What to eat to gain muscle mass

Increase your lean mass with the foods and suggestions in this article.

You are thin and you are fed up. Do you want to win muscle mass.

Either you are not even skinny, but those muscles insist on not growing.

Are you eating right to gain muscle?

This article is for anyone who does weight training, or is thinking about starting, with the simple goal of…gain muscular mass.

Attention, the goal is to gain muscle, lean mass and not fat, so some rules should be followed.

What rules are these?

Let's start with the main rule, address the most important foods and clarify some common questions related to this topic.

Gaining muscle mass, the essentials

As we wrote in the article on what to eat to lose fatThe big difference between a diet to gain muscle and one to lose fat is not the food but the amounts.

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You can use exactly the same foods, whatever the purpose, you always need to change the quantities, in this case for more.

Now of course there are foods that fit better in a diet to gain muscle mass, more calorie foods are welcome.

First of all, as you may have been told, you will have to eat a lot, but this much should be controlled and not excessive, especially for those who are easy to gain fat.

See article: How to gain muscle mass (not fat).

Gaining weight is easy, just eat A LOT, but gaining lean mass is a little different.

You will need to follow a diet hypercaloric, that is, you will have to consume more Calories than those you spend, and yes, it is mandatory and this is what you will find in all diets for gaining muscle mass, except those that do not work.

Many proteins, plenty of carbohydrates and also some fats, you will need all these macronutrients to grow those muscles.

Don't forget, it's OBRIGATÓRIO you eat more calories than you spend, without it there is no protein bucket to save you.

If you don't know how many calories you need, see this article.

Oh, and don't think about gaining fat to turn into muscle, unless you're a magician it's impossible to turn fat into muscle.

what to eat to gain muscle mass

Foods to use

Now that you know rule number one to gain muscle, let's move on to the title of this article.

What should you eat to gain muscle mass?

You should consume quality protein sources, complex carbohydrates and fats.

Here is a list of good options to support your diet.


  • Chicken
  • Peru
  • Red meat
  • Any fish
  • Tuna Cans
  • eggs
  • Fresh skinny cheese
  • Quark cheese
  • Protein Powder


  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Sweet potato
  • Bean


  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut butter
  • Almond butter
  • Fish oil
  • * Red meat, fatty fish and yolks are significant sources of fat.

I can only eat this ?!

For those who read the article on what to eat to lose fat, is probably scratching his head now.

The recommended foods do not change much, by the way, except for the inclusion of red meat and any fish, the rest is practically the same.

Remember what east up.

"You can use exactly the same foods, whatever the purpose, you always need to change the quantities, in this case for more. ”

First, what matters (again) is the amounts, and second, these are the recommended foods to be the basis of your diet, which does not mean that they should be the only foods you use daily.

Again, these are sources of quality protein, complex carbohydrates and essential fats.

Now, besides adding red meat and fatty fish, don't you change anything else?

You can change if you want.

what to eat to gain muscle mass


On a lean muscle diet, you are much more free to include theoretically less recommended foods, and given that most important for good results is consistency, take this into account when planning your food.

If you don't like oatmeal, and think you won't be able to eat oatmeal every day at lunchtime, include another source of carbohydrates.

Do you hate turkey meat? You don't need to eat it, it uses another source of protein.

In the list above, which foods do you like and which do you hate?

Try to include as many foods on the list as you like, but those you hate hate. Do not use them.

There are no mandatory or irreplaceable foods.

Ideally you will always build your diet, as we explained this article, but for those who do not intend to do so, using these foods as a base, in good quantity, is already a great advantage over those who do not pay any attention to their food.

It uses a protein source at every meal, combines with one of carbohydrates and / or fats, and makes several meals throughout the day in this way.

Don't forget to include vegetables in your diet, they are essential, and to drink at least 1,5L of water daily.

How many times should I eat a day?

There is no exact number and you do not need to have 7 or 8 meals a day to avoid catabolism.

You are more concerned with reaching the macronutrient values ​​you need daily than how many meals you eat.

Normally eating every 3 / 4h is a good standard, but if you can only eat 4 meals a day for professional reasons, that's not why you will stop growing, you will simply have to eat larger meals.

What should I eat before and after training? And before bed?

Find the answer to what to eat before and after training this article, already for what to eat before bed, see here.

What supplements should I use?

As for supplements, There is no supplement that will have a DRASTIC effect on your results.

That said, some of them can provide significant help, and be an asset, such as protein powder and creatine.

