We’ve all heard the infamous saying: “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.” The essence of this saying is that you can do as many crunches as you would like, but if you are not eating properly, then you will not get abs. While this saying is true when applied to wanting abs, it is also true when it comes to gaining muscle. Your daily diet regimen plays a significant role with gaining muscle mass. If you have intense workouts without the proper nutrition, your muscles may look flat and small and it may take longer to both see and gain results. Also, without proper nutrition, you may become fatigued and not have as much strength to preform workouts. Therefore, it is important to know what foods to eat when training to gain muscle mass.
45% Carbs, 35% Protein, and 20% Fat.
When eating for gaining mass muscles, the carb, protein, fat ratio is necessary. This ratio is the foundation for your daily diet regiment. These three macros are what you will consume to gain muscle and the ratio signifies how much of each you should incorporate into your daily regimen.
Carbohydrates: They are the source of fuel for workout and the body’s primary source of energy. Carbs help give you power during workouts, and help to keep muscles looking and feeling full. If your diet is low in carbs, it could slow the muscle gain process and the muscles may end up looking “flat” and small. Prevents the body from using protein as main energy source. The word-cloud below provides some examples of healthy carbs to consume when gaining muscle:
Proteins: The main job of protein is to build and repair muscle. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of your muscles and body. While eating to gain muscle mass, it is crucial to consume protein to help your muscles. Without protein, your muscles may not be as strong as they could be with protein. This may lead to tears in the muscle and conditions that will put the muscles at risk for damage. The word-cloud below provides examples of healthy protein to consume when eating protein for muscle mass gain
Fats: Help to keep your hormones in check and store energy. They play a role in metabolism and insulates the body. Fat contains twice the number of calories as carbs & proteins, so that is why it is the smallest ratio, because you must consume less.
Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are the three essential macro-nutrients categories. We know the ratio is 45%,35%,20% carbs, proteins, fats but it is important to know how to incorporate them into your diet. Counting your macro-nutrients is important for incorporating the ratio properly. This is the breakdown of what each of those percentages mean:
- 1 gram of carbohydrates= 4 calories
- 1 gram of protein= 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat = 9 calories.
Why are the grams important? Because when you count the number of carbs, proteins, fats you need in your diet the percentages will mean grams. The grams are the daily intake and you will need to know this before counting macros.
- Daily protein intake: 1-1.7 grams of protein to every pound of in body weight
- Daily carb intake: 3.15 g to every kg in body weight.
- Daily protein intake: 1-1.7 grams of protein to every pound of in body weight
- Each of these intakes should be a total of 3000-5000 calories per day.
How to Count Macros:
Step 1: Calculate your daily calorie intake.
This is done by taking your body weight multiplied by your activity level.
Examples of activity level include: 14-inactive, 18- somewhat active, 20- extremely active.
If you are a person that weighs 150 lbs and are somewhat average it would be 150 x 18
So, the daily calorie intake is 2700 calories.
This would be your recommended calorie intake for just a normal lifestyle- not for gaining muscle mass.
Step 2: Since you are bulking/gaining muscle mass the daily recommended calorie count needs to be increased.
Increase calories by 250-500 (if cutting you would decrease by the same).
Say you choose a goal and you want to increase the calories by 300
2700+ 300= 3000
A person that is 150 lbs and a daily intake of 2700 calories would then be eating 3000 calories while working out and trying to gain muscle.
Step 3: Calculate daily protein intake. Since protein needs to be 35% of diet and 1 gram of protein equals 4 calories:
Multiple grams of protein by body weight.
150 lbs x 1 gram of protein= 150 grams of protein a day
Since 1 gram of protein =4 calories. Multiple 150 times 4
150 x 4= 600
The daily protein intake is 600 calories.
Subtract 600 from 3000 and your remaining calories: 2400
In summary: 150g or 600 calories of protein per day
Step 4: Calculate daily fat intake. since fat needs to be 20% of diet and 1 gram of fat is equal to 9 calories.
Multiple remaining calories by .20
2400 x 9= 480
Divide by 9 since that’s the number of calories
480 / 9 = 53.3 so 54
54g of fat per day.
54 times 9= 486 calories
Subtract 486 from 2400 and your remaining calories: 1914
In summary: 54g or 486 calories of fat per day.
Step 5: Calculate daily carbs intake.
Divide remaining calories by 4.
1914/ 4= 478.5 g
478.5 g or 1914 calories of carbs per day.
Step 6. Add up each number of calories to ensure each step was correctly calculated.
Protein: 600 calories
Fat: 486 calories
Carbs: 1914 calories
Total calories per day: 3000
Diet & Meals:
Once you’ve calculated your macros, you need to increase meals from 3 to 6 a day per the additional number of calories you’ve added to your daily regimen for muscle mass gain. Timing is everything, and it is important to eat or drink something high in protein before a workout and after a workout. We discuss post workout meals later in this blog. Timing is everything, and it is important to eat or drink something high in protein Also, in each meal it is important to have at least 3 of the 5 food groups:
Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, Dairy, and some type of meat whether it be meat, poultry, or fish.
Going from 3 to 6 meals a day may be hard for some, and you may be wondering how you can get in that additional meal? There are meal replacement supplements that can substitute that for an additional or missed meal. These supplements are not supposed to be used as a permanent replacement for meals, but can double as a replacement when needed. G6 Sports Nutrition carries a delicious meal replacement supplement, “Super-Lean”, that comes in four savory flavors. This supplement has the perfect carb-protein-fat ratio and gives you that full feeling that you get after a meal. With 32 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbs (oatmeal carbohydrate), and infused with healthy MCT fats, it is the perfect meal substitute or additional meal
Snacks to Eat When Gaining Muscle: nuts, dried plums, celery, apricots, edamame, pumpkin seeds, strawberries, plain Greek yogurt, string cheese, protein bars/shakes/smoothies
Post workout smoothies:
Strawberry Orange Mango Smoothie:
- ¾ cup (6 oz.) Apple Juice
- ½ cup (about 10-12 slices) Frozen Strawberries
- ½ cup (about 5-6 pieces) Frozen Mango
-1 scoop of G6 Replenish Orange Mango Recovery Protein Powder
Directions: Place items in blender and blend until smooth.
Watermelon Recovery Slush:
-1 scoop of G6 Replenish Watermelon Recovery Protein Powder
-1 cups of ice
-8 oz. of water
Directions: Slice lemon in half. Squeeze juice from one half into the blender. Blend ingredients together lightly to create slush. This slush gives you a refreshing summer post-workout drink all year-round.
One of the most common mistakes that people make when trying to gain muscle mass is that they miss their window of recovery opportunity. This window of time is 30 minutes after a workout. During a workout, the muscles are being challenged and. Consuming a nutritious meal or snack during this time after a workout helps the body recover and gain more strength. Rest and recovery is key with the muscle gain process. Since sometimes it can be challenging to get a meal in during that recovery time, so a suggestion would be to bring a shake to the gym with you to consume post workout. G6 Sports Nutrition carries a product called “Replenish” that is complete recovery formula for muscle recovery after an intense workout. Maximizes workout and replenishes body after workout. It’s a quine product that tastes great, and helps reduce muscle soreness. Getting plenty of rest is also key to the recovery process. At least hours of sleep each night, and taking an off day helps the muscles to relax and recover.