This isn’t rocket science guys. It's all about eating the right amounts of the right macronutrients (protein, carb, fat and fiber). If you are not balancing your numbers, you are not doing it right and you really have no idea what you are putting in your body. The number one thing that needs to happen, when you pursue the goal of muscle growth, is track your freakin’ calories and macros. I cannot stress this point enough. When you track, you make sure you are eating the right proportions of things, as opposed to just eating everything in sight and becoming a fat slob. Gaining weight is not the same thing as gaining muscle. If you want to gain the most muscle possible without gaining a ton of body fat (you will gain some) there are a few points you need to pay attention to.
Get enough calories
Consuming a surplus of calories is critically important for gaining muscle. Now, this doesn’t mean eating thousands more calories than what is required to maintain your body size, but just a little more. Start by adding 10% to your daily calorie consumption and add another 5% each week until you are consistently gaining 1-2lbs a week. Gaining slowly like this will make sure you aren't gaining a ton of fat just for the sake of getting big. If you want your sleeves to pop, and not your waistline, this is the way you do it.
Getting the right macros
A lot of fitness professionals and bodybuilders place a huge focus on protein and not a lot on carbs or fats. This is a mistake. Protein is important, but getting enough protein is pretty easy with all the supplements out there. If you are eating meat or dairy 4 times a day, you will hit your numbers on protein because they are not as high as you think. Right around 1g per lb of body weight is a good number to shoot for when thinking about protein consumption for muscle gain. A high carb diet will blunt any muscle loss that might come from training hard, so getting a really high amount of protein is not as big of a deal. If protein is to high then you will actually lose out of the optimal ratio for muscle gain. Really high protein diets are just unnecessary when trying to gain muscle. What is going to help you gain weight are carbs and calories mostly. As long are you are getting between 20% and 30% of your diet from fat, the rest of your calories should be filled with carbs.
Post workout Nutrition
The importance of the post workout window has been debated over and over but the data shows that it is worth paying attention to. What you are putting in your body with in 30 minutes after your workout does matter. If you really want to optimize your response to training and gain the most muscle possible, you are going to, again, want to focus on carbs. Your post-workout shake should be a 1:4 ratio of protein to carbs with as little fat a possible. I personally like a mix of orange gatorade and vanilla protein powder (the orange creamsicle shake). This would be about 12g of protein and 50g of carbs
Use these nutrition strategies to make sure you are gaining muscle at the optimal rate to get strong and stay lean while doing it.
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