Looking to bulk up?
Here is a rundown of what you need to eat to put on quality muscle, with as little body fat as possible.
Protein is made up of the amino acids required to repair damaged muscle tissue, and assist new muscle growth. An adequate protein intake when trying to add quality mass is essential, generally around three to three and a half grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight (around 250 grams for an 80kg person). The high protein foods you should be eating are lean chicken breast, lean beef, fish and egg whites. Eating this amount of food is not easy, and that’s where a good protein powder can help you to get sufficient protein in your diet.
Carbs are the body’s most convenient fuel source, and are essential for maintaining strength and energy levels. The majority of your carbohydrate intake should be from complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, pasta, oatmeal, sweet potato, white potato, whole grain bread, fibrous vegetables, beans and lentils. This will keep your insulin levels steady, maintaining energy levels throughout the day and preventing excess fat gain. Simple carbohydrates should only be consumed around workouts, especially immediately after, where they can help spike insulin levels and force nutrients into your muscles quickly. Simple carbs such as dextrose, maltodextrin and even table sugar work well immediately post workout. Aim for about five grams of carbohydrates per kilo of bodyweight (around 400g carbs for an 80kg person).
Adequate fat intake is essential for a number of reasons, including heart and joint health, boosting testosterone levels, and adding calories to a diet. The majority of fat intake should be poly or mono unsaturated fats, with a small amount coming from saturated fat. Good fat sources include olive oil, egg yolks, nuts, avocados and peanut butter. You should aim for about 1.5 grams of fat per kilo of bodyweight (120g for an 80kg person).
There are a number of supplements that can assist with a bulking diet:
Weight Gainer Powders
A convenient way of getting lots of calories into your diet, weight gainers are great for those who struggle to put on weight. Each product varies in the amount of carbs and protein in each serve. Generally the harder it is for you to gain weight, the more carbohydrates your weight gainer shake should have. Weight gainer shakes are best consumed around workouts, and first thing in the morning.
Creatine can help you recover faster from workouts, increase strength and muscle mass. Take creatine before and after your workouts to help your muscle gains.
An N.O. booster, or pre-workout supplement helps promote bloodflow and the ‘pump’ throughout the body, delivering nutrients to the muscles, delaying fatigue and increasing recovery speed.
Sample Meal Plan
Weight gainer shake
3 whole eggs, 3 egg whites, 4 slices whole grain bread
½ cup (dry measure) brown rice, 200g chicken breast, vegetables
300g sweet potato, 200g fish, green salad
100g (dry measure) pasta, 200g chicken breast
Meal 6 (Postworkout)
Weight gainer shake, creatine
Large baked potato, 250g steak, green salad
Combine this diet with a high intensity weight training program 3-4 days per week. Keep cardio to a minimum, and at low intensity on off days or after weight training.
Monitor food levels and be sure to increase/decrease food intake if you aren’t gaining weight or are gaining too much weight. Anything more than about 1kg gained per week will be too high a percentage of fat gain.
Keep cheat meals (junk food) to a minimum, but reward yourself with one or two treats a week.
Get plenty of rest. You do all your building outside of the gym, and especially while you sleep. Get as much sleep as possible, at least 7-8 hours per night.