies if you’re doing the warrior diet protocol of 20 hr fasts/4 hr feeding).
3. Rest Day Meals
Your calories on your rest days ALSO need to be high. Strive to get the 20 calories per pound of bodyweight. BUT — try to get the majority of your calories from protein sources on your rest days. This will prevent you from gaining too much fat because it will help stabilize your insulin, has a higher thermic effect leading to less fat gain, and helps keep lean muscle on your body.
That shoudl get you started and I hope these tips helped you discover your own diet to gain muscle.