Muscle Building Diets

5 Mistakes People Make When Trying To Get Abs

Why You Will NEVER Build Lean Mass Without Muscle Building Diets

Muscle Building Diets Nutrition


Building muscle is important in achieving any fitness goal because muscle is metabolically active, as opposed to body fat which is used primarily for energy storage.

The muscle mass you carry on your body causes your body to burn extra calories throughout the day even while you’re at rest. Your body’s muscle mass is maintained by your diet.

Weight Training Does Not Build Muscle!

You never have and never will gain muscle during weight training. Why?

  • Weight training is only a stimulus for your body to build muscle mass.
  • Weight training actually breaks down your muscle mass.
  • Your body builds muscle mass when you are not training.
  • Your body builds muscle while you sleep, work, and sit on the couch watching the television.
  • The best way to gain muscle mass is through weight training alongside a healthy, balanced muscle building diet.

What is the Fastest Way to Build Muscle ?

If You Want to Build Muscle Fast, You May Be in for a Rude Awakening

Building muscle fast is a common goal among exercisers. All of a sudden, you feel as if you need to put on 10+ pounds of muscle, and you want to do it as fast as possible.

For whatever reason you want to build muscle fast, you should stop, think, and take a slow, methodical approach rather than an all-out approach.

Building Muscle Too Fast Has Undesirable Side Effects

Fat Gainfat gain muscle building eat right

People who want fast results go on muscle building diets containing extremely high amounts of calories. Rather than eating around 500 extra calories a day in hopes of putting on muscle mass, they eat thousands of extra calories.

Another mistake is neglecting to measure. Measuring your body composition is very important during muscle building diets.

If you attempt build muscle fast by eating way too much food, you will gain a good deal of fat along with your muscle.

Most people who want to build muscle fast are skinny with a low body fat percentage. If you fall into this group, you will be most affected when you put on fat along with the muscle you want. Use a slow, methodical approach and you will put on solid muscle rather than a combination of fat and muscle.

Stretch Marksstretch marks from building muscle too fast

Like some women who struggle to control their diet after they become pregnant, or obese individuals, building muscle fast can cause stretch marks. Some people don’t mind, but others consider them unsightly. If you build muscle too fast, developing stretch marks is very likely.

If you get bigger too fast with muscle building diets including extremely high amounts of calories, your muscle growth may exceed your skin’s elasticity, causing stretch marks.

Stretch marks are not physically harmful. However, stretch marks are permanent scars which will never disappear. If you don’t want stretch marks, you should try to build muscle through a healthy balanced diet and smart weight training.

What You MUST KNOW About Muscle Building Diets

The best muscle building diet varies from individual to individual. If you are looking to build muscle, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind:

A Muscle Building Diet Requires a Caloric Surplus

Without consuming excess calories in your diet, you will not be able to build muscle efficiently. If you are overweight, muscle building diets are not recommended, because you will most likely add to your fat stores which cover up your muscle.

If you are overweight and want to build muscle, you need to prioritize your goals. You should first use fat loss diets to accomplish your weight loss goals before you attempt to build a significant amount of muscle mass.

If you are not overweight, muscle building is a matter of mathematics. If you do not consume enough calories, you will not be able to gain weight in the form of muscle.

There is No Single “Best Diet” for Everyone

This is a recurring theme throughout this website. You should not rely on cookie cutter one-size-fits-all diets and nutrition plans if you are serious about achieving results.

Your muscle building diet should have a caloric surplus of around 500 extra calories per day. You can measure and assess your diet’s effectiveness over time.

Use proven knowledge and common sense and you will be able to accomplish your goals effectively over time. In order to build muscle, you must consume a diet rich in all three major nutrients: fat, carbohydrates, and protein.

Do Muscle Building Diets Require More Protein?food guide pyramid calories

Protein Should Never Be the Primary Nutrient in Your Diet

Regardless of your fitness goals, carbohydrates should always be the most highly-consumed nutrient in your diet. On the right is the recommended nutrient intake by the United States Dietetics Association (USDA).

If 15% protein sounds like too little, consider how many grams that would be if you consumed a 3,000 calorie diet. You would consume 112.5 grams of protein for 15% of 3,000 calories.

Whether or not getting 15% of your calories from protein works best for your body, your protein intake should never be more than your carbohydrate intake for building muscle.

The most effective way to determine your protein needs is through trial and error. Even if you go to a $300 per hour dietician used by Hollywood celebrities, you will have to use trial and error to find out which protein intake is right for your body.

Carbohydrates Provide the Energy Used to Build Muscle

In order to have the most effective weight training workouts and muscle-sparing cardiovascular workouts, you must consume enough carbohydrates. Dietary carbohydrates break down into blood sugar.

