Eating for Muscle Gain
Do you want to know more about what and how to eat for muscle gain? If so, this is the blog for you!
The ability for someone to increase their muscle mass or gain muscle depends on several factors. For some, it is easy to gain muscle quickly, but for others, it can be a much more complicated process. The foods you put into your body can have a direct effect on your muscles’ ability to grow and repair.
Ensuring you keep a balanced diet with adequate carbohydrate and protein intake is essential. Gaining lean body mass involves a combination of strength training, which acts as a stimulus for muscle growth, and a balanced diet, which supplies the energy and nutrients for growth.
Keep reading for our three key suggestions on how to eat for muscle gain according to Nutritionist Ella!
1. Aim for a Positive Energy Balance
Aiming for a positive energy balance means consuming more kilojoules a day than you would normally require. It is important to keep in mind that these kilojoules need to come from good high-quality food and drinks. You should aim to eat every 2-3 hours; this may be a small snack or a full meal. This will allow you to increase your food and kilojoule intake without feeling overly full from doing it in one sitting.
2. Check Your Carbohydrate Intake
It is suggested that all meals include carbohydrate-rich food, such as rice, rolled oats, potato, bread, pasta, or other healthy carbohydrate-based foods. However, it is also important to include plenty of fruit and vegetables into your diet each day. Having ample amounts of carbohydrates is particularly important for muscle building to ensure that carbohydrates are used to fuel a workout.
3. Ensure Adequate Protein
Determining how much protein you need to have in your diet will depend on what stage of training or what stage of your life you are in. It is suggested that you include protein-rich foods in all your meals and snacks e.g. lean meat, skinless chicken, eggs, fish, and milk products. Everyday food items are a wonderful way to provide you with the nutrition you need to maximise muscle growth.
In addition, here are some more top tips and tricks that will help ensure you are eating what you need to build your muscles!
Tips and tricks:
- Aim for a positive energy balance by eating and drinking often
- Easy snacks between meals include smoothies, high protein milkshakes, cereal/muesli bars, yoghurt, tuna on crackers, breakfast cereal and sports bars.
- Plan ahead of time – meals, snacks, exercise, and rest.
- Choose high energy, nutrient-dense foods from the four food groups
- Increase the portion size of the foods and beverages you consume.
- Choose a protein and carbohydrate-rich snack post-training to maximise muscle repair and recovery e.g. high protein smoothie with low fat milk, yoghurt and banana or protein shake.
- Try meatless meals such as lentils with rice, omelettes, or tofu burgers.
- Enjoy a handful of nuts for a protein-filled snack, frozen berries with plain Greek yogurt or boiled eggs.
*For individualised advice, seek guidance from an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
Nutrition Fact Sheet was written by Ele Stojanoska - BHSc (Nut), MDiet (APD) - Ele is a Clinical Dietitian, Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) and a member of the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).