Bodybuilding originated at the end of the 19th century, and attitudes towards it changed throughout the history of existence. In the race for the “pile of muscles”, bodybuilders at various times were ready for everything, from endless training to the use of chemical additives that promote muscle hypertrophy.

Today, a healthy approach to bodybuilding prevails. It involves the competent construction of a training program with abundant saturation of the body with proteins. Proper nutrition is considered to be a set of muscle mass, with which energy is compensated for, inevitable during heavy physical exertion.

When compiling a sample menu, a balanced intake of valuable nutrients should be ensured. In addition to following a diet for weight gain for men and women, a healthy diet is just as important. But nutritionists and athletes cannot agree on how often it is worth eating.

Some advocate fractional nutrition for weight gain with 5-6 meals per day, while others believe that it is enough to sit at the table 3-4 times. Most often, professionals prefer to eat at small intervals of 3 hours, and lovers are enough to eat three meals a day with a protein snack.

Starting to engage in mass recruitment, the initial physical data should be taken into account. Focus on age, height, and weight, calculating energy needs. Also, when calculating the menu for a set of muscle mass, it is necessary to take into account the level of a bodybuilder. The needs of a beginner and an experienced bodybuilder will be completely different.

The main stages of muscle building

Men's body types

Mass gain occurs in different ways, depending on the initial state of the body and the characteristics of the figure. At the first stage, it is necessary to determine the goal, since it can be different, depending on the type of physique of the person. They are distinguished by three:

  • ectomorphs – slender people with underdeveloped muscles, small joints;
  • Mesomorphs can naturally boast an athletic physique: they have large bones and well-formed muscles;
  • endomorphs are overweight because they quickly accumulate fatty deposits.

When planning a nutritional schedule for gaining muscle mass for men or women of an ectomorphic type, an aggressive strategy can be followed at the initial stage. That is, to add calories to the norm – from 300 to 500. It is important to enrich the diet with vitamin supplements, complexes with trace elements, and amino acids.

In the case of a diet for the weight gain of a male mesomorph, at the start, you can proceed from the energy norm. Endomorphs will correctly form a diet, achieving high energy losses: you can cut back on your diet.

In the second stage, bodybuilders begin to take protein shakes. This is necessary if it is not possible to form a diet, avoiding protein deficiency. But even in the case of a balanced menu, supplements are acceptable: high-quality powders are harmless, and the muscles grow confidently with them.

Drink protein shake

The right way to increase muscle mass is to gradually increase or decrease energy value. Norms and standards can only be considered a starting point because each body reacts differently to both loads and nutrition. In the third stage, you can add carbohydrate cocktails to the diet, which are also called gainers.

Having built up a pile of muscles, professional athletes at the final stage take fat burners. However, they should be treated with caution. Drugs accelerate and optimize metabolic processes, but at the same time, they can be addictive, disrupt the process of absorption of fats in the digestive system.

Principles of Nutrition for Muscle Gain

A person needs to eat if only to simply maintain the vital activity of the body. The optimal number of calories is called that allows you to maintain health, avoiding the formation of “fat depot”. If there is not enough energy, nutrition is scarce. When too many nutrients come in, we can talk about the surplus.

It is impossible to name a general norm: everything is individual. If we talk about proper nutrition for weight gain for a bodybuilder, it is very important to prevent a deficit. Calories must be ingested. This is the basic nutritional rule for gaining muscle mass. With severe physical exertion, energy is consumed quickly.

Healthy Muscle Diet

The power supply must be in surplus. An exception is made if the primary goal is to lose weight. There are also 6 principles that you need to know about when designing a nutrition program for mass recruitment.

Food frequency

Many experts are convinced that for a quick mass gain it is worth eating fractionally. This is explained by the fact that each product is immediately absorbed, energy is spent instead of calories being deposited on the sides with folds.

However, there is an opposite opinion: it is better to adhere to the traditional regime of the day. Three meals are enough, and the fourth additional may be the use of protein.

Supporters of fractional nutrition are professional athletes. Possessing huge muscular muscles, they are forced to eat often and strictly on schedule to maintain weight. Three meals a day are enough for a beginner and an amateur. But it is advisable to follow a certain regime so that nutrients enter the body at the same time.

Calorie content

Unlike losing weight, bodybuilders build a diet on a mass in such a way as to eat healthily. The energy value of food should be high, but to get the right amount of calories should be at the expense of healthy foods. As with weight loss, when building muscle mass, it is necessary to abandon fast food, smoked meats, food with flavoring, and aromatic additives.