If you want to know more about muscle building supplements, find out here Several suggestions.

what to eat to gain muscle mass

Two (very) common problems

Gain weight very fast

In the first week you earn 2kg, the second plus 2, the third metes 3 and at the end of the month you have gained 10kg.

Congratulations, you just gained a lot of fat!

It is impossible to gain 10kg per month of lean mass, and gaining weight too fast is not a sign of good results. It's a sign of too many calories.

Remember, the more fat you get, the more time you will eliminate it on the carpet and in the kitchen.

To help you, see the article How to gain muscle mass (not fat).

Always be the same

The balance does not rise, the arm does not grow, the chest does not increase and the fat percentage does not move.

What is up?

You are always the same.

Increases calories.

If you were in excess calorie there would be changes, even if they were just fat increases.

If your problem is unable to eat more, you have here some tips that can help you.

Warning, if you look the same after just one week of training, this does not apply to you.

These are just two very common mistakes, but you will find many more in the article. I have no results at the gym, now what?

Bodybuilding training

Finally, despite the topic being what to eat, it was impossible not to approach training when the goal is to gain muscle mass.

Unlike when it comes to fat loss, where you can do it without training, It is impossible to have significant lean mass gains without training.

Moreover, the perfect diet is of no use to you if the training is weak, without stimulation the muscle does not grow.

Defines one (good) training plan and follow it consistently.

Choose good exercises, put on weight and try to increase loads regularly with good technique.

Check out our full section of training articles here.

The better your training and your commitment, the better your eating results.

foods to gain muscle mass

What to eat to gain muscle mass, the conclusion

Follow a high calorie diet with a good amount of protein, but also carbohydrates and fats.

Plus, don't just eat chicken and sweet potatoes just because they are dubbed clean foods. You can and should vary your food choices as long as they fit your daily macronutrient values.

We advise you to see this article to better understand how to build a diet simply and effectively.

Lastly, don't forget that the secret lies in consistency day after day, month after month. Be patient and think long term.

Oh, and don't forget to train all muscle groups. Yes, the legs are also part of the body.

Any questions just use the comment area below.

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  1. I go to the third week of gym, my goal is to put on lean lean mass… but in almost three weeks I lost 3 kg is normal !? I haven't been exercising for 4 years either… like every 3 hours and I think that as well… quite a lot… and I always put protein and hydrates in every meal. .. this is normal! ? Is it normal to lose weight now at the beginning ?!

      1. No way lol never had broccoli in life! and I can say that I ate vegetables or even fruit for 5 or 6 times a year! I radically changed my diet, from cutting all sugars, oils… finally, I started to eat clean / healthy… it is worth noting that I started with 75kg and I am 72kg agr… but my weight has always been around 80kg, which is my goal of Weight…

        1. That is, you are probably consuming less calories by eliminating certain foods and burning more through training, hence weight loss.

  2. Good morning, I have been following the excellent tips of your site. I always follow that I can diet for 3000calories / day and every day I lift weights in the gym, always accompanied by a PT. My question concerns the preparation of porridge. I eat porridge twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon snack, however I make porridge with brown sugar. Can I continue to prepare porridge with brown sugar or not? If not, what is the best preparation method? Always grateful for your tips.

    1. Hi John, you can use sugar to prepare the oatmeal, but don't forget that you are increasing the number of calories and carbohydrates, but as long as you don't use a lot of it, no problem :)

  3. Good afternoon, I'm 37 years old, 1.81m and I weigh 78kg. I have extreme difficulty in gaining muscle mass (ectomorph) and always had some belly fat. I resumed my gym activities in January of 2017 and have been accompanied by a PT for gaining muscle mass. At the same time, my dietitian gave me a diet plan very similar to your 3500 calorie building diet. I have done 6 meals a day. As for supplementation, I have been taking whey protein isolate for breakfast and post workout along with creatine and glutamine. I have also taken beverly 4 x muscle mas a day, including evening after dinner. My concern is that even though I was seeing an increase in muscle mass mainly in the biceps, I clearly noticed an increase in belly fat and that is where my problem lies. What have I been doing wrong? Have I been consuming too much protein? or too much carbohydrate? Thank you for your support. NOTE: I no longer consume sugar, fried foods, soft drinks over 5 years.

    1. Hi John.

      It is normal to have a small increase in fat when trying to gain muscle mass, but if it is very obvious, the calories are probably too high.

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