Building muscle and the rewards that brings can be one the most powerful confidence boosters you’ll ever experience.
Adding a healthy dose of muscle mass to your frame will not only make you more confident but you will feel energized.
We all know the saying “Look good, feel good.”
So, in this article, I will share with you a complete nutritional guide for daily muscle growth, so you can look, feel & perform at your very best.
The Importance Of Proper Nutrition for Muscle Growth
Nutrition is the most important key to achieving your physique goals.
Without proper nutrition, you will end up disappointed no matter how much hard work you put in.
People generally don’t fail to train hard (although they do fail to train smart)
The number one reason why most people aren’t getting results from their workout routine is because of their diets.
As legendary bodybuilding coach Guru Vince Gironda said “Bodybuilding is at least 80% nutrition.”
So then, How do you set up your diet?
It is no that complicated trust me. But it will require you to do some simple calculations in order to get an accurate estimation of your caloric intake and requirements.
Step 1: Establish Your Calorie Target
First of all, you need to calculate your BMR or basal metabolic rate. Your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR is the number of calories that your body burns to sustain living on a daily basis. Basically, it’s the amount of calories you burn doing nothing.
Now, how to calculate your BMR?
BMR will vary greatly among individuals depending on so many factors like sex, age, height, weight, and bodyfat. Taking that into account, I think the best formula for estimating BMR is the modified Harris-Benedict formula because it takes body composition into account rather than just relying on weight.
BMR=66 + (13.7 x lean weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age)
BMR= 655 + (9.6 x lean weight in kg) + (1.7 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age)
For example, if you are a 25 years old male who is 5’10(155cm) and weigh 180lbs(81kg) with 15% bodyfat your BMR would be around 1735 Kcal per day.
This will account for around 70% of your daily caloric expenditure.
Step 2: Calculating Your Maintenance Calories
After estimating your BMR, you need to factor in your daily activity levels in order to calculate your daily maintenance calories. Those are the calories that you maintain your weight at.
|Activity Level||Description||Activity Factor|
|Sedentary||Lying in bed all day, no physical activity.||1|
|Light Activity||Having a non-physical job but performing some sort of light physical activity(walking)||1.2|
|Moderate Activity||Having a non-physical job but performing some sort of intense activity(lifting weights)||1.5|
|High Activity||Having a non-physical job and work out twice a day or having a labor job and work out.||1.8|
Most people are on the moderate activity level. So, you will need to multiply your BMR by 1.5
If we take our previous example, his maintenance calories would be 1735*1.5=2600 Kcal per day to maintain his weight.
Now, in order for you to grow muscle mass, you will need to eat in a caloric surplus. Most people know that. But the real question is how much of a surplus?
Because we don’t want to gain fat, we only want precious lean muscle mass.
How much of a calorie surplus will depend on many factors including genetics, age, metabolism, and insulin sensitivity.
But? I found that the best indicator to use as a reference is the starting bodyfat percentage. Your bodyfat levels would indicate whether you are someone who will benefit from a large caloric surplus, or you will do better with a more conservative approach.
Here is a rough guide for you;
|Bodyfat Level||Caloric Surplus||Calorie Target|
|>15%||You need To lose Fat before||BMR*85%|
Step 2: Calculating Your Macros
After estimating your daily caloric intake, the next part is to determine your macros profile.
First, we will start with your protein intake. Protein is the most important macronutrient for muscle growth as it is the main building material for muscle tissue.
As a main rule of thumb, protein intake for individuals looking to gain lean muscle mass should be at least 1 gram per lb of bodyweight. This is the minimum you should consume daily to get the achieve the most optimal level of growth possible in terms of lean muscle gain.
Your protein intake should be spread across all of your meals for the day, with at least 20-30 grams of protein per meal.
Why is that?
Because in order to fully stimulate protein synthesis, you need at least 2-3 grams of the amino acid leucine. To get that amount you need a minimum of 20 grams of complete protein.
The second macronutrient is carbohydrates. Carbohydrates have been a subject to a lot of controversy in recent years with some people blaming it for the increased obesity and health problems in todays society, while others claim that high-carbohydrate is the best way to eat.
I personally choose the middle ground between the two. I think some people would greatly benefit from a higher carbohydrate intake, while others will not. People who have always been ‘skinny’ with naturally low levels of bodyfat will usually will need a higher carbohydrate intake to gain muscle, while those who tend to store bodyfat more easily need to be more conservative.
As a numbers freak, here is again another guide on how many carbs you should be eating depending on your bodyfat levels:
|Bodyfat Level||Carbohydrate Intake|
|8-12%||2-3 grams per pound of bodyweight|
|12-15%||1.5-2 grams per pound of bodyweight|
|>15%||0.5-1 gram per pound of bodyweight|
The best and most beneficial time to eat carbohydrates is straight after a workout, to replenish your glycogen stores.
This is the only time where it is actually beneficial to consume sugary (high glycemic index) carbs like rice cakes and Gatorade.
At all other times, stick to low glycemic index carbs.
Oats, Lentils, Whole Wheat Bread and Quinoa are all great options. Those will keep your blood sugar levels stable and help you to sustain high energy levels throughout the day while avoiding unnatural energy crashes.
The third macronutrient is fat. Fat has also had it’s fair share of controversy over the years.
Until not so long ago, higher fat intake was considered dangerous even by most fitness and bodybuilding coaches.
But, in recent years, Fat has made a huge comeback with Keto and low-carb diets becoming wildly popular especially among celebrities.
For us, people looking to build muscle, our fat intake would simply be the remaining calories after establishing our protein and carbohydrate intake.
So, if we take our example as a reference. His calorie target is 2950 calories per day. He will consume 180 grams of protein and 270 grams of carbs. Since protein and carbs both have 4 calories per gram, his carb and protein intake would equal 1800 calories.
So the rest of his calories (790 calories) would come from fat. Which will be around 87 grams of fat.
The best time to consume fats is when you are not consuming a lot of carbohydrates.
I personally love to have most of my fat at breakfast time.
This is against the popular belief, but I have found that having a protein and fat only breakfast helped me to have a sharper mind during the day.
Also, it helped me to stay leaner while adding bodyfat. If you are someone with a poor insulin sensitivity, I suggest you experiment this approach as well.
I am not usually a big advocate of supplement use as I think that you don’t need them to gain muscle and lose bodyfat. But there a few supplements that I think they are a must to build muscle and optimize your mental performance.
An amino-acid often found in good quality pre-workout supplements, and that is for good reason. L-Tyrosine stimulates the production of certain hormones and neurotransmitters in the body. It is also critical in controlling metabolism.
But, the main benefit of L-Tyrosine as shown by research is that it can help to blunt fatigue, improve mental clarity and increase overall performance.
Creatine is an essential supplement especially before your strength workouts especially if you are aiming to lift heavier weights.
In the first 10 seconds of a lift, the main energy system is ATP and Creatine Phosphate. With the ATP system, you break a phosphate group off and that releases energy to help you lift a heavy weight, Creatine will help to quickly put that Phosphate group back on to reproduce another ATP group.
In plain English, this is mean that creatine will allow you to lift 2 or 3 more reps with a given weight by speeding up the production of ATP.
More reps would equal more stress on your muscles and thus more growth.
I personally think Creatine is mandatory. If I was to choose only one supplement that I will take for the rest of my life, I will choose Creatine.
In the end, I hope you enjoyed the article guys. Now, time to make some Gainz!