High calorie foods and a high calorie diet plan for building muscles

If putting on raw mass is your goal, you need to think outside of the weights room. All the Heavy squatting and high volume work in the world will do nothing for your muscle gain, if you aren’t nailing a few things consistently outside of the gym.

Besides the important aspects like proper sleep, what you eat will dictate how hard you can train, how long you can train for and how quickly you can recover and be back in the gym again, so a properly thought out diet plan is always going to be of the highest importance.


Gone are the days of “bulking”, people want to intelligently gain whilst maintaining their body fat levels, which is entirely possible, but an efficient cycle of weight gain does not have to lose you the lean body composition you might have previously worked so hard to attain, now it’s important to bare in mind we are purely talking about lean muscle tissue gain, which is entirely desirable for both men and women.

Men will often respond well to hypertrophy training gaining extra weight whereas the results of a muscle/mass gaining plan for a woman, often result in that elusive “toning look”, because increasing your base muscle mass, translated to a change in body shape for the better, be it more curvaceous in a female, or more tapered and X-framed, in a male.

high calorie foods

What this means is, choosing foods that benefit us in one of several ways and making several considerations, In no particular order these are:

1. Meal frequency – The current hottest topic is that meal frequency makes little to no difference in body composition. This is a gross over-estimation; whilst it makes little difference in the grand scheme of things, it can make a large difference over time – but what we are missing here in most discussions, is the composition of these frequent meals.

You’d be right in thinking that eating little and often does nothing to “stoke your metabolism” but if we make the right food choices – such as choosing high leucine or essential amino acid snacks or supplementation, we have an immediate and lasting effect on elevated muscle protein synthesis – therefore, meal frequency becomes very much of interest, when striving to attain optimal body composition, maintain lean tissue or, maximise growth from a training plan.
If meal frequency is a problem, by all means make the meals you can eat, more calorie dense by adding in foods such as avocado, dressings and nuts and seeds.

2. Meal composition and Timing – This refers to what we eat and when, eating for performance is important, but the composition of the meal will have a drastic implication on how well you perform in the gym and how well you recover from your training, there are considerations such as what time of the day you train as to how best to apply these principals, so for ease, I’ll be providing 2 sample days of food intake, aimed at somone training earlier in the day, however, if you train in the evening, simply eat the noted pre-workout food, 1 hour before training in the evening and swap the evening meals snack to earlier in the day.

3. Intra-workout nutrition – This often comes to supplementation, but you can make these during workout supplements yourself, depending on your training, we can consume easily digested protein and carbohydrate sources during training, you may have heard of amino acids during training, which are great, but during an intense and lean tissue gaining phase, I’m always going to favour products like Pepto pro and cyclic dextrin for my athletes

4. Calorie and nutritional content of meals – We don’t want to be eating until we bloat, so we are better off choosing higher calorie and nutritionally dense meal options, the nice thing about this is, you can easily adapt your current diet to change to these foods, things like nut butters, full fat dairy, seeds and home-made dressings become very useful here.

5. Supplementation – Always our final consideration, once we have everything in check, we can look at taking natural ergogenic aids, which will results in improved performance in the gym, recovery and ability to create even more stimulus under the barbell.

So the principals we will look at in our plan for gaining optimal mass will be:

– Higher calorie food choices, to support higher volume training.
– Intra-workout Nutrition to support our training intensity and recovery.
– Meal frequency (achieved through snacking) to ensure our muscle protein synthesis is elevated
– Supplementation to further aid performance and recovery.

Now, everyone’s calorie requirements will be totally individual, so before beginning any program like this, to gain a true understanding of what your body requires, I’d want you to utilise the Watchfit tracker app, for 3 days prior.

This will give you a great idea of what you are currently eating and how many calories you need to maintain your current weight.

I want you to take that number and replace the protein intake with a number of grams equal to 2.0 per kg – this will be your target protein intake to begin with and your fats must never fall below 0.8g per kilogram, so if it’s lower, bump it up to that number.

Using the Watchfit tracker will make this process undeniably easier.

If those two tweaks have taken you above your 3 days recorded macro intakes, then this is fine, you can begin your training quite happily, but don’t allow it to be more than 250kcal above what you were eating previously.

The rest of you, will, even if this has taken you slightly under, be eating at these numbers for the next 2-3 weeks of your training, before gradually increasing your protein and carbohydrate intakes by 15grams, every time you feel your recovery or muscle gain stalls slightly.

So the way you will tackle this new eating plan, that will not only help you gain weight but make you feel GREAT, will be to eat everything on the menu, recording as you go for one day, then on reflection, change portion sized at each meal, to meet your daily food requirements.

