Here it is! Your guide to building quality lean muscle without adding on the extra fat. In this article, we are going to break the myth that you have to gain some body fat while building muscle. However, there is one thing you must keep in mind; there is no one-size fits-all plan when it comes to diet.

Each one of you is a special unique flower that has your own personal needs. Mind you, this plan is only to be used as a guideline, and should not be taken verbatim. Now that we got that out of the way, on to the good stuff.

As I stated before, each one of you has different needs to attain your goal of building lean muscle mass. However, there are a couple constants that will be applied to everyone. First, you are going to need to consume more calories than it takes to maintain your current weight.

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If you do not know how many calories you need to maintain weight, there is a simple equation that can be used to get you in the ballpark. Take your weight and multiply that number by 12, and that should get you close to your maintenence calories. I can’t state this enough, but this is not exact, but can definitely be used as a start.

Now that we have maintenece calories calculated, we’re going to have to add in a few more to stimulate stimulate muscle growth. Start by adding in an extra 200 calories, and we can make adjustments from there. If you aren’t seeing any progress after a few weeks, you can slowly add in more calories.

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Our second constant is going to be macronutrient intake, meaning protein, fat, and carbohydrates. As a reference, 1 gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories, 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories, and 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories.

Protein is the building block for muscles, so we will calculate this intake first, as an adequate amount is absolutely necessary for growth. We are going to aim for about 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Next, we’ll add in our fat consumption. Dietary fat is essential for proper hormonal production and, especially for the guys, testosterone. Ideally, we want 20-25% of our total calories to come from fat.

Finally, we can calculate carbohydrates. Since we already have the amount of protein and fat set, the remaining calories will Come from carbs. This is what a breakdown may look like, using myself as an example. I weight 185 pounds, so, multiplied by 12, my maintenence calories would be 2,220. Add in an extra 200 calories to stimulate growth, so i am at 2,420 for the day. Using 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, i would take in 185 grams of protein, multiplied by 4 calories, equals 740 calories coming from protein per day.

Next, we’ll add in fat. 20% of 2,420 daily calories equals 484 calories from fat. Divided by 9, this comes out to about 54 grams of fat per day. Finally, to add in carbohydrates, we add the calorie content of protein and fat, and subtract that from our total calories. So 740+484=1224 calories. And 2420-1224=1196 calories from carbs. Divide 1196 by 4, and this gives me 299 grams of carbohydrates per day. My total breakdown of nutrients for the day is 185 grams of protein, 54 grams of fat, and 299 grams of carbs.

Now that we have your breakdown of macros, let’s take a look at some options for good choices of foods in each category. I will let you decide which foods to eat at which times, mostly because I’m a big fan of variety and don’t necessarily like sticking to certain foods at certain times.

Protein: lean turkey breast, lean beef, chicken, tuna, roughy, Cottage cheese, eggs, edamame, soy, tofu

Fat: almonds, cashews, pistachios, coconut oil, sunflower oil, avocado

Carbohydrate: brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa, whole oats, vegetables, fruit

These are some clean options you can put together for any meal that will help you gain that lean muscle mass

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