If you want to build muscle mass, working hard in the gym is only part of the battle. The war is won in the kitchen. In this article, we’ll review how much you should be eating and the best times to eat if you are trying to build muscle mass.
HOW MUCH TO EAT
The first thing to understand is that in order for the body to add mass, you must have a surplus of calories. Makes sense, right? The average male athletes will maintain their body weight at around 17-19 calories per pound of body weight, so you’ll need to add an additional number calories to this intake to fuel the new growth.
A pound of muscle equals 3500 calories. So, in order to safely and effectively gain muscle, you need to increase your total calorie intake by a minimum of 3500 calories per week. That works out to about 500 extra calories per day in addition to your total calorie needs.
Yes, that means counting calories. Sorry! By knowing how many excess calories you have, you can make sure not to overdue it and gain body fat. The result of this method is about a pound of muscle gained per week. If you gain more than this in pounds, you risk increasing body fat. However, you should know that some fat gain is normal as long as it is only about 25% of the total weight gained.
WHEN TO EAT
Bodybuilders trying to gain weight typically do best eating every 3-4 hours. This frequent eating makes hitting your calorie goals much easier and more realistic. This comes out to about 6 meals per day.
Be sure to get plenty of protein in these meals, as if you are actively trying to grow your muscles, they will need the components necessary to grow. But we can talk about nutrition for months, so lets skip that for another time.
- Eat frequently! Every 3-4 hours (about 6 meals daily)
- Try not to cram all your calories into 3 meals
- Eat a clean diet! Always!
MEASURING MUSCLE GAINS
During this process it is important to track your body’s changes every month. These changes include:
- Body fat percentage
- Body girth measurements
Remember to keep a consistent mode of measurement. That is more important than which device to use.
CALORIE BOOSTING HACK
Liquid calories! You’d be shocked how many clean calories you can get in an Ensure or a powdered meal replacement shake. Mix these shakes with some peanut butter, seeds, and oatmeal for even more calories!
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