Blood sugar is used for energy or stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver for future use. Dietary carbohydrates can also be stored as body fat, but it costs the body extra energy to do so and is unlikely in non-overweight/obese individuals.

Without the presence of carbohydrates (blood sugar), your body will not produce the insulin needed to shuttle your dietary protein into your muscles for growth. Carbohydrates and protein work together to build muscle.

In order to build muscle, eat a variety of the highest-quality foods as part of a balanced training and nutrition program. Measure your body fat percentage every month to see if you are gaining muscle, fat, or both.

How Many Calories Do You Need to Consume?

The Amount of Calories Necessary for Building Muscle Varies by Individual

If everybody knew exactly how many calories they burned each day, building muscle would simply be a matter of counting calories. Too bad it’s not that easy.

To figure out exactly how many calories you burn in a day, you would have to stay in a plastic bubble where all variables and temperatures are controlled and recorded. Obviously this is not something 99% of people would consider, so there are a few more real-world options.

The Most Practical Way to Determine Daily Caloric Needs is to Use a Formula

There are many formulas which determine your daily metabolic rate. The formula which you use by plugging in your data on a fat loss calculator will give you an estimate of your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which is how many calories your body needs to function at rest during a 24-hour period.

There are other ways to determine your daily calories burned, but using a formula will most likely give you an estimation consistent with what you’d get from these devices. Many of these devices are based on formulas themselves, so a simple formula is probably your best option for finding your daily calories burned.

You will then need to add in the calories you burn with physical activity such as exercise, work, and any other form of physical activity. You can use various charts and online resources to determine how many calories your daily activities burn.

Add Your BMR to Your Daily Activity Calories to Determine Your Daily Caloric Needs

In Order to Gain Muscle Mass, You Should Consume About 500 Calories Above Your Daily Needs Every Day

This will allow you to create an infinite number of muscle building diets to help you gain quality lean muscle with minimal fat. If you constantly consume a small amount of calories over your daily requirement, you will be less likely to gain fat and hopefully add some muscle mass to your frame.

What Foods Should Be Included in Muscle Building Diets?

Carbohydratescarbs muscle gain diets

Complex carbohydrates are the most important nutrient to include in any active person’s diet. Whether a carb is complex or not has to do with its organic chemical structure. To keep it simple, you can think of complex carbohydrates as starches.

Complex carbohydrates are broken down more slowly over time when compared to simple sugars, keeping your blood sugar stable and keeping you feeling full for longer. This is why they are better to include in your diet. Complex carbs also contain more fiber and B-Vitamins.

Each gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories. The rate at which your dietary carbohydrates are broken down varies from person to person.

Good Sources of Carbohydrate to Include in Muscle Building Diets:

  • Oats
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Yams
  • Beans & Legumes
  • Whole Grain Rice
  • Whole Grain Bread
  • Whole Grain Pasta


Protein is what makes up your muscles. When you ingest protein, it is broken down into 20+ amino acids. During anabolic muscle building diets, you hope your body takes in the amino acids to repair and build new muscle with them.

Each gram of protein contains 4 calories. Proteins are broken down slowly in your stomach. Protein takes longer to break down than carbohydrates. During the digestion of protein, your body expends more energy than when digesting other nutrients.

Good Sources of Protein to Include in Your Muscle Building Diet:

  • Lean Red Meat
  • Egg Whites
  • Whey Protein
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean Pork
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Fatsnuts seeds are dietary fats

Fats are very important in any muscle building diet. Fats serve many metabolic functions, including the formation of some hormones.

Fat also plays a role in encouraging satiety after meals. When you eat fat, it makes you feel more full because it is digested in the small intestine rather than the stomach. Eating fat with meals slows down your digestion, which can be good for some people with an extremely fast metabolism.

Each gram of fat has twice the calories of protein or carbohydrates. Fat can be burned for energy, but excess dietary fat is easily stored by the body as body fat.

The Best Dietary Sources of Fats for Muscle Building Diets:

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Salmon
  • Flax Seeds
  • Medium Chain Triglycerides, such as Coconut Products

Want to Learn More Secrets of the Best Muscle Building Diets?Male Muscle Gain

  • Muscle Building
    Find out how to build muscle in the most efficient way.
  • Nutrition Myths
    If 100 people tell you the same thing, will you believe it? Most people would; that’s what created all the widely-believed misinformation about diet and nutrition found everywhere from the gossip in the locker room to newspapers, TV, and magazines.
  • Fat Loss Diets
    Your training and nutrition goals should be consistent with each other. Learn what a muscle building diet and a fat loss diet have in common, and how they differ.

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About Michael Behnken

Mike Behnken is a personal trainer who holds multiple NASM certifications and a MS in Exercise Science. Mike loves fitness, travel, and photography among many other interests.

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