September 09, 2015 structure Lean Muscle, component 4: When, How, and How much to Eat September 09, 2015/ Mike Bewley

If you’re trying to find the fastest means to acquire lean muscle fixed in a hurry, obtaining your nutrition locked under is a MUST. Yes no doubt around it:when it pertains to achieving safe muscle gain that sticks, you simply can’t execute it without eat properly. If girlfriend don’t administer your body v the best raw materials at the ideal times, you may gain stronger, yet you absolutely are not going to it is in getting any kind of larger.

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In mine previous three articles, we discussed how to number out your target caloric intake, and how come assess her bioenergetics requirements (carbohydrate, protein, and fat needs) and finding the best sources the those macronutrients. In this article, I want to talk about timing: just how long need to it take it you to obtain muscle, exactly how much muscle deserve to you mean to gain,and how commonly to time your meals for optimal muscle growth. Then, I’ll take you through whole performance requirements nutritional profile for a fictional athlete, to aid you put into practice what we’ve learned for this reason far around building skinny muscle.


The very very first thing that you’ll have to do is obtain your calorie intake set for growth. You need to supply the body v a excess of calories, i beg your pardon is the additional fuel the the body will certainly then use to create that brand-new lean muscle fixed tissue. Most average male athletes will keep their body load at roughly 17-19 calories per pound of human body weight, so you’ll need to add second number calorie to this intake come spark new growth.

First, know body ingredient (% human body fat vs. % skinny muscle) remains continuous when friend burn the same number of calories eaten. Vice versa, a lb of muscle equates to 3500 calories. So, in order come safely and effectively gain muscle, you need to rise your full calorie intake by a minimum that 3500 calories every week. That functions out to around 500 extra calories every day in enhancement with the total calories requirements you figured out from one of my ahead posts.

As much as you may dislike calorie counting, the what requirements to be done if you want to guarantee success. Targeting muscle get this means ensures you gain lean muscle and also minimize fat build-up in a means the body can properly manage. The result is around a pound of muscle obtained every 6-7 days. If you gain weight in ~ a rate better than 2 pounds per week, you risk acquiring a higher percentage of body fat 보다 lean muscle—definitely not what an athlete wants.

It’s vital to recognize that when adopting a muscle-gain diet, you are going to obtain some fat—this is normal. A one-to-two-pound a mainly weight obtain goal should median 75% muscle and 25% fat. How do you make certain you"re hitting that target? By testing your human body composition regularly.


It’s important to recognize that just because the scale claims you obtained weight, that does not average you obtained muscle weight. A good rule of ignorance is to have actually your body fat percentage measured every 4-6 weeks, in enhancement to body-girth dimensions (e.g., chest, arms, waist, etc.). By adopting this practice, friend will understand if the proficient weight gain is truly an increase in skinny muscle, or adipose tissue (fat).

Let me market a word of advice when trial and error body fat. Fat tests differ widely and also some case to be much better than others. Do not get caught up in which test is far better than the other. Instead, make details the test you select is the exact same test throughout her performance nutrition plan. Furthermore, have actually the same practitioner carry out your body fat test each time. Differing test-type and tester deserve to disrupt the reliability of the body-fat test, leading to inaccurate measurements.

Finally, muscle-gain goals should occur throughout the off-season so that performance is not sacrificed. You should aim come reach your target load 6-8 weeks before the start of the season. This way, your body has sufficient time to adjust to your new weight and composition prior to you start competing.


Now that you know how much food come eat, and also what type of food are the ideal choices, stop talk around timing. As soon as it pertains to how often you should be eating, since you room going to have a much higher calorie intake, you’ll discover you do best eating every 3-4 hours. If you room aiming to eat simply three times per day and have a calorie input of closer come 3500 or 4000 calories, this have the right to be extremely daunting to acquire in and you’ll end up emotion bloated and sluggish after every meal.

