Eating to Build Muscle.
It’s easy to say that you need to eat more to gain muscle. But its just as easy to eat too much and gain more fat than muscle too. So: –
- How much should you eat?
- Is it more down to what you eat than how much?
- Is there a one size fits all approach?
As a quick answer, its goes : more, yes, no.
I know this seems as though I’m being facetious, and I am a little. However, when it comes to diet it is very individual to the person, their current weight, their genetics, training and diet history etc.
How much should I eat?
The first thing to determine here is how much are you eating now and how is your body reacting?
Before changing eating habits, it is a good idea to track how you eat, as normal and not to change anything, for a week or so and keep an eye on your weight. You might eat more than expected but not gain, or vice versa.
From this point I will then use the formulae found in Alan Aragon’s brilliant book ‘The Lean Muscle Diet.’ You can find an example of it here. This takes into account: –
- Your bodyweight.
- Current bodyfat %.
- Goal bodyfat %.
- Hours of exercise per week.
- Intensity of exercise.
- Preferred protein and fat intake.
As above, goal calories are very individual so it is definitely worth taking the time to look into this and work it out.
You can see that this is focusing upon the bodyfat percentage more so than the bodyweight.
If your bodyweight stays the same but your bodyfat percentage goes down then your muscle mass will have increased.
What to Eat?
You can see from the above link and formula that it takes into account the make up of macronutrients into your calories and volume of food.
Some people react better to high carbohydrates, low fat or vice vera. Some people find it difficult to stomach 1g protein/1lb of bodyweight straight away, and this is why the formula has various options to it.
The various options are where things such as your own tastes, culture and habits come into play. Some people will eat more carbohydrates due to their culture or habits, or down to how their body processes it. This is another reason for why it is good to check how a person eats before implementing a diet.
One Size Fits all?
Unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. What worked for Arnold back in the day, Dwayne Johnson or Eddie Hall today won’t necessarily work for you. Unless your workload, body type, culture and habits are very similar to theirs.
The best advice to offer is to use the calculator in the above link to figure out your calories and macronutrients and then fill these with good foods that you enjoy eating. You’ll reach your goal in this manner, and you wont feel sick by trying to copy Eddie Hall’s 12000 calorie a day diet.