What’s The Best Nutrition Plan for Muscle Growth?
Similar to what I said in my article about the nutrition plan for fat loss, a lot of muscle growth happens in the kitchen (and in bed). While many believe that bulking up is much easier than getting cut, bulking up the right way is just as much of a challenge. You need to follow the right nutrition plan for muscle growth.
I remember when I was doing my first bulk during the last winter months. Everyone would always joke, “You can have my extra pounds.” This relates to the biggest challenge of bulking – gaining muscle and not just gaining weight. It’s easy to gain weight. It’s not so easy to gain muscle. This article will talk about how to maximize your muscle growth while limiting body fat.
The Scoop on Muscle Growth
I’d like to quickly talk about what actually needs to happen in order for muscles to grow. Muscle growth occurs when the muscle fibers are damaged from intense exercise, leading to satellite cells coming to the damaged area, fusing to each other and to the fibers, which then results in an increase in cross sectional area of the muscle.
Contrary to what most people believe, men and women generally build muscle in the same way. The difference between men and women lies in their hormones. Men have significantly more testosterone than women, which is the primary reason men can bulk up so much more. Another important difference is the shape in which our muscles grow and our fat is stored. Again, thanks to hormones, men and women will naturally build the shape of their muscles differently. This is why women who take anabolic steroids develop more of a masculine shape than women who lift weights, but don’t supplement with steroids. If you’re a women interested in weight lifting or if you’re nervous you’re going to look like a man if you lift weights, read my article about weight lifting for women.
The Nutrition Plan for Muscle Growth
Muscle growth nutrition needs to be just as precise as your nutrition plan for fat loss. In fact, bulking can be even more challenging than fat loss because you’re trying to build muscle WHILE you maintain/lose body fat. Like the body fat nutrition plan, this is a great place to start, but it will probably require some tweaking to be just right for you.
During my bulking phase, I used a macronutrient ratio as follows. I always ate 1.2g of protein per pound of bodyweight, 20% fat and the rest carbs. At the start of my bulk, I was about 170 pounds, and after three months, I finished at 193lbs with the same body fat percentage. While it is possible to bulk much faster, you’ll end up gaining more body fat. I focused on keeping my body fat the same so I wouldn’t have have to cut more body fat later ( I HATE CARDIO).
It’s also important to monitor your calories during your bulk phase. If you aren’t eating enough, you simply won’t grow as much, even if your ratio is good. When Bradley Cooper was preparing for American Sniper, he was eating around 9,000 calories per day! While that is probably excessive for most of you, he was able to bulk up a TON. However, if you’ve seen the movie, you probably noticed his body fat increased as well.