It should be common knowledge that eating to build muscle is the most important element of your muscle building quest. Unfortunately, “common knowledge” is something it often isn’t.
So, the real questions are: what should you eat and how much of it? Simply put, you need to eat enough of the correct nutrients – The more consistently you eat the correct ratio of protein, carbs and fat, the more muscle you will build over time.
If you are struggling with planning a consistent diet or stuck on what foods you should be eating to build muscle, I recommend a fantastic muscle building program at the end of this article that contains over 500 daily meal plans for different calorie requirements.
Here are three basic tips on eating to build muscle. I hope that they help you and have some benefit to you on your journey to building the muscles you want!
Number 1 – Food “type”
You must eat the correct type of foods to increase muscle size and not just to become large on the scales for the sake of it – basically, you don’t want to increase your body fat more than you have to. Although, a small increase is inevitable.
Eating to build muscle is not just about the intake of enough calories. You could be eating empty or “bad” calories. Empty calories will not help you to gain muscle or if they do help, will also help you to get fat and unhealthy. Examples include cakes, pastries, sugary drinks, take aways etc.
Try to become aware of what kind of nutrition you’re putting into your body! Ever heard the saying, “you are what you eat?”. That rings ever true for eating to build muscle.
Eating staple foods such as brown rice, pasta, chicken, red meat, fish, and most unrefined foods that release energy over a slow period of time.
Also try to limit your sugar intake (except immediately post-workout where a fast acting simple sugar is imperative to recovering the glycogen stores in your muscles)
Number 2 – Food “Combinations”
Combine the “correct” foods. It comes down to the correct food combinations when you eat to build muscle.
Avoid foods that contain minimal nutritional value. Such foods will simply make you fat. You don’t want that, so stay away from certain types of food that are high in saturated fat and added sugar.
Ideally, your meals should include food combinations of unrefined, starchy carbs with a portion of protein. A small amount of EFA (essential fatty acids) can be added.
Number 3 – Frequency
Eat the correct foods at the correct time. Balance is essential to create a habit when you’re eating to build muscle. Having too much to eat at one time can cause indigestion problems and make it easier for your body to store fat. Eating too much before a workout will also ruin your routine by making you feel sluggish.
Have your meals at regular points in the day.
You obviously will need to be eating a lot more if you have any hope of building muscle. Your muscles will need to be fed with protein every 2-4 hours – So, split your meals into 4-8 per day.
This could get difficult, so a simple whey protein supplement is recommended to replace a couple of meals, especially if you’re continuously on the go as most of us are!
Remember to always keep your diet high in nutritional value and give your muscles regular doses of protein with every meal. As long as you are eating good food and not sugary and refined meals (empty calories), you should be on course to reach your muscle building goals.