Intervals between meals

You can make a diet according to one of two principles:

  • to make three main receptions nutritious and nutritious, adding one or two small snacks;
  • reducing calorie dishes, switch to 6 meals a day, when the energy value of each meal is low, but the breaks between them are short – up to 3 hours maximum.

Harmony of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates

When compiling a diet for weight gain, it is common for men to get involved in proteins. They can be understood – these are the “bricks” in the construction of muscles. However, proper nutrition for weight gain also involves the consumption of carbohydrates and fats in sufficient quantities. A harmonious combination of BJU and serves as the key to natural anabolism of muscle fibers.

Enough fat up to 20% per day of the total menu. Carbohydrates can be within half of all the food that a person eats. The rest is protein.

It is very important to exclude “fast” carbohydrates from the menu for gaining muscle mass. They are found in confectionery, sweets, and fruits with high sugar content. Their deceit lies in the fact that digestion lasts a long time, the body does not expend the nutrients received but stores them in the form of fat reserves.

Protein Products

As for protein, it is also necessary to competently select the most valuable products in terms of its digestibility. Do not forget about nutritional value.

Protein Products Table

ProductThe amount of protein per 100 g
Fat-free cottage cheese16.1
Natural yogurt, 1.5% fat5

When calculating portions taking into account nutrients, you should know that the protein requirement per day is about 1.5-2 grams per 1 kg of a person’s weight. However, the menu needs to be adjusted, tracking how the body responds to it. Deviations of 5-10% of the recommended standards are possible.

Water volume

Drinking mode

When a person is effectively training and complying with the principles of proper nutrition but does not see the result, the problem is likely a lack of moisture. Fluid must be ingested in large quantities. On average, athletes drink between 2 and 4 liters daily.

It is worth calculating the volume individually, taking into account both gender and physique. Lack of moisture in a volume of only 2-4% leads to a decrease in the effectiveness of training by 20%. At the same time, endurance can fall by half.

According to WHO, per 1 kg of weight, 30 ml is necessary to ensure the basic needs of the body. Athletes need to drink more because they lose a lot of fluid when training with sweat.

The best time for eating

Following a protein diet to gain muscle mass, you need to plan your day accurately. Schedules should be made in advance to ensure an uninterrupted supply of nutrients to the body. It is recommended to paint the menu in detail while planning nutrition during weight training. Thanks to this, it will be possible to evenly distribute the food.

The diet for weight gain involves 3-hour intervals between meals. This is if the athlete intends to sit at the table 4-5 times a day. In this case, a quick set of muscle mass is achievable. If a man rises usually at 8 in the morning, he will be able to have breakfast at half-past eight.

Gaps between meals

Then, with an interval of 3 hours, a snack is made, followed by lunch. Another three-hour pause is an afternoon snack, followed by dinner. These are five meals, which are quite enough. But some bodybuilders add a sixth, protein. Ideal for high protein nutrition – cottage cheese. It contains valuable casein, which is absorbed for a long time, so it supports the body during the night. Preference should be given to a low-fat product: otherwise, there is a high probability of an increase in blood cholesterol.

You can adhere to the standard three meals a day during weight training. Water is worth drinking between meals, then the products will be absorbed better.

Starting to follow a diet for weight gain for men, beginners worry that the diet becomes too plentiful. But as physical activity increases, appetite also appears. If a high-calorie diet for weight gain is calculated correctly according to energy value, you can not be afraid of fat deposits. As a rule, they get used to nutrition on a mass after 3-4 weeks from the start of using a new diet.

Before training

When developing a nutrition plan, you need to take into account the schedule of classes, you do not need to eat immediately before exercise. It is better to build a daily routine in such a way that from eating to training it is about 2 hours.

Complex carbohydrates before exercise

When compiling a course of nutrition for muscle mass, you should expect that the body will need a lot of energy to perform physical exercises. So something nutritious should be eaten so that complex carbohydrates prevail in the composition of the dish.

After training

Once the body has done a good job, it deserves reinforcement. High-intensity training can lead to depletion of stocks of many valuable substances. After it, you need to quickly replenish the reserves of vitamins and minerals, amino acids, and protein. This is the prevention of the breakdown of muscle tissue along with the stimulation of their growth and recovery.

