Diet and training are two crucial pillars irrespective of your fitness goal. Training requires proper nutritional support, whether you want to gain or lose weight or maintain general fitness.
To maximize your results from the gym, one must focus on the diet, as consuming the wrong foods can prove damaging to bodybuilding goals.
For significant muscle gain and fat loss, it is imperative to consume an adequate number of calories with a well-planned proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Here are some of the fundamental tips one should never overlook for gaining muscle.
- Adequate calories: Calories directly impact the body composition and determine whether a person will gain, lose or maintain weight. For example, creating a calorie surplus over your maintenance calories is necessary if you aim to bulk up. In contrast, one must decrease the total calorie intake during the cutting phase or weight loss to make a deficit and lose body fat. It is advisable to feed the body by distributing your food between small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. It helps maintain energy levels and boost metabolism.
- Plan your carbohydrate intake: We get two types of carbohydrates through food sources. Simple carbs quickly spike our blood sugar levels and provide instant energy, and complex carbs are rich in dietary fibre and provide sustained energy. Compared to simple, complex carbs should primarily form a significant part of the muscle gain diet. Using simple carbs before and after workouts to amplify energy levels and replenish glycogen stores is good.
- Eat plenty of lean protein: One must follow a high-protein diet plan for muscle gain. It is necessary to prioritize high-protein foods; however, the focus should be on complete protein and high-quality protein such as whey protein, plant-protein powder, lean meat, eggs, casein protein and dairy products. One should try to include a portion of protein-rich food in every meal to maximize muscle growth and stimulate the release of fat-burning hormones.
- Maintain hydration: Staying hydrated is of utmost importance. Studies have shown that even 2-4% of dehydration can induce heat cramps, reduce muscular endurance time and affect overall athletic performance. Foods that one may include in the diet to balance fluid intake is plain water, coconut water, lemon water, buttermilk, herbal teas without sugar, fresh fruit and vegetable juice. Try flavoured BCAAs, and amino acids blend instead of aerated or sugar-laced beverages if you crave sweet drinks.
- Never overlook micronutrients: Muscle gain or bodybuilding diets does not imply only protein, carbs and healthy fats. Vitamins and minerals are equally essential for muscle gain and overall health. A muscle gain diet must include plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure no micronutrient deficiency. In addition, you can also go for a multivitamin supplement that will help bridge all the dietary gaps.
Foods to Include in a Muscle Gain Diet
One can easily include these nutrient-rich foods in a muscle gain or bodybuilding diet. However, the amount will vary from person to person, depending upon your health goal.
Dairy products: Milk, yogurt, curd, cheese and paneer.
Meat, fish and poultry: Chicken breast, salmon, codfish and prawns.
Pulses and Legumes: Moong dal sprouts, lentils, chickpeas, soybean, kidney beans, white chana and black chana.
Cereals: Whole wheat, rice, quinoa, oats, wholegrain bread and millets.
Fruits: Apple, avocado, banana, berries, papaya, melons, peach, plum, guava, grapes and orange.
Vegetables: Dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, green peas, sweet potatoes, green beans, cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms and gourds.
Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and melon seeds.
Fats and Oils: Olive oil, groundnut oil, ghee, flaxseed oil and coconut oil.
Foods to Avoid
It is good to avoid the below-mentioned foods or limit the intake as much as possible.
Alcohol: It can reduce nutrient absorption.
Deep-fried and junk foods: Samosa, kachori, pizza, pasta, french fries, onion rings and bhujiyas.
Sugary foods and beverages: Cream biscuits, pastries, cakes, doughnuts, candy, sweets, colas and sugary drinks.
A Sample Diet Plan for Muscle Gain
Early Morning: Whey protein shake – 1 scoop + 5 almonds
Breakfast: Multigrain bread+ scrambled eggs + apple
Mid Morning Snack: Sprouts salad + 1 tsp flaxseeds
Lunch: Brown rice + any pulse + green beans vegetable + salad
Evening Snack: 1 scoop whey protein in Greek yogurt smoothie
Dinner: Grilled paneer with sauteed veggies + quinoa
Bedtime Meal: Casein protein shake
To sum up, if the health goal is to gain lean muscle, you should exercise regularly and eat more calories each day from muscle-building foods.