3 Nutrition Principles for Maximum Muscle Gain
Gaining muscle seems insanely difficult to millions of men around the world. They hit the gym hard, they drink protein shakes religiously and buy every muscle building magazine that they can get their hands on. Yet, despite their best efforts, the results are slow to come… and they have no idea why.
The truth of the matter is that building muscle is simple in concept and comes down to 3 fundamentals. Firstly. you need to engage in resistance training till you reach hypertrophy. Your muscles are now stimulated and will begin the process of repair.
Secondly, you must have enough sleep and rest days. Muscle growth doesn’t take place in the gym. It goes on while you’re resting and asleep.
Thirdly, and MOST importantly, your diet and nutrition must be in place. This is where so many people mess up. You can’t out-train a bad diet. All your efforts and sweat at the gym will be in vain if you’re not giving your body the nutrition it needs.
There’s a saying in the bodybuilding scene – “Muscles are torn in the gym, fed in the kitchen, and built in bed.” This quote summarizes all 3 points in a nutshell.
In this article, we’ll look at 3 fundamental nutrition principles that you must abide by if you wish to see positive results and get the body of a Greek God. There’s no running away from the tips below because they’re imperative to you achieving the toned physique you desire.
- Dial in your nutrition
The first thing you need to do is keep things simple. You need to meet your daily calorie count and you need to get all your macros right. That’s really all it comes down to.
One of the easiest ways to find out how many calories to consume to gain muscle will be to take your bodyweight in pounds and multiply it by 15 to 17 calories. For example, a 175-pound man would need to consume about 1575 to 2275 calories to gain muscle.
It’s important to note that you MUST be at a caloric surplus. This is when conditions are most advantageous for gaining muscle. As for your macros, you should calculate them based on whether you’re training on that day or not.
On a training day: Protein=30%, Fat=20% and Carbohydrates=50%
On a non-training day: Protein=30%, Fat=50% and Carbohydrates=20%
The most important macronutrient you need is protein. You should consume it throughout the day. As for the carbs, you’ll be consuming less of them on non-training days so that you don’t gain too much fat. The goal is to increase muscle mass while keeping your fat gain to a minimum.
- Focus on one goal
There are 2 distinct camps when it comes to ‘bulking’ and gaining mass. One group of people swear by the ‘bulk and cut’ method where you consume lots of calories with only one goal in mind – to gain muscle and size. You’ll definitely gain fat too and it will show, but that will not worry you.
Once you reach your goal weight, you’ll start the ‘cutting’ process. During this process, you’ll shed the fat while retaining your muscle mass. Once your fat has melted off, you’ll be ripped and have much bigger muscles that grew during the bulking phase.
The second group of people do not believe in this method. They insist that you can gain muscle mass without having to bulk and cut. Just by eating clean and meeting your macros, you will gain muscle.
So, who is right?
They both are. The difference is that bulking and cutting is easier since you’re only focused on 1 goal at a time. When you bulk, you bulk. When you cut, you cut. With the other method, you will really need to watch your diet and get your nutrition on point. It requires a level of discipline that most people lack.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to you. If you think it’s easier to bulk first and then cut, do that. If you’d rather go the slow and steady route and watch what you eat, that’s fine too.
It’s important to note that bulking and cutting are diametrically opposed. When you want to gain muscle, you must be at a caloric surplus. When you want to shred the excess fat, you need to be at a caloric deficit.
- Avoid alcohol
If you’re trying to gain muscle, it’s best to stick to water. Alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram, and if you’re trying to shed fat, the body will burn the calories from the alcohol instead of using your fat stores and glycogen for fuel.
To make matters worse, it also lowers your testosterone levels and if you’re an older man, this will affect your training and progress to some extent. It’s fine to occasionally indulge in a glass or two of beer or wine, but don’t let it to go overboard and try not to indulge more than once a fortnight.
Observe these 3 principles and it will be much easier to gain muscle. Of course, you will need to be consistent with your diet and make sure you’re meeting all your micronutrient needs too. Always remember that what you do in the kitchen is way more important than how many reps you pump out at the gym.
“Bodybuilding is 80 percent nutrition.” – Vince Gironda