To eat properly for muscle growth, immediately after class you should eat a couple of bananas or replace them with a gainer. This is the best option for building new muscle cells. If you use such products after training, when the muscles need support, it is guaranteed the activation of protein synthesis simultaneously with anabolism (the creation of new muscle fibers).

After 40 minutes after completing a workout with active exercises, you need to thoroughly eat. To gain weight, men consume protein in combination with complex carbohydrates. For example, it can be a portion of pasta with chicken.

Muscle Growth Products

It is pleasantly pleasing that proper nutrition to increase muscle is simple in principle. The list includes healthy and nutritious foods for quick mass gain, and you can cook them in many ways. Priority for cooking, stewing, steaming. But bodybuilders do not have to severely limit themselves, not allowing you to indulge in fried chicken or other tasty food.

There are several lists of muscle-building products. Some are needed to replenish carbohydrate reserves, others – they supply proteins to the body, while others recommend eating only what saturates the body with valuable fats. TOP 5 cheap carbohydrate-rich muscle mass gaining products include:

  • Rye bread;
  • cereals and granola – both from oatmeal and cereal mixtures;
  • whole-grain cereals;
  • pasta, noodles;
  • peanut.

When painting meals, you can add mushrooms to the menu. They also have a high carbohydrate value, like any nuts.

To make up for the lack of protein, you need to eat legumes, meat, dairy products, useful in gaining muscle mass.

Protein Deficiency Products

As for fats, you can’t completely refuse them, but you should choose them correctly. It is better not to include mayonnaise, any kind of spread in the list of products for muscle growth. An example of valuable fat is walnut oil.

Carbohydrate-rich foods

To build muscle, you need to eat not only cereals, bread, and pasta, do not forget about fruits and vegetables. They are necessary for sports nutrition, as they contain carbohydrates (albeit in smaller quantities), vitamins, and fiber.

To gain mass, it is worth making a high-calorie breakfast, especially if training is planned after it. Of cereals for the first meal, the following are ideal:

  • oat (you can cook flakes of any grinding);
  • buckwheat (it is better to use whole grains);
  • corn;
  • wheat;
  • rice (brown rice will be most useful).

When choosing a menu, you should remember only that potatoes, beets, and carrots are foods that you need to consume sparingly. Potatoes contain starch, which is best eliminated with sports nutrition. Carrots and beets, especially in boiled form, have a high glycemic index. They give energy for a short time, but later a person feels an attack of hunger.

Protein Products

Eating Protein Products

To gain a powerful pumped-up figure, you should, again and again, return to protein during the day. Even if a person adheres to three meals a day, it is worth at least once a day to prepare yourself a protein snack. Alternatively, in the framework of PP (proper nutrition), they drink a protein shake at night.

When choosing the best protein products for gaining muscle mass, you need to remember that they differ in both digestibility and digestibility. You should also take into account the value in terms of the presence in the composition of vitamins, trace elements.

Ordinary chicken eggs contribute to weight gain not only because they contain a lot of protein – the main building material for muscle fibers. They have high digestion and digestion rates. Also, vitamins D and B12 enter the body along with eggs. They help maintain proper energy levels.

Very valuable for gaining muscle mass is fish. Especially those varieties in which a minimum of calories and enough valuable omega-3 fatty acids. Hard cheese is good for a bodybuilder. It contains protein, animal fats, calcium.

The menu should be diversified with dairy products. For example, cottage cheese and kefir – important components in the diet with muscle growth. The first is famous not only for the presence of protein, but it also supplies calcium to the body. Kefir also has proteins in its composition, is easily digestible, and helps to establish digestion.

It is possible to gain muscle mass without the meat. But then it is necessary to include plant sources of protein and dairy products in the diet. Peas, beans, lentils – this is the basis of the bodybuilder-vegetarian menu.

Beans and Peas

In the case of refusal of meat, the problem with weight gain does not usually arise due to a lack of protein. Legumes supply enough protein, but animal fats are needed for the secretion of testosterone and other hormones involved in muscle building. It will not be possible to achieve high results if you do not supply saturated fatty acids to the body. Alternatively, vegetarian food eats fish or take coconut oil.

High-fat foods

When organizing food for the fastest set of muscle mass, it is recommended to eat nuts, which contain valuable oils. Some bodybuilders prefer not to eat fish in its pure form, but instead take fish oil. It is permissible to add butter, sour cream to the menu without abusing them.