Instead, division it up into six meals every day therefore you feel energized after every one and also your muscles acquire a stable stream of nutrients to kick-start the growth process.

In enhancement to this, make certain that you room eating a minimum the 20-30 grams the protein at every of this meals, and an easy carbohydrates best before and after your training and also workout sessions. This is the prime time once the human body is in muscle development mode, for this reason you desire to maximize it by feeding your body the nourishment the it needs. Then, 4-5 hrs after an extreme workout make sure that you take it in lot of of unprocessed complex carbs.

Here’s a bulleted perform of these crucial nutrient time tips:

Eat frequently, every 3-4 hours, and also aim because that 6 little meals during the day

Try no to lump your calories right into 3 huge meals, as it will make you feel sluggish

Eat a minimum of 20-30 grams of protein at every meal

Eat simple carbohydrates directly before/after maintain ssessions

Eat unprocessed complicated carbs 4-5 hrs after an extreme workout


Finally, the last item of advice to remember so the you deserve to learn the best means to construct muscles is to use liquid calories.

Trying to eat whole foods with such a high-calorie entry can reason some digestive strain because that a variety of people, so mix up a high-calorie shiver with included protein every so often.

Mix together some milk, protein powder, Greek yogurt, frozen or fresh fruit, flaxseeds or seed butter, and, if friend want, part ground-up oatmeal to boost the calorie intake.

This is a fast and also easy means to get more calories in without feeling favor you’re eating—yet again. Some civilization who want to get muscle as rapid as possible will start to feel favor they never ever stop eating, so utilizing smoothies and shakes can assist out through this issue.


Johnny, a 17-year-old, 6’ 2”, 190-pound football player through 10% body fat wants to gain 15 pounds that muscle for his an elderly season. Follow to his calorie requirements (BMR x the Harris-Benedict equation because that determining everyday calorie expenditure + bioenergetic needs) his calorie maintenance demands are 3,576 calories every day simply to maintain existing body weight. How deserve to he safely get 15 pounds, and how lengthy will that take?


To reach his performance goal, Johnny must:

• Eat a minimum of 6 meals everyday at a frequency that one enjoy the meal every 3-4 hours.

• Increase approximated daily calorie maintenance by 500 calories every day (3500 calories per week).

• include liquid calorie in the form of shakes and also smoothies to aid with enhanced calorie intake.


In addition to suitable eating, Johnny must:

• strength train a minimum that 3-4 days per week in order to keep and/or rise lean muscle.

• carry out aerobic conditioning work-related for a minimum of 30 minute 1-3 times every week, to minimization fat mass buildup due to rise calorie intake.

• have actually body fat tested as soon as every 4-6 weeks come ensure appropriate muscle gain.


Adding it every up:3576 calorie maintain + 500 muscle gain goal = 4076 day-to-day calorie goal

If Johnny follows his plan, he have the right to realistically suppose to achieve his muscle obtain goal of 15-pounds somewhere between 7.5 main (at 2 pounds every week weight gain) and15 main (at 1 pound per week weight gain). So, about 2-4 months.Remember, if you get weight at a rate greater than two pounds per week,you risk getting a higher percentage of human body fat than lean muscle.


So there you have actually the top points to remember as you construct your diet because that muscle gaining. If friend take the time to plan out your day-to-day meals and also snacks, making sure all nutrients room covered and your calorie entry is met, it will certainly pay off drastically in the outcomes that girlfriend see.It is a many work—but fine worth it!

Check ago for my next installment in this collection on building muscle, where I"ll discuss the different factors that can speed up or sluggish down muscle growth. Or, to refresh your memory, go back to part 1, component 2, or part 3 of mine 10-part series.

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Mike Bewley, MA, CSCS, C-SPN, USAW-I is a guest contributor to the Volt The is a Strength and Conditioning Coach in ~ Clemson University, a specalist in sports nutrition, and the founder of digital nutrition platform NutraCarina.