Muscle Training Diet Plan – How to Eat to Grow


Muscle Training Diet Plan – Part 1

How to Eat to Grow

A question I get asked all the time – Rich, can you recommend a good muscle training diet plan?

My answer in short – Yes, I can.

A lot of individuals are training hard and doing most things right, however, do not quite understand how to eat to grow.  

Therefore, I decided that writing an article would help many more people than just being asked in person.

So…I thank you for joining me.

Let’s get started… 

Carbohydrates, Fats and Protein

The health and fitness industry has surged over the last decade and the growing interest has seen many magazines, and other forms of media, overflowing our minds with ‘information’ on what are dubbed the Macro’s.

Therefore, in order for you to have a better understanding of the make-up of a good muscle training diet plan, I will provide a brief description of the macro-nutrients.

So, looking at each respectively…


The body breaks down carbohydrates into sugars, or more specifically ‘glucose’, to use as fuel.

Being the body’s preferred choice of fuel, it is really important to understand good carbohydrates from bad carbohydrates.

Just like the fuel choice for your vehicle can optimize its performance and reliability, the same applies to the fuel you choose for your body.


Contrary to popular opinion, fats are certainly not to be avoided and actually play a key role in your muscle training diet plan and, in fact, any good nutrition plan.

Here we’ll look at the main three types of fat:

  • Polyunsaturated
  • Monounsaturated
  • Saturated

The body breaks each of these fats down in a different way, just as each provides a different use.

Polyunsaturated Fats:

These include the very beneficial Omega-3 oils found in certain fish and Flax seed.  These are the healthy fats and are more accessible by our body as a fuel source during physical exercise.

Monounsaturated Fats:

Found in foods like nuts, seeds and grains and avocados – monounsaturated fats are good when consumed in moderation.

Saturated Fats:

This is where we need to be wary as saturated fats can remain in the body, stored in the fat cells, and causing unhealthy weight gain.

Some saturated fats, however, do have a place in our total nutritional plan.


Protein can not be over-rated for its importance in an overall healthy lifestyle. Muscle-Training-Diet-Plan-healthy-foods

Lean muscle mass and body tissue is built from protein.

Our body relies on protein for all areas of growth, and cell development, from our hair and nails to muscular development and healthy immune system.

I think you’d be getting the idea, hey?  :-)

Protein sources:

Animal products such as meat, eggs, dairy and seafood

Plants also contain an excellent source of protein found in products like legumes, grains, seeds, nuts, pulses, fruits and soy.

Vegetarians and vegans can acquire adequate essential amino acids on a plant based diet.

Approximately four calories of energy is contained in every gram of protein we consume.

 What is a Calorie?

 Having established that all the foods we consume are a source of fuel for our body, we then need a way to measure this fuel and this is basically what a calorie is; a measurement of energy.

The term kilo-joule (kj) is now more commonly used in place of the term calorie (cal).

4.184 kj = 1 cal

Therefore, if you divide total kj’s by 4.184 you will know how many calories you’ve consumed.

To make this easier, you can simply divide by 4.2 as the difference is minimal as shown below:

1000 kj

1000/4.184 = 239 cal

1000/4.2     = 238 cal

What is the Glycemic Index?

 The process through which our body converts food into energy is termed metabolism.

 The metabolic rate is the rate at which this process occurs.

The Glycemic Index (GI) provides a basic indication as to the metabolic rate of the energy contained in particular foods.

A high GI represents foods containing quickly absorbed, fast burning fuel/energy, and the lower the GI means the slower the rate of metabolism and, therefore, longer lasting energy.

High GI = 70 +  GI-Images

Mid GI = 56 – 69

Low GI = 55 and less

High GI Foods:

Primarily these are foods containing refined flour, sugar and most processed foods such as white bread, pastries, biscuits and processed cereals. 

Hi GI foods are quickly absorbed and give a short term spike in our body’s blood sugar and a quick but non lasting energy boost. 

Medium GI Foods:

Whole wheat products, skin on boiled potato, bananas, grape juice, raisins and basmati rice are examples of medium GI foods.      

This is a case where low is good – Low GI foods are a longer lasting source of energy and assist in stabilizing blood sugar levels.

Examples of low GI foods are:

  • Brown rice and grains
  • Oats
  • Beans and lentils
  • Wholegrain breads and pastas and natural bran.

