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:
The body breaks each of these fats down in a different way, just as each provides a different use.
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.
Found in foods like nuts, seeds and grains and avocados – monounsaturated fats are good when consumed in moderation.
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.
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?
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:
1000/4.184 = 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 +
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
- 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
- Water-packed Tuna
- Black Beans
- Kidney Beans
- White Beans
Fruits and Vegetables:
- Sweet Potato
- Basically any Green Leafy Vegetable i.e. Kale, Spinach, Sylva Beet, Lettuces etc
- Colorful veggies such as – Carrots, Capsicum, Red Cabbage
- Blue Berries
Seeds, nuts and grains:
- Natural Peanut Butter
- Brown Rice
- Pearl Barley
- Chia Seeds
- Wholemeal Bread
- Wholemeal Pasta
- Cheese – especially Goat Cheese, Feta, Cottage
- Whole Milk
- Natural Greek Yogurt (Avoid ‘Greek style yogurts’)
Other Great Products:
- Dark Chocolate (75%+ Cacao)
- Red Wine
- Organic tofu
Foods to Keep Away from:
- So called ‘Diet’ foods
- Snack Bars
- Most processed and refined foods
- White flour
- 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:
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.
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Here’s to a Healthy, Lean, Muscular You!
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Thank you for reading –
Muscle Training Diet Plan – How to Eat to Grow