Experienced Bodybuilder Tips

Refer to the experience of experienced bodybuilders who know the secrets of the effectiveness of a nutrition program for gaining muscle mass:

  1. The menu should be varied. Thanks to the richness of the composition, nutrition will be able to satisfy all the needs for vitamins, trace elements, and BFU.
  2. Beginners should start with the calculator to calculate the calorie content of each dish, because there is a high probability of gaining accelerated fat instead of muscle mass, calculating the energy value “by eye”.
  3. The basis of the diet should be homemade products since you need to monitor not only the quantity but also the quality of the food eaten.
Healthy homemade food

Success is easier to achieve by following the advice of experienced bodybuilders on gaining muscle mass, which reminds you that a good appetite is a faithful companion of a bodybuilder. But this does not mean that you can eat everything.

It is necessary to correctly compose a diet for a set of muscle mass, taking into account also the calories used for normal metabolism.

Having compiled a meal schedule in accordance with the recommendations of professionals, beginners may, after a few months, be disappointed to notice that they have hardly moved from their seats to their desired goal. Most often, dissatisfaction with the result is caused not so much by an incorrectly selected example of a diet, but by the following errors:

  • a person was afraid to eat on a schedule, worrying that he would gain weight with such a plentiful diet;
  • novice bodybuilder trained poorly;
  • the novice ate the “wrong” foods.

With fractional nutrition, correctly calculated by the BJU and a selected calorie norm, it is impossible to gain fat. Provided that the bodybuilder performs the proper amount of physical activity, consumes complex carbohydrates, does not abuse fats.

Weekly Menu Example

Making menus for women

Starting to draw up a diet for gaining muscle mass, it is necessary to remember that the work of a bodybuilder should move in stages, taking into account what data a person has at the start. Selecting a menu for effective weight gain should only be done after calculating how many calories per day the body requires.

To determine the base level, use the formula:

  1. For girls: weight in kilograms is multiplied by 10, height in centimeters is multiplied by 6.25. The resulting numbers are summarized and subtracted by the age in years, multiplied by 5.
  2. For men: perform exactly the same calculations, but add another 5 to the final result.

Next, the resulting number is multiplied by a coefficient that is determined by the way of life. So, a young office worker may be enough 1.5 thousand kcal per day, and an experienced athlete needs to regularly get food for 3000 calories. For the most accurate calculation of the energy value of the weekly menu, the following coefficients are used for mass gain:

  • office employee (no physical exertion) – 1.2;
  • novice athlete (from one to three classes per week) – 1,275;
  • mid-level bodybuilder (3-5 visits to the gym every week) – 1.55;
  • advanced bodybuilder (daily training) – 1,725;
  • professional athlete (working on weight several times a day) – 1.9.
Fractional nutrition

If you take a lean ectomorph with a starting weight of 70 kilograms with a growth of 1.75 m, which needs to gain 3000 calories during the day for 4 workouts a week, it is recommended that he adhere to a fractional diet without making significant breaks between meals. It is best to make a diet so that hunger does not have time to arise, but there is no overeating.

An excellent breakfast for gaining muscle mass will be one that combines carbohydrate foods with protein. There is no need to be afraid of shock portions in the morning if training is planned a little later. When preparing the menu for lunch, do not forget about the first dishes. But if the soup is relatively light, then you definitely need to provide a thorough protein snack.

As for additional snacks, you should be careful with them. It is important to consider the caloric content of all food that enters the body.

Day of the weekBreakfastLunchDinnerHigh teaDinner
MondayOatmeal with honey and banana, protein omeletWhole grain kefir breadBuckwheat with steamed turkey and vegetablesMilk Fruit SmoothieBoiled fish and fresh vegetable salad
TuesdayCorn porridge with milk, a whole-grain bread sandwich with butter, fried eggs from two egg whites and one whole eggApple and a handful of dried apricotsWheat porridge with turkey fillet and vinaigretteCottage cheese with honeyBuckwheat porridge with a slice of mackerel, vegetable salad
WednesdayMilk rice porridgeCottage cheese with jamBarley porridge with goulash and vegetable saladSteamed fish with rice and broccoliChicken breast with canned vegetables and bulgur
ThursdayOatmeal with bananas and nutsOmelet with brown bread, appleLow-fat boiled veal with vegetables and mashed potatoesFruit saladFish with vegetable stew
FridayBuckwheat porridge with an omelet, cheese sandwichPear, another fresh fruit, a handful of nutsVegetable soup, boiled vealCottage cheese with kiwiBaked Potato and Turkey Fillet
SaturdayCurd casserole with banana and honeyOmelet with a vegetable saladPasta with baked vegetables and vealYogurt with nuts and fruitsFish, green beans, vegetable salad with sour cream
SundayCheesecakes and fruit saladBoiled egg whites and favorite greensSeafood pasta, vegetable saladWhole grain bread with nuts, honey, appleGrilled turkey with vegetables
The value of products depending on the method of preparation

