Just remember that everyone is different and you will have to do a little experimenting to find your optimal amount of nutrients to include in your diet. Different people have different goals and therefore, different eating habits.
If you are gaining weight, think about putting on ½ to 1 pound of body weight per 100 pounds of body weight each week for two to three weeks.
After 5 weeks, gain an average of ½ pound of body weight per 100 pounds of body weight each week. You will need to monitor your progress and make any adjustments. If you have trouble gaining, add an additional 300 to 500 calories per day to your diet. You may need more depending on your metabolism. If you have a super high metabolism, you may need an extra 500 to 1,000 calories per day more.
Just remember that you will need to experiment a little to find out your optimal caloric intake. Everyone is different and will need different nutritional needs.
The thinking is quite simple. Hard, heavy and smart training followed by rest and consuming quality calories in the form of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Remember that Protein, carbohydrates, and fat need to be structured in a balanced combination to support optimal muscle growth while maintaining overall good health.
Also remember to record any changes to your diet in your diet log.
Remember the following points when putting together a balanced diet.
#1 – Determine the Amount of Needed in Order to Achieve Your Goals
First, determine the amount of calories you need in order to achieve your goals. There are a number of ways you can do this (or use our calorie calculator here). Here are three simple ways to determine your caloric intake for your diet.
Multiply your bodyweight by 17
The easiest way to determine your base caloric intake is to multiply your bodyweight by 17. For example, if you weight 165 pounds, multipy 165 by 17 and you get a base caloric intake of 2,805. This will be your starting caloric intake to start your program.
This is a quick way to find your base caloric intake but remember that it is not 100% accurate.
Metabolic Rate Method
This method is also a relatively easy way to figure out your caloric intake. More accurate than the first method.
Finding your base daily caloric intake
#1 – Bodyweight Needs
1 x body weight (kg) x 24 =
.9 x body weight (kg) x 24 =
*1 Kg = 2.2 lbs
For example, Let’s say you weight 145 pounds, your base metabolic rate is 1 x 145 lbs/2.2 x 24 = 1581
#2 The Body Weight Multiplier
Multiply results from step one by the coefficient under the multiplier which corresponds to your body fat level. That is, multiply the above figure with the figure beside your body fat percentage.
Men 10 to 14%,
Women 14 to 18% Mulitplier= 1.0
Men 14 to 20%,
Women 18 to 28% Multiplier= .95
Men 20 to 28%,
Women 28 to 38% Multiplier= .90
Men over 28%,
Women over 38% Multiplier= .85
Base metabolic rate x multiplier = multiplier coefficient
For example, let’s say that you weight 145 pounds and you have a body fat percentage of 10%. The equation is as follows: 1581 x 1.0 = 1581
#3 Add in Physical Activity
The above steps calculated your base metabolic rate. Now, we will factor in physical activity to get a more accurate picture of your caloric expenditure. Find the best descriptions that will apply to your current life style.
Daily Activity Ranges
1.30 (130%) = sitting, talking, light walking
1.55 (155%) = light work, walking
1.55 (155%) = light work, walking
1.66 (166%) = Moderate, light jogging, swimming or Building-muscle101 beginner Program
1.80 (180%) = Heavy, hockey, football or Building-muscle101 advanced program
2.00 (200%) = Very heavy, two or more hours of intense weight training per day
Daily activity range x multiplier coefficient = daily base caloric intake
Take the results from step two and times the multiplier for which your body fat percentage corresponds to. This equation will give your you base calorie intake for your activity level.
For example, let’s say you weight 145 pounds, have a body fat percentage of 10% and you are quite active including weight training, your equationis as follows:
1.80 x 1581 = 2845 calories per day
In order for you to maintain your current bodyweight, you will need 2845 calories per day.
This method is a little more detailed but it is fairly accurate. You will need to find out your body fat percentage for this one. See the methods mentioned below.
Keep a written record of everything you are eating and take an average at the end of the week. Add up all of your daily calories and divide it by 7 (days in a week).
Once you find out how much calories you consume on a daily basis, determine how many more additional calories you need to achieve your goals. You may have to add more calories depending how active you are.
Remember that in order to gain one pound of body weight per week, you need an additional 3,500 calories per week. That means you need to add 500 extra calories per day to your nutritional plan.
I suggest putting on ½ to 1 pound of body weight per 100 pounds of body weight each week for two to three weeks. After 5 weeks, gain an average of ½ to 1 pound of body weight per 100 pounds of body weight each week.
You will need to monitor your progress and make any adjustments as needed. If you have trouble gaining, add an additional 300 to 500 calories a day to your diet. If you have a super high metabolism, you may need an additional 500 to 1,000 calories per day.
A word of caution. You don’t want to gain weight too fast because you will be gaining fat as opposed to muscle. Muscle takes time to build and with fat, it takes not time at all. Remember to monitor your diet on a regular basis and keep your body composition in check at all times.
Ideally, healthy ranges of body fat are 18 to 25 percent for women and 15 to 20 percent for men.
There are numerous methods to determine your body fat levels but by far the easiest and one of the most accurate ways is to use the Accu-Measure Body Fat Caliper. You simply take three easy measurements on your abdomen in the comfort of your own room and presto, you have your body fat percentage. It doesn’t take any more than 2 minutes.
