Monstrous muscle mass is created as a combination of brutal workouts, heavy weights, set after set of pounding in the gym and most important – enough food to supply energy for your body as well as enough building blocks to make the muscles grow. Putting together a muscle building nutrition plan is not a rocker science, in fact it’s pretty easy – at least on paper.
– First rule – you need to eat enough food at certain times of the day.
– Second rule – you need to eat the right kind of foods at certain times of the day.
Following just the first or the second rule is not enough. Just look at someone who has a difficulty gaining muscle mass. That person carefully selects the food he eats, but never eats enough of that food. On the other end we have the guy that eats everything in sight in the pursuit of gaining muscle, until his belly becomes the largest “muscle group”.
To be able to compose your ideal muscle plan you need some smart planning and some experimenting. In the list below there are 9 “experiments” you should try on yourself in order to create your muscle building plan.
Experiment No. 1
Eat more often. If you are not gaining muscle mass with your 2, 3 or even 4 meals a day, you simply need to eat more. It’s relatively easier to eat all your calories and macro nutrients if you eat 6 or even 7 smaller meals than 3 larger meals a day. Some people are just not designed to eat large amounts of food at one sitting. Try this experiment if you can’t gain muscle mass eating your current number of meals a day.
Experiment No. 2
Increase the amount of protein you are consuming. Proteins are composed of amino acids, and amino acids are the basic building blocks of muscle cells. In order to grow you need enough amino acids. Usually the quantity of protein you need to consume varies between 1.0-1.5 grams per lb of weight (depending on your build and metabolism). So if you are a 200 lb athlete, you will need to eat about 200-300 grams of protein every day in order to build more muscle mass.
240 g of protein divided in 6 meals is 40 g of protein per meal or 200g of chicken breasts. The calculations are easy, but often, sticking to the plan and eating is the hard part, and without enough protein the results are always bad.
Experiment No. 3
Consume lots of protein after your work out. Follow the rule of 1.0 – 1.5 g/lb of protein per day, but take your biggest dose of protein on one critical moment – after your workout. This is when your body needs protein the most. After the workout the body starts the recovery process and releases different hormones. Your job is to provide the building materials to repair the damaged muscles.
Experiment No. 4
Eat enough carbs. Carbohydrates in combination with protein create a specific hormonal state in the body, perfect for gaining muscle mass. They directly influence process in which amino acids are transported into muscle cells. They are also stored in the form of glycogen in the muscles, increasing them in size and weight.
Start with 2.5-3 grams/lb of carbohydrates a day. This means that a 200 lb athlete should eat 500-600 grams of carbs every day in order to increase his muscle mass. Try to restrict or cut your carbs in your last 2-3 meals of the day.
Experiment No. 5
Consume more carbohydrates during the first meal of the day and right after your workout. If you are still not gaining weight, increase the carb intake during these 2 critical times for about 15-30g.
Experiment No. 6
Control your fat intake. The great part of fats you eat should come from sources like fish, seeds, nuts, avocado, etc. These are healthy fats rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. However, don’t neglect the “unhealthy” fats. You still need a certain amount of cholesterol for hormone production and muscle gain. So don’t cut red meat and egg yolks from your diet.