Beginners Guide to Building Muscle Pg 3


There's an old saying in the fitness world that states “great abs are built in the kitchen”. The same can be said of building hard lean muscle mass. What you eat will have a direct impact on how well you improve and will be responsible for 60% – 80% of your muscle building success.

Remember this, muscles don't grow while you're in the gym, they grow while you're resting and recovering. Nutrition provides the repair and rebuilding material that makes muscles stronger and bigger.

Progressive weight training using compound movements demands a great deal of effort and places a lot of stress on the body. In addition, to build progressively more muscle, one needs to improve with each passing week which means higher and higher levels of stress (intensity). With increasing levels of stress the body will require more and more nutrients. Always remember this; there is a direct correlation to the amount of improvement ones make in weight training to the amount of nutrients one consumes. The more one improves the more nutrients that will be required.

Your success will hinge on what and when you eat. You CANNOT build progressively more strength and muscle without implementing a consistent and progressive nutritional plan.

What Builds Muscle

Progressive weight training is the stimulus that provides the environment to build muscle. However, in order for this process to take place one must ensure that the right construction materials are available; protein, carbohydrates and fat. During metabolism, the body breaks down these nutrients which will be used to repair, rebuild and fuel muscles. To maximize this process, we need to ensure we have an abundance of nutrients available, over and above what our bodies require to maintain its current weight.

To build muscle, we MUST ensure our body is in a constant state of growth and the only way to do this is to ensure we ingest an abundance amount of quality calories on a consistent and repetitive basis. Often called a calorie surplus, this scenario will allow us to optimize our energy levels and muscle building efforts.

Let's take a look at an example. Let's say I weigh 140 pounds and take in, on average 1800 calories per day to maintain my weight of 140 pounds. In order to build muscle, we need to increase that level by at least 1,000 additional calories per day. By increasing my caloric intake to 3,000 per day, I am ensuring that I have enough:

•  Energy to ensure I improve in each of my work sets, week after week

•  Provide enough muscle building protein to repair and rebuild in order to accommodate additional levels of stress

•  Provide enough fat stores to optimize energy metabolism

On the flip side to this coin, let's suppose that I ignore my nutrition and keep my caloric intake to 1,800 per day. Here's what will happen:

•  My body will reach an equilibrium point in which my energy levels match that of my energy intake (calories).

•  Without additional energy, my body will not be able to keep up with progressively higher levels of stress (intensity). My body will stop improving and start stagnating, or worse start using its own tissue as energy.

•  Once I stop improving, my body stops getting stronger and therefore, build muscle

•  If I try and add additional stress levels (adding more weight or sets) without a corresponding increase in calories, my body will start to degenerate.

•  My body will go into a catabolic state (negative growth).

The main point you have to remember about building muscle is that you absolutely MUST take in enough quality calories on a progressive and consistent basis to facilitate muscle improvement.

How many calories do you need to build muscle?

I recommend consuming 20 to 25 calories per pound of bodyweight. For example, let's say I weigh 140 pounds, my daily caloric intake will be anywhere between 2800 (140 x 20) to 3500 (140 x 25) calories per day. However, I would advise to start at the lower end and closely monitor your body fat levels on a weekly basis. If you find you're not gaining body weight after a couple of weeks, try increasing your caloric intake by 500 calories per day. If on the other hand, you're gaining too much fat cut out 500 calories per day.

Consistency Builds Muscle

It is vitally important that you understand the importance of meal consistency. You see, your entire muscle building program will hinge on your ability to keep your body in a constant state of growth . The only way to keep your body in a positive growth state is to keep feeding it quality nutrients at 2 to 3 hour intervals. Remember, by using progressive muscle improvement we are literally turning out muscles into 24 hour fat burning machines. Think of it this way, if your muscles are sore the next couple of days after working out, they are starving for nutrients, the way a car starves for more gas after a long ride. You need to keep adding fuel to your internal gas tank on a consistent basis in order to keep it running at top performance.

Under no circumstance should you go any longer than 4 hours without eating quality nutrients. This puts your body at risk of using its own tissue for fuel, this is especially important in the morning. We never, ever want to use our bodies own tissue as fuel.

