Nutrition

What to eat to gain muscle mass

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

What should you eat if your goal is to gain muscle mass

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

Or maybe you're not even that thin, 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… gaining muscle mass.

Attention, the goal is to gain muscle, lean mass and not fat, so it's a good idea to follow some rules.

What rules are these?

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

Gain muscle mass, the essential

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

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

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

First of all, as you may have already said, you will have to eat a lot, but this much must be controlled and not excessive, especially for those who are easily able to gain fat.

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

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

You will need to follow a diet hypercaloric. 

In other words, you will have to consume more calories than those you spend, and that yes, it is mandatory.

It's what you'll find in all muscle-gaining diets, except those that don't work.

Many proteins, plenty of carbohydrates and also some fats.

You're going to need all these macronutrients to grow those muscles.

Don't forget, it is MANDATORY you eat more calories than you spend, without this there is no bucket of protein 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 it into muscle.

Unless you're a magician, it's impossible to turn fat into muscle.

what to eat to gain muscle mass

Food to use

Now that you know rule number one in order 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 sources of protein, complex carbohydrates and fats.

Here is a list with good options to serve as a basis for your diet.

Proteins

  • Chicken
  • Peru
  • Red meat
  • Any fish
  • Tuna cans
  • Eggs
  • Lean fresh cheese
  • Quark cheese
  • Protein powder

Carbohydrates

  • Oat
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Sweet potato
  • Bean

Fats

  • Dry fruits
  • Oil
  • Peanut butter
  • Almond Butter
  • Fish oil
  • * Red meats, fatty fish and egg yolks are significant sources of fat

Can I only eat this ?!

For those who read the article about what to eat to lose fat, you are probably scratching your head now.

The recommended foods do not change much, in fact, apart from the inclusion of red meats and any fish, the rest is practically the same.

Remember what you read above.

“You can use exactly the same foods, regardless of the objective, you always need to change the amounts, in this case for more.”

First, what matters (again) is the quantities.

Second, these are the recommended foods to support your diet, which doesn't mean they should be the only foods you use on a daily basis.

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

Now, in addition to adding red meats and fatty fish, don't you change anything else?

You can change, if you want.

various foods to gain muscle mass

Consistency

In a diet to gain muscle mass, you have much more freedom to include theoretically less recommended foods, and taking into account that the most important thing to have good results is the consistency, take this into account when planning your food.

If you don't like oats, and you think you won't be able to eat oats every day as a snack, include another source of carbohydrates.

Do you hate turkey meat?

You don't need to eat it, use another source of protein.

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

Try to include as many foods on the list as you like, but those you hate hate. Don't use them.

There are no mandatory or irreplaceable foods.

The ideal will always be to build your diet, as we explained in this article. 

For those who do not want to do so, using these foods as a base, in good quantities, is already a great advantage over those who do not pay any attention to their diet.

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

Do not forget to include vegetables and 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 eat 7 or 8 meals a day to avoid catabolism.

Worry more about reaching the macronutrient values you need daily than how many meals you eat.

As a rule, eating every 3/4 hour is a good standard.

Now, if you only manage to eat 4 meals a day for professional reasons, that's not why you're not going to stop evolving, you're simply going to have to eat bigger meals.

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

You find the answer to what you should eat before and after training in 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 be of significant help, and be an asset, such as protein powder and the creatine.

If you want to know more about supplements to gain muscle mass, you will find on here several suggestions.

protein shake to gain muscle mass

Two (very) common problems

Gain weight very quickly

In the first week you gain 2kg, in the second another 2, in the third month you gain 3 and at the end of the month you gained a total of 10kg.

Congratulations, you just gained a lot of fat!

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

It's a sign of excess calories.

Don't forget, the more fat you gain, the more time you will spend eliminating it on the treadmill and in the kitchen.

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

Always be the same

The scale doesn't go up, the arm doesn't grow, the chest doesn't increase and the fat percentage doesn't move.

What is up?

You're always the same.

Increases calories.

If you were in excess caloric there were changes, even if they were just increases in fat.

If your problem is not being able to eat more, you have on here some tips that can help you.

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

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

Weight 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 talking about fat loss, where it is possible to do it without training, it is impossible to have significant lean mass gains without training.

Furthermore, the perfect diet is useless if your training is poor.

Without stimulation the muscle does not grow.

Define a 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 on here.

The better your training and your commitment, the better your eating results. And vice versa.

what to eat to gain muscle mass and training

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.

Also, don't limit yourself to eating chicken and sweet potatoes just because they're called 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.

Finally, 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 comments area below.

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8 comentários

  1. I go to the third week of gym, my goal is to put on lean mass of course ... but in almost three weeks I lost 3kg 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 all my meals. .. 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 to oils… finally, I started to eat clean / healthy… it is worth mentioning 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 the weight loss.

  2. Good morning, I have been following the excellent tips on your site. I always follow the diet for 3000 calories / 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 for an afternoon snack, however I do porridge with brown sugar. Can I continue to prepare porridge with brown sugar or not? If not, what is the best way to prepare? Always grateful for your tips.

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

  3. Good afternoon, I am 37 years old, 1.81m and I weigh 78kg. I have extreme difficulty in gaining muscle mass (ectomorph) and have always had a little fat on my belly. I resumed my activities in the gym in January 2017 and I have been accompanied by a PT to gain muscle mass. At the same time, my nutritionist gave me an eating plan very similar to your 3500 calorie muscle mass diet. I have been eating 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 the muscle mas of beverly 4 x a day, including in the evening after dinner. My concern is that although I am noticing 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 done wrong? Have I been consuming too much protein? or too much carbohydrate? Thank you for your support. NOTE: I no longer consume sugar, fried, soft drinks for more than 5 years.

    1. Hi John.

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

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