9. Eat big to get big
Nutrition is one of the pillars of bodybuilding. You cannot build muscle without providing your body with nutritious food containing high-quality calories. What high quality means is picking whole foods dense with nutrients that aren’t processed in any way. In order to achieve your daily caloric goal, it is best that you eat 4-6 smaller meals every 2-3 hours throughout the day, with each of them containing a substantial amount of protein, healthy fats, healthy carbs and a handful of vegetables.
Studies have shown that in order to induce maximal muscle growth in combination with intense and frequent training, one should eat between 40-50 calories per kilogram of body weight daily. For someone who weighs 140 lbs, that would be 2500-3200 calories a day.
10. Calculate your daily protein needs and hit them every day
When it comes to daily protein requirements, everyone’s different, however, for average gym goers, the general recommendation is to consume upwards of 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight a day with the upper limit that would be beneficial for building muscle being 2.5 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.
One should try gradually increasing the amount of protein ingested on a daily basis in order to see the body’s response. There are many types of protein sold on the market, some of them fast-absorbing like whey protein, and others slow-absorbing like casein protein. Whey is widely used by bodybuilders as it’s easily absorbed and transported into the muscles. Whey protein supplementation is somewhat superior to casein, soy or other plant-based proteins, as research has shown.
The main takeaway point is that you need to consume high-quality protein supplements which also contain at least 10 grams of essential amino acids. Lean meats, eggs, fish should be your main whole protein sources, which have been confirmed in many studies to be the best nutrient-rich foods necessary to re-build muscle tissue and make it stronger.
You might also like : Top 10 Highest Protein Foods
11. Consume more carbs on training days, less on rest days
If your goal is to build more muscle, but your body fat level is already high, you should first focus on getting lean before trying to add muscle mass. When you carry a lot of fat your cells’ sensitivity/response to insulin decreases. That is why you need to make your body as insulin sensitive as possible because that will cause your body to more optimally take advantage of the higher calorie and carbohydrate consumption, and will use those nutrients to build muscle, instead of storing them as fat. This is also known as nutrient partitioning.
It is important to note that carb consumption is not essential to protein synthesis, which is the main driver of muscle growth, however, there are many benefits which eating carbs can provide in regards to muscle building:
Carbs decrease cortisol release during training and help you maintain balanced cortisol levels. They support thyroid function, which is in charge of regulating your body composition. They enable you to use more energy during intense and exhaustive workouts. Consuming a high-carb diet will delay and reduce fatigue and your workouts will feel much easier.
Carb daily needs vary greatly among individuals, depending on many factors, so a general recommendation is hard to be given. However, chances are that on a daily basis you will be needing something in the range of 150-300 grams of carbs on training days. This is highly individual based on factors such as genetics, body fat levels, and insulin sensitivity level, as well as your eating habits. Whatever your choice is, you should always prioritize carbs coming from whole foods such as starchy vegetables, boiled grains, fruit and legumes instead of refined junk carbs from fast food, candy etc. If you take carbs during your training, try a carb-to-protein ratio of 2:1 and 1:1.
12. Optimize your recovery
In addition to quality sleep and managing stress, nutrition has the biggest impact on your recovery. This is the main reason why foods rich in nutrients are essential when trying to build as much muscle mass as possible. Your body needs a great number of antioxidants in your blood to eliminate all the waste products that are released during training. Antioxidants also decrease inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity.
The third essential macronutrient, fat is essential for maintaining hormonal balance and improving recovery since it provides your body with crucial nutrients and vitamins. Your diet should be diverse and filled with beneficial fats from lean meats, fish, whole dairy products and monounsaturated fat sources like olives, nuts, and avocado.
The bottom line is that besides your genetics, one of the main indicators of muscle development is how fast you can recover from a workout so that you can train intensely in the gym again.