The weather is getting colder and the thicker jumpers are coming out. It’s the time of year where muscle gain can be a more common goal than fat loss. Now that the swim shorts and vests are tucked away for a good few months its a good time to focus on getting bigger and stronger.
In this blog I am going to give you five top nutrition tips to help you gain some good quality muscle mass over the colder months.
Whether you are someone who just wants to add a bit more muscle to fill out your tee-shirts better, are a seasoned competitor or just want to grow your glutes for your next summer holiday all of the points in this blog will be suitable for you.
In my last blog I wrote about five training top tips for muscle gain. If you haven’t read that I really recommend you do, simply hit THIS LINK to be taken to the blog and with these two blogs you will have all the tools needed to achieve your muscle gain goals.
We often hear a lot about nutrition in regards to fat loss but not so much on the subject of nutrition for muscle gain. Generally people just say eat loads and you will put on muscle mass. Well potentially that is true, but you may also put on lots of unwanted body fat.
First of all if you want to put on muscle mass you do have to accept that you will put on some body fat. However you can still attain a leaner physique along as you follow some good nutritional basics.
For muscle gain you need to play the long game, so keeping your nutrition in check is essential. This will allow you to avoid any periods of dieting due to unwanted excess fat gain so you can keep focussed on muscle gain and stick to it long term.
Below are my five top nutrition tips that you will need to implement to be successful at muscle gain. Achieve these along side a progressive training program and you have all the ingredients to be successful.
Muscle gain tip 1 – Eat enough protein
Every muscle fibre in your body is made up on proteins. When you resistant train you break these fibres and proteins down with the goal of them being rebuilt a bit bigger. In order to allow this to happen you need to consume enough dietary protein every day. If you don’t do this you simply won’t build muscle mass. But how much per day? For those who resistance train frequently aim for 2.0-3.0 grams of protein per KG of BW. This would equate to a 100kg man eating anything from 200g-300g of protein a day. Ideally try and sit in the middle around 2.5xKG/BW and you will do pretty well. Once you can hit the right amount of protein every day you want to try and split it up over 3-6 meals. The reason behind this is so that you can spike muscle protein synthesis (MPS). This is the process in which your body creates new proteins and once you spike MPS you have a refractory period of around 3-5 hours before you can spike it again, ideally more spikes each day the better. Look to hit around 0.4g of protein per KG of BW per meal for an optimal spike in MPS.
Muscle gain tip 2 – Calorie surplus
You can build muscle mass when your calories are at maintenance or even in a deficit but it can be hard. However being in a calorie surplus (more energy in than out) will make things a lot easier for muscle gain. There are a few reasons for this. The first being that you protect all the protein you consume each day to be used for building muscle rather than potentially being used as a fuel substrate. A calorie surplus will also give you the the energy to train with good intensity so you give your body the stimulus needed to grow and with calories higher you will recover better with more nutrients and calories at your disposal, all good things for muscle gain. But how big should the calorie surplus be? Based on what we mentioned earlier about keeping body fat accumulation to a minimum start out with a moderate surplus of 100-300 calories a day. So 100-300 calories over your rough calorie maintenance. You can then adjust if your bodyweight starts to stall or if it really shoots up. You do want to see your bodyweight go up but again be mindful that your aren’t overly aggressive. Aiming for a 1% increase in bodyweight per month is a decent rule of thumb to go off.
Muscle gain tip 3 – Creatine supplementation
Supplements are often the first thing people go to when they want to gain muscle. However always remember they play just a small part in being successful with your goals. One supplement however that can be useful for muscle gain is creatine monohydrate. Creatine plays an essential role in the production of energy as it couples with phosphorus to create phosphocreatine which fuels intense bouts of exercise such as lifting weights and sprinting. You can obtain creatine from whole food sources but it can be very hard to get enough particularly when you are regularly depleting stores during stressful training. Daily supplementation is an easy way to saturate your levels of creatine sufficiently to support your training. Creatine can also aid extra glycogen storage which can be useful when looking to achieve muscle gain, as you have the ability to store more energy and more water which will all be beneficial for training. 5g taken a day will be enough for most people only going higher if you don’t consume any meat in your diet or you are a much heavier individual.
Muscle gain tip 4 – Pre workout nutrition
When the goals are muscle gain every gym session is a chance to create more stimulus to grow. With this in mind you want to make sure you go into the gym feeling well fuelled and ready to work hard. Ensuring you have a good calorie dense meal 1-2 hours before the gym should be your first port of call. Within this meal aim for a good amount of protein, plenty of carbohydrates and then a moderate portion of fat. The carbohydrates will help provide the energy for the session but the fat will help aid the slower digestion of these carbohydrates avoiding any peaks or troughs in energy. Make sure you are also going into the gym well hydrated sipping water throughout the day and then also with your pre workout meal. Lastly some pre workout caffeine or a pre workout supplement can be a good idea. Caffeine will aid both physical effort and mental focus and if you enjoy a pre workout supplement then why not. Ideally look to dose caffeine around 3-5mg per KG of BW for optimal energy.
Muscle gain tip 5 – Calorie dense choices
The final top tip for nutrition for muscle gain is all about ensuring you get those calories in consistently. Once you have achieved the desired calorie surplus your hunger may start to dwindle over time and with this you may struggle to get the food in. This may seem impossible to those with a big appetite but it can happen. When it does you need to be strategic with your food choices. Still keeping lots of nutrients in the diet but ensuring you go for more calorie dense choices which are less high in volume. This can be the time for cereal, ice cream, jam, peanut butter, whole dairy, fattier cuts of meat and less fibrous vegetables. Chocolate milk and more liquid calories can be useful to get the food in and as a rule of thumb basically doing the complete opposite of what you do when you diet. It may seem fun for some but those lighter individuals trying to chew through 4500+ calories every day can be a a real chore. Just make it as easy as you can for yourself so you can continue to adhere to the calorie surplus.
There you have it. 5 top tips to get your nutrition on point for your muscle gain goals. Gaining muscle for many can be hard but follow these and you should do pretty well.
Any questions comment below.