People often seek a diet plan to build muscle, but hesitate to cook and consume quality foods.
Please understand that you cannot build lean muscle without consuming extra calories, especially from top class protein and complex carbohydrate.
Professional bodybuilders spend lot of money on hi-tech supplements and quality foods. However, in our country , competitors work too hard to earn and spend money from their own pockets. Not many have sponsors like a few elite champions.
So, what we need is a good strategy. We should plan and do only the right things so that whatever we do helps us move closer to our goals and avoid waste of time, energy and precious money.
All about quality
Protein, carbohydrate and fat are needed in certain quantity in every meal for a person to build quality muscle.
A person who consumes extra calories from lean protein sources such as grilled chicken breast, egg whites and tuna stands a better chance of gaining maximum lean muscle than a person who simply adds several hundreds of calories from all kinds of high-calorie foods.
In general, an increase of 10 to 15 per cent in calories consumed might start the growth process. Hard-gainers can increase calories by even 20 per cent. Those who are able to add muscle to their frame easily can bump up their calories by 15 per cent.
Trainees who tend to get a smooth look easily (endomorphic nature) should experiment and find out exactly how many extra calories their body needs for growing.
There are many competitors whose body needs nothing more than 500 calories higher than daily expenditure. And that increase too would be from lean sources of protein.
However, this does not mean that a person should not add carbohydrate foods such as yams, potatoes, grains, whole wheat products or oats. Every individual is different. So, the best approach would be to slowly add things and see how the body responds.
Eat at least 5 to 6 small meals a day. You will need at least 1 gram of protein for every pound of your body weight ( 2.2 gm of protein for every kg of body weight).
This means that a person who weighs 180 lb needs at least 180 gm of protein every day to build muscle.
A smart trainee who eats six small meals containing 30 gm protein each wins the battle hands down!
By eating frequent meals, we increase our metabolism and stand minimum chance of adding body fat.
Smaller and more frequent meals increase absorption rate into the blood stream.
Such frequent meals that provide enough protein maintain nitrogen balance, which is very vital for gaining muscle. This ensures that the body is in an anabolic environment.
Large and less frequent meals lead to blood insulin level spike. Food is transported immediately and the amino acid levels in the blood plummets. This puts a brake on growth process.
While planning a meal, ensure that it contains lean protein source of the size of your palm. Carb source should be of the size of fist.
Fats are hidden in our food sources. So, be on guard.
Adding a tablespoon of olive oil or fish oil for cooking protein will take care of dietary fat requirement.
You may add a piece of any seasonal fruit to a meal or two for extra vitamins. Green, fibrous vegetables should form large part of your meal.
Here is a sample diet chart
Meal 1: A cup of boiled oats, an apple, 6 egg whites, 2 yolks
-Nutrients: 1 cup oats (78 gm) – 13 gm pro, 6 gm fat, 51gm carb
1 apple (110 gm) – 15 gm carb
6 egg whites + 2 yolks – 26 gm pro, 10 gm fat
Total: 39 gm protein, 66 gm carbohydrate, 16 gm fat, 564 calories
Meal 2: A handful of peanuts or almonds, lemon juice without sugar
Total: Nuts (75 gm) – 16 gm pro, 14 gm carb, 36 gm fat, 444 cals
Meal 3: A small cup of brown rice, 250 gm of fish or chicken breast, vegetable salad
Nutrients: Rice (100 gm) – 6 gm pro, 75 gm carb,
Fish or chicken (250 gm) – 50 gm pro, 5 gm fat
Total: 56 gm pro, 75 gm carb, 5 gm fat, 569 cals
Meal 4 (post-workout): Whey protein shake, 1 glasses of milk
Nutrients: Protein shake – 24 gm pro, 2 gm carb
1 glasses of milk (250ml) – 8 gm pro, 12 gm carb, 5 gm fat
Total: 30 gm pro, 14 gm carb, 5 gm fat, 221 cals
Meal 5: 250 gm of fish or chicken breast, a boiled potato, spinach
Nutrients: Fish or chicken (250 gm) – 50 gm pro, 5 gm fat
100 gm potato- 24 gm carb, 2 gm pro
Total: 52 gm pro, 24 gm carb, 5 gm fat, 349 cals
Meal 6: 50 gm of cottage cheese or peanut butter, vegetables
Nutrients: Cottage cheese (50 gm) – 6 gm pro, 3 gm carb, 4 gm fat, cals
Peanut butter (50 gm) – 12 gm pro, 11 gm carb, 24 gm fat
Total: 18 gm pro, 14 gm carb, 28 gm fat, 380 cals
Note: This plan has been laid out for a person weighting 180 lb, who has moderate metabolism and trains 4 days a week.
Drink plenty of water.
- C. Lakshmi Kumar