This is an approximate diagram, from which you can build on, making a nutrition program for 3000 kcal. When studying the table of energy values ​​of products to choose a daily diet, it is important to remember that calorie content varies depending on the method of cooking. For example, if you take as a basis the number of calories in 100 g of dry pasta, then after cooking their energy value will decrease by about three times.

When frying a product, the caloric content of the oil should be added to its energy value. And when cooking on the grill, on the contrary, fats are thawed out, therefore such dishes are more acceptable for a diet for gaining muscle weight for men and women.

The indicative menu can be adjusted by compiling it from budget foods to gain muscle mass. For this, more cereals are introduced into the diet, diluting them with dairy products and eggs. But it is better to draw up a nutrition program for a set of muscle mass, making it as diverse as possible.

Sports Nutrition

Among people who are unaware of the issues of building muscle, there is a prejudice towards gainers, proteins, and other special supplements for athletes. However, it is necessary to separate harmful products for quick muscle mass gain and those that are not able to disrupt the natural processes in the body.

Sports supplements

Do not get involved in hormonal substances, fat blockers, which lead to serious consequences in the form of severe metabolic failure. But it’s perfectly acceptable to add foods that are designed to fill the shortage of valuable substances in the diet of sports nutrition for muscle gain.

First of all, they include gainers and proteins. They are harmless dietary supplements, and in the conditions of a modern accelerated pace, people who are on a sports diet to gain muscle mass greatly simplify their lives. After all, far from always boys and girls have the opportunity to spend half a day in the kitchen to saturate the body with the most useful natural products.


This is a cocktail of proteins and carbohydrates, contributing to the rapid mass gain. However, protein is present in lesser amounts. It not only compensates for nutritional deficiencies but also stimulates metabolism. He is advised to certainly apply immediately after training, or an hour before class.

Weight gainers are recommended as a mandatory element of male nutrition for muscle gain, especially if the physique is slender. It is difficult for girls to give unambiguous advice on intake and offer an approximate intake rate, since, with a lack of physical activity, carbohydrates will be deposited, forming a “fat depot”. Women should adhere to a balanced diet if they do not engage in heavy training.


Protein Powders

Such products are 90% protein, they are indispensable in the menu of men who decided to gain muscle weight. Protein shake has been taken separately from carbohydrates.

It is very important to buy high-quality proteins in support of the basic diet. Specialists, if they talk about the dangers of such powders, then implying that some manufacturers introduce dubious additives. But taking a protein shake, like a high-protein diet in general, is contraindicated in many ailments. For example, you can not conduct experiments with the body in kidney disease.


This sports supplement is a nitrogen-containing carboxylic acid. It is considered harmless since this substance is found in vertebrate organisms.

Creatine is a good energy drink. Participating in energy metabolism, it nourishes the muscles from the inside, giving strength for active exercises, including with heavy loads. For an ordinary person weighing 70 kg, the daily norm is 2 g. An athlete can also take the supplement several times for 2-5 g, depending on the degree of intensity of the classes.

Work on increasing muscle mass requires an integrated approach. Some workouts in the gym should not be limited: it is important to develop a program of saturated nutrition, use sports supplements as necessary. However, one should not forget about a sound approach, without sacrificing health for the desire to become a real bodybuilder.

6 thoughts on “How to eat for muscle gain

    1. Here are things that if you do properly you can gain fast, what you need to do is increase your training volume, focus on the eccentric phase, take no rest or decrease rest intervals, eat more protein for more muscle gain, take more and more calories than the number of calories you burn, take casein before bed, try to have more sleep, try supplementing with creatine.

    1. Yes! Some of them are eggs, eggs contain high-quality protein, healthy fats, and other important nutrients like b vitamins and choline, salmon is a great choice for muscle building and overall health, others are chicken breast, greek yogurt, tuna, lean beef, shrimp, soybeans.

    1. If you do all those things that are necessary, the normal man can increase around one to two pounds of muscle for each month and the normal lady as much as one pound for every month.

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