To do this, we need to divide up your daily caloric needs into 6 meals per day, spaced two to three hours apart. For example, if my daily caloric needs are 3,000 calories, I will need to divide that into 6 or 7 meals at 500 calories per meal. Here's a sample:

7:00 AM Breakfast: 500 calories

9:30 AM Mid-Morning Snack: 500 calories

12:00 PM Lunch: 500 calories

2:30 PM Mid-Afternoon Snack: 500 calories

5:00 PM Dinner: 500 calories

6:30 PM: Workout

8:00 PM Night Snack: 500 calories

Total: 3,000 calories

Of course, your meal schedule will all hinge on your personal circumstances such as school, job, family life and other commitments. You may have to do a bit of planning but the important thing to remember is to make sure you get your daily caloric requirements divided into 2 to 3 hour intervals. This will activate your internal muscle building machine and keep your body in a positive state of growth.

Please remember that not all calories are the same. The body doesn't recognize where a calorie comes from but it will recognize the quality in terms of balance. 1,000 calories from a chilli cheese burger is a lot different than 1,000 calories from lean chicken breast, brown rice and steamed broccoli. The body will recognize the source and combination of the calories in a meal. The bulk of calories from a chilli cheese burger will come from:

1) Saturated fats; followed by

2) Processed white carbohydrates; followed by

3) Fatty protein

This is very unbalanced and not conducive to building lean tissue. However, it will build fatty tissue!

The bulk of calories from a chicken breast, brown rice and broccoli meal will come from:

1) Starchy, complex carbohydrates; followed by

2) Lean protein; followed by

3) Healthy fats

this meal is a balanced meal and very conducive to building lean tissue.

Manufacturing Muscle

In particular, protein is used to repair and build muscles. Protein is broken down into small blocks called amino acids which are then used by our bodies cells to rebuild new proteins based on instructions from our DNA. Depending on how much stress is placed on the body will depend on how much protein is needed. Progressive levels of stress will require additional stores of protein which of course, will be used to repair and build stronger and bigger muscle fibres.

Simply put, protein is the construction material that is needed to manufacture muscle mass. We need to ensure that we ingest plenty of protein to facilitate the relationship between energy output and muscle improvement.

There are two very important things we need to remember about protein and building muscle. First, we need to ensure we get additional protein to build muscle as opposed to maintaining our current muscle mass. This is often called “positive nitrogen balance” which basically means there is an increase in total body proteins. More available protein stores ensure positive muscle growth.

Secondly, by using the muscle improvement method as described above ( How to build muscle with progressive improvement) we are essentially making our protein work harder. That is, we are demanding more from our muscles which in turn, demand more from the nutrients we consume, protein in particular. The harder we work our muscles, the harder our bodies work at squeezing every last bit of muscle building nutrients from the food we ingest.

Do protein sources matter?

Yes, it does. Ideally you want very lean sources of protein. Fatty protein sources will contain high levels of saturated fat. Stay away from these sources. Please see this guide here for high quality protein sources .

How Much Protein Do You Need to Build Muscle?

This depends on your age, genetics, and activity levels but on average to build muscle you will need sufficient protein to handle the demands of progressive weight training. Remember, there is a direct correlation between increasing stress levels (intensity) and the amount of nutrients needed to support those stress levels. In addition, we are going to be demanding more from out protein by making it work for us. To start, I suggest starting at 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, your daily protein requirements will be 140 grams of protein per day.

If you recall from the above caloric needs calculation we divided our meals according to our daily caloric needs. We are going to do the same for our protein requirements. Using our example, we simply take 140 grams and divide that into 6 which equal 23 grams per meal.

We now know that we need using our 140 pound example:

•  3,000 daily calories and 500 calories per meal

•  140 grams of daily protein and 23 grams of protein per meal

We now need to figure out how much carbohydrates and fat we need to build muscle.

Muscle Fuel

You can stuff as much protein as you want down your gut but without carbohydrates, you're not going to build an ounce of muscle. When it comes to building strength, carbohydrates are king because it is the bodies' number one fuel source.

Here is where most aspiring novice weight trainers go wrong with their programs. Most mistakes are made by assuming that to build muscle and burn fat, one needs to load up on protein and cut carbohydrates. This is a critical mistake and one that will stop your muscle building gains to a grinding halt, OVERNIGHT!

By cutting carbohydrates, the body will turn to its next source of fuel, protein. This means your body will start converting your muscle tissue into a fuel source. In other words, your body will start eating itself in order to get the fuel it needs which means negative muscle gains.

