Eating for optimal muscle growth is not as complicated as most people would have you believe.
So long as you follow the basic principles, you will ensure that you recover well, and, more importantly, that you grow productively.
With that said, let’s take a look at three invaluable nutritional tips for the best possible results.
- Eat Enough Calories
It’s entirely possible to build muscle while eating around maintenance or in a calorie deficit, but it’s incredibly hard and even impossible for some.
As a beginner, you can build muscle and lose fat simultaneously, especially if you’re exceptionally overweight. But, once you go beyond that stage, you need an adequate supply of energy to build muscle at an optimal rate.
Because of that, you should eat in a slight calorie surplus, so that your body has enough energy to carry out its many processes and dedicate some calories for the development of new tissue.
As a rule of thumb, you should consume around 150 to 300 calories over maintenance level. This will equate to a weight gain of about one pound every two weeks.
- Consume More Protein
Aside from getting enough calories, we also need to pay attention to our protein intake. The reason for that is, even if we have extra calories, we can’t build muscle without the building blocks that come from protein – amino acids.
As a rule of thumb, we should aim to eat anywhere from 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. So, if you currently weigh 180 pounds, that would equate to a daily protein intake of 144 to 180 grams.
Good sources include fish, meats, poultry, eggs, cottage cheese, nuts, and seeds. You can also supplement with protein powder for some quick, tasty, cheap, and convenient protein.
- Pay Attention To Your Pre- and Post-Training Nutrition
Let’s face it:
Paying attention to nutrient timing can be tedious and inconvenient at times. But, by making the extra effort, we can improve our performance, rates of recovery, and long-term progress.
A pre-workout meal is important because it provides your body with the fuel it needs to perform well. Having some protein before training is also beneficial because the circulating amino acids prevent excessive muscle protein breakdown.
Your post-workout meal is also vital because carbs and protein kickstart the recovery process by initiating muscle repair and glycogen replenishment.
So, make sure to have a balanced meal around two hours before training, and one soon after you’re done with your workouts.