Losing weight and building muscle are often seen as conflicting goals, as conventional wisdom suggests that to lose weight you should eat less, and to build muscle, you should eat more.

This article will focus on the quality of foods, rather than just the quantity. It’s worth noting that the diet plan below is aimed at the average person, looking to lose weight and build some muscle, not athletes, bodybuilders, or those with very high training loads.

Daily diet plan to lose weight and build muscle

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Onto the principles of the diet plan; the focus is on food quality; that means whole foods, as close to their natural state as possible. Highly processed and refined foods are to be avoided as much as possible, including sugars, wheat products, and man made trans fats. In order to build muscle, a training plan should also be adhered to. The plan will work on three training sessions per week.

Protein

The protein content will be high, and should be eaten with each meal. Protein has many uses in the body, including building and repairing muscle. Protein is also used in the immune system, hormones, enzymes, and cell structure to name a few.

Fat

Fats, especially saturated fat, tend to get a bad reputation. However, fat is essential for survival. Fat is the body’s preferred energy source, has roles in hormones and nerve conduction, makes up our cells and is key for the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Fat intake will be moderate, and spread across saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

Carbohydrates

The final macronutrient is carbohydrates. Carb intake will be varied throughout the plan. On training days, carb intake will be higher, to adequately fuel training and replenish energy stores after training. On non-training days, carb intake will be lower, to allow your body to use its fat stores for energy. Even on low carb days, vegetable intake will be high to ensure a high nutrient intake.

Daily diet plan to lose weight and build muscle

Vegetarians

To keep protein intake high, vegetarians can use a range of lentils, legumes, quinoa and dairy products. Natural Greek yoghurt is a great protein source for breakfast or a snack for example. However, lentils and legumes also contain high amounts of carbohydrates, so may replace the need for some of the extra carbs on training days. Without meat and eggs, saturated fat will also be low, so avocado and coconut can be used as substitutes.

If you are vegetarian, try to avoid soy products, as they are full of toxins and can have a negative impact on your body. However, fermented soy products, such as tempeh, miso and natto, are fine as the toxins are destroyed during fermentation.

Non-training day diet breakdown

Non-training days will be much higher in protein and fat compared to carbohydrates. Protein will be consumed with each meal (and snacks ideally), accompanied with a fat source, and bulked out with non-starchy vegetables and leafy greens. Fruit can be consumed in moderation.

Non-training day example

Meal 1 – 3-4 egg omelette, with baby spinach, cook in unsalted butter

Snack 1 – Handful of blueberries and handful of walnuts

Meal 2 – Cold chicken and bacon salad, dressed in extra virgin olive oil

Snack 2 – Roast turkey / ham slices

Meal 3 – Beef steak, mushrooms, broccoli and green beans

Training Day diet breakdown

Training days will include higher carb amounts than non-training days. Protein and fat will still be consumed with each meal, but also include a larger carbohydrate source as well as vegetables. Carb sources could include potatoes, sweet potatoes, whole/brown rice, quinoa and whole oats. Fruits are to be included as snacks if needed.

delicious stuffed potato great for a diet plan to build muscle

You should aim to eat a meal within an hour of training.

Training day example

Meal 1 –  2 eggs – scrambled, cook in unsalted butter ½ cup organic, steel cut oats made with water. Cinnamon to taste

Snack 1 – Handful of blueberries and handful of almonds

Meal 2 – Salmon fillet, ½ cup wild rice or jacket potato, mixed leaf salad dressed in extra virgin olive oil

Snack 2 – Banana

Meal 3 – Chilli chicken stir fry made up of chicken breast, fresh chilli, garlic, ginger, onion and peppers, with sweet potato

 

**Aim to eat a meal within 1 hour of training

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