Make no mistake about it, if you want to gain strength and build muscle, you need to do the exact opposite - You need to load up on carbohydrates.

If you recall from the section on muscle improvement ( How to build muscle with progressive improvement) , the only way to build muscle is to consistently make small improvements from workout to workout. The ONLY way to do this is to ensure you have the energy to perform additional repetitions and handle increasing workloads. There is simply no other way.

Among all the nutrients, carbohydrates have the most impact on whether or not you have the energy to improve in your workouts. In addition, carbohydrates affect the muscle building process in two ways:

Spares protein stores

On average, it takes about 2,500 calories to build one pound of muscle. As your body's number one fuel source, carbohydrates provides the cleanest and most readily available stores of energy for your body. In addition, it spares protein from being used as energy. Protein's number one job is to repair and rebuild muscle tissue, not fuel it.

Fat burning

Carbohydrates are a key component to help in the fat burning process. To maximize the bodies' fat burning process, it is necessary to use fat as a fuel source. It only makes sense, right?

At the cellular level, the body burns fat through a series of complex chemical reactions. Of which, carbohydrates plays an important role in optimizing this process. Unless enough carbohydrates are available for use in the energy process, fat won't burn as effectively.

To find out more about this process, see our page on how carbohydrates fuel muscles .

Do carbohydrates sources matter?

Yes, it does indeed. The bulk of your carbohydrates should come from whole food sources. Stay away from anything packaged. Here is some muscle building carbohydrates sources:

•  Whole wheat breads

•  Oatmeal

•  Whole wheat bagels

•  Cream of wheat

•  English muffin

•  Mushrooms

•  Whole wheat pitas

•  Cucumber

•  Rye bread

•  Granola

•  Quinoa

•  Whole grain cereals

•  Sweet potatoes

•  Spinach

•  Rice

•  Zucchini

Try and include a starchy and leafy carbohydrate with each meal. As an example, try having a baked sweet potato (starchy carbohydrate) paired with a small spinach salad (leafy carbohydrate). Stay away from sugar and process carbohydrates. The only exception to this rule is having a quick acting carbohydrate immediately after a workout and first thing in the morning. Please see this page here for more information .

How many carbohydrates do you need for optimal performance?

Carbohydrates will make up the bulk of your diet. Since the single most important factor affecting muscle gain is caloric intake (my personal opinion, of course), it will be absolutely necessary to make sure you're consuming an optimal amount of carbohydrates.

I suggest starting at 2.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight to start. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you will need 350 grams of carbohydrates per day.

If you recall from the above caloric needs calculation we divided our meals according to our daily caloric needs. We are going to do the same for our carbohydrate requirements. Using our example, we simply take 350 grams and divide that into 6 which equal 58 grams per meal.

Remember, you will need to monitor your progress. If you feel tired and sluggish in the gym, try increasing the amount of carbohydrates to 3 grams per pound of body weight.

We now know that we need using our 140 pound example:

•  3,000 daily calories and 500 calories per meal

•  140 grams of daily protein and 23 grams of protein per meal

•  350 grams of daily carbohydrates and 58 grams of carbohydrates per meal

We now need to figure out how much fat we need to build muscle.

Tying It All Together: Fat

When it comes to building muscle, fat is absolutely necessary. Fat is the nutrient that acts as the catch all. It acts as a secondary energy source, helps regulate blood sugar levels, helps in the metabolism of energy and helps metabolise fat soluble vitamins (among other duties).

The thing you have to remember about fat is that it acts as a great energy source. As discussed in the previous section, carbohydrates are the bodies preferred energy source. However, there isn't an infinite supply of carbohydrates so after a long bout of intense exercise; the body may/will draw upon two additional sources of energy, protein and fat. Remember, we never, ever want to use protein as an energy source when we are trying to build muscle. With that in mind, we must have ample stores of available body fat in order for it to be used as energy once our carbohydrate (glucose) stores have been used up.

This is an especially important point because we are adding more and more intensity (stress) to our workouts, week after week which means we use more and more energy. As our workouts become more stressful, our bodies' ability to use up glucose and oxygen (fat) as energy sources becomes more efficient. This is why it's so important to have optimal levels of fat in your diet.

