Essential Ingredients of Muscle Gain Nutrition

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The Essential Ingredients of Muscle Gain Nutrition
by John Mattinger

If you're into muscle gain you might think that you need to follow a very strict diet to get the six-pack abs and pumped biceps you want. However, you'd be wrong. It's really a matter of following a good, simple and sensible eating plan that's going to provide you with the fuel you need. Here are some basic muscle gain nutrition advice you should follow.

How many calories do you need?

Figuring out your calorie needs for a good solid workout regimen isn't going to be that hard. There are a number of different formulas you can use but this will get you very close to the ballpark and will be a good place to start. Take your weight now and multiply it by 12 if you want to lose weight or if you have a slow metabolism. Take your current weight and multiply it by 18 if you want to gain weight or if you're someone who has trouble maintaining weight. Take your current weight and multiply it by 15 if you want to stay at your same weight. This is the number of calories you're going to need on a daily basis to get the results you want.

So, for example, if you weigh 180 pounds and you want to stay at your current weight, you'll multiply 180 x 15. That gives you a total caloric intake of 2700 calories a day. (Remember, you'll be adding muscle and losing body fat even if you "maintain" your current weight, so your body composition will change, just not the actual amount you weigh.)

That's just a starting point; you'll adjust as you go along, to get the desired results you want. Add more calories if you're not gaining the weight you need to, or ramp up your workout and/or cut calories if you're not losing fat weight.

Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats - Core Elements of Muscle Gain Nutrition

Again, this is pretty simple. About 30 to 35% of your calories should come from protein, 10-15% of your calories should come from fat, and 50 to 60% of your calories should come from complex carbohydrates. Fat grams are 9 calories each, while protein and carbohydrate grams are four calories each. Let's take a look at each of these elements in greater depth:


Protein is your greatest asset when it comes to building muscle. You need protein to get through your day, and to recover from workouts, too. Ideally, 1 to 1 1/2 grams of protein per pound of body weight is a good place for you to start. Higher amounts of protein beyond that are not particularly beneficial, and may be hard on your kidneys and bones. However, lower amounts of protein than 1 to 1 1/2 grams per pound of body weight will probably mean you'll have difficulty building muscle and recovering from workouts. Therefore, get enough, but not "too much."


Your body uses carbohydrates for its main energy source. Ideally, you should get most of your carbohydrates from complex carbohydrates; they digest slowly and keep blood sugar levels steady, keeping your energy up and your body fueled. You CAN consume a small amount of simple carbohydrates immediately post workout, within the first two hours after your workout, to help with replenishing glycogen stores. That should be the only time you consume simple carbohydrates, however.


You should be able to get all of the fat you need in your diet without supplementing, especially if you consume a fair amount of animal protein. Again, ideally, you should shoot for 10-15% of your calories from fat, including unsaturated monounsaturated, and saturated fats.

How many meals a day?

For optimal workouts, you should consume your calories throughout the day in five or six smaller meals, to give you sustained energy. Making meals smaller before workouts and then consuming more calories after workouts are a good idea, to help rebuild damaged muscle (your digestive system will also be much happier if you don't try to work out on a really full stomach).

What should be in your meals?

For the most part, think "whole foods" when you construct your muscle gain nutrition plan. You don't really need "special foods," and instead should be focusing on lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, some dairy, limited amounts of simple carbohydrates (again, confined to your post workout meal), and "good" fats like those you get from olive oil, nuts and seeds. (Additionally, saturated fat in limited amounts from animal products is also beneficial.) The one exception to "special foods" is that you may benefit from a high carbohydrate sports drink with electrolytes immediately after your workout, for quick replenishment and post workout recovery.

Finally, drink enough water and get enough sleep. No matter how well you feed it, your body can't bounce back from workouts, and you can't build new muscle, if you don't sleep enough. Shoot for at least eight hours a night, and try to stagger your intense workouts so that you only do them every other day, or work on alternating muscle groups from one day to the next, so that muscles have the chance to rebuild.

About the Author

Learn how building lean muscle [] can be done both safely and quickly. It is important to understand muscle gain nutrition [] if you want to make the most of your workouts.


      Guide 2 Muscle Gain

   Basic Secrets
   Body Fat
   Calories & Lifting
   Cannon Ball Delts
   Glycemic Index
   How Much Protein?
   Increasing Your Appetite
   Mental Tricks
   Morris Mendez Interview
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   Simple Sugars
   Tips for Skinny Guys
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