With the Accu-Measure body fat calipers, you don’t need the assistance of other people and you don’t have to take 10 different measurements on 10 different parts of your body. The measurement is very accurate
If on the other hand you don’t want to use body fat calipers, you can use a quick and easy manual measurement. Although the numbers will not be as accurate as using the Accu-Measure body fat calipers. You will need a weight scale and measuring tape for this one.
1. Lean body weight = 94.42 + 1.082 (body weight) – 4.15 (waist in inches)
2. Body fat percentage = body weight – lean body weight x 100/body weight
1. Lean body weight = 8.987 + .732 (weight in kilograms) + 3.786 (wrist diameter in centimetres) + .434 (forearm circumference in centimetres)
2. Body fat percentage = body weight – lean body weight x 100/body weight
Remember to record your body weight, body fat and lean body mass figures. Always remember to monitor these three indicators on a weekly or bi weekly basis.
As an example, let’s say you want to add another 10 pounds of body weight. You currently weight 145 pounds and consume 2,500 calories per day.
You will need to add an additional 500 calories per day to gain an additional pound of body weight per week. Your new daily caloric intake will be 3,000 calories per day.
You’ve identified that you will be eating 6 times a day. Therefore, you will need 3,000 / 6 = 500 calories per meal.
#2 Determine the amount of protein you need to achieve your goals.
An ideal diet for gaining weight will contain 20% to 30% protein. I recommend 25% of your diet be made up of protein. Remember that one gram of protein is equal to 4 calories.
To find out how much protein you need, simply take your desired caloric intake that you figured out above and multiply that number by your desired protein percentage (25%).
Use that number and divide it by 4 which will give you your new daily protein requirement in grams.
For example, if you need 3,000 calories to gain an extra pound of body weight per week, you will need the following protein requirements:
3,000 x .25 = 750 / 4 = 188 grams of protein per day.
If you are eating 6 times a day, you will need 188 / 6 = 31 grams of protein per meal.
#3 Determine the amount of carbohydrates you need to achieve your goals
An ideal weight lifting diet will contain 55% to 65% carbohydrates. I recommend that 55% of your diet be made up of carbohydrates. Remember that one gram of carbohydrate is equal to 4 calories.
To find out how much carbohydrates you need in your nutritional plan, simply take your desired caloric intake (as above) and multiply that number by your desired carbohydrate percentage (55%). Use that number and divide it by 4 which will give you your new daily carbohydrate requirements in grams.
For example, if you need 3,000 calories to gain an extra pound of body weight per week, you will need the following carbohydrate requirements: 3,000 x .55 = 1,650 / 4 = 413 grams of carbohydrates per day If you are eating 6 times a day, you will need 413 / 6 = 69 grams of carbohydrates per meal.
#4 Determine the amount of fat you need to achieve your goals
When it comes to fat, I suggest your diet contain anywhere between 15% to 25% of fat. Remember that one gram of fat is equal to 9 calories.
To find out how much fat you need simply take your desired caloric intake that you figured out above and multiply that number by your desired fat percentage (20%).
Use that number and divide it by 9 which will give you your new daily fat requirement in grams. For example, if you need 3,000 calories to gain an extra pound of body weight per week, you will need the following fat requirements: 3,000 x .20 = 600 / 9 = 67 grams of fat per day. If you are eating 6 times a day, you will need 67 / 6 = 11 grams of fat per meal.
#5 Determine your meal plan
You will need to find out what recipes you will need to achieve your desired goals. I highly recommend “Anabolic Cooking” by Dave Ruel for muscle building menus and recipes. It has great tasting recipes that are a snap to make. You also get meal plans for 1,200 calories, and up to 4,000 calorie menus. These recipes are structured for muscle building. You can read my personal review of this book at:
Dave Ruel Anabolic Cooking Review
You can also use some of the menus that are outlined in the recipes section of Building Muscle101. See these pages here:
Muscle building recipes
5 day muscle building diet
Eating to gain muscle mass
Just remember to adjust the ingredients and nutritional content to match that of your desired nutritional percentages in your nutritional program. When you are planning your diet, I strongly suggest you plan your meals in advance. By planning your meals in advance, you have no excuse to go to the restaurant.
Break your meals down into breakfast, mid morning, lunch, mid afternoon, post workout and dinner. Remember to pack your meals in convenient containers and take them to work with you.
Cooler bags are perfect for this. Plan Ahead!
#6 Go grocery shopping
Once you have planned your diet and meals, prepare a grocery list and go out and do some shopping. I usually prepare all my meals and grocery list on Sunday mornings. I usually hit the grocery store in the morning when nobody’s there because I can’t stand waiting around in a grocery line:(
When you plan your meals and groceries, you will A) Eat what you buy; And B) Save a whack of money on items you will never eat or use.
However, try and hit the grocery stores when it is convenient for your schedule. Also, get into the habit of going to the grocery stores on a consistent basis. This way, it gets much easier to do over time.
#7 Record and monitor your progress
This is very important as it will help you evaluate your nutritional program. I suggest you evaluate you training and diet every week. Sit down on a day where you’re not so busy and evaluate your progress. A good time to do this is on Sunday when your planning your week’s meal plan.
You should be able to identify weak and strong points in your program. By monitoring your training and diet you will also identify if you are on target with your goals. If you need sample logs, go to this page here.