In addition, fat is very calorie dense. There is approximately 9 calories per 1 gram of fat, whereas protein and carbohydrates have 4 calories per 1 gram of fat. Since we are building muscle, it will be necessary to keep our fat levels moderately high.

As mentioned, fat is a nutrient that helps in the metabolism of energy. A diet that has unhealthy levels of fat will affect energy production, which is why you see folks dragging their asses when on a low fat, low carbohydrate diet. To put it bluntly, if your diet is too low on fat, it will affect your performance in the gym.

Just keep this in mind, you don't need a lot of fat because too much of it will have the opposite effect; it will build more fat than muscle.

Does it matter which types of fat you choose to ingest? Yes, it does. Suffice to say, you want to stay away from anything processed. I'm not going to get into the different types of fat but all you need to know at this point is to stay away from all processed saturated fats. This includes;

•  Margarine

•  Butter

•  Vegetable, canola and palm oils

•  Fatty animal cuts of meat

•  Bacon

•  Heavy creams

•  Chicken skin

•  Pork sausages

•  Pastries

•  All fried foods

•  Biscuits

•  Chips

•  Anything packaged

If you enjoy cooking with butter or vegetable oil, stop and start cooking with olive oil. The majority of your fat will come from the food in your daily diet and menu plan. Once you put together your diet and menu plan, you'll have all the fat you need to build muscle.

I'm going to show you exactly how to organize a menu plan shortly.

How much fat do you need to build muscle?

Since fat is a calorie dense nutrient, you won't need a lot of it to get the benefit. I suggest starting at .6 grams of fat per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should start at 84 grams of fat per day.

If you recall from the above caloric needs calculation we divided our meals according to our daily caloric needs. We are going to do the same for our carbohydrate requirements. Using our example, we simply take 84 grams and divide that into 6 which equal 14 grams per meal.

We now know that we need using our 140 pound example:

•  3,000 daily calories and 500 calories per meal

•  140 grams of daily protein and 23 grams of protein per meal

•  350 grams of daily carbohydrates and 58 grams of carbohydrates per meal

•  84 grams of daily fat and 14 grams

We now know exactly how much food we need to eat in order to start building muscle. Our next job is finding out how to use these figures to put together a meal plan.

How to Design a Meal Plan

Based on the information above, we know that we need:

•  20 to 25 calories per pound of body weight

•  1 gram of protein per pound of body weight

•  2.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight

•  .6 grams of fat per pound of body weight

We have all the information we need to start building a true muscle building meal plan that will work hand in hand with our progressive weight training system.

For example, if I weigh 140 pounds, I will need the following nutritional requirements to start building muscle:

•  3,000 daily calories and 500 calories per meal

•  140 grams of daily protein and 23 grams of protein per meal

•  350 grams of daily carbohydrates and 58 grams of carbohydrates per meal

Use this form to help calculate your nutritional requirements .

The next part is a little tricky because you need to design meals based on your daily nutritional needs. I'm going to make this super simple for you. Once you've figured out your nutritional requirements, go to this page here:

Muscle recipes

Look for the menu that matches you nutritional requirements and use it.

Also look at the following one week menus for:

2,000 calorie menus

3,000 calorie menus

5 day lean body mass menu

At this point, I'm going to strongly recommend a paid resource. It'll save you a lot of time and will make your life a whole lot easier. It's called “Anabolic Cooking” and it has over a hundred muscle building recipes. Best of all, it will have menus for each calorie specific menu. I've been using it for over two years now and it's one of the best investments I've ever made. I think it goes for about 47 bucks or so but trust me, if you're serious about building lean muscle mass, it will be well worth it. I've actually done a personal review at this page here .

Water Intake

Drinking enough water is essential to the muscle building process. Water is that element that makes your body “go”. Although water doesn't build muscle mass like protein does or contributes directly to the production of energy as with carbohydrates, it plays a huge role in just about every metabolic process in your body. That is, it optimizes the process of muscle building and energy production within your body. This is why it is so important to optimize your water intake. Even a slight dehydration will affect how your muscles perform and will throw off your strength levels.

Did you know that water affects how your muscles contract? Drink enough water and your muscles will contract at an optimal level. Don't drink enough water and your muscles will have a sub-par performance.

Use this water guide to help determine how much water you need to build muscle.

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As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.



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