Okay, now we have some understanding of the macro-nutrients, how do we apply this to our goal of gaining quality muscle?

A basic formula to go by for this purpose is:

Protein: 40% (protein contains 4 calories per gram)

Carbohydrate: 40% (carbohydrate contains 4 calories per gram)

Fats: 20% (fats contain 9 calories per gram)

We should aim for 1 – 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

Therefore, an individual weighing 187lbs (85kg) should aim for 187 – 280g of protein per day.


Do you want to know how to cook amazingly delicious meals, which will fully support your efforts in and out of the gym?  I highly recommend Anabolic Cooking by Dave Ruel ‘the Muscle Chef



Muscle Training Diet Plan


Now we have a better understanding of the elements, contributing to the selection of foods, to include in a healthy nutrition plan, we can start putting it together.

Eating for Muscle: 

The process is made much easier by first making a list of foods that will fit your purpose, which in this case is to gain quality muscle with minimal fat.

The following list will help you get started and hopefully provide a platform for your own creation.

Healthy Foods for Lean Muscle Gain



  • Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Lean Beef Mince
  • Trimmed Bacon
  • Trimmed Steak
  • Turkey


  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Water-packed Tuna


  • Black Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • White Beans
  • Chick-Peas

Fruits and Vegetables: 

  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Potato
  • Cabbage
  • Basically any Green Leafy Vegetable i.e. Kale, Spinach, Sylva Beet, Lettuces etc
  • Colorful veggies such as – Carrots, Capsicum, Red Cabbage
  • Blue Berries
  • Grape-Fruit
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Bananas

Seeds, nuts and grains:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Pine-Nuts
  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • Brown Rice
  • Lentils
  • Pearl Barley
  • Fenugreek
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Chia Seeds
  • Wholemeal Bread
  • Wholemeal Pasta


  • Cheese – especially Goat Cheese, Feta, Cottage
  • Whole Milk
  • Butter
  • Natural Greek Yogurt  (Avoid ‘Greek style yogurts’)
  • Eggs

 Other Great Products:    

  • Honey
  • Dark Chocolate (75%+ Cacao)
  • Red Wine
  • Organic tofu
  • Tempeh

Foods to Keep Away from:  

  • So called ‘Diet’ foods
  • Snack Bars
  • Most processed and refined foods
  • White flour
  • Sugar
  • All Soda’s including ‘Diet’ or ‘Zero’
  • Empty ‘Fast Carb’ Foods

There you go, that’s quite a list to get you started, though as I said, certainly not an exhaustive one.

Conclusion of Part 1


Due to the length of this article, I have decided to divide it into two parts.

You can go straight to Part 2 by clicking here: 

Muscle Training Diet Plan; Optimum Nutrition for Muscle Gain


Have you read my article – Best Mass Gaining Supplements - in addition to a good nutrition and exercise plan, proper supplementation is advisable for optimum gains and performance.

If you have any questions or relevant information you would like to share, please leave a comment in the box below.

Alternatively, you may contact me


Here’s to a Healthy, Lean, Muscular You!


Blessings Be,







Rich Far


Contact :


Thank you for reading –

Muscle Training Diet Plan – How to Eat to Grow



Comments (16)

  1. Kristina

    Hi Rich! This is great info even if you are not interested in building huge muscles. I try to eat like this as much as I can, and focus on organic products since they have a higher nutrition density. I love the fact that you do not advice people to eat those icky light products! Namaste, Kristina

    1. Rich Far

      Hi Kristina,

      Thanks, and yes – good nutrition is definitely not just for those who desire building huge muscles though, of course, in different proportion.
      ‘Light’ products are generally crap – another ‘clever’ marketing ploy.

      Great to hear from you Kristina – stay Healthy.

      Blessings Be,

      – Rich

  2. Evelyn

    Hey Rich,

    I was reading the foods to stay away from, should I stay away from all snack bars? I like them because I can eat on the go or would I be better off making my own type of trail mix. Thanks, your information is very helpful.

    1. Rich Far

      Hi Evelyn,

      Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.

      This is a great question and different individuals have different views on this, of course :-)
      I shall offer you my opinion: I think snack bars are okay in moderation and certainly can come in handy for situations where you are traveling or grab on the go etc.

      That said, I would be wary of which ones you choose as lots are just disguised candy bars.

