A lot of people think that in order to lose weight you need a lot of dedication and planning, and that gaining muscle mass doesn’t demand so much time and attention – lifting a lot of heavy weights every day is all you need to get massive gains, right?
Well, no. Your diet is as important as exercise when it comes to building your muscles and you can’t expect amazing results if you don’t have the proper nutrition. Other people who understand that eating in small amounts won’t help them build muscular bodies, tend to eat in excessive amounts without having a strategy when it comes to the right food choices and the proper amount of calories.
In fact, succumbing to these two methods can seriously hinder your progress and not having a proper plan that meets all the macronutrient and caloric needs will make your effort less or more futile.
Building is actually a skill and it’s crucial not to expect anything that’s not possible without the proper work and the right steps to building a lean and massive body. Bulking can be a long and hard road, especially if you don’t know what to do.
But following the right steps will help you transform your body to the body you’ve always wanted. You need to make some big decisions, and we want to help to help you. In this article we show you 10 mass building nutritional tips which will definitely help you build your dream body.
1. Count Calories
The truth is that you need big to get big. Muscle mass is a metabolically active tissue and so it requires lots of calories in order to grow, so the most important step for successful bulking is to establish a caloric surplus. So how to know how much food is enough food?
You may be thinking that this completely depends on the needs of the individual, but research and collective experience have found the solution: lifters who want to gain muscle mass should consume 20 calories per pound of bodyweight every day.
Having said that, personal adjustments are expected and normal – if you notice you store too much fat with this method, reduce the intake to 16 calories per pound of bodyweight, or on the other hand, if you’re not pleased with your gains, increase the intake to 25 calories per pound of bodyweight.
2. Consume Protein
As you already probably know, protein contains amino acids which are the building blocks of muscles. This makes protein a vital nutrient in your diet. According to nutritionists, you should consume 1.2 – 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight a day.
If you work out more than 4 times a week and your workouts are of high intensity, you should aim to consume about 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, but make sure you include as many various high – quality protein sources as you can, such as wild fish, eggs, beans, grass – fed beef, dairy products and to always carry your protein powder with you.
3. Slow-Digesting Carbs
Low – carb diets are one of the worst things for athletes, particularly for bodybuilders. Carbs are the body’s main source of energy, and if you don’t have enough glycogen in your body you won’t be able to work out as hard as you want to and won’t get the results you wish for.
It’s recommended to consume 2 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight every day, but you should alter this number according to your needs and results. If you notice that your body fat percentage rises, increase the intake to 1.5 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight.
Having said that, most of the time you should aim to consume quality slow – glycemic, slow digesting carbs, such as sweet potatoes, yams, whole grains, corn and quinoa, which allow a steady and slow release of energy and don’t spike the insulin levels.
The only right time for a meal containing fast – digesting cars is immediately after your workout, when you actually need to increase the insulin levels to avoid muscle breakdown. For this meal, consider high – glycemic carbs like refined pasta, white rice and white potatoes.
4. Don’t Forget About Dietary Fat
The dietary fat is also one of the crucial nutrients for the body because it has several different functions, one of which is hormone production. After some time, a low – fat diet will harm one’s ability to produce enough testosterone, and low levels of testosterone make it very hard to build muscles. Also, fat is more calorie – dense than carbs and protein which is why including it in your diet will help you meet your caloric needs.
But, this doesn’t mean you should eat fatty food all day long. The recommended amount of dietary – fat is 0.5 – 0.7 grams per pound of bodyweight a day. Also, cut out all source of trans fats from your diet plan, such as over – processed foods and fried foods.
5. Increase Meal Frequency
During your bulking period, you should consume a caloric surplus, which can be a bit hard on the digestive system if your plan is to obtain all the calories form three big meals. It’s a lot easier to meet your caloric needs and boost up your metabolism by spreading your food intake evenly throughout the day.
The best way to ensure your body obtains a consistent amount of nutrients to support the optimal protein synthesis is to eat 6 – 7 small meals a day. If you find it harder to get all the necessary calories from whole foods, add a few liquid meals to your diet plan. A few protein shakes can help you add 400 – 500 calories to your daily count in a very easy way.
6. Cheat Meals Instead of Cheat Days
A whole cheat day can go wrong and encourage fat gains, so it’s recommended to avoid then and include one cheat meal per week into your plan. This can help you cope with the restrictions of your plan if you see it as a prize for your hard work. So once a week you can reward yourself and indulge in your favorite meal.
Just keep in mind that it has to be only one meal a week, because if you’re not careful you can end up having a whole week of cheat meals and ruin your progress.
7. Include Bedtime Snacks
You’ve probably heard a lot of people say that eating late at night can instantly make you fat? Well, this heavily depends on the type of food you will choose to eat. If you tend to eat a whole bag of chips and a chocolate cake before going to bed, you’re definitely going to make huge fat gains.
But if you go for a slow – digesting protein like casein, found in casein protein powder and cottage cheese and a handful of seeds or nuts, you can boost both your metabolism and your mass – building potential. While you’re sleeping, your power snack is slowly absorbed and digested which gives the muscles a good supply of amino acids, thus preventing muscle loss and stimulating anabolism.
8. Don’t Miss the Post-Workout Meal
We’re sure you know about the importance of the post – workout meals. Consuming specific after working out, i.e. high – quality fast – digesting protein and fast – digesting carbs, ensures that your body gets the proper amount of raw materials which encourage protein synthesis.
In addition, the post – workout meal helps you replenish the depleted glycogen reserves and improves muscle recovery. If you don’t keep track of your post – workout meals, you should not expect amazing mass gains.
9. Drink Plenty of Water
Generally, bodybuilders tend to forget about hydration which is a crucial part of both fitness and health. Water is a vital component of your mass – gaining nutrition because it helps preserve muscle fullness and supports nutrient absorption and digestion.
The proteins and carbs which you consume are transported and metabolized in the bloodstream by water, so not drinking enough water results in not being able to use all the calories you consume in the proper way.
In addition, water is vital for proper blood circulation, meaning that if the body is hydrated, you have higher levels of oxygen in the bloodstream. And the more oxygen the body has, the more fat will be burned for energy. You should drink 12 – 16 cups of water a day to allow your body function optimally.
10. Use Supplements
The right supplements can help you maximize your gains, so try and make the best out of it. Creatine is one of the best supplements which can reduce muscular fatigue and increase the energy production in the muscle cells, so it’s recommended you consume 3 – 5 grams of creatine before and after each workout to improve your performance and get more gains.
The whey protein isolate is also one of the crucial supplements, which contains all of the essential amino acids needed for muscle growth and should be an important part of your post – workout nutrition.
Also, try including fish oil as a supplements because the polyunsaturated long – chain fats it contains can stimulate protein synthesis in one of the most powerful ways.