You will not gain a significant amount of muscle without proper diet. It's just physically impossible.
But why? If I train heavy I put stress on my muscle fibers, so that should make them grow!
- Average Joe
Without a doubt the most important part of this subject. When you talk about diet, you talk about calories. At the end of the day, these bad boys are gonna make the difference between being a side cunt, and being a sick cunt (R.I.P Zyzz).
When you want to build muscle, you must be in a caloric surplus (aka eat more calories than you burn). Doing that is surprisingly easy, but it requires consistency and willpower, as always!
What I recommend doing is this:
- Find your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) --> Calculate Me!
- Add 300-600 calories to that number
As you see, on paper this is pretty simple, but if you are an ectomorph like me, you should already be eating a lot, so eating even more can be a challenge!
Every day, everywhere, everyone, you're gonna hear about macros no matter where you go. And there's a reason or that! Macros are important (Sherlock-like conclusion, I know).
But... what are macros?
Macros are chemical compounds humans consume in the largest quantities and which provide bulk energy. There are three main macro-nutrients:
- Carbohydrates --> Your body uses carbohydrates (carbs) to make glucose which is the fuel that gives you energy and helps keep everything going. Your body can use glucose immediately or store it in your liver and muscles for when it is need. Keeping it simple, carbs give you a nice energy boost and will help you staying active throughout the day!
If your diet is around 3500 calories per day (mine is) you should consume between 450-500 grams of carbs per day.
You can find great carbohydrates in the following foods:
- Pasta / rice
- Protein --> Oh, protein, beloved protein. This is without a doubt the most controversial and popular macro nutrient of all. Why? Protein helps repairing the muscle, and making it grow bigger and stronger! And that's what people strive for, right?
You should consume protein 1 to 1 and 1/2 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
You can find great proteins in the following foods:
- Chicken / Turkey breasts
- Yogurt / Milk
- Nuts / Seeds
- Fats --> Contrary to the popular belief, fats are good for you, very good! Virtually all foods contain some fat. It is in foods because both plants and animals use fats as the most economical way to store energy. It is needed for their growth, development and function when there is a shortage of food supply (or a shortage of sunlight in the case of plants).
You should eat between 100 and 150 grams of fats on a 3500 calorie diet! Don't be scared!
You can find great fats in the following foods:
- Olive Oil
- Fatty fish
So... how much of them in total?
This image gives you a general idea of how much of them you should consume. Don't go too crazy on it though. You can of course calculate the amount of calories and macros you eat daily using some free apps such as My Fitness Pal, which work great, but IMO there's no need to do that. Just be careful with what you eat, try to balance it out, and you'll get great results!
3- General Tips
Here are some general tips you might want to know to add more calories to your diet!
- Eat between 6-7 medium-size meals a day, instead of 3-4 gigantic meals.
- Eat before you go to sleep to avoid entering a Catabolic state.- Make yourself some weight weight gainers- Eat some carbs before working out, you will use that energy instead of burning calories
- Make sure to eat enough fruits and vegetables throughout your day. Fruits are specially, in my opinion, a delicious way of adding calories and sugars quickly! Think of them as candy.
- Carry food with you. Whenever you are a bit hungry, maybe eat a peanut butter sandwich or any other snack. Try to fuel your body as much as you can.
Yet again, another greatly controversial subject! Supplements are seen as "drugs" nowadays. People think that if you take a protein shake after every workout, you'll become hulk in no time! Well... no, that's just wrong. Supplements are here to do just that: supplement our diet. Diet is without a doubt the most important part, not supplements! However, sups can help you reaching your daily macros, of course.
You should use supplements if cooking food is a problem for you, but if you can, then food is definitely better.
Supplements are not drugs. Protein powder, for example, comes from milk! A lot of people ignore this, but it's true. So don't let cliches run you over.
5- Junk Food and Cheat Meals
Junk food is your enemy. Even when you're trying to gain weight, stay away from it. One simple method that has helped me get rid of those ginormous Nutella sandwiches and that daily coke is this:
Every week, eliminate one bad habit on your diet. So, on week 1, stop drinking sodas (believe me, you must stop drinking sodas). On week 2, you stop eating Nutella for example! On week 3 you replace candy for fruit. And so on.
Cheat meals though, when you're trying to gain weight, aren't a bad thing. I have around 2-3 cheat days a month. These are days when I eat whatever I feel like eating. This is just a way to keep it fun and interesting, see it as a reward for all the great effort you put in your daily training sessions! Again, if your goal is gaining weight, don't be scared of a cheat meal or a cheat day, just don't let diet control your life.
This is basically what you need to now about diet and gaining weight. Now go there and eat!