Gain pounds of muscle by following our advice and this detailed nutrition plan for weight gain.
Whether you’re just starting to build muscle or you’re an avid practitioner who has trouble building muscle, our muscle-building menus will give you great results, especially if you train hard at the gym.
But before we move on to the food and menus themselves (what to eat and how much to eat), let’s review the basics of building muscle.
When participating in sports in general, but more specifically in bodybuilding and weight training, diet plays an essential role in achieving your goals. If we compare the different success factors with each other, not to mention genetic factors, appropriate training with sufficient recovery remains the determining factor. After all, after all, muscle growth is only generated by stimulating the muscles.
Calculate your energy balance
To gain muscle mass, you have to consume more calories than you burn. The sum of the calories you consume in a day must therefore be greater than your total expenditure. This is also known as a “positive energy balance” or “calorie surplus” (as opposed to a “negative energy balance” or “calorie deficit” often imposed as part of slimming diets).
The Total Metabolic Rate is the sum of the Basal Metabolic Rate (the number of calories your body consumes at rest during a day) and the Power Metabolic Rate (the number of calories you burn during physical activity). You can use the following formula to estimate your basal metabolic rate:
Basal metabolic rate for men
Body weight (kg) x 24 (h)
Basal metabolic rate in women
Body weight (kg) x 24 (h) x 0.9
To determine your total daily rate (basal metabolic rate plus performance metabolism), multiply your basal metabolic rate by a value called “Physical Activity Level (PAL)”.
|1,2||You spend most of the day sitting or lying down.|
|1,4 – 1,5||You spend most of the day sitting and do few leisure activities.|
|1,6 – 1,7||You spend most of the day sitting, standing and walking regularly.|
|1,8 – 1,9||You walk or stand most of the day.|
|2,0 – 2,4||You spend most of the day engaged in strenuous physical activity.|
Example calculation for a man:
80 kg x 24 h x NAP 1,4 = 2.688 kcal
Tips for building muscle
Eat often: 5 to 6 times a day
You will not be able to gain quality mass, i.e. muscle with as little fat as possible, if you only eat three or even four meals a day because you would have to consume huge amounts of protein and carbohydrates each time.
The result is bloating, poor digestion and the accumulation of superfluous adipose tissue that hides your muscles.
To nourish your muscles while avoiding fat gain, it is important to optimize the absorption of basic nutrients by spreading your total caloric intake over 5 to 6 daily meals.
Smaller food intakes ensure a regular intake of carbohydrates and protein, two of the essential ingredients for building and repairing muscle tissue.
A weight gain program should not be synonymous with eating poor quality food.
Favour lean quality proteins and diversify slow sugars. Of course, eat 1 to 2 servings of fruit and 2 to 4 servings of vegetables.
In order to gain muscle and not fat, limit as much as possible prepared dishes (high in sugar too fast and bad fat), fast food chains, etc.
Be attentive to your hunger
Eat if you’re hungry and don’t skip meals. You should eat about every three hours, but don’t stuff yourself with empty calories.
Plan balanced meals so you’re not caught off guard when you get hungry.
If your stomach is really “in your heels”, increase your carbohydrate or healthy fat intake a little and think about a snack.
Eat enough food
It all comes down to calories. To gain weight, energy inputs must be greater than outputs.
Low-fat diets can inhibit testosterone production.
In fact, this hormone is made from a special fat: cholesterol.
So don’t say no to all fats. Salmon, olive oil, nuts and red meat in moderate quantities provide all kinds of fats necessary for good health.
The right proportions
For each meal, choose a protein food from among the following:
- 2 eggs plus 6 egg whites
- Can of tuna
- 140 g chicken breast
- 140 g of fish or lean beef
- 100 g cottage cheese
- 50 g protein powder
Figures to help you: a 75 kg person should aim for 30-35 g of protein per meal, or 165 g for the day.
For each meal, choose 2-3 of the following foods:
- 2 slices of bread
- 1 medium bowl of oatmeal
- 100 g rice
- 1 medium potato or sweet potato
- 1 medium roll
- 100 g of corn
- 36 cl orange juice
- 1/2 litre of milk
Some figures to help you: the same 75 kg practitioner will aim for between 70 and 85 g of carbohydrates per meal. If you are not gaining weight, increase your sugar intake.
Fruits and Vegetables
Eat one or two at each meal, but don’t stuff yourself with low-calorie vegetables.
Fruits in general and starchy foods (like peas and corn) provide more carbohydrates than vegetables like spinach and lettuce.
Dried fruit is a concentrate of sugars. Fruit juices can easily increase carbohydrate intake, but beware: too much of the wrong kind of sugar leads to fat storage and not muscle gain.
Every day, eat fruit and several vegetables, such as those listed below :
- High in sugars: apple, orange, banana, grapes, carrots, small weights, corn.
- Less rich in sugar: broccoli, spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, worm beans, cauliflower, asparagus.
Oils and grease
Eat without hesitation beneficial lipids such as olive oil, nuts and oils found in fish. Minimize your intake of unhealthy saturated and trans fats.
Without overusing olive oil, consider adding a tablespoon to your salads or having a large handful of nuts as a snack.
A little extra fat can tilt the balance towards weight gain.
Here are some examples of good fats: olive oil, grape seed oil, rapeseed oil, linseed oil, olives, avocado, peanuts, peanut butter, nuts, almonds.
Vegetarians and Vegans
Vegetarians should mainly cover their protein needs with low-fat dairy products and eggs, as this guarantees a high quality of protein.
Vegans can cover their protein needs by composing their meals with nuts, legumes, grain products and various vegetables (see “Vegan protein sources”). Proteins of plant origin are less well assimilated by the body than those of animal origin because they do not contain the optimal amounts of all amino acids (except soy).
Good vegan protein powders such as nu3 Vegan Protein 3K combine several vegan proteins and are therefore a more complete source. To increase your amino acid intake without unnecessary calories, you can turn to specific food supplements made up of essential amino acids (EAA). Thus, EAA naked powder3 EAA provides the 8 essential amino acids, is vegan and contains neither sugar nor aspartam.