This way, what started out as a generic plan is becoming tailored to your individual needs.

The best high calorie food choices when creating or tweaking your own diet:

Avocado: a great source of fats and vitamins E, avocado is a great vegan alternative to butter and home-made guacamole can be an excellent swap for Nut butter on celery if you prefer carrots and a dip.

Nuts and seeds: Nuts are great sources of oils, my favourites are walnuts and almonds and the humble peanut butter – always be sure to get one that is 99-100% nut content and has no palm oils or added sugars!

Animal fats: Leaving the skin on meats adds to the calories and adds to your fat intake, but be cautious, if you do this only eat the skin of quality, well raised animals, just like us, toxins are stored in the fats and the precise makeup of fats in animal tissue is dictated by it’s diet. This is most apparent in products like milks, in which pasture raised Jersey cattle “gold top milk” is far more nutritious than the standard farmed cattle, even in the UK, with Jersey cows milk providing a better protein content and nutrients like beta carotene, again swaps of low fit to high fat dairy increase nutrient intake, but it can be very easy to over consume these sources

Cooking methods:  Cookng methods dictate your calorie intake, but it’s always better to avoid over-use of frying, if you want the added calories, grill and use sauces/dressings.
Olive oil can easily be added to rice dishes and home-made marinates using yoghurt and honey and spices can make chicken dishes delish!

The new meal-plan:

Meal 1:

Option 1:
3 whole poached eggs, ½ bundle of asparagus, shredded spinach sautéed in butter with a tomato and basil salad, 1 500ml glass of water with a pink of pink salt.
Option 2, as some people cannot handle hot food, in the morning.
Full fat Greek yoghurt, handful of blueberries, oats and seeds with a greens shake containing a pinch of pink salt

Meal 2 (Pre training)

1 Banana, 1 tbsp Nut butter, Optional green tea or coffee, 500ml of water with ½ a lemon squeezed in.

Meal 3 (Post training)

a small serving of sticky rice and thinly cut or smoked salmon, 1 plum (alternately a serving of sashimi and rice or similar.

Meal 4 (lunch)

Homemade chicken satay sticks with salad – 2 grated carrots, diced peppers, chopped leek and cucumber, with an olive oil and balsamic dressing + ½ a roasted sweet potato

1 celery stick with nut butter, 200g diced beetroot, spring onions and spicy dressing
1 9-bar (found in most all supermarkets)

Evening meal (5)

Mexican spiced rice, with green peppers , spinach and kidney beans
Homemade beef chilli and crumbled feta with a leaf salad.
Or (non training day)
Chicken thighs marinated in yogurt, turmeric,  ginger and mixed spices, served with griddled or oven roasted veg (aubergine, sprout, peppers, courgette) and shredded mozerella

Evening Snack:

Banana Protein Fluff
For those of you that haven’t encountered protein fluff, here’s a quick recipe:
1 large frozen sliced Banana (freezing the fruit you use before blending is important)
½ a serving of vanilla or milk chocolate flavoured why (or plain and flavour yourself)
150-200ml of Kara Koko milk
Walnuts and grated coconut to top.
Blend EVERYTHING in a bowl until it is huge and fluffy, protein fluff tends to increase in volume significantly, so have a huge mixing bowl ready, this recipe also works great with frozen mixed berries

Supplement regime:

We don’t want to make you stressed out with hundreds of capsules and products, so there are a few simple ones to take each day, so it’s only research backed, scientifically proven essentials in this list!

Genetic supplements Load-Up:

This is a creatine and beta alanine mix, which will help improve muscular hydration (and thus size and performance) as-well as help the bodies natural ability to buffer during fatiguing exercise, take this once in the morning and once after training.

Pepto-Pro (again, I have to recommend Genetic Supplements as a brand here) – To be taken, 1x serving during training, if you are worried about cutting your calories too close, you could opt for a plain amino drink such as Sustain.

Muscle-Mousse – I would use this if you didn’t want the hassle of making protein fluff each night, but remember, this is a much lower calorie formula than protein fluff!

Fish Oil – A quality fish oil, take 1gram with each meal, or 2-3 grams per day.

Leucine TabletsFor those shorter on time, or happy to spend a little more, taking 2-3 grams of leucine alongside each meal will certainly help maintain a preferential environment within the body.

The importance of water.

I’d like to add a little note here on water intake, if you aren’t drinking plenty of water, you aren’t going to perform well in the gym, you won’t grow, you won’t lose weight, you won’t focus and you won’t perform. 2litres is a bare minimum and this will increase depending on activity levels and body mass, so drink up!

Please leave your comment and experiences or check out the Muscle Maxx diet and workout plan.

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


Chriz Zaremba Fitness Consultant
Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans