If you were to ask somebody to describe their ideal dream physique, the majority of the time, they would tell you that ideally they would have a body that was lean, ripped, free of fat, and packed full of muscle mass and definition. Yes, muscle is universally appealing, yet sadly, building it is not. Lifting weights is only half of the battle and even then, actually getting into the gym and training on a regular basis is difficult enough, especially as you begin to hit natural plateaus and find your motivational levels decreasing with each passing day.
Even if you do enjoy your training and happen to be making some fantastic progress in the gym, again, the training is only one half of the battle. The second half of the battle, is the diet and nutritional side of things. In reality, calling it the second half is misleading, as many experts agree that when it comes to a muscle building diet, the diet and nutrition should make up 70% in terms of importance.
In basic terms, that means that without following an effective muscle building diet, you simply won’t be able to build as much muscle mass as you would if your diet was on point. They say that muscles are built in the kitchen, not the gym, and in actual fact, they’re absolutely right, whomever “they” may be. So, now that we know that diet and nutrition is so important for building muscle, how can we diet effectively to maximize our muscle gains? Well, for starters, we can begin by taking a look at these top muscle building diet tips.
1) Don’t rely on supplements
Supplements are very important when it comes to bodybuilding, and we’ll get to exactly why that is in just a moment. Despite this, however, you must ensure that you don’t make the mistake of relying on supplements for your diet and nutrition, because without wholesome, healthy, and natural foods, you simply won’t grow and won’t see any real progress in the slightest. Remember, supplements are designed to supplement a healthy eating and training program, and as a result, they should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and training program. It can be tempting to simply mix yourself up a protein shake instead of taking the time to prepare a balanced meal, but you must resist temptation as supplements are no substitute for whole foods. Of course, when you aren’t able to cook or eat, a protein shake is absolutely ideal, but if you can cook or eat whole foods, you should cook and eat whole foods.
2) Choose the right supplements
As we said, supplements are still very important in terms of bodybuilding, providing of course, that you choose the right ones. Whey protein is obviously a given, but as there are so many varieties to choose from, you should select the best quality powder that your budget will allow for. Don’t just opt for the cheapest you can find because cheap generally means poor quality. This, however, doesn’t mean that you need to buy the most expensive protein powder either, as there are many affordable powders from well-known manufacturers. Choose your supplements based upon your goals and your training. For example, if you train early in a morning, you will probably struggle to wake your up at first, and so you may wish to use a pre-workout supplement packed full of stimulants to wake you up and energize you. Whether you choose amino acids, vitamins, minerals, proteins, creatine, or anything else for that matter, take the time to find the best quality products you can find, and make sure you take your own dietary and training circumstances into consideration as well.
3) Prep your meals
For any true muscle building diet to be truly effective, you simply must ensure that you take the time each week to prep your meals for the week ahead. When bodybuilding and trying to pile on muscle mass, you will need to eat a lot of food, pretty frequently. If you were to try and cook each meal as you went along, you would spend all of your time in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning your pots. By taking an afternoon or morning off, however, typically on a Sunday, you can prepare a number of your meals in advance, cook them, cool them, store them in Tupperware, and either chill them in the fridge, or freeze them. This allows you to take meals with you on days out or to work, plus, when you do get home from work and/or the gym, instead of spending time cooking and cleaning, you simply re-heat your prepped meal, and hey presto.
4) Vary your foods
When you see a lot of bodybuilders eating their meals, the majority of the time, you’ll see them eating the same meals/foods every single day, virtually for every single meal in fact. This can quickly grow stale and boring and can make dieting even more unpleasant and unappealing. What you should do when following a muscle building diet to ensure you don’t get bored, is take the time to vary your meals and foods so that you have a little variety to choose from. For example: rather than eating, say, grilled chicken, baked potato, and broccoli 3 or 4 times a day, try different meats, different carb sources, different healthy fat sources, and different vegetables. So, one meal could be, grilled sirloin steak, brown rice, and asparagus, whereas the next could be baked chicken, tomato salsa, broccoli, and sweet potato, and so on.
5) Get enough protein
Protein is by far, the most vital macronutrient when it comes to muscle growth, for a number of different reasons. The main reason, however, is that it is vital for muscle tissue growth and repair, and that it plays a vital role in post-workout recovery via protein synthesis. For this reason, if you are looking to really increase your lean muscle mass and become bigger and stronger than ever before, you will need to ensure that you get enough protein on a daily basis. For people looking to maintain muscle mass, ideally they should be consuming around 1 – 1.5g of protein for every pound that they weigh. However, if muscle growth is your goal, you should increase this to 1.5 – 2g of protein per pound of bodyweight. As an example, then, a 200 pound man looking to build muscle, would be looking at consuming between 300 and 400 grams of protein per day. This protein should also be consumed throughout the day, making sure that you don’t get more than 40 – 45 grams of protein per meal, as that is the maximum the body will be able to process. Some of the best forms of protein include: Meat, fish, seafood, egg whites, nuts, nut butters, and protein powders.
6) Don’t forget casein protein before bed
Casein protein is a protein powder supplement that is very beneficial for bodybuilders, yet many people still don’t understand exactly how it works. Casein comes from dairy just as whey protein does, yet it behaves very different once consumed. Whey protein is a fast-digesting, fast-absorbing protein that quickly gets into your system, whereas casein protein is a slow-digesting protein, which means that it is absorbed at a much slower rate. This means that it is absolutely perfect when taken before going to bed. Remember, the body needs nutrients to build and maintain muscle tissues and without them, not only can it not do this, but it even eats away at the existing muscle tissue due to a lack of energy. This is known as muscle catabolism. To prevent catabolism, casein protein should be consumed as it will provide a slow and steady stream of proteins and nutrients into the body and muscles, keeping the body in an anabolic muscle building state whilst you sleep.
7) Don’t forget your veggies
Finally, the last muscle building diet tip we’ll be sharing with you today, is to make sure that you don’t forget your vegetables. Vegetables are full of vitamins, fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that the body absolutely thrive upon. The healthier the body, the more efficient it will work, meaning that the more effective it will be at building muscle, which is a fantastic thing in itself. With each meal, make sure you include a vegetable of some sort to really maximize your nutrient consumption.
My Name is Reda El; fitness fanatic, entrepreneur and BJJ blue Belt. I’ve gathered both my experience and the information I’ve read throughout these years on my website. Feel free to check out my article about what is synthol, and why you should stay away from it.