      I was talking to a girl the other day who is basically addicted to buying protein/sports bars and drinks like ‘Up & Go’. The issue is that she replaces proper nutrition with these – having maybe one or two small meals per day and then relying on the bars/drink.

      I think making your own protein bars and trail mix etc is definitely a better idea. Then you know and are in control of exactly what goes in them.

      The good news Evelyn…I do plan to post some recipes which include these soon, so please bookmark and check in from time to time.

      Until then, you may be interested in reading this post: Click Here
      Don’t let the title scare you :-) there is still information included which can relate to anyone wishing to improve their eating habits.

      Wishing you all the best with your goals.

      – Rich

  3. Sonny

    Great article Rich alot of important issues here like which types of fats are good to have.I’m thinking of beginning a new diet because I eat alot of bad fats and drinks.Do you think orange juice or any fruit juice is healthy to drink?

    1. admin

      Hi Sonny,

      Thank you for reading this article and taking the time to post a comment – I appreciate your positive feedback :-)

      I think orange juice and other fruit juices are great to drink – primarily if you juice them yourself and, of course, like everything else consume in moderation.

      When you juice fruits and vegetables, consider juicing the whole fruit/vegetable – skin and all. this way you are getting way more benefit than just the nutrients of the inner flesh alone.
      For example, the white ‘spongy’ part of an orange – between the outer skin and juicy flesh – called the pericarp or albedo, contains almost the same amount of vitamin C as the inner flesh and is a great source of pectin. There are reports which also promote the pith (contained in pericarp) as a cancer preventative.

      Thank you again Sonny.

      Wishing you well with Health and Fitness,

      – Rich

  4. Ben

    Great information Rich! I’ve always been confused by the different types of fats. Thanks for explaining them. The list of foods to avoid is very sobering!

    1. admin

      Thanks Ben – yeah, most of us can do a double take on the foods we should avoid. They just seem to creep in too easily and too often – the moment your guard is down, there they are to welcome your weakness with comforting bliss :-)

      Best Wishes,

      – Rich

  5. Peter

    Hey Rich,

    Thanks for this informative post about Muscle diet plan.

    I’m planning to start muscle training and it will help me a lot!

    1. admin

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you for visiting and it is great to know the information I have presented is helpful to you.

      If you require further assistance or have questions, please post them or feel free to contact me.

      Best wishes for your muscle training :-)

      – Rich

  6. Will

    So much temptation for foods, especially because everything is sugar and processed these days. Most important thing is to exercise I feel, that way, you can treat yourself once in a while.

    1. admin

      Hi Will,

      Thank you for visiting

      I absolutely agree with you Will, temptation is abundant and I believe no one would be truthful in saying they never succumb.

      I also agree that we can ‘treat’ ourselves once in a while. If we don’t do this, then we set ourselves up for a guilt ridden binge.

      Thanks again Will and Best Wishes,

      – Rich

  7. David Snodgrass

    sounds like a good way to stay healthy

    1. admin

      Hi David,

      Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.
      Best Wishes,

      – Rich

  8. Josh

    Thanks for explaining the Glycemic Index. You hear it mentioned a lot but nobody actually tells you what it is. I can stand to get in much better shape and seeing the foods that you listed for energy will be a great start.

    My main question that I would have would be about what beverages that you would recommend. I drink entirely too much soda. Are drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade, LifeWater, and VitaminWater really good for you or are they just marketed as good for you?

    1. admin

      Hi Josh,

      Thank you for visiting my site and posting a comment.

      Great question regarding beverages.

      First, if you drink ANY soda – it’s entirely too much and that definitely includes diet sodas or ‘no sugar’. Your muscle training diet plan will suffer and so will you. For a great start to improved health and fitness – ditch the soda.

      Second, regarding your question on sports drinks – they are good when used appropriately. When exercising for a lengthy period or performing endurance routines, or a taxing weight lifting session, our bodies can lose a lot of fluid and replenishing with an electrolyte charged drink like Gatorade or Powerade can certainly be beneficial.

      I used to use Powerade/Gatorade quite a bit at one stage, now I tend to stick with pure rain water or filtered water. Sometimes, I will add a quarter teaspoon of Himalayan Crystal Salt.

      Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much about VitaminWater etc, though certainly a better alternative to soda :-)

      Thanks again Josh – if you wish for further fitness advice I am happy to help.

      Wishing you all the best in Fitness and Health,

      – Rich


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>