If you want to build big muscles at the fastest rate possible, you will need to take in sufficient calories AND train the muscles to use this energy intake. Just like a pound of fat, it takes about 2,800 calories to add a pound of muscle, but the similarity stops there.
The most you can expect to build is around 227 grams or about 8 ounces of muscle each week. If you consume too many calories, you’ll end up gaining excess fat. It’s suggested to consume an extra 250 to 500 calories a day while you are working on building lean muscle mass.
If you gain fat easily, stay on the lower end of the range, and if you find it difficult to gain weight in general, aim for the higher end of the range. It will take a bit of trial and error to find the right amount of additional calories to build muscle and stay lean.
10 Eating Tips
Aim to take in lean protein during the 15-20 minutes before or after working out. This can be in the form of lean meat or a protein smoothie.
- Eat breakfast with some protein every day. Eating breakfast signals to your metabolism that it’s okay to burn calories and gives you the energy that will carry you through the day. Eggs (scrambled or in omelets with cheese and/or lean ham), protein smoothies, and steel-cut oats with Greek yogurt are good choices.
- Boost your energy with something additional every three hours. Your goal is to consume smaller meals overall but keep fueling the body with high-quality food. Avoid unhealthy snacks and choose unrefined and natural options. Try natural peanut butter (no added sugar or hydrogenated fats) with whole-grain crackers, avocado toast, a measured portion of nuts, or some lean jerky.
- Eat a good variety of fruits and vegetables along with protein-based foods for your meals.
- Limit your consumption of carbs (rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, quinoa, oats, etc.) only after your workouts. Go for complex carbohydrates when you can, and try to choose whole grains over “white” carbs.
- Make sure to include healthy fats with your meals. Avocados are loved by muscle guys! Other good fats include fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout, which are high in valuable omega-3 fatty acids), as well as olive oil, nut butter (cashew, peanut, or almond), and similar foods.
- Keep hydrated by drinking water regularly and avoiding alcohol. You will be sweating more while training and drinking water helps with muscle recovery.
- Drink a protein shake before working out. According to Men’s Health, weightlifters who drank a shake with essential amino acids and carbohydrates prior to a workout had better protein synthesis than those who drank the same shake after they worked out. You will want to make a shake with 10-20 grams of protein. This is typically about one scoop of good whey protein powder. You might try Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein Powder. Though not quite as effective as whey for muscle building, pea protein powders like Naked Nutrition’s can be a good option for vegans or lactose-intolerant men.
- Make 90% of your food intake whole foods rather than processed foods. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where foods are fresh and unrefined, without added ingredients and preservatives, trans-fats, nitrates, added sodium, corn syrup, and the like.
- Have a snack with casein before going to bed. Some sources suggest that those who aspire to become a muscular man should consume dairy products like cottage cheese, milk, and Greek yogurt immediately before bed. The theory is that the protein in casein helps build muscles all night long as the amino acids are more slowly absorbed by the blood and last for as long as 7.5 hours while one sleeps. You can also get casein amino acids in a powder-like Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Micellar Casein Protein Powder or BulkSupplements Casein Protein Powder to mix into a nighttime smoothie.
5 More Bodybuilding Tips
Where do you find the most muscular men? In gyms, of course! The muscular male physique must be earned. While watching what you eat definitely contributes to a lean muscular body, you now need to learn about bodybuilding tips to convert that energy into a muscular male body.
Work Your Largest Muscles
Focusing on large muscle groups, like your chest, back, and legs will tend to result in the most impressive and visible results. Here are suggested exercises to fit into your workout:
- Bench presses
- Bent-over rows
- Military presses
Aim to do two or three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions, with one minute or so of rest between your sets.
Lift Every Other Day
Do a challenging weight workout followed by a day of rest. A solid workout triggers protein synthesis for as much as 48 hours following an exercise session. According to Michael Mejia, C.S.C.S. and Men’s Health exercise advisor, “Your muscles grow when you’re resting, not when you’re working out.”
Focus on the Hardest Part of an Exercise
When lifting weights, you have a hard or concentric phase and an easy or eccentric phase. If you focus on the harder, concentric phase, you’ll build muscle faster, explains K. Aleisha Fetters, C.S.C.S.
Taking anabolic steroids may be a tempting shortcut to put on muscle mass, but they are one of the worst, most unsafe methods to gain muscle. Some of the common side effects they can cause include:
- severe acne, oily skin, and hair
- hair loss or baldness
- liver and kidney disease
- heart disease (including heart attack and stroke)
- altered moods, with irritability, depression, or aggression
- reduced sperm count, infertility, shrunken testicles, or erectile dysfunction.
- increased risk of prostate cancer
- breast development
Implement these tips, and whether you are a beginning bodybuilder or a gym rat regular and just want to improve your muscle mass, you should start seeing results.